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Fearless Predictions: The weekend games

Saturday
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Marshall vs. Ohio (-3):
Marshall has interim coach Rick Minter, the team's defensive coordinator, leading the Thundering Herd in this game. Marshall lost four of six to end the season. But the Thundering Herd can win this game, mostly because 1,000-yard rusher Darius Marshall will be going against an Ohio defense that allows 150 rushing yards a game. But ultimately, I like Ohio with quarterback Theo Scott, who has thrown for 2,258 yards and 19 touchdowns this season. Scott will have plenty of targets -- Taylor Price (52 catches/five touchdowns), LaVon Brazill (50 catches/six touchdowns) and Terrence McCrae (33 catches/eight touchdowns) -- all over the field. Ohio 31, Marshall 20

Meineke Car Care Bowl
North Carolina vs. Pittsburgh (-2.5):
Both teams have good defenses: North Carolina is sixth nationally in total defense (268 yards per game) and Pittsburgh leads the country in sacks (44). The big question is whether the Panthers show up for this game. Remember, Pittsburgh had a chance to win the Big East and head to a BCS bowl before losing to West Virginia and Cincinnati. I'm going to believe that Pittsburgh shows up -- and wins. The Panthers have too much offensive talent (it will be interesting to see North Carolina's defensive front try to slow down Pittsburgh's Dion Lewis). Bill Stull is a much different player than last season when he played poorly in the Sun Bowl loss to Oregon State. Stull has players like Dorin Dickerson and Jonathan Baldwin to throw to. North Carolina quarterback Tyler Yates could have a tough time against Pittsburgh's defensive line. Pittsburgh 23, North Carolina 19

Emerald Bowl
Boston College vs. USC (-8):
I felt very confident about USC winning this game -- until tight end Anthony McCoy offensive tackle Tyron Smith and defensive tackle Averell Spicer were all ruled academically ineligible. Now we learn star tailback Joe McKnight stayed behind in Los Angeles without travelling with the team for the bowl game. McKnight's use of an SUV is now under question, as first reported by The Los Angeles Times. That puts a lot of pressure on freshman quarterback Matt Barkley, who has had a very inconsistent season. Boston College running back Montell Harris has had a superb season, rushing for 1,355 yards and 13 touchdowns. He could have good success against a defense that allows 131 yards a game. But the Trojans have more talent on the field -- even with the missing players -- and Boston College quarterback Dave Shinskie has had a rough season. USC 24, Boston College 16

Sunday
Music City Bowl
Kentucky vs. Clemson (-7):
Clemson all-everything offensive star C.J. Spiller could have a huge final game to cap his collegiate career. Spiller, who rushed for 1,145 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, will go against a Kentucky defense that ranks 100th nationally in rushing yards allowed (183 yards per game). Kentucky is 21st in the country in rushing yards, averaging 193 yards per game. So expect a lot of running in this game. But I think Clemson has a big advantage at quarterback with Kyle Parker (2,385 passing yards and 19 touchdowns). Clemson 27, Kentucky 20

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