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Viewers Guide, Picks: Bowls Part 1

We are back with our Viewers Guide and Picks for the first batch of college football bowl games.

USC's Marquise Lee

In this installment, we will pick the eight games beginning Saturday through Thursday. We will be back late next week with the next group of picks.

In Week 15 of the regular season, I was 8-3 straight-up and 5-6 against-the-spread.

For the year, that makes me 286-88 straight-up and 175-193-1 against-the-spread.

Here we have the Viewers Guide and Picks for the first eight college bowl games (all times are Eastern Time):

Saturday’s Games

* New Mexico Bowl (at Albuquerque): Washington State (6-6, -5) vs. Colorado State (7-6), 2 p.m. (ESPN) --- Welcome back to the postseason for CSU (first bowl trip since 2008) and Wazzu (first bowl game since 2003). I’d pick Washington State, but the Cougars lost four of their last six games. Meanwhile, Colorado State won five of its last seven outings, including a 58-13 rout of Air Force in its finale. Colorado State 38-31

* Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State (11-1) vs. Southern Cal (9-4, -6 1/2), 3:30 p.m. (ABC) – When USC hired Steve Sarkisian, interim coach Ed Orgeron walked away. That leaves offensive coordinator Clay Helton to coach the Trojans against the Bulldogs. Fresno would be in a BCS bowl had it not been for a late-season loss at San Jose State (62-52). Fresno came back and redeemed itself with a Mountain West title game win over Utah State (24-17). Can the USC defense contain a Fresno offense that averaged 45.3 points per game with QB Derek Carr? The schools have split their two previous meetings with Fresno winning at the 1992 Freedom Bowl (24-7) and USC (with Reggie Bush) prevailing in a memorable 2005 game (50-42). USC had won five in a row until its season-ending loss to UCLA (35-14). USC 41-36

* Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (at Boise, Idaho): Buffalo (8-4) vs. San Diego State (7-5, -1 1/2), 5:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Buffalo was in the hunt for a MAC title before a season-ending loss to Bowling Green (24-7). SDSU had its four-game winning streak snapped with a season-ending loss at UNLV (45-19). Buffalo 29-24

* New Orleans Bowl: Tulane (7-5, -1 1/2) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4), 9 p.m. (ESPN) – Tulane owns a 21-5 all-time edge over ULL, which venture into the Green Wave’s home stadium for this game at the Superdome. It is Tulane’s first bowl appearance since 2002, however. Tulane had been through 10 losing seasons. Tulane dropped three of its last four games, while ULL lost its last two games. Tulane 31-24

Monday’s Game

* Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl (at St. Petersburg, Fla.): Ohio (7-5) vs. East Carolina (9-3, -14), 2 p.m. (ESPN) – Ohio snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over UMass in its season finale (51-23). ECU had its five-game winning streak snapped with a loss at Marshall (59-28). OU defeated Marshall 34-31 earlier in the season, for whatever that is worth. East Carolina 34-24

Tuesday’s Game

* Hawaii Bowl (at Honolulu): Oregon State (6-6, -2 1/2) vs. Boise State (8-4), 8 p.m. (ESPN) – Oregon State opened the year 6-1 before the bottom fell out with five straight losses to end the season. Boise lost to Fresno early in the year (41-40 on the road) and finished with three wins in its last four games. Chris Petersen has left Boise to become the new head coach at Washington. Bob Gregory will serve as the interim coach before Bryan Harsin takes over. Oregon State 33-27

Thursday’s Games

* Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (at Detroit): Bowling Green (10-3, -4 1/2) vs. Pittsburgh (6-6), 6 p.m. (ESPN) – Bowling Green stunned unbeaten Northern Illinois 47-27 in the MAC title game. It was a rough year for Pitt, which had double-digit losses to Florida State, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Miami (Fla.). BG will be without coach Dave Clawson, who has been hired at Wake Forest. Bowling Green 30-20

* Poinsettia Bowl (at San Diego): Northern Illinois (12-1, -1 1/2) vs. Utah State (8-5), 9:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Northern Illinois could have been in a BCS bowl had it not been for the loss to Bowling Green. Utah State also lost its Mountain West title game to Fresno State. Should be a good game but QB Jordan Lynch should be too much for the defensive-minded Aggies. Northern Illinois 36-27

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