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College Football Bowl Picks Part Five: Armed Forces, Russell Athletic, Arizona, Texas, Birmingham

Our next version of Bowl FEPO features several teams who can put up lots of points, which is really what bowl season is all about, isn't it? At least until we get to the playoff.

Can this guy lead Texas Tech to a big upset against LSU? Maybe.
Can this guy lead Texas Tech to a big upset against LSU? Maybe.
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

As we creep closer to New Year's, we finally begin to see some football teams we once thought were very good, even good enough to be national title contenders. Now they're mostly just trying to save face, and we also see a few more mid-major programs, as well as one surprising Power 5 school, trying to put an exclamation point on big seasons.

Jon leads by seven games and is probably going to win. I don't want to talk about it.

1:00 PM, Tuesday, Dec 29, 2015
LOCKHEED MARTIN ARMED FORCES BOWL
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth TX
California
7-5, 4-5 P12
-7 Air Force
8-5, 6-2 MWC

LT: California can score. We know this. We also know the Golden Bears aren't very good defensively, especially against the run. That's going to be a problem against the Falcons, and if it takes Cal's air attack a quarter or two to get going after a month off, it might be too late. Maybe Cal would still be able to win. But Air Force covers.

JM: All of Cal's losses were to good P5 teams, and all were at least competitive. But only one of those teams was a true running team, and Cal still gave up over 200 a game on the ground. Air Force is the #2 rushing offense in the land. Falcons cover.

4:30 PM, Tuesday, Dec 29, 2015
RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL
Citrus Bowl, Orlando FL
(17) Baylor
9-3, 6-3 B12
-3 (10) North Carolina
11-2, 8-0 ACC

LT: This is basically a question of whether you're sold on North Carolina or not. The advanced stats hate them, and while they did an admirable job of hanging with Clemson, the Tigers dominated that game in terms of total yards. I'm just not a believer and despite all of Baylor's concerns, plus its recent history in bowl games, I find this line a little insulting to the Big 12. Bears cover.

JM: What recent history? Losing games they should've won? It was like five hours ago they got blown in the Fiesta Bowl by a team that went 0-12 this year. They lost what was effectively a home game to Michigan State last New Year's. But more importantly, Baylor might be playing a waterboy at quarterback by halftime. It's not fair, and I'm not being hateful to the Bears, but all you really need to know is this: QB Jarrett Stidham doubtful - QB Seth Russell - OUT RB Shock Linwood OUT - WR Corey Coleman OUT. Tar Heels cover.

6:30 PM, Tuesday, Dec 29, 2015
NOVA HOME LOANS ARIZONA BOWL
Arizona Stadium, Tucson AZ
Nevada
6-6, 4-4 MWC
+3 Colorado State
7-5, 5-3 MWC

LT: This may well be the dumbest bowl game of the year. I know they didn't play each other in the regular season, but it's just absolutely pointless to have two conference teams face each other in a meaningless exhibition. Of course, the one benefit here for us is we can look at common opponents. Both lost to Utah State and San Diego and beat Fresno State and New Mexico. However, CSU won at Wyoming and against UNLV at home, while Nevada lost the exact same games. Therefore, Rams cover.

JM: Hmm? Oh. Yeah. This one. It's now airing on CBS Sports Network because it involves two Mountain West teams, which is the only benefit of having two Mountain West teams in the bowl. (It was originally only going to air on American Sports Network, and over-the-air syndication network where affiliates would rather show Mexican telenovelas than this game.) Rams cover.

8:00 PM, Tuesday, Dec 29, 2015
ADVOCARE V100 TEXAS BOWL
NRG Stadium, Houston TX
(22) Louisiana State
8-3, 5-3 SEC
-7 Texas Tech
7-5, 4-5 B12

LT: Clearly, LSU outclasses the Red Raiders in every way as far as talent, athleticism and pedigree. However, the Red Raiders probably hold a slight edge in experience, it's closer than you think in coaching, and TTU has far and away the better quarterback. This one just screams letdown game for the Tigers, and I think they might even lose. TTU covers.

JM: I have the distinct feeling Luke knows I'm not about to take Texas Tech in this one, and is trying to make sure he can gain some ground if he happens to be right. I'll allow it. Texas Tech still can't stop the run, and while Leonard Fournette wilted down the stretch he's still going to be able to gash the Red Raiders. Meanwhile, I am not altogether certain that DeAndre Washington is going to run for much on LSU. Tigers cover.

11:00 AM, Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015
BIRMINGHAM BOWL
Legion Field, Birmingham AL
(rv) Memphis
9-3, 5-3 AAC
+2.5 Auburn
6-6, 2-6 SEC

LT: At the beginning of the season, this line would have seemed absurdly small. Now, it seems a little crazy that Auburn is favored at all. Yes, Memphis looked bad in November, but Auburn's best win came against Texas A&M as it was self-destructing, and it lost to the same Ole Miss team Memphis beat by 13 in October. Throw in the fact that the Blue Tigers should have much more motivation against an SEC team than the Orange Tigers in the final game of an embarrassing season, and this one's a no-brainer. Memphis covers.

JM: There is only one thing standing in my way here: Justin Fuente is now gone. But I think that Paxton Lynch will be hyped and ready, and Auburn can't stop him, so Memphis is probably going to cover... and win the SEC title, of course.

Next: Jon mashes down on the gas: it's playoff time.