College Bowl Picks: Friday, Dec. 29

Last week started out really rocky against my predictions for the winners of the week’s college bowl games, but as the week progressed, my record looked better and better. I ended the week 11-5, and much more confident on my abilities when compared to Week 1. I still haven’t reached Miss Cleo status, though.

This week, with the playoffs so close at hand and the games more exciting and heart wrenching, I’ve decided to change-up my format. Until the end of the season, I’ll be breaking down my picks and analysis day by day, letting the bigger bowls get a bigger spotlight.  Let’s take a look at today’s exciting college bowl games featuring heated rivalries, and how the constant coach merry-go-round will effect the outcomes. Here’s my picks for Dec. 29, another tumultuous day of Bowl Season.

Belk Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M

1 p.m. ET on ESPN at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina

Wake Forest has been gearing up for this competition for weeks now, and they’re coming in strong with a killer offense led by quarterback John Wolford. Texas A&M is still reeling after Kevin Sumlin was fired, which will only weaken their game. Wake Forest is set up for a second straight bowl win.

Winner: Wake Forest

Hyundai Sun Bowl: No. 24 NC State vs. Arizona State

3 p.m. ET on CBS at Sun Bowl in El Paso

Arizona is likely to go all out for Todd Graham this week, their fired coach who is showing up for the bowl game. NC State is generally the better and more talented team of the two, though, and will definitely find a way to win the contest behind Bradley Chubb and one of the nation’s top defensive fronts.

Winner: NC State

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Kentucky vs. No. 21 Northwestern

4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN at Nissan Stadium in Nashville

The odds are stacked against the Wildcats; in this case, the Kentucky ones. Northwestern is looking at a third 10-win season since 2012, and are likely to achieve it with a hard-to-beat defense and a seven-game winning streak. Running back Justin Jackson’s final game of a record-setting career looks to be a winner.

Winner: Northwestern

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: New Mexico State vs. Utah State

5:30 p.m. ET on CBSSN at Arizona Stadium in Tucson

Both teams have had lackluster seasons, but New Mexico State received lots of attention and admiration after they won their first playoff berth since 1960. Unfortunately, Utah has a slightly stronger defense led by cornerback Jalen Davis, and sometimes that’s all it takes.

Winner: Utah

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: No. 8 USC vs. No. 5 Ohio State

8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas

We’ve finally hit the big bowls. In what could be arguably the most anticipated non-playoff game of the season, both teams will showcase playoff-worthy skills and stars. Keep a close eye on USC quarterback Sam Darnold for “Play of the Day” status. However, watch the win come from Ohio State’s defensive line and Texas natives J.T. Barrett and J.K. Dobbins. It’ll be a nail biter.

Winner: Ohio State

Do you think I hit the nail on the head, or am I talking out the side of my neck? Let me know on Twitter!

Kristen Ashly is a senior contributor and editor for Nuts & Bolts Sports. You can follow her on Twitter @KristenAshly.

(Featured image courtesy of College Football News)

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