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The Goldin Guarantees: Bowl Games 12/20-12/24

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Picks for the first 10 bowl games

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to bowl season, folks. The beginning of bowl season is that wonderful time of the year where you spend the days before Christmas sipping eggnog watching schools you have never heard of play in games sponsored by companies that you aren't quite sure what they do. It's a nice time for smaller programs to get some TV time, and it gets you your football fix until the big games start. So sit back, grab some fruitcake, and enjoy part 1 of bowl picks.

12/20

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl-Nevada vs Louisiana-Lafayette (-1, o/u 60.5) @ Mercedes Benz Superdome (New Orleans) 11:00 AM (ESPN)

The Ragin' Cajuns head East to the Big Easy for an early game against the Wolf Pack to kick off our bowl season. ULL finished 8-4, but with a nice 7-1 record in the Fun Belt, where they finished second. The Wolf Pack went 7-5 overall, but stumbled to a 4-4 Mountain West record. The travel is a huge advantage for the Cajuns, who can get from Lafayette to New Orleans in a little over 2 hours. This should be a close game to get us started. The Goldin Guarantee: Lafayette 29 Nevada 27

Gildan New Mexico Bowl- UTEP vs Utah State (-10, o/u 49) @ University Stadium (Albuquerque) 2:20 PM (ESPN)

To make this one interesting, I'm going to apply a "Breaking Bad" theme to it, because it's in Albuquerque. UTEP is hoping that Utah State comes in cocky, like how Gus was when he went to visit Hector for the last time. Then they hit the button, and boom, the Aggies are done. Most likely, this won't be happening, but you can imagine what it would be like if it did. The Goldin Guarantee: Utah St 35 UTEP 17

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl-Utah (-4.5, o/u 58) vs Colorado State @ Sam Boyd Stadium (Las Vegas) 3:30 (ABC)

The Rams begin a new era after their head coach Jim McElwain took the head coaching job at Florida. McElwain led the Rams to one of their best seasons in recent history as they went 10-2 on the year. Now interim coach Dave Baldwin will take over the reins for this game against the 22nd ranked Utes, who went 8-4 on the year, but a 5-4 Pac 12 record. Baldwin has been the OC for the past 3 years in Fort Collins, so things shouldn't look to different for the Rams. The Goldin Guarantee: Colorado St 31 Utah 28

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl- Western Michigan (-1, o/u 55.5) vs Air Force @ Bronco Stadium (Boise) 5:45 (ESPN)

Smurf Turf and Potatoes! That's what Idaho does! The Western Michigan Broncos will be playing on the home, blue field of the Boise State Broncos against the Air Force Academy. The Falcons are coming off of a nice upset over Colorado State to end the regular season. Tim Allen's alma mater lost to NIU in some Friday night MACtion to finish their season. The Goldin Guarantee: Air Force 28 Western Michigan 21

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl- South Alabama (-3, o/u 54) vs Bowling Green @ Cramton Bowl (Montgomery, AL) 9:15 (ESPN)

Yeah, so this is a bowl game now. If you don't know anything about this game (I didn't), it is played in the home stadium of Faulkner University Eagles (NAIA team in Montgomery) and the four Montgomery area high schools. The Cramton Bowl holds 25,000 people and is named for F. J. Cramton, who donated the land for it to be built on. As for the two teams, the 7-6 BGSU Falcons won the MAC East division, and were promptly stomped by NIU in the MAC Championship Game. South Alabama is 6-6 finished their season by losing a 2 point squeaker to Navy. The biggest plus to this game is that with a late start time, this game will end up seeing "Midnight in Montgomery" in the fourth quarter. The Goldin Guarantee: South Alabama 34 Bowling Green 31

12/22

Miami Beach Bowl- BYU vs Memphis (-1, o/u 57.5) @ Marlins Park (Miami) 2:00 (ESPN)

For the first time in a while (maybe ever), the Memphis Tigers football team is more entertaining than the Memphis Tigers men's basketball team (who started this season by losing their scrimmage to D2 Christian Brothers University) The Cougars went 8-4 in their second year as an independent. This could easily be the most interesting sporting event to ever take place in Marlins Park. The Goldin Guarantee: Memphis 29 BYU 26

12/23

Boca Raton Bowl-Northern Illinois vs Marshall (-10, o/u 64.5) @ FAU Stadium (Boca Raton, FL) 6:00 ESPN

Marshall had an impressive year, but dropped a 67-66 OT game against Western Kentucky to ruin their perfect season bid. The Thundering Heard are CUSA Champs, and they take their high flying offense to Florida to play the MAC champion NIU. Miami native Rakeem Cato is entertaining enough on his own to create interest in this game. The Goldin Guarantee: Marshall 48 NIU 24

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl- Navy vs San Diego State (-2, o/u 54) @ Qualcolmm Stadium (San Diego) 9:30 (ESPN)

The Aztecs will be enjoying a postseason game in the same stadium where they also play their home games. They will take on the 6-5 Navy Midshipmen, who are 2nd in the nation in rushing yards. The Aztecs have the 14th best defense for points scored against, so expect this to be a low scoring game. The Goldin Guarantee: SDSU 20 Navy 17

12/24

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl- Central Michigan vs Western Kentucky (-2.5, 65.5) @ Thomas Robinson Stadium (Nassau) 12:00 ESPN

The Chippewas were ecstatic when they learned they were going to Nassau for the holidays instead of Detroit, and who could blame them? The highest point for the Hilltoppers this season was handing Marshall it's only loss of the year in Huntington, WV. This game should be entertaining, but the backdrop for it may be worth watching this game for alone. By the way, are there actually Popeyes in the Bahamas? That's an odd sponsor for this bowl. The Goldin Guarantee:Western Kentucky 38 Central Michigan 31

Hawai'i Bowl- Fresno State vs Rice (-1, o/u 58.5) @ Aloha Stadium (Honolulu) 8:00 (ESPN)

Christmas Eve concludes with a second game in a beautiful location, as Fresno State takes on Rice in Hawaii. Fresno State earned a 7th loss by losing to Boise State in the Mountain West title game. Rice got the bulk of their wins during  a 6 game winning streak that ran from late September to early November. The Goldin Guarantee: Rice 41 Fresno St 38