2012-13 College Football Bowl Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

2012-13 College Football Bowl Predictions

All 35 bowl games simulated by WhatIfSports.com

By Jake Westrich - WhatIfSports.com
UPDATE: January 8, 2013

Using the same college football simulation engine that accurately predicted 78.8 percent of all 2012 FBS games, we simulated each of the 35 bowl matchups 1,001 times.

Each team's winning percentage, average score and sample box score can be found below. If you would like to replay any bowl game, every 2012 bowl team roster is available using our free NCAA College Football SimMatchup feature.

Note: The box score recap is just an example of what could happen based on the average score. Click on the box score button for complete play-by-play.

College Football Bowl Performance
Record
Overall Winning Percentage: 62.9% (22-13)
AP Top 25 Winning Percentage: 75.0% (18-6)
BCS Bowl Winning Percentage: 80.0% (4-1)

Gildan New Mexico Bowl - Dec. 15, 2012 Arizona 49 - Nevada 48
Wolf Pack emblem
Wildcats emblem
33.5
66.5
Nevada (7-5)
23
Arizona (7-5)
29
RB Ka'Deem Carey, U of A
27 carries, 155 yards, TD
3 catches, 22 yards
Nevada: After a strong non-conference slate, the Wolf Pack struggled against Mountain West foes, dropping four of their last five games. Stefphon Jefferson paced the nation's seventh-ranked rush attack with 1,703 yards and 22 scores. Quarterback Cody Fajardo added 981 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.

Arizona: The Wildcats had little problem finding the end zone this season as they averaged 37.3 points per game. However, the defensive side of the ball was another story. Arizona surrendered 34.3 points per game and granted 295.9 yards per contest to opposing quarterbacks, the fifth-worst mark in the nation.

Box Score: Arizona got out to an early 10-0 lead that grew to 16-3 at the half. Nevada rallied with 13 fourth-quarter points, but it was too little, too late for the Wolf Pack. Ka'Deem Carey paced the Wildcats with 155 rushing yards and a touchdown in the 29-23 win. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Nevada 24 - Arizona 30

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Dec. 15, 2012 Utah State 41 - Toledo 15
Rockets emblem
Aggies emblem
42.3
57.7
Toledo (9-3)
30
22 Utah State (10-2)
31
RB Kerwynn Williams, USU
21 carries, 138 yards, TD
4 catches, 63 yards
Toledo: For the third consecutive year, Toledo is going bowling. The Rockets began the season with an overtime loss at Arizona before stringing together eight consecutive victories, including a win over No. 21 Cincinnati, the school's first triumph against a Top 25 team since 2004.

Utah State: WAC champ Utah State suffered only two losses by a combined four points this season, dropping games at Wisconsin and BYU. The Aggies feature a stout defense that conceded the eighth-fewest points in the nation and sacked opposing quarterbacks 39 times.

Box Score: Running back Kerwynn Williams had a typical day for the Aggies, generating 201 yards of offense and a touchdown. It was the play of his backup, Joe Hill, that was less expected. Hill had runs of 62 and 45 yards, the latter for a touchdown, as Utah State rallied from 10 down for a 31-30 win. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Toledo 26 - Utah State 28

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl - Dec. 20, 2012 BYU 23 - San Diego State 6
Cougars emblem
Aztecs emblem
55.6
44.4
BYU (7-5)
27
San Diego State (9-3)
20
QB Riley Nelson, BYU
21-30, 313 yards, 3 TD, INT
BYU: A powerful and well-rounded Cougars defense held opponents to the second-fewest rushing yards in the nation, the 13th-fewest passing yards and the fifth-fewest points. The BYU defense also boasted the nation's best red-zone conversion percentage, surrendering scores on just 61.5 percent of red-zone trips.

San Diego State: It was a historic season for the Aztecs. Their nine wins are the most in the regular season since 1977, their current seven-game winning streak is the school's first since 1981 and their November 3rd win over Boise State was the first road victory over a ranked opponent in school history.

Box Score: Two third-quarter scores by the Aztecs' Adam Muema erased a 20-6 deficit, but BYU's Riley Nelson threw his third touchdown of the game with 5:24 remaining to put the Cougars back on top for good. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: BYU 25 - San Diego State 23

Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl - Dec. 21, 2012 UCF 38 - Ball State 17
Knights emblem
Cardinals emblem
57.3
42.7
UCF (9-4)
33
Ball State (9-3)
27
RB Latavius Murray, UCF
23 carries, 177 yards, TD
3 catches, 42 yards
UCF: Two of UCF's four losses came at the hands of Tulsa. The first meeting ended in a 23-21 defeat while the second, the Conference USA Championship game, resulted in an overtime loss. The Knights' only other setbacks this season were to Ohio State and Missouri.

Ball State: The Cardinals can credit their best season since 2008 to a rush attack that ranked 23rd nationally. Sophomore Jahwan Edwards led the ground game with 1,321 yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards per carry.

Box Score: Latavius Murray and Storm Johnson proved too much for the Cardinals as the duo combined for 279 rushing yards and two scores. Two Steven Schott field goals put Ball State within striking distance but UCF held on for a 33-27 victory. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: UCF 28 - Ball State 25

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - Dec. 22, 2012 Louisiana-Lafayette 43 - East Carolina 34
Pirates emblem
Ragin' Cajuns emblem
49.0
51.0
East Carolina (8-4)
24
Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)
26
WR Justin Hardy, ECU
8 catches, 124 yards, TD
East Carolina: The Pirates are led by quarterback Shane Carden, who threw for 2,838 yards and 21 touchdowns. Despite rushing for just 73 yards on 82 carries, Carden added eight rushing scores. His top target in the passing game, Justin Hardy, collected 83 catches for 1,046 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Louisiana-Lafayette: Make that two straight 8-4 seasons for the Ragin' Cajuns. Louisiana-Lafayette hopes for an ending much like last season, when the school notched a 32-30 victory over San Diego State in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

Box Score: The foot of Brett Baer carried the day for the Ragin' Cajuns. The kicker connected on four of five field goals, including a 50-yarder, to pace Louisiana-Lafayette in its 26-24 win. East Carolina receiver Justin Hardy led the Pirates with eight receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: East Carolina 28 - Louisiana-Lafayette 29

Gridiron Dynasty
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas - Dec. 22, 2012 Boise State 28 - Washington 26
Huskies emblem
Broncos emblem
43.1
56.9
Washington (7-5)
24
19 Boise State (10-2)
26
RB Bishop Sankey, UW
34 carries, 165 yards, 2 TD
4 catches, 53 yards, TD
Washington: Bishop Sankey possesses not only one of the great names in college football, but a powerful motor as well. The Huskies running back accumulated 1,234 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season, including a combined 236 yards and three scores in upset wins over Stanford and Oregon State.

Boise State: Believe it or not, Boise State's two losses are the most at the school since a 10-3 season in 2007. Defense was the name of the game as the Broncos held opponents to 14.9 points per game, the sixth-best mark in the nation, and 163.4 passing yards per game, tied for fourth-best.

Box Score: Boise State captured a commanding lead, going ahead 20-3 after the first quarter, and then survived an onslaught by Sankey to squeak by 26-24. Sankey found the end zone three times, twice in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough for the Huskies. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Washington 24 - Boise State 27

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl - Dec. 24, 2012 SMU 43 - Fresno State 10
Bulldogs emblem
Mustangs emblem
62.2
37.8
Fresno State (9-3)
33
Southern Methodist (6-6)
23
QB Derek Carr, FSU
30-40, 324 yards, TD
15 carries, 13 yards, TD
Fresno State: The man behind center at Fresno State may look familiar. Derek Carr is following in the footsteps of older brother and former No. 1 NFL Draft pick David Carr, who also played for the Bulldogs. The younger Carr threw for 3,742 yards and 36 touchdowns with just five interceptions this season.

Southern Methodist: Former Texas Longhorns field general Garrett Gilbert started for the Mustangs. Gilbert's stats were less than stellar, with 14 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a 53.1 completion percentage. Senior RB Zach Line has accumulated 4,114 rushing yards and 46 touchdowns during his four-year career.

Box Score: Fresno State went ahead early, which didn't bode well for a SMU team with Gilbert at the helm. He completed just 12 of 34 passes. Carr, meanwhile completed 75 percent of his passes for 324 yards and a score as the Bulldogs prevailed 33-23. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Fresno State 30 - SMU 26

Little Caesars Bowl - Dec. 26, 2012 Central Michigan 24 - Western Kentucky 21
Hilltoppers emblem
Chippewas emblem
51.0
49.0
Western Kentucky (7-5)
21
Central Michigan (6-6)
20
RB Zurlon Tipton, CMU
25 carries, 109 yards, TD
3 catches, 38 yards
Western Kentucky: In 2009, Western Kentucky's first year as a full FBS member, the school failed to notch a single victory. Just three years later, the Hilltoppers find themselves in a bowl game. Running back Antonio Andrews led the WKU ground attack with 1,609 yards and 11 touchdowns on 5.8 yards per carry.

Central Michigan: The Chippewas are bowl-bound for the first time since 2009, when they beat Troy 44-41 in overtime. Junior running back Zurlon Tipton is enjoying a breakout season with 1,649 yards from scrimmage and 20 trips to pay dirt.

Box Score: Don't blame yourself, David Harman. The Chippewas kicker had a chance to give his team a 23-21 advantage with just under five minutes left in the game but his 24-yard attempt sailed wide right. Western Kentucky prevailed, thanks to Antonio Andrews, who led the team in both rushing (135 yards) and receiving (29 yards). Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Western Kentucky 26 - Central Michigan 25

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman - Dec. 27, 2012 San Jose State 29 - BGSU 20
Spartans emblem
Falcons emblem
56.9
43.1
24 San Jose State (10-2)
27
Bowling Green (8-4)
23
RB Anthon Samuel, BGSU
19 carries, 90 yards, 2 TD
2 catches, 18 yards, TD
San Jose State: The Spartans, making just their second bowl appearance since the 1990 California Raisin Bowl, boast an impressive aerial attack led by David Fales and his 3,798 passing yards. Noel Grisby and Chandler Jones were at the receiving end of 19 of Fales' 31 touchdown passes.

Bowling Green: The Falcons possess a talented defense that allowed only 15.8 points per game, ninth in the nation. Coach Dave Clawson's team is equally efficient against the pass and rush, surrendering 173.0 passing yards per game (seventh nationally) and 116.7 rushing yards per game (14th nationally).

Box Score: The outcome looked bleak for the Spartans, facing a 23-6 deficit as the fourth quarter began. Undeterred, De'Leon Eskridge found the end zone on a 15-yard run to narrow the gap. Fales then got things going, finding Ryan Otten and Grisby for scores to complete the 27-23 rally. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: San Jose State 28 - Bowling Green 26

Belk Bowl - Dec. 27, 2012 Cincinnati 48 - Duke 34
Bearcats emblem
Blue Devils emblem
57.0
43.0
Cincinnati (9-3)
34
Duke (6-6)
31
QB Brendon Kay, UC
23-36, 302 yards, 3 TD, INT
9 carries, 32 yards
Cincinnati: The quarterback position was in flux this season for the Bearcats, as Brendon Kay ultimately earned the start down the stretch in favor of Munchie Legaux. Meanwhile, running back George Winn was solid with 1,204 yards on the ground and 12 scores, plus another 116 yards receiving.

Duke: This season marks the end of a bleak time in Blue Devils football history. The bowl game is the school's first since 1995 and a bowl win would be the first since 1961. However, Duke stumbled down the stretch and hasn't won since October 20th against archrival North Carolina.

Box Score: The Blue Devils used a big second quarter that included three Sean Renfree touchdown passes to go ahead 28-14, but Cincinnati charged right back. Kay looked like he belonged behind center, completing 23 of 36 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns as the Bearcats notched a 34-31 victory. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Cincinnati 27 - Duke 24

Gridiron Dynasty
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl - Dec. 27, 2012 Baylor 49 - UCLA 26
Bears emblem
Bruins emblem
45.5
54.5
Baylor (7-5)
44
17 UCLA (9-4)
47
RB Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
36 carries, 189 yards rushing, 3 TD
2 catches, 18 yards
Baylor: Robert Griffin III left big shoes to fill. The departed Heisman winner recorded 4,293 passing yards with 37 touchdowns and 699 rushing yards with 10 scores in 2011. Nick Florence has nearly matched those totals in 2012, passing for 4,121 yards and 31 touchdowns while rushing for 531 yards and nine scores.

UCLA: One of UCLA's strengths on defense is ironically its most glaring weakness on offense. The Bruins' 44 sacks are fourth-most in the nation, but its 46 sacks allowed are the third-most. Freshman quarterback Brett Hundley hasn't missed a game despite the beating.

Box Score: The Bruins prevailed in triple overtime after going ahead by three and forcing a Baylor fumble on the ensuing possession. UCLA shut down the Baylor rush attack in the win, but Florence lit up their secondary for 437 yards and four scores. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Baylor 26 - UCLA 27

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl - Dec. 28, 2012 Ohio 45 - Louisiana-Monroe 14
Bobcats emblem
Warhawks emblem
41.4
58.6
Ohio (8-4)
17
Louisiana-Monroe (8-4)
22
QB Kolton Browning, ULM
19-34, 232 yards, TD, INT
15 carries, 24 yards rushing, TD
Ohio: The Bobcats began the season with great promise. Talk of an undefeated campaign seemed within reach after a 7-0 start that included a win at Penn State. However, injuries derailed Frank Solich's squad as they stumbled down the stretch with losses in four of their last five games.

Louisiana-Monroe: The school out of northern Louisiana made noise early this season with an upset of No. 8 Arkansas, followed by two narrow defeats to Auburn and Baylor. Thanks to a 6-2 record in Sun Belt league games, the Warhawks will play in their first ever bowl game.

Box Score: The Bobcats had gotten the best of the Warhawks until Kolton Browning took over. Louisiana-Monroe's QB rushed for one fourth-quarter score and threw for another as the Warhawks rallied for a win in the program's first bowl appearance. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Ohio 26 - Louisiana-Monroe 28

Russell Athletic Bowl - Dec. 28, 2012 Virginia Tech 13 - Rutgers 10
Scarlet Knights emblem
Hokies emblem
53.1
46.9
Rutgers (9-3)
29
Virginia Tech (6-6)
23
RB Jawan Jamison, RUT
33 carries, 163 yards rushing, TD
5 catches, 53 yards, TD
Rutgers: A 7-0 start vaulted the Scarlet Knights to as high as No. 18 in the AP poll, but losses to Kent State, Pitt and Louisville dropped the school from the rankings. The Rutgers defense allowed just 14.3 points per game, fourth nationally, and 2.9 yards per rush, seventh in the nation.

Virginia Tech: Not a great year for the preseason No. 16 team. The Hokies recorded their fewest wins since a 2-8-1 campaign in 1992, but late-season victories against Boston College and Virginia salvaged bowl eligibility.

Box Score: The Rutgers D was true to form, taking away any semblance of a Virginia Tech ground game, as the Scarlet Knights overcame three picks from Gary Nova to defeat the Hokies 29-23 in triple overtime. Jawan Jamison earned MVP honors with 216 total yards and the game-winning touchdown. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Rutgers 23 - Virginia Tech 22

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas - Dec. 28, 2012 Texas Tech 34 - Minnesota 31
Golden Gophers emblem
Red Raiders emblem
34.1
65.9
Minnesota (6-6)
24
Texas Tech (7-5)
30
QB Seth Doege, TTU
24-36, 334 yards, 2 TD
Minnesota: The Golden Gophers went just 2-6 in Big Ten games, but 4-0 in their non-conference slate to sneak into their first bowl game of the Jerry Kill era. The second-year coach had an anemic offense that averaged just 21.3 points per game, 99th in the nation.

Texas Tech: On the other end of the spectrum, the Red Raiders had no trouble scoring in 2012, averaging 37.8 points per contest. The pass attack, led by senior Seth Doege, pasted opponents for 361.9 yards per game, second only to Marshall.

Box Score: This one wasn't as close as the final score indicated. Texas Tech raced out to a 10-0 advantage and led by as much as 30-7 before surrendering two late touchdowns and a field goal to the Gophers. Doege threw for 334 yards and two scores in the win. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Minnesota 23 - Texas Tech 29

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl - Dec. 29, 2012 Rice 33 - Air Force 13
Owls emblem
Falcons emblem
47.6
52.4
Rice (6-6)
28
Air Force (6-6)
31
RB Wes Cobb, Air Force
11 carries, 98 yards rushing, 2 TD
Rice: Moving the ball on the ground is a group effort for the Owls. Despite leading rusher Charles Ross only gaining 743 yards on the season, Rice's 201.2 rushing yards per game ranked 29th nationally. QB Taylor McHargue led the team in rushing scores, with 11.

Air Force: In matchups between military academies, the Falcons were 0-2 this season, dropping games to Navy and Army. However, a 6-6 record, including 5-3 in the Mountain West Conference, enables Air Force to go bowling for the sixth consecutive season.

Box Score: Air Force captured a lead early and held on late in dispatching Rice. Wes Cobb earned MVP honors for his two scores, but it was really the combined performance by Cobb, Ty MacArthur and Cody Getz that carried the day. The trio accumulated 371 rushing yards and all four of the Falcons' TDs. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Rice 24 - Air Force 25

Gridiron Dynasty
New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Dec. 29, 2012 Syracuse 38 - West Virginia 14
Mountaineers emblem
Orange emblem
55.5
45.5
West Virginia (7-5)
38
Syracuse (7-5)
34
QB Geno Smith, WVU
24-31, 337 yards, 2 TD
14 carries, 3 yards, TD
West Virginia: The Mountaineers' first season in the Big 12 began with great promise, as the team's 5-0 record included victories over No. 25 Baylor and No. 11 Texas. But five consecutive losses, the result of a D that surrendered the ninth-most points in the country, put an end to the fun in Morgantown.

Syracuse: Doug Marrone has guided Syracuse to its second bowl game in his four years as head coach. In 2010, the Orange defeated Kansas State 36-34 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. They'll be hoping for a similar result against another Big 12 foe.

Box Score: West Virginia's Geno Smith submitted a superb season that was lost in the midst of his team's struggles. Smith threw for 4,004 yards with 40 touchdowns to just six picks in 2012, and he added to those stats against Syracuse. Smith's big day included two passing TDs and the go-ahead rushing score as the Mountaineers topped the Orange 38-34. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: West Virginia 29 - Syracuse 27

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - Dec. 29, 2012 Arizona State 62 - Navy 28
Midshipmen emblem
Sun Devils emblem
27.5
72.5
Navy (8-4)
24
Arizona State (7-5)
32
QB Taylor Kelly, ASU
16-23, 202 yards, 2 TD, INT
15 carries, 44 yards, TD
Navy: After dropping three of their first four, the Midshipmen earned wins in seven of their last eight games. As usual, Navy stuck to the ground game this season. Gee Gee Greene, Noah Copeland and Keenan Reynolds all exceeded 100 carries and 600 yards. Reynolds also threw for eight touchdowns.

Arizona State: First-year coach Todd Graham guided the Sun Devils to their most wins since 2007 and will be seeking the school's first bowl win since 2005. An opportunistic Arizona State defense averaged 3.9 sacks per game, the second-best mark in the nation, and totaled 20 interceptions, fourth-most nationally.

Box Score: Taylor Kelly of Arizona State shouldered the load in the first half, throwing for two scores and running for one more. Teammate Cameron Marshall led the second-half charge with two rushing TDs. Navy kept pace for most of the game, but the Sun Devils prevailed 32-24. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Navy 20 - Arizona State 28

Valero Alamo Bowl - Dec. 29, 2012 Texas 31 - Oregon State 27
Longhorns emblem
Beavers emblem
49.6
50.4
23 Texas (8-4)
42
13 Oregon State (9-3)
44
WR Markus Wheaton, OSU
9 catches, 148 yards, 2 TD
Texas: The Longhorns ended a two-year slide in the win column, but will still fall short of a 10-win campaign, a feat Texas accomplished for nine consecutive years from 2001 to 2009. RB Joe Bergeron demonstrated a nose for the end zone, leading the ground game with 16 scores on just 122 carries.

Oregon State: After navigating his squad to six bowl games in his first seven seasons, including five bowl wins, Mike Riley's Beavers failed to make the postseason two years in a row. That streak ended in 2012 as Oregon State climbed to as high as No. 7 in the AP poll on its way to a nine-win season.

Box Score: The Beavers rallied around their quarterback as Sean Mannion overcame six interceptions to lead Oregon State from a 28-10 halftime deficit to a 44-42 win over the Longhorns. The comeback included two scores for Storm Woods and two more by Markus Wheaton, the last as time expired. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Texas 22 - Oregon State 23

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - Dec. 29, 2012 Michigan State 17 - TCU 16
Horned Frogs emblem
Spartans emblem
52.7
47.3
TCU (7-5)
25
Michigan State (6-6)
24
RB Le'Veon Bell, MSU
30 carries, 144 yards rushing, TD
4 catches, 7 yards
TCU: The Big 12 proved a bit more challenging than the MWC for the Horned Frogs. In seven seasons in the Mountain West, TCU totaled 11 or more wins six times. A win against Michigan State will be the school's eighth of the year and its third consecutive bowl victory.

Michigan State: Several narrow defeats haunted the Spartans as five of their six losses were by a combined 13 points. Junior running back Le'Veon Bell rushed for 1,648 yards and 11 touchdowns, while quarterback Andrew Maxwell struggled to replace Kirk Cousins, completing only 52.9 percent of his

Box Score: Jaden Oberkrom had a busy night. Whenever the TCU offense stalled and it did frequently Oberkrom was called on to punch it through the uprights. The freshman matched a career high, connecting on six field goals, including two in the fourth quarter that delivered a 25-24 Horned Frog victory. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: TCU 23 - Michigan State 22

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl - Dec. 31, 2012 Vanderbilt 38 - NC State 24
Wolfpack emblem
Commodores emblem
43.1
56.9
NC State (7-5)
17
Vanderbilt (8-4)
24
QB Jordan Rodgers, Vandy
12-13, 176 yards, 2 TD
North Carolina State: Quarterback Mike Glennon accumulated 3,648 passing yards and threw 13 touchdowns for the Wolfpack, but received little help from a rush attack that averaged just 116.9 yards per game, the 16th-worst figure in the country.

Vanderbilt: Like the best of its SEC brethren, Vanderbilt relied on a stout defense in 2012. The Commodores surrendered just 18.3 points per game and were particularly strong against the pass. Opposing signal callers averaged 175.8 yards per game and completed 52.0 percent of passes.

Box Score: Vanderbilt broke a 17-17 tie with just under five minutes remaining when Jordan Rodgers found Jordan Matthews in the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown strike and a 24-17 lead. NC State had two chances to score, but both possessions ended in interceptions by Glennon. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: North Carolina State 19 - Vanderbilt 21

Gridiron Dynasty
Hyundai Sun Bowl - Dec. 31, 2012 Georgia Tech 21 - USC 7
Trojans emblem
Yellow Jackets emblem
59.8
40.2
USC (7-5)
31
Georgia Tech (6-7)
28
WR Marqise Lee, USC
12 catches, 178 yards, TD
USC: Matt Barkley probably didn't have the Hyundai Sun Bowl in mind when he prolonged NFL riches to return for a senior season. The preseason AP No. 1 team ended the regular season by losing four out of five games. On the plus side, receivers Marquise Lee and Robert Woods combined for 2,493 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Georgia Tech: The good news? The Yellow Jackets are going to their 16th consecutive bowl game. The bad? The last seven bowl trips have ended in losses. Just like past Paul Johnson-coached teams, Georgia Tech strongly favors the rush. Six players ran for more than 400 yards in 2012.

Box Score: Matt Barkley and the Trojans got off to a slow start, trailing 21-0, but finally caught up and surpassed the Yellow Jackets when a run by Barkley gave USC a 31-28 edge with under a minute remaining. Georgia Tech had a chance to send it to overtime, but David Scully's attempt went wide left. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: USC 27 - Georgia Tech 24

AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Dec. 31, 2012 Tulsa 31 - Iowa State 17
Cyclones emblem
Golden Hurricane emblem
63.1
36.9
Iowa State (6-6)
30
Tulsa (10-3)
27
QB Sam Richardson, ISU
22-28, 271 yards, 2 TD
Iowa State: In a league known for its offensive firepower, Iowa State occasionally had trouble keeping up. Their 25.2 points per game ranked 84th nationally, but the Cyclones countered with a strong defense that conceded just 23.3 points per game. Update: The game was re-simulated on 12/17/12 to account for quarterback and running back changes.

Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane are hoping for a different result than the last time they faced Iowa State, a 38-23 loss in the first game of the 2012 season. The Iowa State O-line will have their hands full with a Tulsa defensive front that recorded the third-most sacks in the country.

Box Score: A pair of fourth-quarter field goals by Iowa State's Edwin Arceo the last with 12 seconds remaining in the game sparked the Cyclones past Tulsa. Freshman Sam Richardson continued his efficient play with two touchdowns and no picks. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Iowa State 29 - Tulsa 25

Chick-fil-A Bowl - Dec. 31, 2012 Clemson 25 - LSU 24
Tigers emblem
Tigers emblem
58.5
41.5
9 LSU (10-2)
24
14 Clemson (10-2)
22
RB Jeremy Hill, LSU
18 carries, 96 yards rushing, 2 TD
1 catch, 8 yards
LSU: While the LSU defense was impressive, giving up just 16.9 points per game in 2012, the Tigers were unable to match the prowess of a season ago when the unit surrendered just 11.3 points per game, second only to Alabama. Kevin Minter led LSU with 111 total tackles.

Clemson: Countering the LSU defense will be a Clemson offense that averaged 42.3 points per game, sixth-most in the country. Junior QB Taj Boyd improved his completion percentage from 59.7 in 2011 to 66.6 in 2012 as he threw for 3,550 yards and 34 touchdowns while rushing for 492 yards and nine scores.

Box Score: A failed two-point conversion proved to be the difference as Clemson's fourth-quarter rally fell short of knocking off LSU. Had Andre Ellington been able to power in for two points, Clemson's field goal eight minutes later would have tied the game. Alas, it was not to be as LSU held on 24-22. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: LSU 23 - Clemson 21

Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl - Jan. 1, 2013 Northwestern 34 - Mississippi State 20
Bulldogs emblem
Wildcats emblem
48.3
51.7
Mississippi State (8-4)
24
20 Northwestern (9-3)
27
RB Venric Mark, NU
22 carries, 217 yards rushing, 3 TD
Mississippi State: Junior quarterback Tyler Russell threw just six interceptions in 366 pass attempts to help the Bulldogs achieve the fifth-best turnover margin in the country with a mark of +17. After a 7-0 start, Mississippi State dropped four of its last five games, including three losses to Top 25 foes.

Northwestern: The Wildcats are playing in their fifth consecutive bowl game but coach Pat Fitzgerald has yet to deliver a postseason victory during his tenure. Venric Mark and Kain Colter led the nation's 14th-ranked ground assault, combining for 2,130 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns.

Box Score: Mark was a man possessed. The Wildcats running back powered his way to three first-half scores and secured a 21-3 halftime lead for Northwestern. The Bulldogs fought back in the second half, with Russell passing for three touchdowns, but Northwestern held on for the 27-24 win. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Mississippi State 23 - Northwestern 25

Heart of Dallas Bowl - Jan. 1, 2013 Oklahoma State 58 - Purdue 14
Boilermakers emblem
Cowboys emblem
41.7
58.3
Purdue (6-6)
28
Oklahoma State (7-5)
33
RB Jeremy Smith, OSU
7 carries, 44 yards, 3 TD
1 catch, 6 yards, TD
Purdue: After dropping its first five conference games, including an overtime loss to undefeated Ohio State, Purdue salvaged its season with wins against Iowa, Illinois and Indiana to close the regular season. However, coach Danny Hope was a casualty of the slump and was dismissed following the Indiana victory.

Oklahoma State: Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon were gone, but the prolific Cowboys offense remained. Despite utilizing three quarterbacks J.W. Walsh, Clint Chelf and Wes Lunt Oklahoma State averaged 44.7 points per game and netted 333.4 passing yards per game.

Box Score: Cowboys running back Jeremy Smith accumulated just seven touchdowns during the 2012 season, but he added four to his total against the Boilermakers. Joseph Randle did most of the heavy lifting, accumulating 191 yards, but it was Smith who kept finding the end zone as Oklahoma State won 33-28. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Purdue 23 - Oklahoma State 26

Gridiron Dynasty
Capital One Bowl - Jan. 1, 2013 Georgia 45 - Nebraska 31
Bulldogs emblem
Cornhuskers emblem
62.1
37.9
7 Georgia (11-2)
31
16 Nebraska (10-3)
24
RB Todd Gurley, UGA
25 carries, 83 yards, 2 TD
1 catch, 7 yards, TD
Georgia: Bulldogs fans will remember the 2012 SEC Championship as the one that got away. Instead of playing Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship game, the 32-28 loss to Alabama means Georgia has to settle for a non-BCS bowl while Florida, their SEC East foe, plays in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

Nebraska: Quarterback Taylor Martinez spent the offseason honing his passing mechanics. While the improvement was clear Martinez threw for 578 more yards and eight more touchdowns in 2012 than in 2011 Nebraska only managed 207.7 passing yards per game, 91st in the nation.

Box Score: The SEC and Big Ten runner-ups proved evenly matched foes through four quarters, as each squad scored 24 points. In the extra stanza, Georgia struck first on an Aaron Murray strike to Todd Gurley. The Bulldogs defense then stuffed Nebraska for the 31-24 win. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Georgia 26 - Nebraska 22

Outback Bowl - Jan. 1, 2013 South Carolina 33 - Michigan 28
Gamecocks emblem
Wolverines emblem
58.2
41.8
10 South Carolina (10-2)
23
18 Michigan (8-4)
16
QB Connor Shaw, USC
18-29, 189 yards, TD
15 carries, 53 yards
South Carolina: Gamecocks fan or not, it's easy to feel sympathy for Marcus Lattimore. The star South Carolina running back saw his season end with a knee injury for the second year in a row. Senior Kenny Miles and freshman Mike Davis have shared the rushing duties in Lattimore's absence.

Michigan: With his right arm injured, Denard Robinson made a position change to running back to help his team in another capacity. Against Iowa and Ohio State, he managed a combined 220 yards and a touchdown in the new role. Update: The game was re-simulated on 12/17/12 to account for Michigan suspensions.

Box Score: The Gamecocks broke a tie with one minute remaining in the game when Connor Shaw found Rory Anderson for the touchdown strike and a 27-20 lead. Miles and Davis combined for 99 yards and a score on 26 carries. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: South Carolina 23 - Michigan 19

Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO - Jan. 1, 2013 Stanford 20 - Wisconsin 14
Badgers emblem
Cardinal emblem
43.7
56.3
Wisconsin (8-5)
19
6 Stanford (11-2)
24
RB Stepfan Taylor, SU
30 carries, 157 yards, TD
3 catches, 22 yards
Wisconsin: The Badgers played in the Big Ten Championship despite a third-place finish in the Leaders division due to sanctions at Ohio State and Penn State. A thumping of Nebraska earned a trip to the Rose Bowl, but Wisconsin's coach of seven years, Bret Bielema, is moving on to Arkansas.

Stanford: With the departure of Andrew Luck, Stanford fell from the 22nd-ranked passing offense to the 94th. Yet the Cardinal won their first conference championship since 1999, partly thanks to a defense that submitted 56 sacks, easily most in the nation.

Box Score: Two of the nation's best running backs were on display as the Badgers and the Cardinal clashed. Montee Ball and Stepfan Taylor did not disappoint. Ball totaled 196 yards and a score, while Taylor accumulated 157 yards, one touchdown and a Rose Bowl win. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Wisconsin 21 - Stanford 23

Discover Orange Bowl - Jan. 1, 2013 Florida State 31 - Northern Illinois 10
Huskies emblem
Seminoles emblem
27.8
72.2
15 Northern Illinois (12-1)
20
12 Florida State (11-2)
27
QB EJ Manuel, FSU
21-30, 257 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
Northern Illinois: The postseason is nothing new for the Huskies, as the school made its fifth bowl game in as many years and will try for a third consecutive bowl victory. Junior Jordan Lynch did his best Chandler Harnish impression, matching the versatility of the graduated QB as he threw for 2,962 yards and rushed for another 1,771.

Florida State: The well-balanced Seminoles are equally talented on both sides of the ball, contributing to an average margin of victory of 24.8 points per game, the third-best mark in the FBS. Third-year coach Jimbo Fisher is 2-0 in bowl games at Florida State.

Box Score: Underdog Northern Illinois took Florida State to the wire, as the Seminoles needed a last-second field goal by Dustin Hopkins to send the game to overtime. FSU won 27-20, but the Huskies proved their BCS bowl bust was warranted. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Northern Illinois 19 - Florida State 27

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Jan. 2, 2013 Louisville 33 - Florida 23
Cardinals emblem
Gators emblem
33.5
66.5
21 Louisville (10-2)
13
3 Florida (11-1)
23
QB Jeff Driskel, UF
7-11, 62 yards, 2 TD
12 carries, 61 yards, TD
Louisville: An already-struggling ground game was dealt a serious blow when running back Senorise Perry was lost for the season against Syracuse. Jeremy Wright has managed just 89 yards on 48 carries, an average of 1.9 yards per rush, since Perry went down.

Florida: A dominant defense that finished in the top 15 against both the pass and rush and surrendered the third-fewest points in the nation has delivered the Gators a trip to their 22nd consecutive bowl game. Florida last missed a bowl in 1990 due to postseason in ineligibility.

Box Score: The vaunted Florida defense kept Louisville off the scoreboard until a field goal at the 4:23 mark of the third quarter narrowed the score to 13-3. The Cardinals added two more late scores, but Florida earned a comfortable 23-13 win. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Louisville 18 - Florida 23

Gridiron Dynasty
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Jan. 3, 2013 Oregon 35 - Kansas State 17
Ducks emblem
Wildcats emblem
53.1
46.9
4 Oregon (11-1)
31
5 Kansas State (11-1)
29
RB Kenjon Barner, UO
31 carries, 159 yards, 2 TD
1 catch, 18 yards
Oregon: The nation's leader in scoring margin, the Ducks scored 50.8 points per game while giving up just 22. Oregon's offense primarily stuck to the ground, where three running backs and a QB Kenjon Barner, De'Anthony Thomas, Byron Marshall and Marcus Mariota combined for 3,445 yards and 40 scores.

Kansas State: A hiccup at Baylor cost the Wildcats a shot at the national title, but Heisman candidate Collin Klein is a sure bet to find the end zone against Oregon after running for 22 touchdowns and throwing for 15 more this season. Klein has scored at least once every game the last two years.

Box Score: Two second-quarter scores by Barner carried the Ducks to a 14-8 halftime lead. Kansas State responded with touchdowns on their first two drives of the third quarter, but Oregon tacked on 17 more points in the last eight minutes of the third. Oregon survived 31-29. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Oregon 24 - Kansas State 23

AT&T Cotton Bowl - Jan. 4, 2013 Texas A&M 41 - Oklahoma 13
Aggies emblem
Sooners emblem
58.4
41.6
9 Texas A&M (10-2)
36
11 Oklahoma (10-2)
33
QB Johnny Manziel, A&M
17-26, 198 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
21 carries, 84 yards, TD
Texas A&M: If there was an award for best performance by a new conference member, Texas A&M would be the recipient. Narrow losses to Florida and LSU were the only blemishes on the Aggies' first season in the SEC. QB Johnny Manziel netted 4,600 yards of total offense and became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

Oklahoma: The Sooners' two losses came to opponents Kansas State and Notre Dame with a combined record of 23-1. Senior quarterback Landry Jones has now accumulated 16,368 passing yards and 125 total touchdowns while guiding his team to 40 wins in his career.

Box Score: Facing a 33-14 deficit, a Cotton Bowl loss seemed all but certain for Texas A&M. But 22 fourth-quarter points, including a go-ahead field goal as time expired, lifted Manziel and the Aggies to a dramatic 36-33 victory. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Texas A&M 29 - Oklahoma 27

BBVA Compass Bowl - Jan. 5, 2013 Ole Miss 38 - Pittsburgh 17
Panthers emblem
Rebels emblem
41.1
58.9
Pittsburgh (6-6)
24
Ole Miss (6-6)
26
WR Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss
6 catches, 99 yards, TD
Pittsburgh: Notre Dame needed three overtimes to escape the Pitt Panthers 29-26. Senior running back Ray Graham, coming off a knee injury, ran for more than 100 yards three times in the last five games, including 172 yards against the Fighting Irish.

Ole Miss: Four of the Rebels' six losses came to ranked foes in Texas, Alabama, Georgia and LSU. Their other two losses were to Texas A&M, unranked at the time but No. 10 in the final AP poll, and Vanderbilt, 27th in the final AP poll.

Box Score: In a back-and-forth game, the difference proved to be a safety. Ole Miss punter Jim Broadway buried Pitt at their own six-yard line as the second quarter waned and the Rebels defense took down Pitt's Tino Sunseri on the ensuing play for a safety. Ole Miss ultimately won 26-24. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Pittsburgh 21 - Ole Miss 24

GoDaddy.com Bowl - Jan. 6, 2013 Arkansas State 17 - Kent State 13
Golden Flashes emblem
Red Wolves emblem
49.2
50.8
25 Kent State (11-2)
27
Arkansas State (9-3)
30
RB Dri Archer, KSU
13 carries, 114 yards, 3 TD
1 catch, 14 yards
Kent State: The Golden Flashes are in unfamiliar territory as they play in the school's first bowl game since 1972. Kent State's backfield duo of Dri Archer and Trayion Durham accounted for 2,600 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns, while their ball-hawking D finished second nationally in interceptions.

Arkansas State: Wins are costly for Sun Belt champ Arkansas State. In 2011, the program won 10 games and head coach Hugh Freeze departed after just one season on the job. This year saw nine wins and another lost coach, as Gus Malzahn will take over at Auburn.

Box Score: Archer and Durham combined for 198 rushing yards and three scores in pacing the Golden Flashes, but the day belonged to Arkansas State's Ryan Aplin, who found J.D. McKissic for a 33-yard strike with 1:34 left in the game. The touchdown pass netted a 30-27 win for the Red Wolves. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Kent State 24 - Arkansas State 25

Discover BCS National Championship Game - Jan. 7, 2013 Alabama 42 - Notre Dame 14
Crimson Tide emblem
Fighting Irish emblem
52.9
47.1
2 Alabama (12-1)
16
1 Notre Dame (12-0)
13
RB T.J. Yeldon, UA
12 carries, 131 yards, 2 TD
Alabama: Nick Saban's team knows a thing or two about defense. The Crimson Tide finished the season No. 2 in scoring defense (10.7 points per game), No. 1 in rush defense (79.8 yards per game) and No. 6 in pass defense (166.2 yards per game).

Notre Dame: Brian Kelly's squad is gunning for the school's first national championship since 1988. A stellar Fighting Irish defense anchored by Manti Te'o relinquished just 10.3 points per game, the fewest in the nation. In four victories over ranked opponents, Notre Dame surrendered 35 total points.

Box Score: A defensive slugging match was busted open by two third-quarter runs from Alabama's T.J. Yeldon. The first, a 57-yarder, brought the Crimson Tide to within a point of Notre Dame. The second, from 40 yards out, secured another national championship for Alabama and the SEC. Avg. Score, 1,001 Simulations: Alabama 24 - Notre Dame 23


Remember if any depth chart changes or injuries occur between now and a team's bowl game, you have the ablity to adjust the depth chart using our FREE college football SimMatchup feature.

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Jake Westrich is the Digital Content Coordinator for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jwestrich@whatifsports.com.

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