2014-15 College Football Bowl Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

2014-15 College Football Bowl Predictions

All 38 bowl games and the CFB Playoff National Championship simulated by WhatIfSports.com

UPDATE: December 21, 2014

Using the same college football simulation engine that accurately predicted 77.6 percent of all 2014 FBS games, we simulated each of the 38 bowl matchups and the College Football Playoff National Championship 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 2014 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
Overall Winning Percentage: 80.0% (4-1)
AP Top 25 Winning Percentage: 100.0% (1-0)

Miami Beach Bowl - Dec. 22, 2014 Miami, Florida
Cougars emblem
Tigers emblem
BYU (8-4)
Memphis (9-3)
QB Paxton Lynch, UM
18-30, 270 yards, 2 TD
BYU: Star quarterback Taysom Hill suffered a season-ending injury in a loss to Utah State. Though he played in just five games, Hill totaled 1,435 yards of total offense and 15 scores, making him tough to replace. Backup QB Christian Stewart got off to a rough start but has since steadied the ship.

Memphis: Between 2008, when the Tigers were last bowl-eligible, and 2014, Memphis won a total of 12 games spanning five seasons. This year's squad has turned things around with defense, where the Tigers rank fifth nationally, allowing 17.1 points per game.

Box Score: The Tigers were cruising most of the game, up 10-0 after the first quarter, 17-6 at halftime and 20-6 heading into the fourth quarter. A late rally from BYU made things interesting, as Mitchell Juergens' TD catch with 3:33 to play closed the gap to 23-20. Memphis shut out BYU the rest of the way though.

Boca Raton Bowl - Dec. 23, 2014 Boca Raton, Florida
Thundering Herd emblem
Huskies emblem
Marshall (12-1)
Northern Illinois (11-2)
RB Devon Johnson, MU
22 carries, 166 yards, 3 TD
1 catch, 23 yards
Marshall: The C-USA champs boast an 8-2 all-time record in bowl appearances, including a 2-0 mark under coach Doc Holliday. The high-scoring Marshall offense is led by Rakeem Cato (3,622 passing yards, 43 total touchdowns) and Devon Johnson (1,636 rushing yards, 8.6 yards per carry, 18 total touchdowns).

Northern Illinois: The Huskies have achieved double-digit victories in each of the last five seasons. Their run of consecutive bowl appearances stretches back to 2008, but the school is 2-4 in those games. Northern Illinois quarterback Drew Hare is a dual threat, just like predecessors Jordan Lynch and Chandler Harnish.

Box Score: Cato saw his streak of 45 consecutive games with a touchdown pass come to an end, but teammate Johnson was there to carry the load. Johnson bounced back from a shoulder injury to find the end zone three times.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl - Dec. 23, 2014 San Diego, California
Midshipmen emblem
Aztecs emblem
Navy (7-5)
San Diego State (7-5)
WR Eric Judge, SDSU
3 catches, 104 yards, 2 TDs
Navy: The Midshipmen shook off a 2-4 start to win five of their last six games. Junior quarterback Kenan Reynolds has passed for just 2,781 yards and 23 touchdowns during his three-year career, but he's gained 3,177 yards and 62 touchdowns on the ground.

San Diego State: The San Diego State passing game took a step back in 2014, with Quinn Kaehler throwing for just 2,016 yards after surpassing 3,000 yards the year before. But sophomore running back Donnel Pumphrey was a bright spot on offense. He gained 1,761 yards with 19 scores.

Box Score: San Diego State receiver Eric Judge began the game with a 63-yard score to give the Aztecs a 7-0 lead. Kaehler turned to Judge again with the game on the line and he delivered a four-yard touchdown reception for the 29-28 win. Navy's Chris Swain racked up 177 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Gridiron Dynasty
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl - Dec. 24, 2014 Nassau, Bahamas
Chippewas emblem
Hilltoppers emblem
Central Michigan (7-5)
Western Kentucky (7-5)
QB Brandon Doughty, WKU
31-52, 302 yards, 3 TD, INT
Central Michigan: CMU was denied a bowl berth last season despite achieving the requisite six wins. This year, the seven-win Chippewas are led by sophomore quarterback Cooper Rush (2,664 passing yards, 20 touchdowns) and senior running back Thomas Rawls (1,103 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns).

Western Kentucky: Few offenses were as good - and few defenses as bad - as Western Kentucky's. The Hilltoppers' 44 points per game ranked sixth nationally, but their defense surrendered 39.3 points per game, sixth-worst in the country. The season was capped off by a 67-66 overtime win over previously unbeaten Marshall.

Box Score: Fans were treated to a triple-overtime thriller. The game was ultimately decided when Western Kentucky held the Chippewas to a field goal and then scored a touchdown on a five-yard run from Anthony Wales.

Hawai'i Bowl - Dec. 24, 2014 Honolulu, Hawai'i
Bulldogs emblem
Owls emblem
Fresno State (6-7)
Rice (7-5)
QB Brian Burrell, FSU
19-29, 297 yards, 3 TD
Fresno State: The Bulldogs finished 5-3 in conference play but made it to the Mountain West title game by virtue of a head-to-head win over San Diego State. With a 6-7 record, Fresno State has the distinction of being the only bowl team with a losing record.

Rice: Owls quarterback Driphus Jackson threw for more than 2,500 yards and 21 touchdowns, but had a mediocre 57.3 pass completion percentage. The defense recorded 35 sacks (19th in the nation), including 8.5 from Zach Patt and 7.5 from Brian Nordstrom. Rice is bowl-bound for the third consecutive season.

Box Score: Rice was unable to stop the tandem of Brian Burrell and Josh Harper. Burrell found Harper on touchdown passes of 53 and 28 yards. The latter came with 32 seconds remaining as the Bulldogs won 31-24. The Owls' Jowan Davis scored ran for 72 yards and two scores.

Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl - Dec. 26, 2014 Dallas, Texas
Fighting Illini emblem
Bulldogs emblem
Illinois (6-6)
Louisiana Tech (8-5)
RB Kenneth Dixon, LT
25 carries, 84 yards rushing, TD
4 catches, 94 yards
Illinois: At 4-6, the Fighting Illini needed wins in their last two games to achieve bowl eligibility. They did just that with a 16-14 win over Penn State, followed by a 47-33 win at Northwestern. If Illinois can keep the positive momentum going, it'll finish 7-6 for the third time in five years.

Louisiana Tech: In the C-USA championship game, Louisiana Tech carried a 23-16 lead into the fourth quarter, but a Marshall rally resulted in a 26-23 defeat. Still, the Bulldogs are happy to be bowling, especially after their 2012 fiasco, when a misunderstanding between school officials and bowl organizers resulted in a postseason shutout despite a 9-3 record.

Box Score: Illinois erased a 16-7 deficit with two third-quarter touchdown passes from Reilly O'Toole, but Louisiana Tech's Cody Sokol and Paul Turner connected in the end zone with 23 seconds left to deliver a 24-21 Bulldogs win.

Quick Lane Bowl - Dec. 26, 2014 Detroit, Michigan
Scarlet Knights emblem
Tar Heels emblem
Rutgers (7-5)
North Carolina (6-6)
QB Marquis Williams, ND
19-25, 242 yards, 3 TD
24 carries, 42 yards
Rutgers: After a one-year stint in the American Athletic Conference, Rutgers began play in the Big Ten this year. The Scarlet Knights' first conference win came in a 26-24 thriller over Michigan. Rutgers also won games over Indiana and Maryland to finish with a 3-5 mark in Big Ten play.

North Carolina: Junior Marquise Williams led the Tar Heels in both passing (2,870 yards, 20 touchdowns) and rushing (737 yards, 12 touchdowns). North Carolina finished third in the ACC Coastal division, but had wins over both first-place Georgia Tech and second-place Duke.

Box Score: After a slow start, North Carolina scored 24 straight points to take a 27-10 lead. Rutgers rallied with late scores by Justin Goodwin and Robert Martin but the comeback fell short and the Tar Heels prevailed 27-24. Williams didn't gain much traction on the ground but passed for 242 yards and three touchdowns.

Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl - Dec. 26, 2014 St. Petersburg, Florida
Wolfpack emblem
Knights emblem
North Carolina State (7-5)
UCF (9-3)
RB William Stanback, UCF
21 carries, 114 yards rushing, 2 TD
2 catches, 15 yards
North Carolina State: Florida transfer Jacoby Brissett had a solid first season in Raleigh. He totaled 2,344 passing yards with 22 touchdowns and added 498 yards on the ground as well. Second-year coach Dave Doeren formerly paced the sidelines at Northern Illinois, where he compiled a 23-4 record in two seasons.

UCF: Star quarterback Blake Bortles took his game up the road to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but UCF still managed a 9-3 record in his absence. Bortles' replacement, Justin Holman, improved from 183 passing yards per game in the season's first half to 260.5 yards per game in the second half.

Box Score: NC State and UCF produced a stalemate through four quarters. In the extra stanza, the Wolfpack drive stalled at the two-yard line and the team settled for a field goal. Central Florida was able to capitalize in just two plays, scoring on a 12-yard reception from Holman to Rannell Hall.

Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman - Dec. 27, 2014 Annapolis, Maryland
Bearcats emblem
Hokies emblem
Cincinnati (9-3)
Virginia Tech (6-6)
RB Rod Moore, UC
17 carries, 91 yards rushing, 2 TD
2 catches, 30 yards
Cincinnati: Defense was a serious issue in the early going for the Bearcats. Through five games, Cincinnati was 2-3 and had given up 40.8 points per game. Since then, the Bearcats have gone 7-0 and have surrendered 16.7 points per game.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies' six wins are the school's fewest since 1992. But a season finale victory over Virginia preserved a streak of 11 straight wins over the in-state rival. It also enabled Virginia Tech to stretch its streak of consecutive bowls to 22, a feat that only Florida State can top.

Box Score: The Bearcats owned the fourth quarter, turning a 26-17 deficit into a 30-26 advantage. Rod Moore led the way for Cincinnati. He scored on a 46-yard run in the second quarter and his fourth-quarter touchdown put the Bearcats ahead for good. Virginia Tech's Michael Brewer passed for 210 yards and two touchdowns but completed just 18 of 34 attempts.

Hyundai Sun Bowl - Dec. 27, 2014 El Paso, Texas
Sun Devils emblem
Blue Devils emblem
15 Arizona State (9-3)
Duke (9-3)
RB D.J. Foster, ASU
22 carries, 177 yards rushing, TD
3 catches, 24 yards
Arizona State: The Sun Devils were in the hunt for the Pac-12 title game before losing matches at Oregon State and Arizona. The Hyundai Sun Bowl represents Arizona State's fourth consecutive bowl appearance, but the school is 1-2 in that stretch.

Duke: The Blue Devils are playing in a bowl game for the third year in a row, but the recent success hasn't translated to postseason victories. Duke's next bowl win will be its first since 1960. Keep an eye on diminutive wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who needs just 58 yards to notch 1,000 yards receiving for the third consecutive year.

Box Score: Duke fought back from a 21-3 deficit - taking a 26-21 advantage - only to watch Arizona State regain the lead and pull out the 29-26 victory. D.J. Foster, who gained 1,648 yards of total offense during the season, added 201 yards to his total.

Duck Commander Independence Bowl - Dec. 27, 2014 Shreveport, Louisiana
Hurricanes emblem
Gamecocks emblem
Miami (6-6)
South Carolina (6-6)
QB Dylan Thompson, SC
20-36, 275 yards, TD

Miami: The Hurricanes ended the season on a three-game losing streak and haven't won a bowl since 2006. A big game from running back Duke Johnson can put Miami back on the right track. Johnson's totaled 1,520 yards rushing and 370 yards receiving this season.

South Carolina: After three 11-2 seasons, all ending in bowl victories, it's tough to celebrate a 6-6 record in Columbia. Making matters worse, the Gamecocks were ranked No. 9 in the preseason. The primary culprit is a defensive unit that surrendered 31.2 points per game after giving up just 20.3 the year before.

Box Score: The Miami advantage swelled to as much as 13 points on a third-quarter touchdown run from Gus Edwards, but South Carolina clawed back, taking the lead for good on a Brandon Wilds touchdown run with 35 seconds remaining. Wilds totaled 68 rushing yards and two scores.

Gridiron Dynasty
New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Dec. 27, 2014 Bronx, New York
Eagles emblem
Nittany Lions Jackets emblem
Boston College (7-5)
Penn State (6-6)
K Alex Howell, BC
4-4 FG, 1-1 XP
Boston College: Despite the graduation of Andre Williams, who totaled an FBS-best 2,177 rushing yards in 2013, the Eagles actually increased their total rushing yardage this season. As a team, Boston College accumulated 3,022 yards on the ground, up from 2,762 yards last year.

Penn State: Earlier this year, the NCAA restored Penn State's bowl eligibility. Between that news and a 4-0 start, times were good in University Park. However, a 2-6 finish has tempered expectations. The Nittany Lions surrender just 17.7 points per game, but only score 19.8 points per contest.

Box Score: In a game that was dominated by kickers - neither team scored a touchdown until the fourth quarter - it seemed only fitting that the final result should be decided by a field goal as time expired. Boston College's Alex Howell sent one between the uprights to notch a 19-16 Eagles victory.

National University Holiday Bowl - Dec. 27, 2014 San Diego, California
Cornhuskers emblem
Trojans emblem
Nebraska (9-3)
24 USC (8-4)
QB Cody Kessler, USC
27-33, 321 yards, TD

Nebraska: The Cornhuskers won at least nine games in each of Bo Pelini's seven seasons, but no BCS Bowl appearances and no conference titles ultimately cost Pelini his job. Oregon State's Mike Riley has been hired to replace Pelini.

USC: A trio of juniors led the USC offensive attack. Quarterback Cody Kessler passed for 3,505 yards with 36 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Nelson Agholor totaled 97 receptions, 1,223 yards and 11 touchdowns. Running back Javorius Allen carried 250 times for 1,337 yards and nine touchdowns.

Box Score: Nebraska took a 20-16 lead with 1:15 remaining on a run from Imani Cross, but it turned out to be all the time USC needed to respond. Kessler found Darreus Rogers from 19 yards out with one second on the clock, and Nebraska was unable to house the ensuing kickoff. The USC defense held electric Ameer Abdullah to 91 yards on 25 carries.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Dec. 29, 2014 Memphis, Tennessee
Aggies emblem
Mountaineers emblem
Texas A&M (7-5)
West Virginia (7-5)
QB Clint Trickett, WVU
31-42, 357 yards, 2 TD
9 carries, 7 yards, TD
Texas A&M: A 5-0 start made Johnny Manziel's absence much easier to take in College Station. But the SEC gauntlet and a quarterback change made the road a bit bumpier after that. If Kevin Sumlin and co. can pull off a bowl victory, it will be the school's fourth in a row.

West Virginia: After a one-year absence, the Mountaineers are bowling again. The season was highlighted by a 41-27 victory over No. 4 Baylor, in which receivers Kevin White and Mario Alford each hauled in fourth-quarter scores. On the season, the duo combined for 164 receptions for 2,206 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Box Score: Kyle Allen and Clint Trickett took to the skies early and often. Allen completed 24 of 44 passes for 363 yards and two touchdowns, while Trickett connected on 31 of 42 passes for 357 yards and two scores, plus a rushing touchdown.

Russell Athletic Bowl - Dec. 29, 2014 Orlando, Florida
Sooners emblem
Tigers emblem
Oklahoma (8-4)
17 Clemson (9-3)
QB Cole Stoudt, CU
16-31, 208 yards, TD
Oklahoma: Two key contributors are struggling with health issues for the Sooners. Semaje Perine (1,579 rushing yards, 21 touchdowns) sprained an ankle against Oklahoma State. Quarterback Trevor Knight (2,537 total yards, 19 scores) missed the last three games of the regular season with a neck injury.

Clemson: The Tigers make their name on defense, surrendering 17.6 points per game, seventh-fewest in the nation. Each of Clemson's three defeats came to ranked opponents, including a 23-17 overtime loss to Florida State. The Tigers are making their 10th consecutive bowl appearance.

Box Score: Down 23-15, Knight and K.J. Young connected on a 75-yard bomb to bring the Sooners within two. The ensuing two-point conversion failed though, and Clemson held on for the 23-21 win. Clemson kicker Ammon Lakip made three field goals, including 46- and 47-yarders.

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl - Dec. 29, 2014 Houston, Texas
Razorbacks emblem
Longhorns emblem
Arkansas (6-6)
Texas (6-6)
RB Jonathan Williams, A of U
18 carries, 139 yards rushing
1 catch, 7 yards
Arkansas: The Razorbacks gained bowl eligibility with big wins over ranked squads in LSU and Ole Miss. The Arkansas offense features two 1,000-yard running backs in Jonathan Williams (1,085 yards, 11 TDs) and Alex Collins (1,024 yards, 12 TDs). The defense gave up 20.3 points per game.

Texas: Charlie Strong preached patience when taking over the Texas gig. He can count on a honeymoon period, but Longhorns fans won't have much tolerance for six-win seasons. Still, the improvement was apparent. After a 2-4 start, the Longhorns finished 4-2 in the season's second half.

Box Score: After getting shut out in the third quarter, the Razorbacks found themselves trailing 20-17. But a 10-point fourth quarter - coupled with holding the opposition scoreless - brought home a 27-20 Arkansas win. Williams and Collins combined for 218 yards on 34 carries.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl - Dec. 30, 2014 Nashville, Tennessee
Fighting Irish emblem
Tigers emblem
Notre Dame (7-5)
23 LSU (8-4)
QB Anthony Jennings, LSU
16-26, 195 yards, 3 TD
Notre Dame: A season that began with promise ended in disappointment. The Fighting Irish started 6-0 and rose to No. 5 in the AP poll before narrowly losing to Florida State. They bounced back with a win over Navy but came up short in the season's last four contests.

LSU: The always-formidable LSU defense was strong yet again. The Tigers ranked third in the nation with 16.4 points allowed per game and were particularly stout against the pass. Opposing quarterbacks completed just 50.4 percent of passes against LSU.

Box Score: LSU struggled to keep Notre Dame off the scoreboard as the Fighting Irish built a 31-23 lead. The Tigers put together a six-minute drive that resulted in a touchdown pass from Anthony Jennings to Trey Quinn, but the failed-two-point conversion left LSU in need of one more score. Colby Delahoussaye delivered just that with a 21-yard field goal with 39 seconds remaining.

Belk Bowl - Dec. 30, 2014 Charlotte, North Carolina
Bulldogs emblem
Cardinals emblem
13 Georgia (9-3)
21 Louisville (9-3)
RB Nick Chubb, UGA
26 carries, 110 yards rushing, TD
Georgia: Whether it's the system or good fortune, the Bulldogs were uniquely equipped to handle the absence of early Heisman candidate Todd Gurley, whose season was shortened to six games by suspension and injury. His replacement, freshman Nick Chubb, rushed for 1,281 yards on 6.9 yards per carry.

Louisville: Charlie Strong and Teddy Bridgewater are gone, but the Cardinals still managed a respectable nine-win campaign during their first stint in the ACC. The opportunistic Louisville defense tied for the national lead with 25 interceptions and allowed the second-fewest total rushing yards to opponents.

Box Score: Louisville faced a sudden quarterback controversy after Kyle Bolin played well in replacement of Reggie Bonnafon in the Cardinals' win over Kentucky. They opted to play both QBs against Georgia and the strategy nearly worked. But Georgia fought back from a late deficit to win 26-24.

Foster Farms Bowl - Dec. 30, 2014 Santa Clara, California
Terrapins emblem
Cardinal emblem
Maryland (7-5)
Stanford (7-5)
WR Ty Montgomery, SU
6 catches, 57 yards, TD
1 punt return TD
Maryland: The Terrapins' first season of Big Ten play included victories over conference foes Indiana, Iowa, Penn State and Michigan, good enough for a third-place finish in the East division. If Maryland can beat Stanford to improve to 8-5, it'll be the program's most wins since 2009.

Stanford: After going 46-8 from 2010 to 2013, a 7-5 record doesn't cut it at Stanford. The defense was superb, allowing 16 points per game, second-fewest in the country. But the running game struggled without the likes of Tyler Gaffney or Stepfan Taylor.

Box Score: Two clutch plays in the final minute helped the Cardinal to a 27-20 victory. First, Jordan Williamson kicked a 52-yard field goal with 54 seconds remaining to tie the game at 20. Then, after Stanford held Maryland to a three-and-out possession, Ty Montgomery returned a punt for 54 yards and a touchdown.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Dec. 31, 2014 Atlanta, Georgia
Rebels emblem
Horned Frogs emblem
9 Ole Miss (9-3)
6 TCU (11-1)
QB Trevor Boykin, TCU
16-25, 205 yards, 2 TD
20 carries, 9 yards, TD
Ole Miss: Rebels fans are surely disappointed to miss the inaugural College Football Playoff after the school climbed to as high as No. 3 in the AP poll. However, they'll likely take solace in eliminating Mississippi State from contention by knocking off the Bulldogs in the Egg Bowl.

TCU: The only blemish on the Horned Frogs' season was a 61-58 loss at Baylor - a game in which TCU led 58-37 before giving up 24 straight points. That painful result will continue to haunt TCU, as it ultimately kept the team out of the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Box Score: Mississippi State freshman Marquis Haynes nearly won the game with back-to-back sacks, the second of which resulted in a safety for a 19-17 lead. However, TCU's Trevone Boykin led a rally that was capped with a one-yard touchdown run for a 24-19 Horned Frogs victory.

Gridiron Dynasty
VIZIO Fiesta Bowl - Dec. 31, 2014 Glendale, Arizona
Broncos emblem
Wildcats emblem
20 Boise State (11-2)
10 Arizona (10-3)
RB Nick Wilson, U of A
21 carries, 109 yards, 2 TD
3 catches, 43 yards
Boise State: The Mountain West champions feature a balanced offense averaging 39.8 points per game. Quarterback Grant Hedrick's 3,387 passing yards include a 70.9 completion percentage, best in the nation. Running back Jay Ajayi has totaled 1,689 yards on the ground and 536 receiving yards with 29 total scores.

Arizona: The Wildcats gave Oregon its only loss on the season, a 31-24 defeat in Week 6. A Pac-12 title game rematch didn't go Arizona's way, however, as the Ducks cruised to a 51-13 win. The Fiesta Bowl will be like a home game for Arizona, with just a two-hour drive from Tucson to Glendale.

Box Score: Nick Wilson's big game included 21 carries for 109 yards, three receptions for 43 yards and both of Arizona's second-half touchdowns. The Broncos' Ajayi had a solid game as well, posting 119 rushing yards, 34 receiving yards and a TD.

Capital One Orange Bowl - Dec. 31, 2014 Miami Gardens, Florida
Bulldogs emblem
Yellow Jackets emblem
7 Mississippi State (10-2)
12 Georgia Tech (10-3)
QB Dak Prescott, MSU
11-16, 190 yards, 2 TD
29 carries, 84 yards, TD
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs reached new heights in 2014, achieving the school's first ever AP No. 1 ranking and becoming the first team in the poll's 78-year history to go from unranked to No. 1 in five weeks. Dan Mullen will attempt to coach Mississippi State to its fourth bowl victory in five years.

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets have made it to a bowl game every year under Paul Johnson and the current streak sits at 18 consecutive appearances overall. But Georgia Tech has just one bowl victory in the last nine tries. The nation's third-ranked ground game includes 12 players with more than 100 rushing yards.

Box Score: Mississippi State overcame a 139-yard rushing performance from Zach Laskey and picked off Justin Thomas twice to win the Orange Bowl. Dak Prescott had a hand in three of four scores for the Bulldogs, passing for two touchdowns and rushing for the third.

Outback Bowl - Jan. 1, 2015 Tampa, Florida
Tigers emblem
Badgers emblem
19 Auburn (8-4)
18 Wisconsin (10-3)
RB Cameron Artis-Payne, AU
32 carries, 217 yards, 2 TD
1 catched, 13 yards
Auburn: The 2013 season, in which Auburn won the SEC Championship before falling to Florida State in the BCS Championship, proved a tough act to follow. The Tigers gave it their best shot with a 5-0 start before falling at No. 3 Mississippi State. Running back Cameron Artis-Payne paced the offensive attack with 1,482 rushing yards and 11 scores.

Wisconsin: While the Badgers' defense and ground game were outstanding all season long, the pass attack ranked among the nation's worst. That proved especially problematic in losses to Northwestern and Ohio State, when Wisconsin faced early deficits and couldn't pass its way back into the game.

Box Score: Melvin Gordon owned the first half, scoring three touchdowns and helping the Badgers to a 24-7 advantage at the break. But it was all Auburn after that. The Tigers outscored Wisconsin 23-0 in the second half to win 30-24.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Jan. 1, 2015 Arlington, Texas
Spartans emblem
Bears emblem
8 Michigan State (10-2)
5 Baylor (11-1)
RB Shock Linwood, BU
26 carries, 124 yards, TD
Michigan State: A loss to Ohio State cost Michigan State a shot at the College Football Playoff, but the program is still cruising under Mark Dantonio. The Spartans have played in bowls in each of his eight seasons and have earned wins in their last three postseason appearances.

Baylor: After a 15-year run without a bowl appearance, Art Briles has the Bears bowl-bound for the fifth year in a row. Baylor has the nation's best offense (48.8 points per game), and the defense isn't too shabby either (24.2 points allowed, 43rd nationally). Will Baylor be able to overcome the disappointment of being denied a College Football Playoff invitation?

Box Score: A whirlwind second quarter produced 35 of the game's 48 points, highlighted by Connor Cook's 43-yard pass to Aaron Burbridge as time expired. But it was Bryce Petty and Baylor that ultimately prevailed by a final score of 27-21.

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl - Jan. 1, 2015 Orlando, Florida
Tigers emblem
Golden Gophers emblem
16 Missouri (10-3)
25 Minnesota (8-4)
QB Maty Mauk, MU
24-43, 238 yards, TD, INT
Missouri: The Missouri offense was sometimes stagnant, but the defense ranked 26th nationally, allowing 21.4 points per game. Stalwarts include Kentrell Brothers (117 tackles) and Shane Ray (12.5 sacks). Missouri's appearance in the SEC championship was its second in a row.

Minnesota: If Minnesota can manage a ninth win, it'll be the program's most since a 10-3 campaign in 2003. Jerry Kill's squad peaked at No. 22 in the AP poll and are bowl-bound for the third year in a row. The Gophers have lost the last six bowls they've played in though, a streak that began in 2005.

Box Score: The Tigers let a 14-0 lead slip away, but a 15-yard fumble return tied the game at 21 heading into the fourth quarter. There, Russell Hansbrough's touchdown with 1:31 sealed the game in favor of Missouri. In the loss, Minnesota was led by Mitch Leidner's three touchdown passes, including two to KJ Maye.

Rose Bowl Game Presented By Northwestern Mutual - Jan. 1, 2015 Pasadena, California
Seminoles emblem
Ducks emblem
3 Florida State (13-0)
2 Oregon (12-1)
QB Marcus Mariota, UO
22-39, 364 yards, 3 TD, INT
15 carries, 44 yards
Florida State: The reigning champs haven't missed a postseason since 1981 and are currently riding a six-game bowl winning streak. Victories aren't as easy to come by in 2014 though. The Seminoles' average margin of victory is 11.8 points - down from 39.5 points last season.

Oregon: The Ducks avenged their only loss - a 31-24 defeat to Arizona - in the Pac-12 title game. Heisman winner Marcus Mariota has generated more total offense than any player in the country, with 3,783 yards through the air and 669 yards on the ground. He's had a hand in 53 of Oregon's touchdowns.

Box Score: It appeared the Seminoles were going to survive yet another close game, as Roberto Aguayo's field goal with 1:34 remaining put Florida State ahead 36-31. But Mariota led an 83-yard drive that included two fourth-down conversions and culminated in a 13-yard pass to Keanon Lowe as time expired.

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Jan. 1, 2015 New Orleans, Louisiana
Buckeyes emblem
Crimson Tide emblem
4 Ohio State (12-1)
1 Alabama (12-1)
WR Amari Cooper, UA
9 catches, 135 yards, 2 TD
Ohio State: Evidently, Ohio State is loaded at quarterback. When Braxton Miller was injured before the season, J.T. Barrett stepped in and totaled 3,772 yards of offense with 45 touchdowns. After Barrett went down in the season finale, Cardale Jones passed for three scores in a Big Ten championship win over Wisconsin.

Alabama: It only seems appropriate that Alabama should navigate its way to the College Football Playoff after winning three of the last five BCS championships. The school is bowl-bound for the 11th consecutive year. A Nick Saban-led team hasn't missed the postseason since the 1998 Michigan State Spartans

Box Score: Jones put together another great performance for Ohio State, throwing for 336 yards and three touchdowns, and the Buckeyes defense picked off Blake Sims three times. But Sims rallied with two fourth-quarter touchdown strikes. The second, a 25-yard pass to Amari Cooper, proved the game-winner.

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl - Jan. 2, 2015 Fort Worth, Texas
Cougars emblem
Panthers emblem
Houston (7-5)
Pittsburgh (6-6)
RB James Connor, Pitt
32 carries, 188 yards, 2 TD
Houston: Tony Levine is shaping the Cougars into a defensive force. During his first full season in 2012, Houston gave up 36 points per game, ranking 110th in the country. The 2013 season showed vast improvement, with a 20th-ranked defense that gave up 21.8 points per game. This season was even better. The Cougars allowed 19.5 points, 11th-fewest nationally.

Pittsburgh: Pitt's James Connor trumped incumbent Jameis Winston as the ACC player of the year. The sophomore ran for 1,675 yards on six yards per carry and tallied 24 rushing touchdowns, tied for third-most in the country behind only Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon and Boise State's Jay Ajayi.

Box Score: Houston scored three consecutive touchdowns to take a 20-7 advantage, but the Panthers worked their way back into the game and were able to regain the lead on a 42-yard pass from Chad Voytik to Chris James with 46 seconds remaining.

Taxslayer Bowl - Jan. 2, 2015 Jacksonville, Florida
Hawkeyes emblem
Volunteers emblem
Iowa (7-5)
Tennessee (6-6)
RB Jordan Canzeri, UI
12 carries, 50 yards, TD
1 catch, 2 yards, TD
Iowa: Kirk Ferentz has been pacing the Iowa sidelines since 1999. The program's been to 12 bowl games during that stretch. However, the Hawkeyes are in a bit of a rut, having reached 10-plus wins only once since 2004.

Tennessee: The 2014 season had some eerie similarities to last year's campaign. In 2013, the Volunteers started 4-3 before quarterback Justin Worley was lost for the season. Under backup Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee finished 5-7. This year, the team started 3-4 before Worley was knocked out for the year. Dobbs again stepped in, this time guiding the Volunteers to a 6-6 record.

Box Score: Iowa scored the first 21 points of the game, powered by two touchdowns from Jordan Canzeri. From there, the Hawkeyes just hung on. Tennessee worked its way back into the game and only trailed by five after a field goal with 8:07 to play, but the Iowa defense stayed strong and secured the 24-19 win.

Valero Alamo Bowl - Jan. 2, 2015 San Antonio, Texas
Wildcats emblem
Bruins emblem
11 Kansas State (9-3)
14 UCLA (9-3)
QB Jake Waters, KSU
19-28, 290 yards, 2 TD
Kansas State: Jake Waters helms an offense that averaged 21.8 points per game. He passed for 3,161 yards and gained another 471 yards on the ground. Waters' favorite receivers are Tyler Lockette and Curry Sexton. The duo combined for 2,306 yards and 14 scores.

UCLA: The Bruins were in line for the Pac-12 title game, but a loss to Stanford in the season finale cost UCLA the South division. Junior quarterback Brett Hundley is expected to declare for the draft. He surpassed 3,000 passing yards in each of his three seasons as the Bruins' starter and amassed 103 total TDs.

Box Score: Ka'imi Fairbairn missed two first-half field goals as UCLA fell behind 20-7. Fairbairn found redemption in the second half, making all three of his attempts, including a game-tying field goal with 55 seconds to play. But Kansas State's Matthew McCrane connected on a 44-yard attempt as time expired.

TicketCity Cactus Bowl - Jan. 2, 2015 Tempe, Arizona
Huskies emblem
Cowboys emblem
Washington (8-5)
Oklahoma State (6-6)
RB Dwayne Washington, UW
15 carries, 128 yards, 2 TD
1 catch, 4 yards
Washington: After a seven-year bowl drought from 2003 through 2009, Washington will play in its fifth consecutive bowl. Head coach Chris Peterson, formerly of Boise State, is now nine-for-nine at guiding his teams to the postseason, where they have a 5-3 record.

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys' schedule included six games against ranked opponents, the first five of which resulted in losses. But the final try produced a win over No. 20 Oklahoma to earn bowl eligibility. Against OU, the Cowboys erased a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to win 38-35 in overtime.

Box Score: Dwayne Washington scored a pivotal touchdown - his second of the game - and DiAndre Campbell's reception completed a two-point conversion to put the Huskies ahead 24-17. Oklahoma State managed a field goal but wasn't able to regain the lead as Washington prevailed 27-20.

Birmingham Bowl - Jan. 3, 2015 Birmingham, Alabama
Pirates emblem
Gators emblem
East Carolina (8-4)
Florida (6-5)
QB Shane Carden, ECU
21-25, 285 yards, 3 TD
East Carolina: A 6-1 start had East Carolina in the AP Top 25, but don't confuse the Pirates for an overnight success. They'll be playing in their eighth bowl game in the last nine seasons. Senior quarterback Shane Carden threw for 4,309 yards, second-most in the nation. He's totaled 11,564 passing yards and 108 total touchdowns in three years as a starter.

Florida: Coach Will Muschamp's tenure in Gainesville left much to be desired. He compiled a 28-21 record during the better part of four years on the job. Florida's 4-8 finish in 2013 ended a run of 22 consecutive bowl appearances. Things were better in 2014 but still not up to the program's standards, and Muschamp got the boot.

Box Score: Shane Carden completed seven passes to favorite target Justin Hardy, but it was Isaiah Jones that twice found the end zone in East Carolina's 24-20 win.

GoDaddy Bowl - Jan. 4, 2015 Mobile, Alabama
Rockets emblem
Red Wolves emblem
Toledo (8-4)
Arkansas State (7-5)
QB Logan Woodside, UT
25-41, 273 yards, 2 TD
Toledo: Last season, Toledo dropped its final two games and was denied a bowl despite its 7-5 record. The Rockets ensured a similar fate didn't befall the program in 2014, winning their last two games to finish 8-4. Sophomore running back Kareem Hunt averaged 7.9 yards per carry on his way to 1,360 rushing yards.

Arkansas State: The Red Wolves' streak of four consecutive bowl appearances is remarkable considering they've managed the feat with four different coaches (five if you count interim coach John Thompson). It remains to be seen whether current coach Blake Anderson will stick around longer than his predecessors.

Box Score: A nine-point fourth-quarter lead wasn't enough against the high-scoring Rockets. Toledo fought back from a 29-20 deficit with a pair of field goals and a Kareem Hunt 41-yard touchdown run. Michael Gordon led the Red Wolves with 163 total yards and a touchdown.

Projected College Football Playoff National Championship - Jan. 12, 2015 Arlington, Texas
Ducks emblem
Crimson Tide emblem
2 Oregon (12-1)
1 Alabama (12-1)
QB Blake Sims, UA
21-27, 326 yards, 3 TD
Oregon: We project Oregon to advance to the College Football National Championship with a win over Florida State. Our college football simulation engine likes the Ducks to win 57.7 percent of the time. Check our Rose Bowl Game prediction above for more details.

Alabama: The Crimson Tide are projected to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Our college football simulation engine gives Alabama the win 55.1 percent of the time. Check our Sugar Bowl prediction above for more details.

Box Score: Please note: We will update our College Football Playoff National Championship prediction if the matchup involves Florida State or Ohio State. The Crimson Tide overcame a four-touchdown effort from Royce Freeman to win 43-39 and claim the first College Football Playoff National Championship. Blake Sims earned MVP honors with 326 passing yards and three TDs.

Gridiron Dynasty
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - Dec. 20, 2014 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 - Nevada 3
Wolf Pack emblem
Ragin' Cajuns emblem
Nevada (7-5)
Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)
QB Cody Fajardo, UNR
13-23, 243 yards, TD, INT
Nevada: The Wolf Pack's streak of eight consecutive bowls was snapped with a 4-8 season in 2013, but coach Brian Polian put Nevada back on track this fall. Senior QB Cody Fajardo is a dual threat, throwing for 2,374 yards and rushing for another 997.

Louisiana-Lafayette: The Ragin' Cajuns are on a roll under Mark Hudspeth. The school went 9-4 in each of the last three seasons, producing three New Orleans Bowl victories. The stars of this year's squad include Elijah McGuire (141.3 all-purpose yards per game, 19th nationally) and Christian Ringo (10.5 sacks, 12th-most in the nation).

Box Score: Nevada used a field goal by Brent Zuzo to take a 27-25 fourth-quarter lead. Louisiana-Lafayette's first two attempts to respond resulted in a punt and a fumble. On the third try, the Ragin' Cajuns marched down to the 24-yard line before a field goal from Hunter Stover sailed wide right as time expired.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl - Dec. 20, 2014 Utah State 21 - UTEP 6
Aggies emblem
Miners emblem
Utah State (9-4)
UTEP (7-5)
QB Kent Myers, USU
15-27, 234 yards, 2 TD
Utah State: The Aggies' defense allowed 20.8 points per game and boasted several stalwarts. Zach Vigil's 145 tackles were the third-most in the country. Frankie Sutera's seven interceptions were good enough to tie for third-most in the country. Utah State's 47 sacks included nine each from Vigil and B.J. Larsen.

UTEP: The Miners are a run-first offense, evidenced by their 526 carries versus 262 pass attempts. Leading rusher Aaron Jones totaled 1,233 yards and 11 scores. He was also second on the team in receiving with 284 yards and an additional three touchdowns. A bowl victory would be UTEP's first since 1967.

Box Score: The Miners scored first, on a 23-yard run from Jones, but it was all Utah State after that. The Aggies rattled off 14 straight points and headed into halftime with a 24-10 lead. An early fourth-quarter score pulled UTEP to within a touchdown, but Utah State responded with another score and won 31-17.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl - Dec. 20, 2014 Utah 45 - Colorado State 10
Utes emblem
Rams emblem
22 Utah (8-4)
Colorado State (10-2)
RB Devontae Booker, Utah
20 carries, 132 yards, 3 TD
2 catches, 20 yards
Utah: After back-to-back 5-7 seasons, the Utes are back in the postseason, where the school has a 13-4 all-time record in bowl games. Colorado State's quarterback is likely less-than-thrilled with his opponent. Utah is first in the nation in sacks per game, led by Nate Orchard (17.5 sacks) and Hunter Dimick (10 sacks).

Colorado State: Good times for the school out of Fort Collins. The Rams can match the most wins in program history with a victory over Utah. Quarterback Garrett Grayson totaled nearly 3,800 yards and 32 touchdowns. Favorite target Rashard Higgins was the recipient of 1,640 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Box Score: Down 20-13 with 1:26 to play, Utah's Travis Wilson passed to Bubba Poole for his loan catch of the day. Poole scampered for 73 yards and Devontae Booker found the end zone on the next play to send the game to overtime. In OT, Booker again scored and the Utah defense picked off Grayson for the win.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Dec. 20, 2014 Air Force 38 - Western Michigan 24
Broncos emblem
Falcons emblem
Western Michigan (8-4)
Air Force (9-3)
RB D.J. Johnson, AF
8 carries, 59 yards, 2 TD
Western Michigan: After going 1-11 in his first year on the job, P.J. Fleck was able to produce the results he was hired for. The Broncos ranked inside the top 40 in both points for and points against. Team leaders include Zach Terrell (3,146 passing yards, 23 TDs), Jarvion Franklin (1,525 rushing yards, 25 total TDs) and Corey Davis (1,232 receiving yards, 12 TDs).

Air Force: The Falcons' 9-3 record was a big improvement from a 2-10 finish last season that snapped a streak of six consecutive bowls appearances. Air Force has followed its usual blueprint, with a ground game that ranks eighth in the nation in yards per game, but leading rusher Jacobi Owens is out with a foot injury.

Box Score: D.J. Johnson accounted for the bulk of the Air Force scoring with two touchdown runs as the Falcons overcame a 10-7 halftime deficit to win 17-16. Two fourth-quarter drives that could have put Western Michigan ahead ended in field goals.

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl - Dec. 20, 2014 Bowling Green 33 - South Alabama 28
Jaguars emblem
Falcons emblem
South Alabama (6-6)
Bowling Green (7-6)
K Tyler Tate, BGSU
4/5 FG, 1/1 XP
South Alabama: The Jaguars' third season at the FBS ranks yielded their first bowl appearance. South Alabama wasn't invited to a bowl in 2013 despite a 6-6 record. Joey Jones' squad struggled to score this season, with their 22.1 points per game ranking 107th nationally.

Bowling Green: After surrendering 15.9 points per game in 2013, fifth-fewest in the nation, the Falcons' resistance took a big step back this season, allowing 33.9 points per game, 107th nationally. Still, BGSU is bowl-bound for the third year in a row, seeking its first postseason victory since 2004.

Box Score: Bowling Green's Tyler Tate matched his season-high with four made field goals. The third, a 29-yard try with 10:39 to play, tied the game. The fourth, a 33-yard attempt with 1:23 remaining, gave the Falcons a 19-16 victory.

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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