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2014 College Football Score Projections

Find out who will win each bowl, today.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

For the fifth year now, I have applied a score projection formula to the bowl season.

In 2010, it went 23-12 straight up and 19-14-2 against the spread. In 2011, it went 22-13 straight up and 20-14-1 against the spread. In 2012, it went 24-11 straight up and 19-14-2 against the spread. Last year it took a dive, going 16-19 straight up and 15-19-1 against the spread. In total, that's 85-55 (.607) straight up and 73-61-6 against the spread (.542).

You can see how it works by following the link in the first paragraph up there, but it's basically a way to predict games based on points score and points allowed with a fairly crude adjustment for opponent. I've attempted to fancy it up to make it less crude over the years, but I've found that the simpler method always wins. Go figure.

As with last year, I am making these projections my entry into the Yahoo! bowl pick 'em group (don't delay, join today!). The contest doesn't use point spreads, but it does use confidence points. To deal with that, I lined the games up by margin of victory and gave the most confidence points to the largest projected MOV and went on down. See if your judgment is better than that of a systems administrator's dodgy math work.

The way to read this table is that the "Projection" column covers the games straight up and the "Pick" column covers the games against the spread. In the latter, I like to put "Team + points" to emphasize when the system picks an underdog. There is no special meaning beyond that. The colors, as they appear, will be self explanatory. The spreads are the consensus lines as reported here, and they reflect the lines as of the afternoon of December 19 when I finished the projections and got to doing this writeup.

Bowl Teams Favorite Projection Pick
New Orleans Nevada vs. UL-Lafayette Nevada -1 UL-L 33-29 UL-L + points
New Mexico Utah State vs. UTEP USU -10 USU 26-19 UTEP + points
Las Vegas Utah vs. Colorado State Utah -3 CSU 32-24 CSU + points
Potato Western Michigan vs. Air Force WMU -1 AFA 28.06-27.86 AFA + points
Camellia South Alabama vs. Bowling Green USA -2.5 USA 29-25 USA
Miami Beach BYU vs. Memphis Memphis -2 Memphis 32-27 Memphis
Boca Raton Marshall vs. Northern Illinois MAR -10 MAR 42-23 Marshall
Poinsettia Navy vs. San Diego State SDSU -2.5 Navy 25-23 Navy + points
Bahamas Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky WKU -3 WKU 40-35 WKU
Hawaii Fresno State vs. Rice Rice -2 Rice 33-28 Rice
Heart of Dallas Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech LA Tech -6 LA Tech 43-23 LA Tech
Quick Lane Rutgers vs. North Carolina UNC -3 UNC 37-36 Rutgers + points
St. Petersburg North Carolina State vs. UCF UCF -2 UCF 29-23 UCF
Military Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech UC -3 UC 28-23 Cincinnati
Sun Arizona State vs. Duke ASU -7.5 ASU 31-30 Duke + points
Independence Miami (FL) vs. South Carolina UM -4 UM 35-30 Miami (FL)
Pinstripe Boston College vs. Penn State BC -2.5 BC 17-11 BC
Holiday Nebraska vs. USC USC -6.5 NU 32-31 NU + points
Liberty Texas A&M vs. West Virginia WVU -3.5 WVU 33-31 TAMU + points
Russell Athletic Oklahoma vs. Clemson OU -3 OU 28-21 OU
Texas Arkansas vs. Texas ARK -6 ARK 23-13 Arkansas
Music City Notre Dame vs. LSU LSU -7 LSU 28-22 ND + points
Belk Georgia vs. Louisville UGA -6.5 UGA 36-23 UGA
Foster Farms Maryland vs. Stanford STAN -14 STAN 26-16 UMD + points
Peach Ole Miss vs. TCU TCU -3 TCU 31-23 TCU
Fiesta Boise State vs. Arizona UA -3 BSU 37-33 BSU + points
Orange Mississippi State vs. Georgia Tech MSU -7 MSU 34-30 GT + points
Outback Auburn vs. Wisconsin AU -6.5 UW 33-32 UW + points
Cotton Michigan State vs. Baylor BAY -2.5 MSU 41-38 MSU + points
Citrus Missouri vs. Minnesota MIZ -5 MIZ 26-17 Missouri
Rose Florida State vs. Oregon ORE -9 ORE 41-30 Oregon
Sugar Ohio State vs. Alabama BAMA -9.5 OSU 35-31 OSU + points
Armed Forces Houston vs. Pittsburgh PITT -3 HOU 28-26 HOU + points
TaxSlayer Iowa vs. Tennessee UT -3.5 UT 24-23 Iowa + points
Alamo Kansas State vs. UCLA UCLA -2 KSU 31-26 KSU + points
Cactus Washington vs. Oklahoma State UW -5.5 UW 30-10 UW
Birmingham East Carolina vs. Florida UF -7 UF 31-30 ECU + points
GoDaddy Toledo vs. Arkansas State TOL -3.5 ASU 38-34 ASU + points
National Championship Ohio State vs. Oregon ORE -7 OSU 39.53-39.46 OSU + points

The projections see the 12 SEC teams in the bowls going 7-5 collectively. The biggest upset among them is Ohio State beating Alabama outright, though I will add a caveat there. I know this formula doesn't account very well for teams that run up the score regularly, and the Buckeyes did that whenever they could. Also, Auburn's loss to Wisconsin is basically a dead heat with a .23 difference in the projected scores. We'll see how it goes. Last year, the formula picked a 5-5 record for the conference, and it ended up going 7-3.