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Believer vs Non-Believer: Will BYU, Utah State win? A full bowl preview

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The question on everyone's minds in the state of Utah is if BYU and Utah State will win its bowl games.

So the Believer will do his best (Non-Believer is on vacation) to give you solid, in-depth analysis of these two bowl games with Utah ties -- as well as BCS bowls taking place between Saturday, December 21 and Monday, January 6.

Get ready for two weeks of stuffing your faces full of nachos and Pepsi products -- or Coke products because we don't discriminate up in here.

Utah State is a slight, two-point underdog to Northern Illinois Thursday December 26 at the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego -- probably because NIU has a Heisman Trophy finalist in quarterback Jordan Lynch.

BYU, meanwhile is a solid three-point underdog to Washington Friday December 27 for the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco -- and that line doesn't seem to be dropping.

Don't put your finger in the nachos and ease up on the soda, dude. It's time to go bowling.

Poinsettia - Dec. 26 San Diego, Calif. - Utah State vs. N. Illinois*
Let's be honest. If Utah State had Chuckie Heisman (Chuckie Keeton, the Ags stud quarterback) the Aggies would stand half a chance beating a team like Northern Illinois. But, the reality is -- the Huskies have Jordan Heisman. He is not only healthy, he was voted the 3rd best overall football player in the country. He scored 45 touchdowns, half of which came on the ground.

NIU was a BCS-buster until it ran into Bowling Green -- and we all know how Utah State does against BCS-busters. (Try, not very well.) Let's look at the bright side; the Huskies have a so-so defense, allowing 25 points per game and almost 450 yards of offense -- but the Aggies have a marginal offense. If Utah State has any chance it comes from being able to stop Jordan Lynch (I mean, Heisman.)

Bowling Green was the only team to stop NIU -- even still, Lynch got his rushing yardage. Where BGU stymied NIU was in the air, forcing Lynch to get rid of the ball earlier than he wanted -- resulting in two picks, and ball game. Also, that loss was the last game the Huskies played -- so the Aggies have a slight advantage getting NIU when it's vulnerable. Now, this isn't the Orange Bowl where the Huskies played last year as a BCS-buster -- but it's not the New Mexico Bowl, either.

Look, Utah State has had a nice season, the Aggies finished 8-5 overall and they did more than most expected after Chuckie H mangled his knee -- and USU lost four other starters on offense. USU's defense is great, allowing just 17 points per game. Not even high powered Fresno State could throw on Utah State -- but NOBODY has stopped Jordan H. (that's Heisman to you) and he'll do just enough to eke out a win. NIU 24, USU 21

Fight Hunger - Dec. 27 San Francisco, Calif. - Washington vs. BYU
The only hunger game BYU will endure -- other than trying to watch its defense die a slow, painful death at AT&T Park -- is stopping Washington running back Bishop Sankey from punching the Cougars in their reverent faces for 200-plus yards. BYU has had ZERO luck preventing Pac-12 teams -- or physical BCS teams -- from running the football. Utah gashed the Cougars, and so did Notre Dame.

The only chance BYU has in San Francisco is to make this a track meet and force the Huskies to defend the run -- which is something Washington doesn't do as well as the pass (allowing 158 rushing yards per game). BYU should be able to run the ball and control clock against Washington -- and it's the Cougars only chance since the Huskies are good against the pass (15 interceptions this season).

But since Sark is no longer the coach at UW I'm gonna step in for this one game -- thanks not needed -- and put the whistle around my neck. Are you ready, players? Here we go: Hand the ball off to Sankey again, and again. And just when you think you're tired of seeing Sankey get the ball, we're gonna give him the rock. And we'll pound the ground until the Cougars can stop it -- which is the 12th of Never. UW 45, BYU 17

BCS bowl game predictions...after the jump...

NON-BCS GAMES * (Believer picks in bold) Jan. 5 Mobile, Ala. Ball State vs. Ark. State
BBVA Compass Jan. 4 Birmingham, Ala. Vanderbilt vs. Houston
Cotton Jan. 3 Arlington, Tex. Okla. State vs. Missouri
Outback Jan. 1 Tampa, Fla. Iowa vs. LSU
Capital One Jan. 1 Orlando, Fla. Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
Heart of Dallas Jan. 1 Dallas, Tex. UNLV* vs. North Texas
Gator Jan. 1 Jacksonville, Fla. Nebraska vs. Georgia
Chick-fil-A Dec. 31 Atlanta, Ga. Duke vs. Texas A&M
Liberty Dec. 31 Memphis, Tenn. Rice vs. Miss. State
Sun Dec. 31 El Paso, Tex. Virginia Tech vs. UCLA
Advocare V100 Dec. 31 Shreveport, La. Arizona* vs. Boston College
Holiday Dec. 30 San Diego, Calif. Arizona State vs. Texas Tech
Alamo Dec. 30 San Antonio, Tex. Texas vs. Oregon
Music City Dec. 30 Nashville, Tenn. Georgia Tech vs. Ole Miss
Armed Forces Dec. 30 Fort Worth, Tex. Middle Tenn.* vs. Navy
Buffalo Wild Wings Dec. 28 Phoenix, Ariz. Kansas State vs. Michigan
Russell Athletic Dec. 28 Orlando, Fla. Louisville vs. Miami (FL)
Belk Dec. 28 Charlotte, N.C. Cincinnati vs. North Carolina
Pinstripe Dec. 28 New York, N.Y. Notre Dame* vs. Rutgers
Texas Dec. 27 Houston, Tex. Syracuse* vs. Minnesota
Military Dec. 27 Annapolis, Md. Maryland vs. Marshall
Little Caesars Dec. 26 Detroit, Mich. Bowling Green vs. Pittsburgh*
Hawaii Dec. 24 Honolulu, Hawaii Boise State vs. Oregon State*
Beef O'Brady's Dec. 23 St. Petersburg, Fla. Ohio* vs. East Carolina
New Orleans Dec. 21 New Orleans, La. La.-Lafayette vs. Tulane
Famous Idaho Potato Dec. 21 Boise, Idaho Buffalo vs. San Diego State
Las Vegas Dec. 21 Las Vegas, Nev. Fresno State vs. USC
New Mexico Dec. 21 Albuquerque, N.M. Colorado State vs. Wash. State

Fiesta Jan. 1 Glendale, Ariz. Baylor vs. UCF
The Bears score a lot of points. UCF is here because Fresno State couldn't close the deal and make it to a BCS game. Something about defense, I don't know. Other than that, nothing to see here, folks. Nobody plays defense in this game either, Baylor wins by 20.

Rose Jan. 1 Pasadena, Calif. Michigan State vs. Stanford
Nerd Nation comes to Pasadena to play Michigan State in the Nobody Cares Except A Few Spartys Bowl -- because the Cardinal couldn't close the deal against Utah, a 5-7 team, which is really sad -- or USC. Michigan State's defense wins ... by three Spartys.

Sugar Jan. 2 New Orleans, La. Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Alabama kicked the ball to Auburn's fastest player -- who blazed past Alabama's slowest, fattest players on the field for a TD in the dying seconds. Then Alabama turned around and gave the guy who sent those lunkheads out to their Iron Bowl doom a big, fat raise. To honor Nick Saban, the Tide are going to play so well in the Big Easy that the unthinkable happens -- Utah revisited -- and Oklahoma wins by 30.

Orange Jan. 3 Miami, Fla. Clemson vs. Ohio State
Heeber Jeeber:
Ohio State comes into Miami with a chip on its shoulder -- uh-oh -- don't ... make ... wait ... I think he's coming to. "ME URBAN ANGGGGRY!" Urban Meyer might say as he tramples the field, hurling Papa Johns Pizza slices at innocent bystanders like boomerangs of tomato goodness. The Buckeyes sure as hell don't want to make Urb angry so I think they'll get that W he'll literally kill for. Ohio State wins, but only by one.

BCS Title Game Jan. 6 Pasadena Florida State vs. Auburn
FSU is the favorite -- not so fast, my friend, to quote Lee Corso, a FSU alum. Auburn is too explosive on offense for the Noles to stop. Now that Famous Jameis won that trophy player stiff-arm thingy everyone can try to forget about the other thingy. After this game, everyone will forget about him doing that lifting of the crystal ball thingy -- because Auburn wins by 21. Justice served.

Our guest columnist Non-Believer Jim Stevens is on vacation.



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