Scouts Inc. makes two picks for every college football bowl game

December 28, 2016, 10:41 AM

— -- Wouldn't you love to know how every remaining college football postseason game will play out?

Or better yet, what if you got TWO picks for each of the remaining bowl games?

Scouts Inc. analysts Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl assess and predict a final score for every game (except for the game that Weidl is broadcasting).

All times Eastern.

Editor's note: This piece has been updated to remove bowls that were already played.?

Dec. 28

Muench: Pittsburgh is going to have a hard time matching up with Northwestern receiver Austin Carr, who is an above-average route runner with the quickness and toughness to produce after the catch. However, Pitt's pass rush will make it tough for quarterback Clayton Thorson to get into a rhythm with defensive end Ejuan Price leading the way. While the Wildcats' run defense ranks 36th in rushing yards allowed per game, expect an inspired effort from Panthers big back James Conner, who bounced back to rush for over 1,000 yards this year and declared for the draft. Pick: Pittsburgh 42, Northwestern 35

Weidl: This will be one of the best games of the bowl season. Northwestern gets a late fourth-quarter drive from Thorson to pull off a win. Pick: Northwestern 31, Pittsburgh 30

Muench: As well as West Virginia's defense has played at times, it's going to have a tough time slowing a balanced Miami offense that averaged 38 points over the last four games of the season. Quarterback Brad Kaaya has a plethora of weapons, including receivers Stacy Coley and Ahmmon Richards, in addition to tight end David Njoku. Running back Mark Walton has rushed for over 100 yards in three of his last four games and is much tougher to tackle than his 205-pound frame would suggest. Pick: Miami 31, West Virginia 24

Weidl: These teams match up well, and in a close game the special teams could play a big factor. Advantage Hurricanes, who will pull off a late victory and carry the momentum of a five-game winning streak into the offseason for Mark Richt. Pick: Miami 26, West Virginia 24

Muench: Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow has thrown multiple interceptions in five games including the regular-season finale, and he faces a Utah defense with the ability to pressure him into mistakes and then turn those mistakes into turnovers. Defensive end Hunter Dimick is a powerful pass rusher, and free safety Marcus Williams is a playmaker with four picks. There are concerns about the way the Hoosiers will react to the resignation of head coach Kevin Wilson. Pick: Utah 28, Indiana 17

Weidl: Utah's opportunistic secondary will force a few turnovers from Lagow who has struggled as a decision-maker. That will be the difference in a relatively low-scoring battle. Pick: Utah 24, Indiana 20

Muench: I'm concerned about Texas A&M's ability to slow Kansas State's ground game, but the Aggies have the talent up front to get the job done and plenty of time to prepare. More important, the time off also gives the most important player on each side of the ball time to get healthy. All-world defensive end Myles Garrett has been hindered by an ankle injury, and the dual-threat quarterback Trevor Knight missed two of the last three games with a shoulder injury. Finally, Texas A&M has done a good job of covering kicks and is capable of preventing Kansas State's talented return men from making a momentum shifting play. Pick: Texas A&M 28, Kansas State 24

Weidl: After a 6-0 start and fizzling down the stretch, how motivated will the Aggies be? The Wildcats' stingy defense will play well, and they will find enough success on the ground to get the victory. Pick: Kansas State 30, Texas A&M 27

Dec. 29

Muench: A South Florida team that averages 43.6 points per game didn't just lose its head coach when Willie Taggert took the Oregon job. It also lost its playcaller, and that's reason for concern. In addition, South Carolina has exceeded expectations in Will Muschamp's first season, and key freshmen like quarterback Jake Bentley should benefit from getting the extra work in leading up to the bowl. However, Bulls quarterback? Quinton Flowers?is one of the most dangerous players in the country. His ability to make plays with his feet and his arm will lead South Florida to the win. Pick: South Florida 35, South Carolina 27

Weidl: True freshman Bentley has a bright future and will need to play extremely well for the Gamecocks to keep pace with a high-powered Bulls offense led by Flowers. No pick -- on the broadcast for the game

Muench: No FBS team gave up more rushing yards per carry than Arkansas this year, and while Virginia Tech's isn't the most explosive ground game, it's efficient enough to keep the chains moving. The Razorbacks also have to be careful about loading up against the run considering quarterback Jerod Evans has the weapons, starting with receiver Isaiah Ford, to make them pay. Finally, it's hard not to believe that Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema forgetting to put the Hokies on his final ballot for the coaches' poll won't provide them with a little extra motivation. Pick: Virginia Tech 35, Arkansas 27

Weidl: An underrated matchup that will come down to the wire. I give the advantage to Virginia, behind dual-threat Evans who will make enough plays with his legs for them to pull off the victory behind a crowd that will be tilted in the Hokies' favor playing in Charlotte. Pick: Virginia Tech 33, Arkansas 30

Muench: Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph is a sound decision-maker with above-average touch, and he's in complete control of the Cowboys' offense. However, Colorado's pass defense is one of the best in the country, and it made two of the best quarterbacks in college football (Washington State's Luke Falk and Washington's Jake Browning) look average late in the season. In addition, the hope is the extra time off will give Buffaloes quarterback Sefo Liufau, who sustained a lower body injury in the Pac 12 championship game, enough time to heal. Pick: Colorado 24, Oklahoma State 21

Weidl: Expect to see an inspired Colorado team that hasn't gone bowling since 2007 and wants to put a cap on a highly unexpected season. The Buffs get a win behind a strong defensive effort and a secondary that can match up with the Cowboys' perimeter. Pick: Colorado 31, Oklahoma State 28

Dec. 30

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Georgia vs. TCU
(noon, ESPN, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee)

Muench: Bulldog running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel have the power, speed and quick feet to put up big numbers against a TCU run defense that stumbled over the last three games of the season. In addition, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and his staff will have had more than a month to prepare freshman quarterback Jacob Eason who has the arm strength to develop into an elite starter. Finally, the Horned Frogs' instability at quarterback is a significant concern. Pick: Georgia 30, TCU 21

Weidl: The Dawgs lean on a healthy Chubb and Michel while generating a few turnovers from TCU QB Kenny Hill to pull off the victory. Pick: Georgia 20, TCU 14

Muench: This matchup comes down to whether North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky or Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey has the bigger game. Expect both to play well. Trubisky is one of the most accurate passers I've watched on tape this year, and he's got the quick feet to buy time in addition to the quickness to scramble for yards when he tucks and runs. McCaffrey has the vision as well as the burst to make the most of any seams, and he gets the nod over Trubisky against a Tar Heel defense that struggled to slow the run late in the season. Pick: Stanford 31, North Carolina 28

Weidl:?McCaffrey puts a punctuation on a great career against a Tar Heels run defense that continues to struggle this season. Pick: Stanford 35, North Carolina 28

Muench: The availability of Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr, who could miss this game with a hamstring injury, or whether he's 100 percent if he does play, will obviously play a big role in the outcome. He's an inconsistent passer, but backup Ryker Fyfe isn't nearly as experienced or mobile. If he's healthy and plays well, look for Nebraska to get the win against a Volunteers team that surrendered more than 400 yards rushing in two of its last three games. At this point Nebraska is reportedly preparing as if Fyfe will get the start, so look for Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs to continue his strong play and lead the Volunteers to the win. Pick: Tennessee 28, Nebraska 24

Weidl: Dobbs puts a cap on a great career in front of a heavy Vols crowd in Nashville. Pick: Tennessee 49, Nebraska 37

Muench: A South Alabama defense that gives up an average of 212 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry doesn't match up well with an Air Force option attack that runs the ball more than any other team in the country and has four players who have rushed for over 600 yards this year. Also keep an eye on Falcon strong safety Weston Steelhammer. He is a playmaker with six picks, and Jaguars quarterback Dallas Davis has thrown more picks than touchdowns this year. Pick: Air Force 35, South Alabama 21

Weidl: Air Force wins comfortably by forcing a few turnovers from Davis and controlling the clock on the ground. Pick: Air Force 41, South Alabama 17

Muench: Florida State running back Dalvin Cook's vision, balance and burst make him one of the best backs in the country, but Michigan's outstanding defense will make it tough for him to find room to work and frustrate quarterback Deondre Francois. The Seminoles were also tough against the run, so it could be another long day for Wolverines running back De'Veon Smith, who has averaged fewer than 3 yards per carry in two of his last three games. Expect a defensive battle. The Wolverines get the win because they win the turnovers and special teams -- a Florida State punt coverage unit that's one of the weakest in the country statistically would be wise to kick away from electric return man Jabrill Peppers. Pick: Michigan 21, Florida State 17

Weidl: After going through some growing pains early in the season, Florida State played extremely well down the stretch. The Seminoles will be real players in the CFB playoff hunt next year, but the Wolverines' defensive advantage in the trenches will be too much to overcome in this one. Pick: Michigan 27, Florida State 23

Dec. 31

Muench: Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is going to make plays. He's too talented to shut down for four quarters, but a Tiger defense led by safety Jamal Adams has the team speed to prevent him from taking over the game and pressure him into making the kind of mistakes that plagued him late in the season. Louisville has been stout against the run and is capable of slowing LSU's ground game of Derrius Guice?or Leonard Fournette, who is day-to-day with an ankle injury. Don't expect as big a gap in the final score, but look for the Tigers to follow Houston's blueprint and get the win. Pick: LSU 24, Louisville 21

Weidl: Anything can happen when the Heisman Trophy winner steps on the field. However, look for the LSU defense up front to overwhelm a Cardinals offensive line that was exposed down the stretch. Pick: LSU 35, Louisville 27

Muench: Both of these run-heavy offenses should have success moving the ball on the ground. Kentucky will do it with its two 1,000-yard rushers in running backs Stanley Williams and Benny Snell Jr, while Georgia Tech's option attack is led by quick quarterback Justin Thomas. Three different Yellow Jackets have rushed for over 500 yards, including Thomas. I'm taking the Ramblin' Wreck because Thomas is more experienced than Wildcats quarterback Stephen Johnson, and Thomas showed he can beat in SEC team in a bowl game, as he was named the Orange Bowl MVP following the 2014 season. Pick: Georgia Tech 34, Kentucky 30

Weidl: Both teams lean on the ground the game and should be able to find success. Look for an improved Wildcats defense to create a few turnovers to give them the edge in what could be the quickest game of the bowl season. Pick: Kentucky 33, Georgia Tech 28

Jan. 2

Muench: An Iowa defense led by leading tackler inside linebacker? Josey Jewell?and disruptive defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson, who has 10 tackles for loss, has been tough against the run down the stretch (holding Michigan to 98 yards on 35 carries is a performance that stands out). Florida's talented secondary will shut down the Hawkeye passing attack, but injuries have taken their toll up front, and the Gators surrendered more than 200 yards rushing in each of their last three games. Look for talented Iowa running backs Akrum Wadley and LeShun Daniels Jr. to lead the Hawkeyes to the win. Pick: Iowa 21, Florida 17

Weidl: The Gators' defense will eventually overwhelm the lack of playmakers for the Hawkeyes and force a few turnovers to set them up with favorable field position to get the win in a game where points will be at a premium. Pick: Florida 17, Iowa 10

Muench: Wisconsin wins the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball to hand the Broncos their first loss of the year. Western Michigan quarterback Zach Terrell is coming off an outstanding season and Corey Davis is one of the best receivers in the country, but a Badgers' pass rush led by outside linebacker T.J. Watt will have enough success disrupting Terrell. The Badgers' offensive line headlined by left offensive tackle? Ryan Ramczyk?will have success creating seams for the backs, starting with Corey Clement. Pick: Wisconsin 31, Western Michigan 21

Weidl: We've seen this movie before and expect a much more inspired Broncos team behind Terrell and Davis, who will make enough plays to pull off the upset. Pick: Western Michigan 23, Wisconsin 21

Muench: Penn State's offensive line made strides, yet the Nittany Lions still haven't done a great job of creating seams for one of the best backs in the country in Saquon Barkley, and quarterback Trace McSorley's mobility has masked vulnerabilities in the pass protection. The Trojans have given up some big plays in the passing game and big plays have played a big role in Penn State's success. However, look for USC to slow Barkely, pressure McSorley into making some mistakes with a pass rush that started to heat up late in the season and the secondary to make enough plays for the Trojans to get the win with Jim Thorpe Award winner Adoree' Jackson leading the way. Pick:? USC 31, Penn State 28

Weidl: Look for a great quarterback duel between Sam Darnold and McSorley, but it's the USC defense that will make enough stops late to get the Trojans the win in an exciting game loaded with big plays. Pick:? USC 38, Penn State 34

Muench: Auburn surrenders an average of just 15.6 yards per game thanks in large part to defensive end Carl Lawson and defensive tackle? Montravius Adams. Lawson and Adams will give the Sooners problems, but Oklahoma's balanced offense gets the nod in this strength-on-strength matchup. Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon form one of the most talented backfields in the country, while the mobile Baker Mayfield is the most efficient passer in the country, and Dede Westbrook is one of the most dangerous receivers in the country. That's a lot of firepower, and the Sooners' ability to move the ball against the Tigers' talented defenses eases concern about their ability to slow Auburn's run game. Pick: Oklahoma 35, LSU 30

Weidl: The time off will allow QB Sean White and the rest of the Auburn team to get healthy. The physicality of the Tigers, particularly on the defensive front, will keep an explosive Sooners offense in check long enough to get the victory. Pick: Auburn 34, Oklahoma 29

Dec. 31

Muench: Alabama had better not overlook a well-coached Washington team with an explosive offense and a talented defense, or it's in real trouble. That said, it's hard to believe that head coach Nick Saban allows that to happen, and as long as they don't come out flat, the Tide will get the win for the same reason they win most games. They will shut down the run with their dominant defensive front led by Jonathan Allen and turn the Huskies into a relatively one-dimensional offense. The expected return of corner? Marlon Humphrey,?coupled with Alabama's ability to rattle quarterback Jake Browning?with four pass-rushers, eases concerns about the Tide's ability to match up with the Huskies' talented receivers, starting with John Ross. Pick: Alabama 31, Washington 21

Weidl: The Washington defense will keep this one close early on. However, the Tide's dominance on the defensive front will eventually allow them to find room on the ground against a worn-out Huskies defense to pull away in the second half. Pick: Alabama 34, Washington 13

No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Clemson
(7 p.m., ESPN, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona)

Muench: It's tough to pick against Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson who has made a number of big plays in critical situations this year and shined against Alabama in last year's national championship game. However, look for Ohio State's defense to lead the Buckeyes to the win. The Tigers haven't been as effective running the ball this year as they were last year, as the production of running back Wayne Gallman has dipped and Watson has yet to break the 100-yard rushing mark -- something he had done four times at this point last year. That's unlikely to change against a Buckeye run defense that surrenders an average of 3.3 yards per carry. Of course, Watson is capable of beating most defenses with his arm and the weapons he has at his disposal. However, he's thrown multiple interceptions in four games this year, and he faces an outstanding Ohio State pass defense that has picked off 19 passes, returning seven for touchdowns. Pick: Ohio State 31, Clemson 28

Weidl: This is by far the hardest game to pick. Expect this game to come down to ball security. If Clemson doesn't turn the ball over it will win. However, the Buckeyes are third in the FBS in turnover margin, and it's their defense behind their speed and playmaking ability that will make the difference in a close battle that comes down to the wire. Pick: Ohio State 27, Clemson 24

Jan. 9

Muench: The last times these two teams met in the playoff, former Buckeye and current Dallas Cowboy running back Zeke Elliott gashed what had been a stout Alabama defense for 230 yards and two touchdowns on the way to an Ohio State 42-35 win. Look for the Tide to do a much better job containing running backs Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel this time. One of the reasons that happens is Ohio State isn't nearly as much of a threat to stretch the field with quarterback J.T. Barrett and this receiving corps as they were last season. Pick: Alabama 28, Ohio State 24

Weidl: Meyer vs. Saban Round 5. This will be a close and low-scoring contest, but the Tide get the victory behind a historical defense that will overwhelm the Buckeyes up front and make life rough on Barrett. Saban gets his fifth national championship in eight years and sixth overall. Pick:? Alabama 23, Ohio State 17