2011-12 College Football Bowl Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

2011-12 College Football Bowl Predictions

All 35 bowl games simulated by WhatIfSports.com

By Jake Westrich - WhatIfSports.com
UPDATE: January 10, 2012

<a href='http://www.bing.com/videos/browse?mkt=en-us&vid=66b6bb37-d72c-48ea-beeb-f64bb1192f51&from=gallery_en-us&src=v5:embed::' target='_new' title='WhatIfSports: Cotton Bowl/BCS picks'>Video: WhatIfSports: Cotton Bowl/BCS picks</a>

Using the same college football simulation engine that accurately predicted 74.5 percent of all regular-season 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 2011 bowl team roster is available using our free NCAA College Football SimMatchup feature.

Note: The score in the left panel (ex. Temple 29 Wyoming 24) is the average score from 1,001 simulations. 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.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl - Dec. 17, 2011 Temple 37 - Wyoming 15
Owls emblem
Cowboys emblem
65.3
32.7
Temple (8-4)
29
Wyoming (8-4)
24
RB Bernard Pierce, TEM
29 carries, 115 yards, 1 TD
1 catch, 9 yards
Temple: The Owls faced a year of transition after Al Golden departed for the Miami Hurricanes. The coaching reins were handed to former University of Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, and the team didn't miss a beat, finishing with an 8-4 record for the second consecutive year.

Wyoming: Wyoming's record is a vast improvement over their 3-9 2010 campaign. Of the team's four losses in 2011, three were to opponents that spent much of the season in the Top 25 (Nebraska, TCU and Boise State), and the fourth, Utah State, will be playing in a bowl game of its own.

Box Score: Temple controlled the game with a duel running threat of Bernard Pierce (29 carries, 115 yards, TD) and Matt Brown (15 carries, 72 yards, TD). Wyoming managed to pull within two with just 1:15 remaining off a 36-yard run by Alvester Alexander, but the game-tying two-point conversion failed and the Owls held on for the 21-19 win.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Dec. 17, 2011 Ohio 24 - Utah State 23
Bobcats emblem
Aggies emblem
67.3
32.7
Ohio (9-4)
29
Utah State (7-5)
23
RB Donte Harden, OU
20 carries, 114 yards, 1 TD
1 catch, 7 yards
Ohio: Ohio matched its highest win total in the Frank Solich era, posting a 9-4 record. A bowl victory would be a first for the school, which is winless in five attempts, including losses in 2007, 2009 and 2010. The balanced Bobcats are led by sophomore quarterback Tyler Tettleton's 3,086 passing yards with 26 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He's also rushed for 627 yards and nine scores.

Utah State: The Aggies can credit their sixth-ranked rushing offense largely to the performance of Robert Turbin, whose 1,416 rush yards rank eighth nationally. The junior boats a 6.2 yards-per-carry average and 19 touchdowns as well.

Box Score: Utah State tallied more total yards than Ohio (452 yards to Ohio's 360), but the Bobcats saved their biggest plays for last, rallying from a seven-point deficit to win 23-20. Running back Donte Harden scored the game-winner on a 44-yard run with 1:10 remaining.

Gridiron Dynasty
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - Dec. 17, 2011 LA-Lafayette 32 - San Diego State 30
Aztecs emblem
Ragin' Cajuns emblem
63.4
36.6
San Diego State (8-4)
31
Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)
25
QB Ryan Lindley, SDSU
26-48, 338 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
San Diego State: The San Diego State offense starts with sophomore Ronnie Hillman. Third in the nation in rush yards, Hillman found the end zone 20 times this season. Quarterback Ryan Lindley tossed for 2,740 yards, but his 52.5 completion percentage leaves much to be desired.

Louisiana-Lafayette: The Ragin' Cajuns finished third in the Sun Belt with a 6-2 conference record, and their eight total wins were five more than the previous season. Quarterback Blaine Gautier overcame a stagnant ground game (86th in the nation) by throwing for 2,488 yards and 20 touchdowns to just five picks.

Box Score: San Diego State led by as much as 21-3 in the fourth quarter before withstanding a late comeback by the Rajin' Cajuns to record a 28-18 victory. Hillman was held in check, failing to score, but Lindley threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns.

Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl - Dec. 20, 2011 Marshall 20 - FIU 10
Golden Panthers emblem
Thundering Herd emblem
51.5
48.5
Florida Int. (8-4)
26
Marshall (6-6)
25
RB Kedrick Rhodes, FIU
21 carries, 126 yards
3 catches, 79 yards, 1 TD
Florida Int.: T.Y. Hilton has gained notoriety during his four years at Florida International as an electrifying playmaker. He recorded his sixth career special teams touchdown this season, and is a threat to find the end zone whenever he touches the ball. Meanwhile, the Golden Panthers' defense holds opponents to the 16th fewest points in the nation.

Marshall: At 6-6, Marshall needed every win, including its 34-27 overtime victory against East Carolina in its season finale, to earn bowl eligibility. The Thundering Herd boast a 6-3 record in bowl games, most recently beating Ohio University 21-17 in 2009.

Box Score: Florida International fought back from an early 10-0 deficit, but found itself behind after Travon Van's 8-yard run gave Marshall a 25-24 lead with less than two minutes remaining. The Golden Panthers worked their way down the field and Jack Griffin split the uprights with a 43-yard field goal as time expired for the 27-25 win.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl - Dec. 21, 2011 TCU 31 - Louisiana Tech 24
Horned Frogs emblem
Bulldogs emblem
84.7
15.3
18 TCU (10-2)
37
Louisiana Tech (8-4)
23
QB Casey Pachall, TCU
25-32, 355 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
TCU: Goodbye, Andy Dalton. Hello, Casey Pachall. The new TCU quarterback wasn't able to match last year's undefeated record, but a 10-2 mark, including a 36-35 win over rival Boise State, means the team should be in good hands as it transitions into the Big 12.

Louisiana Tech: After a 1-4 start, the Bulldogs are riding a seven-game win streak. The WAC championship was the school's first since it joined the conference in 2001. Quarterback Colby Cameron has posted 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions since becoming the starter mid-season.

Box Score: The two schools proved an even match through three quarters, but TCU exerted its superiority down the stretch, outscoring Louisiana Tech 14-3 in the fourth quarter. TCU captured a 31-20 victory as Pachall threw for 355 yards and two scores.

Gridiron Dynasty
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas - Dec. 22, 2011 Boise State 56 - Arizona State 24
Sun Devils emblem
Broncos emblem
20.8
79.2
Arizona State (6-6)
24
7 Boise State (11-1)
37
QB Kellen Moore, BSU
28-34, 301 yards, 2 TD
Arizona State: A disappointing season for the Sun Devils included a sub-.500 conference record, a loss to in-state rival Arizona, a four-game losing streak to close out the season and the firing of head coach Dennis Erickson.

Boise State: If not for a one-point upset at the hands of TCU, Boise State would have had a flawless season and seriously muddied the BCS waters. Instead, they weren't among the 10 BCS bowl teams despite finishing seventh in the BCS standings. Kellen Moore and the Broncos won't be short on motivation.

Box Score: Boise State captured the lead near the end of the second quarter and never looked back, cruising to a 36-24 victory. Kellen Moore ended his career with a 301-yard, two-touchdown performance. Running back Doug Martin added two scores of his own.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl - Dec. 24, 2011 Southern Miss 24 - Nevada 17
Wolf Pack emblem
Golden Eagles emblem
40.6
59.4
Nevada (7-5)
28
21 Southern Miss (11-2)
33
QB Austin Davis, SouMis
22-37, 269 yards, 1 TD
Nevada: With Mike Ball out for the season, the Wolf Pack handed running back duties to Lampford Mark. He responded by recording 100-yard performances in the last five games of the season and helped Nevada finish tied for second in the WAC. His services will be needed as the Wolf Pack take on a ranked opponent in their bowl game.

Southern Miss: Southern Miss earned its first C-USA championship since 2003 by upsetting the previously unbeaten Houston Cougars. Quarterback Austin Davis leads an offense ranked 14th nationally in scoring. He has thrown for 3,331 yards, with 28 passing touchdowns and four scores on the ground.

Box Score: Nevada briefly captured the lead on a furious fourth quarter rally before Southern Miss running back Tracy Lampley's five-yard run tied the game and sent it to overtime. Nevada's Cody Fajardo threw an interception on the first play of overtime and Southern Miss settled for a field goal to capture the 34-31 victory.

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl - Dec. 26, 2011 Missouri 41 - North Carolina 24
Tigers emblem
Tar Heels emblem
68.8
31.2
Missouri (7-5)
26
North Carolina (7-5)
22
QB James Franklin, Mizzou
12-17, 164, 1 INT
28 carries, 129 yards, 1 TD
Missouri: Missouri finished 7-5 in its first year with new quarterback James Franklin. The season was highlighted by victories over ranked opponents Texas A&M and Texas. The Tigers have a 12-16 bowl record, losing two straight.

North Carolina: Interim head coach Everett Withers exploited a light schedule to start his tenure in Chapel Hill 5-1, but his squad dropped four of their remaining six games to finish with a 7-5 mark. A freshman, Giovani Bernard, led North Carolina's rush attack, and his 1,222 yards ranked third in the ACC.

Box Score: North Carolina kept within striking range most of the game but was never able to slow down Missouri's powerful rush attack. The Missouri backfield accounted for 324 yards on the ground, led by 129 yards and a score from Franklin, in the 29-24 victory.

Little Caesars Bowl - Dec. 27, 2011 Purdue 37 - Western Michigan 32
Broncos emblem
Boilermakers emblem
15.8
84.2
Western Michigan (7-5)
22
Purdue (6-6)
33
RB Ralph Bolden, PU
17 carries, 52 yards, 2 TD
3 catches, 40 yards
Western Michigan: The Broncos boast the 18th-highest scoring offense in the nation and the eighth-best pass attack. Junior Alex Carder has thrown for 3,434 yards and 28 touchdowns. Western Michigan's next bowl victory will be its first. The school has an all-time bowl record of 0-4.

Purdue: A 6-6 record is Purdue's best since the 2007 season. A preseason injury to quarterback Rob Henry left Caleb TerBush as the default starter and he performed admirably, recording 1,804 yards passing with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Box Score: Western Michigan fought back from a 21-6 deficit to tie the score at 21-all early in the fourth quarter on a two-point conversion by Tevin Drake. The Boilermakers regained the lead on a field goal and held on for the 24-21 win.

Belk Bowl - Dec. 27, 2011 North Carolina State 31 - Louisville 24
Cardinals emblem
Wolfpack emblem
53.5
46.5
Louisville (7-5)
26
North Carolina St. (7-5)
23
QB Teddy Bridgewater, LOU
25-35, 356 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
Louisville: Louisville overcame a disastrous 2-4 start by winning five of its remaining six games. The Cardinals finished with a 7-5 mark, including 5-2 in Big East play. Defense is Louisville's strongest suit as it held opponents to 19.2 points per game, 14th in the nation.

North Carolina State: The Wolfpack had hoped to build on last year's 9-4 record, but the departure of quarterback Russell Wilson for Wisconsin proved a bit of a stumbling block. Still, North Carolina State posted a winning record in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2002-2003.

Box Score: The Louisville defense served up a first-half shutout, but the Wolfpack rallied with 28 second-half points and sent the game into overtime. Jeremy Wright scored the go-ahead touchdown and North Carolina State was unable to find the end zone as Louisville prevailed 35-28.

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman - Dec. 28, 2011 Toledo 42 - Air Force 41
Rockets emblem
Falcons emblem
63.4
36.6
Toledo (8-4)
28
Air Force (7-5)
25
RB Adonis Thomas, TOL
15 carries, 153 yards rushing, 2 TD
2 catches, 99 yards
Toledo: The Rockets employed a simple strategy this season: score more points than the other team. Their 42.3 points per game ranked eighth in the nation, while they yielded 30.9 points per game, 89th nationally. Terrance Owens and Austin Dantin split time behind center, throwing for a combined 3,210 yards, 30 touchdowns and just six picks.

Air Force: Air Force was anything but a force through the air, as its 138.5 passing yards per game ranked 113th. However, the Falcons' rush attack was blistering, averaging 320.3 yards per game, second best in the nation. Eleven Air Force players rushed for 100 yards or more this season.

Box Score: Toledo went head-to-head with the Air Force rush game. They racked up 233 yards to the Falcons' 236, and reached the total on 25 fewer attempts. Add in the Rockets' 304 passing yards and they proved too offensively potent for the Falcons to handle. Toledo won 27-17.

Gridiron Dynasty
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl - Dec. 28, 2011 Texas 21 - California 10
Golden Bears emblem
Longhorns emblem
40.6
59.4
California (7-5)
20
24 Texas (7-5)
23
QB Case McCoy, TEX
11-24, 190 yards, 1 TD
California: Zach Maynard, Keenan Allen and Isi Sofele are the engines that make California go. At quarterback, Maynard has accumulated 2,802 yards and 17 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. His favorite target, Allen, has hauled in 89 receptions for 1,261 yards and six scores. Sofele churns yards on the ground to the tune of 5.5 yards per carry and has totals of 1,270 yards and nine touchdowns.

Texas: A 7-5 record might suffice at other schools, but it's considered a disappointment in Austin. Though an improvement over last season's 5-7 mark, Texas failed to recapture the magic of 2009's BCS championship run.

Box Score: After a 10-10 tie at the half, Texas held California to three points the rest of the way and captured a 27-13 victory. Case McCoy and Jaxon Shipley, the younger brothers of former Texas players Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley, connected three times for 114 yards.

Champs Sports Bowl - Dec. 29, 2011 Florida State 18 - Notre Dame 14
Seminoles emblem
Fighting Irish emblem
62.4
37.6
Florida State (8-4)
26
Notre Dame (8-4)
21
WR Rodney Smith, FSU
5 catches, 100 yards, 1 TD
Florida State: The Seminoles deploy a powerful defense that gives up just 15.2 points per game, fourth nationally. The school is particularly strong against the rush, where its 81.8 yards allowed per game rank second. Florida State has been bowl-bound every year since 1980 and has been victorious in three consecutive bowl games.

Notre Dame: Second-year coach Brian Kelly will need a bowl victory to improve on last year's 8-5 record. Notre Dame used a few quarterbacks throughout the season, but it appears Tommy Rees will earn the start over recent challenger Andrew Hendrix. Rees threw for 2,708 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Box Score: Florida State overcame a 4-point fourth quarter deficit with two field goals from Dustin Hopkins and notched a 26-24 victory. The Florida State defense picked off Rees three times in the win.

Valero Alamo Bowl - Dec. 29, 2011 Baylor 67 - Washington 56
Huskies emblem
Bears emblem
31.7
68.3
Washington (7-5)
29
12 Baylor (9-3)
35
QB Robert Griffin III, BAY
20-27, 323 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
27 carries, 59 yards, 1 TD
Washington: Washington will appear in its second bowl game in as many years, not bad for a school just four years removed from a winless season. The Huskies are led by junior running back Chris Polk, who eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the third consecutive season, accounting for 11 rushing touchdowns and another four receiving.

Baylor: Newly minted Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III appropriately sported Superman socks to the trophy presentation. He was largely responsible for Baylor's 9-3 record, accumulating 3,998 yards, 36 touchdowns, six interceptions, a record 192.3 quarterback rating, 644 rush yards and nine rushing touchdowns.

Box Score: With the spotlight on Griffin III, he delivered in a big way. The Baylor quarterback threw for 327 yards and four touchdowns, and carried the ball for 59 yards and another score. His touchdown run proved the game winner as Baylor prevailed 35-28.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl - Dec. 30, 2011 BYU 24 - Tulsa 21
Cougars emblem
Golden Hurricane emblem
54.5
45.5
BYU (9-3)
33
Tulsa (8-4)
32
QB Riley Nelson, BYU
19-29, 325 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT
BYU: In BYU's first season as an independent, it suffered only three losses. The Cougars present a balanced defense that allowed 118.3 rushing yards per game (21st in the nation) and 198.0 passing yards per game (28th in the nation).

Tulsa: The Tulsa rush attack is both diverse and effective. Ja'Terian Douglas posted 884 yards on just 108 carries, an 8.2 yards-per-carry average, while Trey Watts had 843 yards on 147 attempts. Quarterback G.J. Kinne rushed 112 times for 405 yards, and bulldozer Alex Singleton recorded 279 yards on 92 carries and a team-high eight rushing touchdowns.

Box Score: BYU overcame three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) from G.J. Kinne to post a 33-32 victory. Junior Riley Nelson led the Cougars in their rally, throwing for three scores, including the go-ahead touchdown to McKay Jacobson early in the fourth quarter.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Dec. 30, 2011 Rutgers 27 - Iowa State 13
Scarlet Knights emblem
Cyclones emblem
41.6
58.4
Rutgers (8-4)
23
Iowa State (6-6)
25
QB Jared Barnett, RUT
22-42, 300 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
26 carries, 47 yards, 1 TD
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights field a strong defensive passing unit that smothers opposing quarterbacks to 167.8 yards per game, 12th nationally. The defense must overcome a woeful rush game, where Rutgers accumulates only 91.5 yards per game, 115th in the nation.

Iowa State: Iowa State scored perhaps the season's biggest upset, knocking off second-ranked and seemingly BCS championship-bound Oklahoma State 37-31 in double overtime. The Cyclones followed that game up with two losses, but maintained a 6-6 record and bowl eligibility.

Box Score: Iowa State outlasted Rutgers in a 4-overtime thriller 33-27. Each team matched the other point-for-point until the fourth overtime, when Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu fell one yard short of a first down. Jared Barnett passed for one touchdown, rushed for another and converted a two-point play during the four overtime stanzas.

Gridiron Dynasty
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl - Dec. 30, 2011 Miss. State 23 - Wake Forest 17
Bulldogs emblem
Demon Deacons emblem
67.3
32.7
Mississippi State (6-6)
26
Wake Forest (6-6)
22
QB Chris Relf, MSU
14-25, 261 yards, 1 TD
14 carries, 37 yards
Mississippi State: It's tough when three of your six losses are to opponents that have won BCS national championships within the last four years. Such is the life in the SEC for the 6-6 Bulldogs. They finished 2-6 in SEC play, including losses to Auburn, LSU and Alabama.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons hold a 6-6 record, the school's best since 2008. Quarterback Tanner Prince (2,803 yards, 20 touchdowns, six interceptions) leads the nation's 36th-ranked passing offense. He'll likely connect with top receiver Chris Givens (74 receptions, 1,276, nine touchdowns).

Box Score: Wake Forest raced to a 20-3 advantage, but didn't find the end zone again as the Bulldogs methodically worked their way back into the game. Mississippi State took the lead on Vick Ballard's 10-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter and added a late field goal to win 30-20.

Insight Bowl - Dec. 30, 2011 Oklahoma 31 - Iowa 14
Hawkeyes emblem
Sooners emblem
38.1
61.9
Iowa (7-5)
24
14 Oklahoma (9-3)
28
QB Landry Jones, OU
21-37, 241 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
6 carries, 20 yards
Iowa: It's been a strange season for the Hawkeyes. One week they lost to woeful Minnesota and the next week toppled BCS bowl-bound Michigan. The pieces are there, but Iowa will need a strong performance to end the season on a high note.

Oklahoma: A season of great promise turned south for the 9-3 Sooners. Once in contention for the national championship, a rash of injuries depleted Oklahoma's roster. The Sooner offense stills ranks fourth nationally, but hasn't looked the same since injuries sidelined wide receiver Ryan Broyles and running back Dominique Whaley.

Box Score: The Hawkeyes captured a 27-23 lead with just 34 seconds remaining. Landry Jones began the last-ditch drive at his own 31 yard line and marched down the field, calling his own number with runs on three occasions. Finally, he found Kenny Stills in the end zone from 35 yards out as time expired and the Sooners stole the 29-27 victory.

<a href='http://www.bing.com/videos/browse?mkt=en-us&vid=cc691205-d8bb-4018-8478-0691d644955c&from=gallery_en-us&src=v5:embed::' target='_new' title='What If Sports: December Madness'>Video: What If Sports: December Madness</a>




































































































































































































































































































































































































2011 NCAA Football Features

December Madness CFB Playoff

Final Regular Season Power Rankings

2011 College Football Season-to-Date

2011 College Football Archives

College Football SimMatchup

Play Gridiron Dynasty

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas - Dec. 31, 2011 Texas A&M 33 - N'Western 22
Aggies emblem
Wildcats emblem
70.3
29.7
Texas A&M (6-6)
31
Northwestern (6-6)
25
QB Ryan Tannehill, TAMU
25-41, 333 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
11 carries, 24 yards
Texas A&M: It's been a tumultuous season for the Aggies, their last in the Big 12. Texas A&M climbed to as high as a No. 8 in the national polls before sputtering to a 6-6 record and dismissing head coach Mike Sherman. The Aggies stayed in-state as they pilfered Kevin Sumlin from Houston, putting him in charge of the program's SEC transition.

Northwestern: The Wildcats suffered a midseason five-game slide before righting the ship and finished with a 6-6 record, including a win over then No. 10 Nebraska. Quarterback Dan Persa has been one-dimensional this year, rushing for just 71 yards after posting 519 rush yards and nine touchdowns only one season ago.

Box Score: Texas A&M held the lead for all but a few minutes in the second quarter, and gave Northwestern no opportunity to get back in the game. Senior Ryan Tannehill went out on top, amassing 333 yards and two touchdowns in the 30-24 win.

Hyundai Sun Bowl - Dec. 31, 2011 Utah 30 - Georgia Tech 27
Yellow Jackets emblem
Utes emblem
55.4
44.6
Georgia Tech (8-4)
25
Utah (7-5)
22
RB David Sims, GT
16 carries, 94 yards, 1 TD
Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech maintained its mastery of the rush in 2011, finishing fourth in the country in rush yards per game. Three players for the Yellow Jackets rushed for more than 600 yards and seven or more touchdowns. Quarterback Tevin Washington led the team with 890 yards and 14 scores.

Utah: The Utes spent their first season in the Pac-12 and found the reception less than accommodating. The team finished with a 4-5 conference record and found points much more difficult to come by than in years past. The 23rd highest-scoring offense in 2010, Utah finished just 78th this season.

Box Score: The Georgia Tech ground game proved too much for Utah as the Yellow Jackets gained 215 rush yards, including David Sims' go-ahead 30-yard score. Georgia Tech prevailed 24-19.

Gridiron Dynasty
AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Dec. 31, 2011 Cincinnati 31 - Vanderbilt 24
Bearcats emblem
Commodores emblem
60.4
39.6
Cincinnati (9-3)
26
Vanderbilt (6-6)
22
RB Isaiah Pead, CIN
22 carries, 180 yards, 1 TD
3 catches, 23 yards, 1 TD
Cincinnati: The Bearcats proved last year's 4-8 finish was an aberration as they rediscovered a winning formula under second-year coach Butch Jones. UPDATE: Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros, thought to be lost to a season-ending injury, appears prepared to start.

Vanderbilt: Vandy's six wins were more than the prior two years combined. All of the Commodores' losses came in conference play, and a three-point home loss to Arkansas on a missed field goal demonstrated Vanderbilt's vast improvement.

Box Score: Cincinnati rallied around the return of Collaros, as he powered the offense with 230 passing yards and two touchdowns. With just 1:30 remaining in the game, Collaros found Kenbrell Thompkins in the end zone for the go-ahead score and the 27-20 win.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - Dec. 31, 2011 Illinois 20 - UCLA 14
Fighting Illini emblem
Bruins emblem
35.6
64.4
Illinois (6-6)
24
UCLA (6-7)
28
RB Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
16 carries, 152 yards, 2 TD
1 catch, 18 yards
Illinois: The Fighting Illini charged out the gates to a 6-0 start and a No. 16 national ranking. Then the wheels fell off. Illinois lost their next six and fired Ron Zook, replacing him with Toledo head coach Tim Beckman.

UCLA: The Bruins won the Pac-12 South, but can credit USC's postseason ban to their representation in the conference's first championship game. Despite finishing with a 6-7 record, UCLA was granted bowl eligibility by the NCAA.

Box Score: Illinois fought back from a 21-7 deficit to tie the game at 21 early in the fourth quarter, but the Bruins regained the lead with a field goal on the following possession and notched the 24-21 victory. UCLA's Johnathan Franklin scored on runs of 72 and 44 yards in the game's opening stanza.

Chick-fil-A Bowl - Dec. 31, 2011 Auburn 43 - Virginia 24
Cavaliers emblem
Tigers emblem
38.6
61.4
Virginia (8-4)
23
25 Auburn (7-5)
26
QB Barrett Trotter, AUB
32-55, 388 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
9 carries, 11 yards
Virginia: The Cavaliers recorded their first winning season since 2007, highlighted by narrow upsets of ranked foes Georgia Tech and Florida State. Second-year coach Mike London was named the ACC Coach of the Year, edging out Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer and Clemson's Dabo Swinney.

Auburn: Last year's national champion discovered life without Cam Newton isn't nearly as glorious. Undefeated a season ago, Auburn finished with a 7-5 record. The Tigers will be without the services of sophomore running back Michael Dyer, who has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

Box Score: Virginia and Auburn proved an even match through four quarters and needed extra time to settle things. The Tigers connected on a field goal in overtime and Neiko Thorpe recorded his second interception of the game to secure the 30-27 Auburn win.

TicketCity Bowl - Jan. 2, 2012 Houston 30 - Penn State 14
Cougars emblem
Nittany Lions emblem
54.5
45.5
19 Houston (12-1)
30
22 Penn State (9-3)
29
QB Case Keenum, HOU
27-36, 365 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
Houston: Houston fell one win shy of a perfect campaign, losing the C-USA championship game to Southern Miss. Quarterback Case Keenum etched his name in the record books, throwing for more than 5,000 yards for the third time in his career, a FBS record. He also helped produce two 1,000-yard receivers and can claim a third if Tyron Carrier nets 76 yards in their bowl game.

Penn State: Amidst the scandal that clouded the Nittany Lions' season, the school managed a powerful defense that overcame its offensive ineptitude. Penn State finished fifth nationally in both scoring defense and passing defense.

Box Score: One of the most intriguing bowl matchups pitted Houston's high-powered passing offense against Penn State's suffocating secondary. Keenum could not be stopped as he totaled 365 yards and four touchdowns. Penn State's late rally fell short with a failed two-point conversion and Houston won 38-36.

Outback Bowl - Jan. 2, 2012 Michigan State 33 - Georgia 30
Spartans emblem
Bulldogs emblem
57.4
42.6
17 Michigan State (10-3)
29
16 Georgia (10-3)
27
RB Edwin Baker, MSU
19 carries, 106 yards, 1 TD
1 catch, 25 yards
Michigan State: Kirk Cousins amassed more yards than any other Big 10 quarterback, throwing for 3,016 yards and 24 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. Favorite target B.J. Cunningham accounted for half of those scores.

Georgia: The Bulldogs began the season with two losses to ranked opponents before navigating their way to the SEC Championship game. Sophomore Aaron Murray's 33 touchdown passes place him seventh in the nation.

Box Score: The matchup between the BCS's 16th and 17th-ranked teams proved every bit as compelling as the rankings would suggest. Michigan State came from behind to win 24-21 on a late 21-yard run from Edwin Baker.

Gridiron Dynasty
Capital One Bowl - Jan. 2, 2012 South Carolina 30 - Nebraska 13
Cornhuskers emblem
Gamecocks emblem
43.6
56.4
20 Nebraska (9-3)
21
9 South Carolina (10-2)
23
QB Connor Shaw, SC
14-23, 170 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT
19 carries, 52 yards, 1 TD
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers competed in the Big Ten for the first time. Results would suggest their new foes are comparable to those Nebraska faced in the Big 12. At 9-3, Nebraska sits just one win behind its record last season.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks proved that star players don't define a team. They survived the dismissal of quarterback Stephen Garcia and a season-ending injury to running back Marcus Lattimore to maintain a 10-2 record.

Box Score: After South Carolina extended the team's lead to 27-7 with a score to start the second half, Nebraska's Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead combined for three rushing touchdowns and captured a 28-27 advantage. The Gamecocks responded with a Jay Wooten field goal. Two missed field goals down the stretch doomed the Cornhuskers and South Carolina recorded the 30-28 victory.

Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl - Jan. 2, 2012 Florida 24 - Ohio State 17
Buckeyes emblem
Gators emblem
34.7
65.3
Ohio State (6-6)
16
Florida (6-6)
21
QB John Brantley, FLO
20-33, 308 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Ohio State: Considering a 6-6 record is far from the norm in Columbus, it's safe to credit the recent hiring of football mastermind Urban Meyer for the high spirits of Ohio State's fan base. In spite of the down year, the Buckeyes maintained their bowl streak, having gone to postseason play every year since 1999.

Florida: The Gators proved no match for a ferocious schedule that during one stretch pitted them against Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Georgia in consecutive weeks. The season was head coach Will Muschamp's first in Gainesville.

Box Score: The rematch of the 2007 BCS National Championship had a different flavor as both teams suffered through middling seasons to reach the game. A trend that occurred for much of the season continued as points eluded the Buckeyes. They managed to put just 16 on the board, and only three points after halftime. Florida recorded a comfortable 27-16 victory.

Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO - Jan. 2, 2012 Oregon 45 - Wisconsin 38
Badgers emblem
Ducks emblem
52.5
47.5
10 Wisconsin (11-2)
33
5 Oregon (11-2)
31
RB Montee Ball, WISC
28 carries, 164 yards, 3 TD
1 catch, 5 yards
Wisconsin: Wisconsin running back Montee Ball can make a case for the biggest Heisman slight. He leads the nation in both total yards (1,759) and rushing touchdowns (32). Ball has also recorded 259 receiving yards with another six scores.

Oregon: Darron Thomas and LaMichael James lead the nation's third-most potent offense, which scores 46.2 points per game. Thomas has thrown for 30 touchdowns and rushed for another three, while James has accounted for 18 scores.

Box Score: The game was a duel of top-flight running backs, with both James and Ball showcasing their talents. James managed 133 yards and two touchdowns, while Ball ran for 164 yards and three scores. However, quarterback Russell Wilson provided the game winner on an eight-yard strike to Jared Abbrederis for a 32-31 Wisconsin victory.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Jan. 2, 2012 Oklahoma State 41 - Stanford 38
Cardinal emblem
Cowboys emblem
50.5
49.5
4 Stanford (11-1)
35
3 Oklahoma State (11-1)
34
K Jordan Williamson, STAN
8/8 FG, 2/2 XP
Stanford: Andrew Luck has one more game in a Stanford uniform before he's likely taken with the first pick of the 2012 NFL draft. The quarterback has a stellar 23-2 record the past two seasons as a Stanford starter.

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys were oh-so-close to competing for their first BCS national championship, but an upset by Iowa State derailed their title hopes. Oklahoma State boasts an offense that is second nationally in both passing yards per game and points scored per game.

Box Score: Few teams can expect to outscore Oklahoma State with just two trips to the end zone, but Stanford can credit the bulk of its 38 points to kicker Jordan Williamson. He connected on eight field goal attempts and the Cardinal prevailed 38-28.

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Jan. 3, 2012 Michigan 23 - Virginia Tech 20
Wolverines emblem
Hokies emblem
53.5
46.5
13 Michigan (10-2)
26
11 Virginia Tech (11-2)
25
QB Denard Robinson, MICH
12-16, 198 yards, 1 TD
28 carries, 85 yards, 1 TD
Michigan: First-year head coach Brady Hoke has Michigan fans ecstatic about the future of their program. The Wolverines averaged 34.2 points per game, while holding opponents to only 17.2 points per game, the seventh-best scoring defense in the nation.

Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech recorded two losses on the season and both came at the hands of the Clemson Tigers. Like their bowl opponent, the Hokies are among the national leaders in scoring defense, surrendering 17.2 points per contest.

Box Score: Michigan rallied from a 20-10 fourth quarter deficit behind the play of junior quarterback Denard Robinson. He found Roy Roundtree in the end zone for one strike and ran in an 11-yard score with 23 seconds left for the game winner. The Wolverines won 24-20.

Gridiron Dynasty
Discover Orange Bowl - Jan. 4, 2012 West Virginia 70 - Clemson 33
Mountaineers emblem
Tigers emblem
47.1
52.9
23 West Virginia (9-3)
27
15 Clemson (10-3)
28
QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson
19-29, 196 yards, 2 TD
West Virginia: The Mountaineers emerged as the winners in a close Big East title race. First-year head coach Dana Holgorsen has installed an offense with one of the nation's best passing attacks and one of its worst running games. Quarterback Geno Smith has accumulated 3,978 yards with 25 touchdowns and seven picks. UPDATE: Leading rusher, Dustin Garrison, is out with a knee sprain.

Clemson: Clemson claimed its first conference championship since 1991. Sophomore Tajh Boy rose to the occasion in his first season as starter, posting 3,578 yards, 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also ran for five scores.

Box Score: West Virginia took the lead on a 12-yard pass from Smith to Stedman Bailey with just 3:42 left in the game. Clemson’s ensuing drive included a 34-yard gain from Boyd to Sammy Watkins on fourth-and-14, and the Tigers found the end zone with 20 seconds remaining for the 27-24 victory.

AT&T Cotton Bowl - Jan. 6, 2012 Arkansas 29 - Kansas State 16
Wildcats emblem
Razorbacks emblem
22.8
77.2
8 Kansas State (10-2)
26
6 Arkansas (10-2)
35
QB Tyler Wilson, ARK
21-30, 345 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
10 carries, 9 yards
Kansas State: The Wildcats churned out seven wins to start the season, but dropped consecutive games to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Quarterback Collin Klein is a duel threat, passing for 12 touchdowns, while scoring 26 on the ground.

Arkansas: Perhaps one of the best teams in the nation, Arkansas has the misfortune of residing in the SEC West. The two teams that defeated the Razorbacks, divisional rivals Alabama and LSU, will meet in the BCS National Championship Game.

Box Score: The Arkansas offense had too much firepower for the Wildcats to contain, and the Razorbacks rolled to a 37-22 victory. Quarterback Tyler Wilson threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns.

BBVA Compass Bowl - Jan. 7, 2012 Southern Methodist 28 - Pittsburgh 6
Mustangs emblem
Panthers emblem
24.8
75.2
Southern Methodist (7-5)
20
Pittsburgh (6-6)
30
RB Zach Brown, PITT
14 carries, 128 yards, 2 TD
1 catch, 6 yards
Southern Methodist: The SMU season included an upset of then-ranked TCU, but the Mustangs faltered down the stretch, winning only two of their last six contests. They'll be without leading rusher Zach Line, who suffered a season-ending foot injury.

Pittsburgh: The Panthers will also be without their top rusher as Ray Graham's season ended with an injury against Connecticut. Despite participating fully in only seven games, Graham racked up 958 yards and nine scores.

Box Score: SMU took a 24-10 advantage on a touchdown early in the third quarter, but Pitt's defense held the Mustangs scoreless for the remainder of the game. Zach Brown and Isaac Bennett each had 100-yard rushing games in the Panthers' 40-24 win.

GoDaddy.com Bowl - Jan. 8, 2012 Northern Illinois 38 - Arkansas State 20
Red Wolves emblem
Huskies emblem
40.1
59.9
Arkansas State (10-2)
27
Northern Illinois (10-3)
33
QB Chandler Harnish, NIU
16-22, 300 yards, 3 TD
16 carries, 33 yards
Arkansas State: The Sun Belt-champion Red Wolves will appear in their first bowl game since 2005 and second since 1970. Junior quarterback Ryan Aplin leads the team in both passing and rushing yards, and has been involved in 28 of his team's 44 offensive touchdowns.

Northern Illinois: The champions of the MAC feature senior quarterback Chandler Harnish. With 2,942 yards passing and 1,382 rushing, he's third in the nation in total yards. The Huskies are bowl-bound for the fourth year in a row.

Box Score: Northern Illinois led 24-7 midway through the second quarter and the deficit proved more than Arkansas State could overcome. Harnish found the end zone three times and accumulated 333 yards of total offense in his team's 31-23 win.

Allstate BCS National Championship Game - Jan. 9, 2012 Alabama 21 - LSU 0
Crimson Tide emblem
Tigers emblem
40.1
59.9
2 Alabama (11-1)
22
1 LSU (13-0)
26
K Drew Alleman, LSU
5/5 FG, 1/1 XP
Alabama: The Crimson Tide suffered their lone loss in a 9-6 overtime defeat at the hands of LSU, but they've been dealt a rare opportunity for revenge. Alabama has the stingiest defense in college football, surrendering only 8.8 points per game. Running back Trent Richardson finished third in Heisman voting.

LSU: The Tigers are hoping for the same result against a familiar foe. LSU's defense finished second only to Alabama in points allowed. A victory would be LSU's third BCS National Championship.

Box Score: Points were hard-fought through three quarters, as LSU eked out a 12-7 advantage. Alabama captured a late 20-19 lead on a 20-yard run by Eddie Lacy, but LSU responded. Drew Alleman connected on a 39-yard field goal, his fifth of the game, with 19 seconds left and LSU won 22-20.

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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