College Bowl Picks, December 20: New Orleans, New Mexico, Las Vegas, Idaho Potato, and Camellia

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Nov 7, 2014; Laramie, WY, USA; A general view of Utah State Aggies helmets before game against the Wyoming Cowboys at War Memorial Stadium. The Aggies defeated the Cowboys 20-3. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

College Bowl Picks, December 20: New Mexico Bowl

Utah State (-11) vs. UTEP | Albuquerque, NM | 2:20pm ET (ESPN)

Considering that they lost their quarterback, Chuckie Keeton, Utah State has had a better season than many could have realistically expected. So they got smoked by Boise State in their most recent game: their defense has been good within their conference this season; operative words in their conference. Well, except the Boise State game.

UTEP is a happy-to-be-here case when it comes to bowl eligibility, getting to 7-5 with basically no quality wins. Watch for running back Aaron Jones, a sophomore with 1,233 rushing yards on the season. He’s not a name you hear much in the media, but he could make his presence felt. His problem is that Utah State’s run defense is just outside the top 25 nationally.

I don’t hold out much hope that the Miners are going to make a game out of this, as Utah State has been the better team all season long. Anything can happen in one game, but the Aggies have the defense to pull through.

Utah State -11

College Bowl Picks, December 20: Las Vegas Bowl

Utah (-3) vs. Colorado State | Las Vegas, NV | 3:30pm ET (ABC)

Boston College fans would probably be predisposed not to want Colorado State to win. This is not college basketball and there is no RPI, so let Utah avenge us.

Obviously, Colorado State is a good team, getting into this game with a 10-2 record. We all know where one of those ten came from and let’s never speak of it again. Still, led by Garrett Grayson with 32 touchdown passes, their offense has flown high this season and only recently had a nine-game win streak snapped. Expect them to give Utah a good fight.

Whereas the Rams were ranked, the Utes still are at #22. They’ve only gotten creamed twice, Oregon and Arizona, but they also beat a few ranked teams along the way in UCLA and USC to get where they are.

“On paper” might sometimes be the worst way to evaluate teams, but looking at Utah, they have been above average but for a few very nice wins. Colorado State has been solid all year, and even without Jim McElwain going forward, the Rams will get this thing done.

Colorado State +3

Next: Idaho Potato & Camellia Bowls