December 26 College Bowl Picks: Heart of Dallas, Quick Lane, and St. Petersburg

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Nov 15, 2014; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels defensive tackle Nazair Jones (90) reacts after the game. The Tar Heels defeated the Panthers 40-35 at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

December 26 College Bowl Picks: Quick Lane Bowl

Rutgers vs. North Carolina (-3) | Detroit, MI | 4:30pm ET (ESPN)

Here’s the bowl game that we did not want; well, one of them, anyway.

Rutgers and UNC meet in Motown in the Quick Lane Bowl, and much like their new Big Ten compatriots at Illinois, the Scarlet Knights have not had an impressive year. They got a whole lot of mileage out of the fact that they beat Michigan, aside from the fact that Michigan was terrible this year, firing the coach and running the AD out of town. It’s like beating up the 1990 Yankees — they used to be good, but this year, it just doesn’t matter.

The Scarlet Knights got smoked in all three games facing ranked opposition, and their best win was either Navy or Maryland. Not great, but somehow they won seven games.

Rutgers QB Gary Nova was only marginally better than in previous years, and probably had his best season. This is not saying much considering he had 20-12 touchdowns to picks with a 58 percent completion percentage. He did however have a great game against Maryland, throwing four touchdowns.

ACC fans know North Carolina’s deal: score a lot of points, give up a lot of points. Their defense has been abominable all year, and if their offense has an off-day, forget it. We first recognized the problem when East Carolina made it clear as day: 70 points. The Heels have given up 40 or more points five times, and three of them were 50 and up.

There are more flaws to point out in these teams than any real reasons why they should win, but UNC appears to be the more talented team, and it is well known that national media thought their ceiling was higher than it ended up being.

No self-respecting Boston College fan can take Rutgers, anyway, but even though the Tar Heels have been up and down, in a battle of bad defenses, UNC’s more potent offense will help them win what might turn out to be a slugfest.

North Carolina -3

Next: St. Petersburg Bowl