Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch is third in the nation in total offense per game with 364.08 yards. He'll face Florida State in the Orange Bowl.


Washington and Baylor faced off in last December's Alamo Bowl, and depending on what you think of college football's scoring renaissance, it was either the best game ever played - or the worst.

Robert Griffin III's Bears and Keith Price's Huskies combined to score 126 points, the most ever scored during regulation in a bowl game. The teams gained a total of 1,397 yards and scored 17 touchdowns, both records. When everybody finally came up for a breath, Baylor was a 67-56 winner.

Sometime during the second half of last year's Alamo Bowl, I began thinking about this year's Holiday Bowl Challenge. What if I ignored overall records, conferences, schedules, BCS rankings and all the other noise and just picked winners based on their offenses?

Let's give it a try.

I have picked every winner in the seventh annual Holiday Bowl Challenge based on which team averages more points per game. Teams' overall records and rankings don't matter, which means I've been forced to pick Northern Illinois over Florida State in the Orange Bowl and 6-7 Georgia Tech over USC in the Sun Bowl. (I'd ride the nation's No. 1 scoring team, Sonny-Dykes-less Louisiana Tech, but they're not playing in any bowl. Darn system.)

Have a foolproof plan of your own, or simply want to disprove mine?

Join our contest.

The rules are the same as in previous years:

Go to before the start of Saturday's games and pick the winner of every bowl game, using whatever system you see fit; you can even create your own group, and contest.

Follow your progress throughout the bowl season on StarNet. The winner of this year's bowl challenge receives a free car stereo from The Specialists. I'll even write about your football-picking prowess in the paper.

Enough of the fine print. Here are my predictions (winners in bold):

Ryan Finley's picks

Date/Bowl/Matchup (predicted winners in bold)

Saturday/New Mexico Bowl/Arizona (7-5) vs. Nevada (7-5)

Saturday/Famous Idaho Potato Bowl/Toledo (9-3) vs. Utah State (10-2)

Dec. 20/Poinsettia Bowl/BYU (7-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3)

Dec. 21/Beef O'Brady's Bowl/Ball State (9-3) vs. Central Florida (9-4)

Dec. 22/ New Orleans Bowl/East Carolina (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (7-4)

Dec. 22/Las Vegas Bowl/Boise State (10-2) vs. Washington (7-5)

Dec. 24/Hawaii Bowl/Fresno State (9-3) vs. SMU (6-6)

Dec. 26/Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl/Central Michigan (6-6) vs. Western Kentucky (7-5)

Dec.27/Military Bowl/Bowling Green (8-4) vs. San Jose State (10-2)

Dec. 27/Belk Bowl/Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Duke (6-6)

Dec. 27/Holiday Bowl/Baylor (7-5) vs. UCLA (9-4)

Dec. 28/Independence Bowl/Ohio (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Monroe (8-4)

Dec. 28/Russell Athletic Bowl/Rutgers (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6)

Dec. 28/Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas/Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)

Dec. 29/Armed Forces Bowl/Air Force (6-6) vs. Rice (6-6)

Dec. 29/Pinstripe Bowl/Syracuse (7-5) vs. West Virginia (7-5)

Dec. 29/Fight Hunger Bowl/Arizona State (7-5) vs. Navy (8-4)

Dec. 29/Alamo Bowl/Oregon State (9-3) vs. Texas (8-4)

Dec. 29/Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl/Michigan State (6-6) vs. TCU (7-5)

Dec. 31/Music City Bowl/NC State (7-5) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4)

Dec. 31/Sun Bowl/USC (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (6-7)

Dec. 31/Liberty Bowl/Iowa State (6-6) vs. Tulsa (10-3)

Dec. 31/Chick-fil-A Bowl/Clemson (10-2) vs. LSU (10-2)

Jan. 1/Heart of Dallas Bowl/Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5)

Jan. 1/Gator Bowl/Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Northwestern (9-3)

Jan. 1/Capital One Bowl/Georgia (11-2) vs. Nebraska (10-3)

Jan. 1/Outback Bowl/Michigan (8-4) vs. South Carolina (10-2)

Jan. 1/Rose Bowl/Stanford (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (8-5)

Jan. 1/Orange Bowl/Florida State (11-2) vs. Northern Illinois (12-1)

Jan. 2/Sugar Bowl/Florida (11-1) vs. Louisville (10-2)

Jan. 3/Fiesta Bowl/Kansas State (11-1) vs. Oregon (11-1)

Jan. 4/Cotton Bowl/Oklahoma (10-2) vs. Texas A&M (10-2)

Jan. 5/BBVA Compass Bowl/Ole Miss (6-6) vs. Pitt (6-6)

Jan. 6/ Bowl/Arkansas State (9-3) vs. Kent State (11-2)

Jan. 7/BCS National Championship/Alabama (12-1) vs. Notre Dame (12-0)

Carey Could Become Consensus Pick today

Arizona Wildcats running back Ka'Deem Carey can become the UA's first consensus All-American since 2007 with some good news today.

Carey was named to The Sporting News and the Walter Camp All-America teams last week.

The Associated Press team is due out today, and the Football Writers Association of America squad will be released Friday. To be a consensus pick, a player must appear on three of the four teams. The last Wildcat to do so was cornerback Antoine Cason, who was named to three of the four teams in 2007.

Carey said Sunday that a consensus All-America pick "would mean a lot." Just a sophomore, Carey leads the nation with 146.42 rushing yards per game.

"Consensus All-America would be a dream come true. God has blessed me," he said. "I'm looking forward to seeing if that happens, and how that goes."