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College football bowl picks today: Dec. 26 games

College football: Kansas vs. Oklahoma

You’ve opened presents, you’ve eaten too much and you’ve watched a ton of NBA and NFL games.

So you’re ready to fire up those bowl games again.

There are three games being played the day after Christmas, so get ready to lounge one more day before going back to work and sneakily watching more bowl games the rest of the week.

After a horrible start to our last picks, we bounced back to win some of the late games to go 4-5, which brought the overall bowl record to 7-10-1. Hopefully, we can get to .500 with these three games.

Quick Lane Bowl

Bowling Green 7-5 vs. Minnesota 5-7

  • Tuesday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Ford Field, Detroit
  • Line: Minnesota -4.5; Over/Under 39.5

We’ve poked fun at all of the 6-6 teams that made bowl games this season. Then here comes Minnesota, the only 5-7 team in the bowl field. Good thing bowls are a reward for a good season. After starting 5-3, it closed the season with four straight losses.

For the Gophers, this bowl is early practice for next season. They’ll be looking at a new quarterback with Athan Kaliakmanis hitting the transfer portal. Cole Kramer is scheduled to start and he attempted one pass, and it was an interception.

The good news is that Minnesota hasn’t lost a bowl game with P.J. Fleck as coach, so even with the transfers, opt-outs and injuries, it has that going for it.

Bowling Green had a four-game winning streak in the middle of the season. The Falcons have had moments of solid defense, which they will rely on against the restructured Minnesota offense.

This is a tough one, but we’ll take Minnesota to cover.

ServPro First Responder Bowl

Texas State 7-5 vs. Rice 6-6

  • Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas
  • Line: Texas State -5.5; Over/Under 59.5

Texas State comes in with the 10th-ranked offense, averaging 470.8 yards per game. The Bobcats have had three 50-point games. Rice counters with a defense that gave up 370.1 yards per game, just outside of the Top 50 in overall defense.

Keep an eye on Texas State quarterback T.J. Finley, who threw for 3,287 yards and 24 touchdowns and running back Ismail Mahdi, who ran for 1,209 yards and 10 touchdowns.

This is the first bowl game for Texas State, which moved up to Division I in 2012. So, they’re due!

Rice quarterback JT Daniels had 2,443 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. He transferred to Rice this season after spending time on the rosters of Southern Cal, Georgia and West Virginia. He won’t play in this game because he was advised to give up football after suffering through multiple concussions.

This seems to set up for a big Texas State win, so we’ll go with the Bobcats.

Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Kansas 8-4 vs. UNLV 9-4

  • Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • Chase Field, Phoenix
  • Line: Kansas -12.5; Over/Under 67.5

Kansas hasn’t won a bowl game in 10 years. Now, before you throw all your money on UNLV, this might just be the streak-breaking year for the Jayhawks. Earlier this season, they ended an 18-game losing streak to Oklahoma, so this 10 spot seems lame in comparison.

Quarterback Jason Bean threw for 1,684 yards and 12 touchdowns in nine games after replacing starter Jalon Daniels, who was out with a back injury. Running back Devin Neal ran for more than 100 yards in four of the final five games.

Kansas offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki left for the same job at Penn State. Quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski will call the plays.

UNLV will plan to keep the ball away from the Jayhawks with its efficient running attack. The Rebels ran the ball more than 30 times in every game but one. They didn’t just do this to control the clock, they averaged 34.3 points per game.

But when want to throw the ball, quarterback Jayden Maiava is more than capable. He passed for 2,794 yards and 14 touchdowns.

This one seems like it could be a track meet. But we can’t take the over, we’ve been burned by that too many times so far in this bowl season. So, while we think Kansas will win, we’ll take UNLV and the points.

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