Vegas College Football Bowl Predictions Part I (Pre-Christmas): Utah-Colorado State & More

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Dec 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Northern Illinois Huskies players and coaches celebrate after defeating the Bowling Green Falcons in the MAC Championship game at Ford Field. Northern Illinois 51-17. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Boca Raton Bowl- Boca Raton, Fla.

Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Northern Illinois Huskies

Line: Marshall by 10

Saturday Blitz Vegas Bowl Prediction: Northern Illinois Wins 42-38

Maybe it’s time to give the Northern Illinois Huskies some respect without Jordan Lynch. After all, this year they actually won the MAC, which they didn’t do with Lynch. And in the past seven games, Drew Hare has been every bit as good as Lynch was last year.

And the team around him has been much better. The Huskies are by far the best team Marshall has played all year (as sad as that is), and they are going to give the Thundering Herd a shock. This Marshall team just gave up 67 points to Western Kentucky in its last regular season game and needed overtime to beat Louisiana Tech.

Yes, Rakeem Cato is a great quarterback that will torch Northern Illinois’s defense. Hare will be better, though. Marshall’s defense has shown an inability to stop high-powered, advanced offensive systems. The system of the Huskies will be just enough to neutralize the Thundering Herd, and they will win a very exciting mid-major shootout.

When it’s all over, Northern Illinois will go down as a better team in 2014 than it was in 2013, and nobody saw that coming at the beginning of the year.

Next: Poinsettia Bowl Prediction: Navy vs. San Diego State