College Football Bowl Predictions Part III (New Year’s Day and Beyond): Auburn-Wisconsin, Kansas State-UCLA, and More

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Nov 29, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner (7) hands the football to running back David Cobb (27) during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin won 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl- Orlando, Fla.

No. 16 Missouri Tigers vs. No. 25 Minnesota Golden Gophers

Line: Missouri by 5

Saturday Blitz Vegas Bowl Prediction: Minnesota Wins 37-24

Gary Pinkel and Missouri have a unique skill when it comes to winning. They just know how to do it in baffling ways. When the Tigers lose every statistical battle, too often they still come away with victories even after being massive underdogs. That happened particularly in the month of November. But now, with this team getting respect, it’s not going to happen in their bowl game.

Jerry Kill’s Minnesota Golden Gophers are a physical football team that runs hard unlike anybody Missouri saw based on their SEC schedule with the exceptions of Georgia, Arkansas, and Alabama. Georgia and Alabama torched them, and Arkansas would have won were it not for some fluke injuries in the second half. Yes, Missouri has a great set of skilled defensive players in Shane Ray and Markus Golden. But they’re massively undersized, and to stop them all you have to do is run the ball and be physical.

Doesn’t that play exactly to Minnesota’s strength? Expect Kill’s team to run the ball all day and simply destroy the Missouri defense. Maty Mauk, being Maty Mauk, will have two big plays that lead to scores, but he won’t do anything the rest of the game. Missouri will run the ball well, but Mauk won’t be consistent outside of those big plays. And they’re not going to be able to stop the running game led by David Cobb and Mitch Leidner.

Minnesota goes down to Florida and teaches Missouri a lesson in physical play.

Next: Armed Forces Bowl Prediction: Houston vs. Pittsburgh