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December 29, 2010

College Football Bowl Picks - Texas Bowl:

Texas Bowl

Illinois (6-6) vs. Baylor (7-5)


6 PM, ESPN, Wed. Dec. 29, Houston, TX

Why Watch: Watch because someone’s going to win their first bowl game this decade. Baylor has not been to a bowl since 1994, and Illinois, who has been to two bowls this decade, has not won a postseason game since 1999. Both teams have two game breaking players in Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III and Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure.

Who to Watch: The Illini are going to try to control the game and clock with the running game and will try to force Griffin to beat them with his arm. Because of that, running back Jay Finley needs to come up big. Finley, who had a terrific second half of the season, rushed for 1,155 yards and 11 scores in a pass happy offense. For Illinois, linebacker Martez Wilson will need to come up big, like he did all season long. Wilson led the team in tackles with 101, tackles for loss with10.5 and sacks with four.

How it’s Going Down: Baylor had one of its better seasons in quite some time, and had been having one of its best ever before a three game skid to end the season. To be fare, however, the losses came against OK State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma. For Illinois, the emergence of Leshoure late in the season helped move the Illini to a bowl. The Bears have stopped top rushers this season, including the Sooners DeMarco Murray (62 yards) and OK State’s Kendall Hunter (66 yards). If Baylor shuts down Leshoure, it may be a long day for the No. 115 ranked pass offense of the Illini. Pick: Baylor 30 – Illinois 25

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