December 29, 2008 Bowl - NC State (6-6) vs. Rutgers (7-5) (Legion Field Birmingham, Alabama December 29, 2008 3pm ESPN)

Tie Ins: Big East vs ACC or SEC

Dan: Rutgers -7 bowl! Why the “.com”? I don’t get it. As for the game, each team is riding a winning streak – 4 for NC State and 6 for Rutgers. As a matter of fact, Rutgers has been killing its opponents over the last 5 games. Whatever was wrong with Schiano’s team for the first half of the season has been rectified. Meanwhile, I think that despite the fact that NC State’s 4 wins included 2 victories over ranked teams and one over Miami (FL), I am not as convinced in their resurrections. I think it was a product of the weak ACC and kind of flying under the radar. Expect Rutgers to come out firing and not stop. NC State is going to struggle to stop the strong Rutgers passing offense.

Rutgers 34 NC State 20

Matt: NC State +7

You just knew that Tom O’Brien was going to get NC State turned around. It looks like he’s got the QB of the future in freshman Russell Wilson. Both these teams went on great runs to make it to bowl games, and I think that Rutgers wins a good game. The fact that Rutgers under Greg Schiano has proven not to be a flash in the pan is somewhat of a small miracle. He’s a damn good football coach.

Rutgers 30 NC State 27

Mike: NC State +7

Both of these teams, buttressed by great QB play, finished the season on a high note, so it will be interesting to see whether each team can sustain their momentum after a lengthy layoff. Since I believe that these teams are evenly matched, I will take the points.

Rutgers 26 NC State 24

Doug: NC State +7

Maybe the most intriguing thing about this game is that it’s played at Legion Field in Birmingham. Both coaches should have to come out and wear one of those Paul Bryant hats on the sideline.

If this game was based solely on the last month of the season, it probably would have been played in the Orange Bowl. Both of these teams were red hot at the end of the year. If you were a Cincinnati fan, would you have any interest in playing Rutgers right now?? Me neither.

NC State only finished 6-6, but they won their last four games. Tom O’Brien is only in his second year at NC State, but they are already turning the corner as a program. O’Brien is 7-1 in bowl games. Russell Wilson is starting to make some plays at quarterback for the Wolfpack. I think they have a great shot to move into the upper-echelon in the ACC over the next couple years.

Meanwhile, Rutgers is boiling hot as well. They absolutely shredded people down the stretch and won their last six games. Greg Schiano has done a remarkable job to get that program back on track.

I think these two teams are evenly matched, so I’ll take the points and take Rutgers to win a close game.

Rutgers 31 NC State 27

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