TicketCity’s Bowl Predictions

Mariota2014

Bowl season officially begins this Saturday with the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. In celebration, we decided to pick a winner for all 39 bowl games this season. Will any of us go 39-0? Which one of us has the better picks? What matchup are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments, along with your pick for the national champion. We will update the results as the games are played.

2014-15 Bowl Schedule and Matchups
 

Bowl  Matchup  Ian’s Pick Brandon’s Pick Ryan’s Pick
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Nevada vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Nevada Nevada Louisiana-Lafayette
Gildan New Mexico Bowl UTEP vs. Utah State Utah State Utah State Utah State
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl Colorado State vs. Utah Colorado State Colorado State Utah
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Western Michigan vs. Air Force Air Force Air Force Western Michigan
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl South Alabama vs. Bowling Green Bowling green Bowling Green Bowling Green
Miami Beach Bowl Memphis vs. BYU BYU BYU BYU
Boca Raton Bowl Marshall vs. Northern Illinois Marshall Northern Illinois Northern Illinois
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl San Diego State vs. Navy San Diego State San Diego State San Deigo State
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan Western Kentucky Western Kentucky Western Kentucky
Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl Rice vs. Fresno State Rice Fresno State Fresno State
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech Illinois Louisiana Tech Louisiana Tech
Quick Lane Bowl North Carolina vs. Rutgers North Carolina North Carolina North Carolina
BITCOIN St. Petersburg Bowl UCF vs. North Carolina State UCF UCF North Carolinia State
Military Bowl presented By Northrop Grumman Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech Cincinnati Cincinnati Virginia Tech
Hyundai Sun Bowl Duke vs. Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State
Duck Commander Independence Bowl Miami vs. South Carolina Miami South Carolina South Carolina
New Era Pinstripe Bowl BC vs. Penn State BC BC Penn State
National University Holiday Bowl Nebraska vs. USC USC Nebraska Nebraska
AutoZone Liberty Bowl West Virginia vs. Texas A&M West Virginia West Virginia West Virginia
Russell Athletic Bowl Clemson vs. Oklahoma Clemson Clemson Oklahoma
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl Texas vs. Arkansas Texas Arkansas Arkansas
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl LSU vs. Notre Dame LSU LSU LSU
Belk Bowl Louisville vs. Georgia Georgia Georgia Georgia
Foster Farms Bowl Maryland vs. Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Ole Miss vs. TCU Ole Miss TCU Ole Miss
VIZIO Fiesta Bowl Boise State vs. Arizona Arizona Arizona Arizona
Capital One Orange Bowl Mississippi State vs. Georgia Tech Mississippi State Mississippi State Mississippi State
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl Minnesota vs. Missouri Missouri Missouri Minnesota
Outback Bowl Wisconsin vs. Auburn Auburn Auburn Wisconsin
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic Michigan State vs. Baylor Baylor Baylor Michigan State
Rose Bowl Game Presented By Northwestern Mutual Oregon vs. Florida State Oregon Florida State Florida State
Allstate Sugar Bowl Alabama vs. Ohio State Alabama Alabama Alabama
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Houston vs. Pittburgh Houston Houston Houston
TaxSlayer Bowl Iowa vs. Tennessee Tennessee Iowa Tennessee
Valero Alamo Bowl Kansas State vs. UCLA Kansas State Kansas State Kansas State
TicketCity Cactus Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Washington Washington Oklahoma State Oklahoma State
Birmingham Bowl East Carolina vs. Florida Florida East Carolina Florida
GoDaddy Bowl Toledo vs. Arkansas State Arkansas State Arkansas State Arkansas State
College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T TBD Oregon* Alabama*

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Durant’s Return Elevates OKC Thunder

KevinDurant2014

With Kevin Durant back in tow, the Oklahoma City Thunder are beginning to look like last year’s Western Conference finalists’ team. Durant came back to the hardwood on Tuesday, December 2nd when the Thunder visited the New Orleans Pelicans. Anthony Davis and the Pelicans were victorious that night, but Oklahoma City hasn’t lost since with six consecutive wins, getting the Thunder back to a respectable record and right back in the thick of the playoff hunt.

It’s an obvious observation, but Durant has profoundly impacted the Thunder since his return. Role players who were thrust into significantly more minutes than accustomed are now back to their natural roles. And with their other star – Russell Westbrook – the Thunder no longer need to scrounge for the 40-50 points that the duo typically puts up in a given night. The offense has scored more than 100 points in all but one of the seven games since Durant’s return, a number they eclipsed just four times on the first seventeen games of the season without him.

On offense, it’s clear just how impactful Duran’s return has been, but on the defensive side of the ball, Oklahoma City has been much better as well. While they’ve surpassed 100 points in all but one game with Durant offensively, they’ve also allowed more than 100 points just twice time over the past seven games. That includes holding the Cleveland Cavaliers – one of the highest scoring teams in the league – to just 94 points in a 103-94 win last Thursday. Westbrook was the star of that game, scoring 26 points and adding 7 rebounds and 8 assists, but Durant was close behind, chipping in 19 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.

Nonetheless, that meeting with Cleveland was without the Cavaliers’s best player – LeBron James. LeBron’s absence was certainly felt, much as Durant’s was felt earlier in the season. The teams do meet in Cleveland on January 25th so the Thunder will get another crack at the Cavs, perhaps this time with LeBron.

Durant’s return also means OKC Thunder tickets have gone back up to their normal clip. The average price for Thunder tickets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena is $196 for the remainder of the season. The average ticket price was just $116 for the first eleven games of the season. That is a 69% increase in average price since Durant’s return to the court.

The Thunder have several big games taking place at home over the next few months, highlighted by a January 16th meeting with the Golden State Warriors who are currently on a sixteen game winning streak and are atop the Western Conference. If the season began today, the Thunder would not qualify for the playoffs, but they trail the Phoenix Suns who are currently in the 8th spot by just half a game. The Thunder took down Phoenix Sunday afternoon 112-88 and they’ll get another shot at them December 31st. With the way Durant is playing, chances are good it will be the Thunder in the 8th spot come New Year’s Eve and the Phoenix Suns trailing behind them.

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The Winter Classic Is the NHL at Its Best

Warmups

The 2015 Winter Classic will be held at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. this season, pitting the hometown Washington Capitals against the Chicago Blackhawks. This will be the first outdoor NHL game to be played at Nationals Park, and the first time the Capitals have hosted the yearly event.

Though the Capitals have never hosted a Winter Classic, they are not new to the game. Four years ago, Alexander Ovechkin and company met Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field. They were featured on HBO’s 24/7 during the month of December and many players on the 2011-12 team remain so they will be prepared for the hype and build-up that is a staple of the Winter Classic. This year, HBO will not be running their 24/7 show, but the Capitals will still have cameras in their faces as there will be a four-part series chronicled on EPIX.com and NHL.com leading up to January 1st.

The Blackhawks are also quite familiar with the Winter Classis as they hosted the 2009 game at Wrigley Field. Chicago lost to the Detroit Red Wings 6-4 so they will be looking to even their Winter Classic record to .500.

Though it’s been five years since Chicago last played in a Winter Classic, they were involved in last year’s first ever Stadium Series. The Blackhawks hosted the aforementioned Penguins at Soldier Field on March 1st, a game they would go on to win 5-1.

So both teams have played an outdoor game during the past four years and both teams will be ready to go come the New Year. Chicago has looked particularly impressive coming out of the gate, garnering 37 points in their first 27 games of the season. Washington has been less impressive (28 points in their first 26 games) but they would qualify for the playoffs if the postseason were to begin today.

Winter Classic tickets begin at $285 on TicketCity. Though it’s natural to believe tickets that are closest to the action are the best, for outdoor hockey games, tickets that are elevated a bit are typically much more attractive. That is why you find many of the highest-priced tickets are located in the mezzanine section located behind home plate (Sections 206-221.) Due to the fact that there is a lot of operational equipment and personnel that are located on the field during the game, it’s difficult for many fans seated in the lower level to actually see what is taking place on the rink.

With the quantity of tickets still relatively high, it’s expected that ticket prices will fall as we get closer to January 1st. The weather will also play a major role, though previous Winter Classic have dealt with snow, rain, blustery conditions, and freezing temperatures, and it has hardly swayed many fans from enjoying one of the game’s best spectacles. Nonetheless, if the weather forecast is bleak for D.C. come the New Year, chances are ticket prices will dip into the $100-200 range as a get-in price. Either way, you can expect a well-fought game between two of the NHL’s most talented teams.

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