Seven bowl games down, 28 to go.  Whew!!                                      That’s a lot of football that will be played in the  next 16 days. In fact, 27 of those will be played in 11 days, with a five-day break as we are all subjected to even more hype about Alabama, LSU and the rematch for the national title.

It’s tempting to take an extended vacation and just stay home and watch football later this week. Four games will be played Friday, five on Saturday, and — with the NFL in charge on New Year’s Day — six more will be played Monday.

It’s a look at the games through Saturday, with a guess on what is going to come out on top, and a reason to watch each game.

My bowl picks were 3-3 heading into the Hawaii Bowl being played on Christmas Eve.

Independence: North Carolina (7-5) vs. Missouri (7-5): Missouri won’t be heard from again for a while. The SEC is a different animal. Prediction: Missouri 26, North Carolina 17.

Little Caesar’s: Western Michigan (7-5) vs. Purdue (6-6): Bluefield native Ansel Ponder is a receiver for the Broncos. Prediction: Western Michigan 37, Purdue 21.

Belk Bowl: N.C. State (7-5) vs. Louisville (7-5): The Wolfpack beat Clemson and lost by 30 to Big East tri-champion Cincinnati. The Cardinals also shared the Big East title, but lost to Marshall and Florida International. Prediction: N.C. State 20, Louisville 18.

Military: Air Force (7-5) vs. Toledo (8-4): The perfect matchup. Air Force and Rockets in the Military Bowl: Prediction: Toledo 45, Air Force 40.

Holiday: Texas (7-5) vs. California (7-5): It’s hard to believe Texas played for the national championship just two years ago. Prediction: Texas 24, California 21.

Champs Sports: Florida State (8-4) vs. Notre Dame (8-4): To borrow a line I saw about this game, the winner will be vastly overrated going into 2012. Prediction: Florida State 32, Notre Dame 27.

Alamo: Baylor (9-3) vs. Washington (7-5): Will this be RGIII’s final game with the Bears? He will put on a Heisman-like show. Prediction: Baylor 48, Washington 27.

Armed Forces: Tulsa (8-4) vs. BYU (7-5): Tulsa started 1-3, have lost just once — to then undefeated Houston — since then. BYU has averaged 45.6 in their last four wins. Prediction: Tulsa 56, BYU 50.

Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers (8-4) vs. Iowa State (6-6): The Cyclones pulled off the season’s biggest upset, making Alabama fans a very happy bunch. Prediction: Iowa State 14, Rutgers 13.

Music City: Mississippi State (6-6) vs. Wake Forest (6-6): Someone will finish 6-7. Take the SEC over the ACC. Prediction: Mississippi State 18, Wake Forest 15.

Insight: Oklahoma (9-3) vs. Iowa (7-5): Oklahoma was the preseason No. 1, and they’re playing before New Year’s. Iowa — which is my other team besides Alabama — will pay the price. Prediction: Oklahoma 46, Iowa 20.

Meineke Care: Texas A&M (6-6) vs. Northwestern (6-6): The Aggies are preparing for a move to the SEC. Better win now. Prediction: Northwestern 31, Texas A&M 18.

Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech (8-4) vs. Utah (7-5): Yellow Jackets started fast, but the Utes always finish strong. Prediction: Utah 24, Georgia Tech 14.

Liberty: Vanderbilt (6-6) vs. Cincinnati (9-3): The Commodores are bowling. That doesn’t happen often. Prediction: Cincinnati 25, Vanderbilt 22.

Fight Hunger: UCLA (6-7) vs. Illinois (6-6): Yuck. This isn’t the way to fight hunger. Prediction: Illinois 12, UCLA 11.

Chick-fil-A: Virginia (8-4) vs. Auburn (7-5): The Cavaliers are bowling again, while the defending national champions are without Michael Dyer. Going with the heart in this one, plus an Alabama fan can’t pick Auburn.  Prediction: Virginia 27, Auburn 23.  

That’s enough for this week. The rest can wait a few more days.

—Contact Brian Woodson

at bwoodson@bdtonline.com

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