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During its recent rise to relevance, Duke has taken care of a bunch of first-in-a-long-time things.

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill built the Pirates to win year after year. His vision is working as the Pirates prepare for Florida in the Birmingham Bowl.

Going into the final week of the regular season, the Georgia Bulldogs had hopes of playing for a Southeastern Conference title, maybe even claiming a spot in the four-team national playoff.

The postseason is one "Kokomo Bowl" from becoming the next verse in a Beach Boys song: "Miami, Bahamas, come on pretty mama, Camellia, and Boca, this is not a joke-a." Four new bowl games plus the extra championship game means the process of picking winners has become a title of a movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock: "The 39 Steps." Or is it "Psycho"? I had a good picking year in 2013 because no one mailed me torn-up betting slips from Las Vegas, but this year could be as different as Mike Riley and Bo Pelini. We present the annual worst-to-best:

Here you are, chronically behind in holiday shopping, and you've got the first five of 38 college bowl games to watch Saturday. And yes, there will be a quiz. Our preview:

Over the next three weeks, 38 bowl games and a national championship game will be played from Boise to the Bahamas and various points in between. You should watch them all. Here's why:

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Gold Mine

Each week, I'll (hopefully) talk to a beat writer who covers Duke's opponent. Today we have Andy...

Observations from the 50-yard Line
CharlotteObserver.com