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Ranking the college football bowl teams: Nos. 51-60

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Bucky Brooks ranks all the college bowl teams based on the quality of their NFL prospects.

Ranking the bowl games
Because college football apparently needs 35 bowl games, it's a lot easier to pick the best game than to pick the worst. Here's a ranking of each matchup from worst to best. More ...

» Must-see bowls for scouts

51. Washington State

Top prospects: Deone Bucannon, S; Andrew Furney, K; Damante Horton, CB; Connor Halliday, QB; Gabe Marks, WR.
Scout's take: Mike Leach has already brought the Cougars back to respectability in only two seasons on the job. The ascension in the Pac-12 should continue with a group of athletic pass catchers snagging balls from an underrated signal-caller.

52. Boise State

Top prospects: Demarcus Lawrence, DE; Charles Leno, OT; Donte Deayon, CB; Bryan Douglas, CB; Gabe Linehan, TE; Matt Miller, WR.
Scout's take: The departure of Chris Peterson won't affect the Broncos' status as one of college football's sleeping giants. Boise State produced 17 draftees during Peterson's time, including four first-round picks in a five-season span.

53. Syracuse

Top prospects: Sean Hickey, OT; Beckett Wales, TE; Jerome Smith, RB; Macky Macpherson, OC; Keon Lyn, CB.
Scout's take: The Orange lacks a headliner among it deep senior class, but scouts will appreciate the developmental potential of several prospects. Smith could carve out a niche as a rotational runner in a traditional pro-style offense.

54. Colorado State

Top prospects: Weston Richburg, C; Shaquil Barrett, LB; Garrett Grayson, QB; Kapri Bibbs, RB.
Scout's take: The Rams are on the rise under head coach Jim McElwain. The former Alabama assistant is using Nick Saban's successful player development model to turn around a program that was an underrated powerhouse for years.

55. Duke

Top prospects: Ross Cockrell, CB; Kenny Anunike, DE; Juwan Thompson, RB.
Scout's take: Credit David Cutcliffe for turning around a program devoid of star power. He has developed a roster of three-star recruits into a 10-win team, which is a remarkable feat. Some of the Blue Devils will earn their way onto pro rosters based on the lessons learned on the field at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Check out special college football uniforms worn during the 2013 season.

56. Northern Illinois

Top prospects: Jordan Lynch, QB; Jimmie Ward, S; Tommylee Lewis, WR; Ken Bishop, DT; Cameron Stingily, RB.
Scout's take: Lynch is one of the most explosive playmakers in college football. The Heisman Trophy dark horse has created a buzz in the scouting community as a potential offensive specialist at the next level. Ward is a ball-hawking defender with exceptional instincts.

57. Ball State

Top prospects: Keith Wenning, QB; Zane Fakes, TE; Jonathan Newsome, DE; Jordan Hansel, OG; Nathan Ollie, DT; Jeffery Garrett, CB.
Scout's take: Ball State has remained a power player in the MAC due to a talented roster rich in underrated players. Wenning will certainly attract some interest from teams looking for leadership and production.

58. San Diego State

Top prospects: Chad Young, FB; Nat Berhe, S; Bryce Quigley, OT.
Scout's take: The Aztecs had a couple of Day 2 prospects in Gavin Escobar and Leon McFadden in 2013. There isn't an early-round prospect in this year's class, but the roster features several developmental candidates for scouts to consider.

2014 Reese's Senior Bowl: Accepted invites
The Reese's Senior Bowl is one of football's premier pre-draft events. NFL Network coverage included Senior Bowl week practices and continued with the game, which will be held on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.

Here is a list of the players who have accepted invitations to participate in the event.

» Official site of the Reese's Senior Bowl

59. UNLV

Top prospects: Jerry Rice, Jr., WR; Tim Cornett, RB; Sidney Hodge, CB.
Scout's take: Bobby Hauck finally helped the Runnin' Rebels turn the corner this season despite having a roster that lacks star power. Rice will get a chance at the next level due to his terrific bloodlines.

60. Tulane

Top prospects: Ryan Grant, WR; Cairo Santos, K; Chris Davenport, DT; Orleans Darkwa, RB; Nick Montana, QB.
Scout's take: Former NFL assistant Curtis Johnson has quickly rebuilt the Green Wave program into competitive contender in only two seasons on the job. Grant and Santos are the team's top prospects, but scouts are paying close attention to Joe Montana's son (Nick) to see if he has the "it" factor coaches covet in elite players.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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