Bowls, Part II
by Big Al
Well, I'm late again on my bowl picks for the second half. But at least I got the first half out done this year. Oh well, nobody's reading anyway. And if you're dumb enough to take advice from me for betting purposes, then you deserve to lose money.
Anyway, since I'm late, I will recap what I would have done had a I had a chance to write my picks. Shouldn't take you too many games to realize I am not doing any ex post facto (is that the right phrase?) reworking of my picks to make myself look good.
St. Petersburg Bowl - December 26
Mississippi State 17 - Miami (OH) 16
Definitely would have picked Mississippi State in this game. In fact, this was the first game in all of bowl season where I was sure on my pick. However, there are a couple of items that were surprising. First, that Miami kept it so close, and even had a chance to win the game. Second, that Misssippi State has a good enough graduation rate to play in this game with a 5-7 record.
Quick Lane Bowl - December 26
Boston College 36 - Maryland 30
No idea who I would have picked. I supposed I might have picked Maryland just for the heck of picking Maryland, but, seriously, no idea.
Camping World Independence Bowl - December 26
NC State 41 - Vanderbilt 17
Probably would have picked NC State in this game. After all, it's Vanderbilt.
Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman - December 27
Wake Forest 34 - Temple 26
Probably would have picked Temple in this one. After all, it's Wake Forest.
Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl - December 27
Army 38 - North Texas 31
No idea would I would have picked.
National Funding Holiday Bowl - December 27
Minnesota 17 - Washington State 12
Definitely would have picked Washington State. In fact, this was the second bowl that I was absolutely sure on, and one of only 3-4 games all bowl season I was absolutely sure on. Oh well.
By the way, this is the Holiday Bowl. Where the hell were all the points? Teams are supposed to lose this game if they only score 38. Does tradition mean nothing to the kids these days?
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl - December 27
Baylor 31 - Boise State 12
Not sure who I would have picked here. Likely Boise State, but I really don't know.
By the way, I'm sorry to see that Jim Grobe coached his last game at Baylor. A highly underrated coach. He won at both Ohio and Wake Forest, neither of which is easy to do. I'm going to miss him.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl - December 28
Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern
Pittsburgh has wins over two top-five teams. How are they 8-4? Anyway, Pitt wins.
Russell Atheletic Bowl - December 28
West Virginia vs. Miami (FL)
I'm happy to see that I need to distinguish between (FL) and (OH) again.
In other news, Miami was on a tear to start the season, but fell off late in the season. Look for West Virginia to make it worse.
Foster Farms Bowl - December 28
Indiana vs. Utah
Advocare V100 Texas Bowl - December 28
Texas A&M vs. Kansas State
Texas A&M was really ranked #4 by the playoff committee at one point? Whatever. Anyway, Texas A&M for the win here. Small consolation, I'm sure.
Birmingham Bowl - December 29
South Florida vs. South Carolina
I'll go with 10-2 South Florida over 6-6 South Carolina. I may regret that, but come on.
Belk Bowl - December 29
Arkansas vs. Virginia Tech
I always love the Belk Bowl for the ads. For Belk. What a complete GD waste of time. I live in northern Ohio, why am I seeing ads for a department store that is found only in, and only sells items for, Southerners? It's a nationwide ad campaign for a store that only covers about one-fourth of the continental US. Anyway, Arkansas wins.
Valero Alamo Bowl - December 29
Oklahoma State vs. Colorado
Things finally start getting interesting.
In a matchup of could-have-beens, two 3-loss teams go at it in a consolation game that is actually a pretty interesting game. After all, the Pac-12 usually doesn't leave they geographical footprint, so it's nice to see them match up against a Big XII team on away turf.
Still can't get away from the fact that Colorado has been much better at home than on the road. Oklahoma State wins.
Autozone Liberty Bowl - December 30
Georgia vs. TCU
How about TCU for the win against a Georgia team that constantly finds new ways to disappoint its fans.
Hyundai Sun Bowl - December 30
Stanford vs. North Carolina
I completely understand why Christian McCaffrey is sitting out this game. Especially considering how much of a beating he take while he carries the entire Stanford offense for four quarters. Doesn't mean I like it, but I do understand it. North Carolina will not be missing some 60% of their offense in this game, which is a key advantage.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl - December 30
Nebraska vs. Tennessee
Two teams that are tough to figure. If both good teams show up, then this will be a good game. If both bad teams show up, then it will at least be a close game. If one bad team and one good team show up, then it's a good thing I'll be focusing on spending time with my kid while I'm off from work. Anyway, I'll go with Tennessee here.
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl - December 30
South Alabama vs. Air Force
I'll go with Air Force over the team I keep forgetting in in the FBS.
Capital One Orange Bowl - December 30
Michigan vs. Florida State
I don't like the new bowl schedule. You know why? Because game like this should be on New Year's Day.
What I also don't like is how many hits Deondre Francois has taken this year. Seriously, how is that guy walking? Every time I've seen Florida State play, Francois has gotten the holy ____ beaten out of him. Michigan will not make it any better, since they have beaten the holy ____ out of every quarterback they have played against. But Florida State will still win like they always do when they play northern teams.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - December 31
LSU vs. Louisville
I absolutely should be picking Louisville in this game, since they have their Heisman-winning quarterback, and LSU is missing their best running back, Leonard Fournette, who is also sitting out this game. But Fournette can be replaced a lot eaiesr than Christian McCaffrey. LSU wins.
Taxslayer Bowl - December 31
Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky
Wow, Kentucky is bowl eligible! Georgia Tech will make them regret that move.
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl - December 31
Washington vs. Alabama
I'd be stupid to pick against Alabama, so I won't. But this game is not an absolute slam dunk pick.
West Coast teams tend to play a more technical game, while southeastern teams play a more athletic and hard-hitting style. Games like this are usually determined by who can dictate the terms on which this game is played. If Alabama can get to the quarterback, then they will win. If Jake Browning has time to let his routes develop, then Washington will win. Even more interesting is Washington's defense against Alabama's offense. Alabama can physically destroy a team... can Washington get some shots in that will make Alabama think twice? We'll find out.
Playstation Fiesta Bowl - December 31
Ohio State vs. Clemson
Ohio State gives up a lot of sacks, and Clemson sacks the quarterback a lot. Ohio State has one of the best secondaries in the country... but has never seen Deshaun Watson and Mike Williams. Clemson.
Outback Bowl - January 2
Florida vs. Iowa
Another reason I hate the new bowl schedule is that New Year's Day is no longer one gigantic orgy of college football packed into one glorious day of nothing but great games. And if the game suck, then you could change to a game that didn't suck. Now, you're stuck with what you've got. Like Florida kicking the crap out of Iowa.
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - January 2
Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin
Western Michigan has definitely earned their spot at the table. But I'll still pick Wisconsin.
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual - January 2
USC vs. Penn State
Another battle of could-have-been. USC came on late... too late... to become what may be the best team in the Pac-12. Penn State dropped one dumb game to Pitt, and one demolition by Michigan, and they are out of the playoffs. That's college football for you. Tip: don't lose.
Penn State's offense seems to revolve largely around throwing jump balls and deep balls. USC should be able to make mincemeat of that. But you would expect Ohio State and Wisconsis to do the same thing, so maybe they are just really good at it? Anyway, USC wins.
Allstate Sugar Bowl - January 2
Auburn vs. Oklahoma
Oklahoma has played one good defense all year and it did not go well at all. Auburn has a good defense. This will go well for Auburn.
College Football National Championship Game Presented by AT&T
I'll tell you what my pick is when I know what I'm picking.