Well it’s always nice when the team you pick to win by two touchdowns (Oklahoma) gets off to a 21-0 lead. Then it sucks terribly when they piss away a couple scores in the 4th quarter and are up just 21-14. Then, of course, it’s awesome that they score 10 points in the last 2 minutes of the game to once again cover up the spread. All that to split Friday’s Bowl games with a 2-2 record. Hopefully Saturday puts me back in the green.
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Texas A&M (-10) VS Northwestern
I’ve thought a lot of Texas A&M all season long. I can’t believe they got their coach fired because of being on the wrong side of some very close games against very good teams – but oh well. They are a still a big favorite in this game, and I like them. Northwestern isn’t a very good team – the Aggies are. That’s good enough for me.
Hyundai Sun Bowl
Georgia Tech (-2.5) VS Utah
The Utes were pretty up and down this year, starting off very slow in the Pac 12 then picking it up as their season came to a close. Predictably, the Yellow Jackets were up and down as well, they started well, got shut down here and there, but still won some big games. I think their rushing attack is too tough for Utah, and that will be the difference.
Cincinnati (+1.5) VS Vanderbilt
I think the SEC is very good, but they aren’t as deep as people think. Outside of their big bad group atop the heap, the SEC isn’t quite as powerful as people give credit. Despite flying form the Big East, I think Cincinnati proves on Saturday that the SEC isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
Illinois (-2.5) VS UCLA
The Bruins are 6-7. Give me a break. Illinois isn’t that great, either, but the Bruins don’t do anything well.
Virginia (+3) VS Auburn
Auburn seems to be a tough team for me to pick, for or against, but Virginia is a good squad, and I think they are just more consistent. The Cavaliers have a more balanced offensive attack, even if the Tigers get more respect because of what running back Michael Dyer can do. But Dyer isn’t playing in this game, and even though Onterio McCalebb (his back-up) can certainly do good things with the ball, that absence is a big one for the Tigers. Auburn still has no idea what they are doing at quarterback, and I don’t think 4 weeks off will clear things up. I expect Virginia’s consistency to win this game.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Miami Hurricanes Hyundai Sun Bowl Pick: I like what Notre Dame did down the stretch a lot more than I like what Miami did to end their season. Neither team met expectations as Miami stumbled from a solid pre-season ranking to finish 7-5 and unranked in the Top 25. Notre Dame finished strong, but losses to Tulsa and Navy (they got killed by Navy) weren’t very impressive. They also finished out of the Top 25.
But both teams have plenty of talent, that’s for sure. And both teams are in the midst of a culture change. Sure, Notre Dame has been working with a new coach all season long, but they’re still learning their way with the new HC. Miami’s head coach got the axe and it all starts new in Miami.
The Hurricanes didn’t really end the season terribly, but two straight losses didn’t help their coach’s cause, as Virginia Tech and South Florida both came into Miami and beat the ‘Canes. Miami really had disappointments all season long, losing a game to Virginia and never really beating a “good” team. Jacory Harris had some pre-season Heisman hype, but he really had a disappointing season as he nearly matched his touchdowns (14) with interceptions (12). He was injured a bit, but his inconsistency was obvious. He’s expected to be healthy enough to play in this game, which should give the Canes a boost, but I don’t think it will be enough.
Notre Dame played the Michigan State Spartans really tough, losing by a field goal in overtime in mid-September. But it wasn’t until November 11th, against Utah, that the Irish got a good win. They easily out-played the Utes, winning 28-3, and they haven’t looked back since. They beat Army 27-3 then went to USC to oust the Trojans 20-16 to end their season on a high note. They have some key injuries (RB, Armando Allen – QB, Dayne Crist – TE, Kyle Rudolph among others) but it’s nothing like Miami’s long list of health problems.
I just see the Irish building on their solid end to the season while Miami continues to struggle with consistency.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+3) @ Miami Hurricanes