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.
After both Thursday Night games looked scary for most of the night, in the end I pulled out two wins with Florida covering by a point and Baylor getting a late breakaway touchdown run to cover by a pair. Close but wins nonetheless – keep it going with 4 games tonight!
Armed Forces Bowl
BYU VS Tulsa (-1)
When it comes right down to it, I just don’t think much of BYU. They haven’t done dooty against any good team this year – they’ve played a couple close games, but Tulsa is a solid club and I think they are out to prove more in this contest. Sure, Tulsa got slapped around by Houston in the last game of their pre-bowl season, but they have an explosive offense that might just be too powerful for the Cougars to keep up.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Rutgers VS Iowa State (+1.5)
I’m not super impressed with either of these teams, but Iowa State is the much better team from the much better conferences. The cyclones may be just 6-6 on the season, but take a moment to recognize that 5 of their 6 losses came against ranked foes. The Scarlet Knights lost to West Virginia (#25) by 10 – their only game against a top 25 opponent. The Knights were brutal against Connecticut to end the season, turning the ball over a ton and barely showing up defensively. Big moments, big let down – I expect an easy win for the Cyclones.
Music City Bowl
Mississippi State VS Wake Forest (+6.5)
The Bulldogs were 2-6 in SEC play. The Demon Deacons used their weak conference match-ups to build themselves up to 6 wins. Neither of these teams had impressive seasons. The Bulldogs boast a better defense, but Wake Forest seemed to figure it out later in the year, plus they are getting enough points to make them my pick.
Iowa VS Oklahoma (-13.5)
I’m usually and Iowa fan, and Oklahoma really struggled over the 2nd half of the season, not looking at all like the team that was supposed to contend for a National Championship. With their star receiver’s knee, so went their swagger, and it’s showed. Still, they are too talented, and I’m thinking a month of practice got them to realize it.
Washington Huskies @ Baylor Bears Valero Alamo Bowl Free College Football Pick: I like a lot of what the Huskies bring to the table, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a run at the Baylor Bears. I know that Baylor can’t play defense worth a lick and the Huskies offensive attack, when healthy, is a tough unit to slow down and they can beat you both through the air with quarterback Keith Price and on the ground with the very underrated Chris Polk.
But it’s my belief that the Baylor Bears will just be too much for the Huskies. Anybody watching the Dawgs this year will know that they struggle mightily on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the secondary. Heisman winner, Robert Griffin III has made it his duty to torch all types of secondaries, regardless of scheme or talent. I feel like this game will be interesting and full of big plays, but the Huskies just don’t have the consistency offensively that Baylor does, and since neither defense is in the business of stopping talented offensive opponents, it will come down to consistency on O.
I give that nod to the Bears who have a very solid rushing attack of their own. Senior running back Terrance Ganaway rushed for 1,347 yards and 17 total touchdowns to form a nice pass/throw combination for the Bears.
Washington Huskies @ Baylor Bears (-9)
Florida State Seminoles VS Notre Dame Fighting Irish Champs Sports Bowl Free Pick: I just happen to think the Florida State Seminoles are a very good football team – a team that probably played below what they should have done because they were slowed in the beginning of the year with injuries to their leader and quarterback, E.J. Manuel. When it comes right down to it, FSU finished the season 6-1 over their last 7 games, beating bowlers Florida and North Carolina State. While neither team is a dominant squad, the fact is that FSU played well in just about every game they played all year long. There were no stinkers. They lost by a point to Virginia late in the year, and they didn’t play well that game, but it was hardly a stinker. Losses to Oklahoma, Clemson, and Wake Forest were by 10, 5, and 5 respectively. They were in every game down to the last quarter.
The Irish finished the year with 8 wins in their last 10 games, beating 4 bowl teams in the process including Michigan State. They even played alright against Stanford, though they struggled to score against a Cardinal defense that had given up lots of points.
FSU’s very athletic defense should give the Irish trouble, and since Notre Dame comes in with a question as to which quarterback will get which snaps (Hendrix or Rees) I just don’t see siding with Notre Dame in a close game. I’ll take the Seminoles.
Florida State Seminoles (-3) VS. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
California Golden Bears @ Texas Longhorns Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl Free Pick: The Golden California Bears have played some very good football over the last few weeks, using a heavy dose of their rushing attack to put a foot on the throats of Pac-10 cannon fodder Washington State and Oregon State, barely falling by three to Stanford, then beating Arizona State by 9 to end their regular season. It wasn’t a great season for the Bears at 7-5, but it was certainly a good finish after starting the Pac-10 season with three straight losses and a 31-14 beating at the hands of UCLA at the end of October.
Texas is floundering in the other direction as their solid 4-0 start didn’t end well as they won just three of their last 8 games behind struggling youth at quarterback and a handful of defensive mistakes.
With one team heading in the right direction toward season’s end (CAL) and one team slipping down the hill (Texas) it makes my decision interesting. I’m going with Texas here, mainly because of the yardage differentials they put up in losses ot Kansas State and Baylor. They heavily outgained K-State in their 13-17 loss and outgained the powerful Baylor offense despite losing 24-48 against the Bears. The bottom line here is that they can put up some impressive numbers, and I don’t see them struggling to run the ball against the Bears. Neither team has done much heavy lifting in terms of big wins, but I like Texas better – I think they are a lot more talented and that should show after about a month of preparation.
California Golden Bears @ Texas Longhorns (-3.5)
Toledo Rockets VS Air Force Black Knights Military Bowl Pick: Toledo boasts one heck of an offense, there’s no doubt about that as they put up points on everyone all season long, making them a Top 10 offense with over 40 points per game. Air Force has also been able to put points on the board, scoring just under 7 touchdowns (and extra points) per contest.
The Rockets lost their head coach to the same position at Illinois as Tim Beckman cashed in on his ability to turn perennially poor Toledo into winning program (21-16 over his three season at the helm for the Rockets) and a powerful offense.
I don’t think this Toledo team will lose everything they learned from Beckman, as they’ll continue to gash their opponents for big chunks of yardage on Wednesday. When it comes right down to it, the Black Knights just aren’t good enough at stopping the run and Toledo isn’t terrible in that regards (they aren’t good, but dang near 100 places better than Air Force in terms of giving up yards on the ground.
Where Toledo has been terrible is in the secondary, and Air Force doesn’t have an offensive attack that can take full advantage of that weakness. Toledo will win their 4th game in as many tries with a win over Air Force on Wednesday. The Rockets should cover the small spread, wake up to that!
Toledo Rockets (-3) VS. Air Force Black Knights
As promised here is part 2 of my NCAA Bowl Week 1 college football free picks…
12/20/2011 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl
Both teams finished strong to get into this spot, but FLINT has been the better and more consistent team. When Marshall plays poorly, they get hammered. They are actually -8 per game this season, which is amazing for a .500 football team. Florida International is +7, in comparison. Wesley Carroll has manned the QB position well for the Golden Panthers, throwing 14 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. His squad measures out better in every aspect of the game, yardage, points, defensive stats – and I think they win the Beef ‘O’ Brady Bowl. Good lord, Bowl names are stupid.
Florida International (-4) VS Marshall
12/21/2011 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsetta Bowl
Louisiana Tech is obviously the unknown of these two programs. TCU has done great things over the years, and are one of only two teams that have knocked off the Boise State Broncos over the past 4 years. This is a very good football team with a very good coach. They have picked it up down the stretch and could beat up on the Bulldogs if things get out of hand quick. But, with all the Tebow stuff going on, it’s hard not to look at the Bulldogs change of fortune since Colby Cameron took over at quarterback. The Junior is undefeated as a starter this season, and the team hasn’t lost a game that he’s played in, reeling off 7 straight after a 1-4 start. There are some good wins in there, as well, not just softies. If a guy can get his team to believe and play better in the NFL, he can certainly do it in college. I’m taking La-Tech based on the new Tebow-rule.
TCU VS Louisiana Tech (+10.5)
Bowl games start this week, Saturday, and while there aren’t any big name squads going at it in the first week of action, there’s still some good football to be played. A couple of these teams put together some nice finishes to become bowl eligible, and playing well at the end of the season is big (unless you have a 40 day layoff between games, then who knows how momentum will play out). Here’s how I see these first three games and I will post the last two soon.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
The Temple Owls just have too much rushing attack in their arsenal for Wyoming. The Cowboys have one of the worst rush-defenses in all of college football and Temple hands the ball off 40+ times. Bernard Pierce is the workhorse back for the Owls, but they have a few very capable runners. They don’t throw it much, but I don’t think they’ll need to. Temple’s had an uncustomary good year, and I think that continues with a double digit win in the New Mexico Bowl.
Temple Owls (-6.5) VS Wyoming Cowboys
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Ohio is 9-4 and they have some buzz going into this game because 9 looks like such a nice number, and quite honestly, they’ve been pretty solid this year. They throw it pretty well and have a team-rushing attack that is decent, but Utah State out-rushes everyone, and they will out-rush the Bobcats. When they get beat on the ground, they struggle – the Bobcats, that is. Utah State should run to victory here.
Ohio Bobcats VS Utah State (-1.5)
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
There’s no question that Louisiana-Lafayette can score the football. They’ve put up points against everyone they’ve faced – but stopping their opponents is another story. Basically every time they’ve gone up against a solid offense, they’ve had trouble keeping the pace. They can score, but defensively they’ve given up so much that they need to play flawless offensively to win. SDSU runs the ball very well and passes it efficiently. I think the Ragin Cajuns are in for a tough time trying to stop the Aztecs.
San Diego State (-4.5) VS Louisiana-Lafayette
The easy-to-find history is that Navy beats Army by a couple touchdowns every time they play – it seems to be as good as gold. I know the teams are more even this year, but that’s just another reason for Navy to not take their rivals for granted. Both teams rely on the rushing attack big time as neither squad boasts a quarterback with more than 775 yards passing. You never know, but Navy looks like the better team with a bigger threat at quarterback and a more established running game.
The Midshipmen are having a down year for them, and at 4-7 they are guaranteed a losing season. Still, this team has played tough with good opponents, and I can’t imagine the Knights will be able to stop their rushing attack.
This game could come down to which team can make the big plays offensively, and I can’t help but believe that Navy boasts the best big play possibilities, both through the air and on the ground. Navy can really run the ball as many teams in football at all levels try to base their rushing attack off the Midshipmen if they can’t out physical the opponent. It’s a hard-nosed scheme with great deception.
Navy has beaten Army by at least 2 touchdowns in each of their last 9 match-ups. This could very well be 10 straight?
Army Black Knights VS Navy Midshipmen (-7)
Getting on with it! Here are my college football picks for Week 14 (Conference Championship Week). Enjoy!
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles @ Houston Cougars (-14)
The Cougars have killed me one too many time for me not to take them here. It seemed like my value meter had them taking a hit for like five straight weeks – but obviously, I ended up taking the hit. Right now their offense is too ridiculously explosive to go against them in a game that should very well score over 100 total points. Crazy, these Cougs! I’ll take them, finally.
Connecticut Huskies (+9.5) @ Cincinnati Bearcats
I don’t think the Bearcats are much better than the Huskies. Connecticut does well against teams like Cinci, and I think they stick with them enough here to make it a game. Goodness the Big East is bad.
Texas Longhorns (+3) @ Baylor Bears
I like the Bears and I sure hope they win – it’s just that they played perfect last week and I don’t see it happening again. Texas can really run the ball and that consistency, along with a couple big plays on defense, should give the Longhorns the upset.
Georgia Bulldogs @ LSU Tigers (-13.5) *
The Bulldogs have been very good down the stretch here. But they aren’t LSU or Alabama good. There are only two teams like that. Expect LSU to continue on their demolition of every team but ‘Bama.
New Mexico Lobos @ Boise State Broncos (-49)
This might be the definition of crazy, taking a team to win by more than 7 touchdowns – but I’ve been know to take a wild stab or two. My thinking is this, last regular season game for the Moore, he goes off for like 8 touchdowns like a boss.
Oklahoma Sooners (+3.5) @ Oklahoma State Cowboys
I’m not sure which of these teams is better, but I watched Oklahoma State play last time they had a National Championship on the line – and that looked gross.
Virginia Tech Hokies @ Clemson Tigers (+7)*
The Hokies have been playing great and the Tigers have really hit a lull – but can Clemson really continue to turn the all over like they have the last 4 games? I don’t think they do, and because of that, I think they keep this one close.
Wisconsin Badgers @ Michigan State Spartans (+10)*
The Spartans won outright last time, even though Wisconsin looked like the better team to me. I know the Spartans usually poo themselves late in the year, so that could happen here. I just think they might be ready to take that next step and come to play. Plus, come on, the Badgers defense just isn’t very good.