Thursday, December 19, 2013

C picks the games

so many bowls

Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Colorado State (4.5) vs. Washington State
Dec. 21
I like Mike Leach, a lot, but I feel like his offense is easier to stop when you've got time to prepare for it. Plus, Washington State seems to be one of those teams that hasn't gotten better during the season. I feel like (although I will not go back and check) Leach lets me down in bowl games.
My Pick: COLORADO STATE

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
Fresno State (7) vs. USC
Dec. 21
USC is free of the Kiffin burden, so they're better than the record indicates. I am also (without a shred of evidence) a believer that teams play better when they know they have to impress a new coach.
My pick: USC

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Buffalo (1) vs. San Diego State
Dec. 21
Buffalo lost to Ohio State by 20; San Diego State lost by 35. I am comfortable predicting a 15 point Buffalo win.
My pick: BISON

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Tulane (-1.5) vs. UL Lafayette
Dec. 21
Both of these teams lost handily to South Alabama.
My pick: TULANE

Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl
East Carolina (-13.5) vs. Ohio
Dec. 23
ECU has the best midfield logo in sports. Did you know they were moving to the AAC? I didn't. Ohio seems like a team on the decline, losing three in a row before their season-ending win over noted rival UMass.
My pick: EAST CAROLINA, COME ON NOW RAISE UP

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
Boise State (3) vs. Oregon State
Dec. 24
Boise State hasn't really beaten anyone, but Oregon State's best game is probably their one-point loss to Oregon, which is not a lot to hang your hat on. If Boise were a state, it would have a population smaller than all fifty states, DC, and Puerto Rico. Among American territories, only Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Northern Mariana Islands would be smaller. So, the chances for Boise's statehood are, in my mind, very low.
My pick: BOISE STATE

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Bowling Green (-5) vs. Pittsburgh
Dec. 26
I am deeply, deeply disappointed that Pitt is not playing in Birmingham. Bowling Green is pretty good. Pitt, less so.
My pick: BOWLING GREEN

San Diego County CU Poinsettia Bowl
Northern Illinois (-1.5) vs. Utah State
Dec. 26
Northern Illinois will be disappointed to be in this game. But Utah State is still without their starting QB. Theory: NIU plays hard anyway, to be the school record winners.
My pick: NORTHERN ILLINOIS

Military Bowl
Marshall (-2.5) vs. Maryland
Dec. 27
I was kind of surprised Maryland had bowl eligibility. I do not think Andy Redsall is a particularly good coach. Plus, Eddy Randsell will probably have trouble keeping his team's head in the game, since this isn't exactly an exciting trip from College Park (which is a cool town). But it's hard to say either one of these is a particularly good team. I don't have a good reason to pick anything, either in this particular Pick Them selection or in life in general.
My pick: MARSHALL

Texas Bowl
Minnesota (-4) vs. Syracuse
Dec. 27
The seizure guy. Ol' Seizy.
My pick: MINNESODA

Fight Hunger Bowl
BYU (3) vs. Washington
Dec. 27
I believe I'm on record as being against this bowl name, not because I disagree with the goal of fighting hunger, but because the name is stupid. BYU is pretty good. Bronc(Obama) Mendenhall is a good coach.
My pick: BYU

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Notre Dame (-15.5) vs. Rutgers
Dec. 28
Rutgers is statistically one of the worst pass-defending teams in the country. Notre Dame's not great, but they're not as bad as Rutgers, who is just barely better than Arkansas (a bad team who is bad at football).
My pick: NOTRE DAME

Belk Bowl
Cincinnati (3) vs. North Carolina
Dec. 28
Tommy! UNC just drilled right through five mediocre ACC teams in a row, which impresses me not a whit. It seems like people are expecting UNC to win this, and our boy Tommy does best as an underdog.
My pick: CINCY

Russell Athletic Bowl
Louisville (-3.5) vs. Miami, FL
Dec. 28
Teddy Bridgewater wants to look good for the pro scouts. Miami has shown themselves vulnerable to competent passing attacks and also Virginia Tech. I don't think either team is as good as their records indicate.
My pick: LOUISVILLE

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Kansas State (-3.5) vs. Michigan
Dec. 28
Bill Snyder, I would hazard to offer, is the best coach in college football, or at least, he's done as good a job in the last few years as anybody else in American anywhere else has. Neither one of these teams has a big win; probably for Michigan, the best game is probably losing to Ohio State (?). I do really like Michigan's "A Bunch of Big Fat Guys Coaching Staff" strategy, but Snyder vs. Hoke is no contest.
My pick: KANSAS STATE

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Middle Tennessee (6) vs. Navy
Dec. 30
My dad was in the Navy. So, there's that.
My pick: NAVY

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Georgia Tech (3) vs. Ole Miss
Dec. 30
You gotta give this one to old misty. I think Hugh Freeze is familiar enough with read offenses, and has enough time to prepare, that he can handle the option. I would hesitate because Ole Miss seemed to close the season poorly, but Georgia Tech did the same thing.
My pick: OLD MIST

Valero Alamo Bowl
Oregon (-13.5) vs. Texas
Dec. 30
Just eyeballing it, this should be the biggest blowout besides the Baylor-UCF game, right? Oregon has had kind of a disappointing season, but, that's nothing compared to what Texas had.
My pick: OREGON

National University Holiday Bowl
Arizona State (-14) vs. Texas Tech
Dec. 30
Arizona State scores more points and allows fewer per game than Texas Tech. TTU, on a big losing streak, is also prone to turnovers.
My pick: ARIZONA STATE

AdvoCare V100 Bowl
Arizona (-7.5) vs. Boston College
Dec. 31
Was Arizona's surprise Oregon blowout more a sign that Arizona could be a good team, or that Oregon was reeling? I incline to the latter. Still, that's better than BC, who managed to beat the middle of the ACC road. I can see plenty of reasons to pick Arizona in this game, and few for BC.
My pick: ARIZONA

Hyundai Sun Bowl
UCLA (-7) vs. Virginia Tech
Dec. 31
I cannot pick a team which willingly hired Scot Loeffler, after watching what happened to Auburn last season. It indicates, I can only assume, sabotage or perhaps suicidal thinking.
My pick: UCLA

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Mississippi State (-7) vs. Rice
Dec. 31
I think the middle of the SEC is better than the top of C-USA.
My pick: MISSISSISSISSIPPI STATE

Chick-fil-A Bowl
Duke (12.5) vs. Texas A&M
Dec. 31
My inclination is that none of the New Year's Eve bowl games will be close. I expect TAMU to win handily. Duke is pretty good for Duke, and I like David Cutcliffe, but Texas A&M has so much better an offense. The worst team that Texas A&M lost to is either LSU or Missouri.
My pick: TAMU

TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl
Georgia (-9) vs. Nebraska
Jan. 1
I remember this game! My inclination is to pick Georgia to win 45-31. I do not like Georgia. Bo is on his way out. He could be proverbially coaching for his life, but I think he's more the type to get self-destructively angry in those circumstances.
My pick: THUGA

Heart of Dallas Bowl
North Texas (-6.5) vs. UNLV
Jan. 1
pretty quotidian match-up, imo
My pick: UNLV

Capital One Bowl
South Carolina (1) vs. Wisconsin
Jan. 1
Wisconsin hasn't had as good of a season as I thought, and I am surprised they are favored. They mostly beat the teams they were better than in the Big 10. South Carolina mostly beat the teams they were better than in the Southeastern Conference. S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!
My pick: YEAH CLICK CLACK

Outback Bowl
Iowa (7) vs. LSU
Jan. 1
LSU is both more talented and better coached than Iowa, and they play in a tougher conference.
My pick: LSU

Rose Bowl Game
Michigan State (5) vs. Stanford
Jan. 1
I think I've made it clear, by this point, that I don't think the Big 10 is a very impressive football conference this season. Stanford has a couple of surprising losses, but MSU lost to Notre Dame. I think Arizona State and Oregon are probably either one as good as Michigan State, though in very different ways.
My pick: SAMFORD

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Baylor (-16.5) vs. UCF
Jan. 1
If Baylor takes this remotely seriously: bloodbath. Even if they don't take it seriously at all: likely bloodbath.
My pick: BAY, LORD OF THE BEARS

Allstate Sugar Bowl
Alabama (-15) vs. Oklahoma
Jan. 2
we all know how this goes
My pick: ALABAMA

AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic
Missouri (-1) vs. Oklahoma State
Jan. 3
Despite puzzling losses to Oklahoma and West Virginia (!), I think OSU is the better team in a median game. Then again, Missouri only lost while heavily injured and closely to South Carolina, and to an Auburn team playing perhaps the best game of rushing offense in recent history. Of the teams I have watched with any frequency or interest, this is the game I am least sure about.
My pick: OKLAHOMA STATE

Discover Orange Bowl
Clemson (2.5) vs. Ohio State
Jan. 3
So I went into this pick thinking Clemson was pretty good, but, looking at their schedule, they only played strong teams - UGA (at the beginning of the season, before all the injuries), FSU, and South Carolina. They went 1-3, and the two losses were both pretty big. That said, Ohio State has close wins against the Big 10's middle class and a loss to Michigan State. So who the heck knows. I think Ohio State is the better team, but they'll be emotionally volatile after not playing for the national title. Clemson has more to gain from a redemptive bowl performance.
My pick: CLEMPSON

BBVA Compass Bowl
Houston (2.5) vs. Vanderbilt
Jan. 4
Houston's best win is probably Rice. Eh, whatever.
My pick: VANDY

GoDaddy Bowl
Arkansas State (8.5) vs. Ball State
Jan. 5
Ball State won a bunch of games, some of them against teams better than Arkansas State.
My pick: Ball State

BCS National Championship Game
Florida State (-8.5) vs. Auburn
Jan. 6
Either outcome will end up being a surprise to me. On paper Florida State is the better team by some margin. But Auburn has an apparently unstoppable rushing attack and has that "team of destiny" feel to it. I am doing it, I am going with my heart.
My pick: AUBURN!
O/U: 72

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