A bowling we go.

Congrats University of Georgia!

Of course, I bet on Saban and the Tide, but I’d be lying if I said I was disappointed. It was nice to see someone other than Bama win. The SEC, once again, proves they have the best elite teams in the country. Not elite? UTEP – check out the review here.

Current Results: 21 – 15

Here’s my annual Bowl Review with me just picking the winners (in Bold) straight up.  I haven’t even looked at the lines and I need Friday night to finish my picks. But since the games start at noon tomorrow, I have the Friday picks posted now. Of course, betting on Bowl games is a fool’s errand but what the hell. Enjoy the Season, Bowl and Holiday.

Bahamas – Middle Tenn. (6-6) vs. Toledo (7-5) Nassau, Bahamas Fri., Dec. 17 Noon ESPN

Honestly, I think this is one of the best bowls for a MAC team. I am betting their exuberance pays off with a win for Toledo. But, let’s be honest, a bowl game in Bahamas and you are home for Christmas – They are all winners.

PICK Result: Loser

Cure: N. Illinois (9-4) vs. Coastal Carolina (10-2) Orlando, FL Fri., Dec. 17 6pm ESPN2

Not a bad match-up. A classic match up of a big Group of Five team and middling Power Five team. Let’s go with the underdog, Chanticleers all the way.

PICK Result: Winner

Boca Raton: W. Kentucky (8-5) vs. App. State (10-3) Boca Raton, FL Fri., Dec. 18 11am ESPN

This is another nice bowl to get invited. FAU’s stadium in Boca is newish with some attractive features. For the players, you are not far from South Beach and you will be home for Christmas. Going with pedigree here and taking App. State.

Pick Result: Loser

New Mexico: UTEP (7-5) vs. Fresno State (9-3) Albuquerque, NM Sat., Dec. 18 2:15 pm ESPN:

UTEP was a team going in the wrong direction and I wouldn’t imagine going to Albuquerque is a big plus for them. I will take the Bulldogs for the Victory (get it?)

Pick Result: Winner

Independence: BYU (10-2) vs. UAB (8-4) Shreveport, LA Sat., Dec. 18 3:30 pm ABC

Louisiana can be fun, maybe not Mormon fun, but fun. With less distractions, BYU should win this.

Pick Result: Loser      

Lending Tree: E. Michigan (7-5) vs. Liberty (7-5) Mobile, AL Sat., Dec. 18 5:45pm ESPN.

To my surprise, Mobile is a kind of funky, cool little town. Liberty’s QB can sling it. I will go with them.

Pick Result: Winner

L.A.: Utah State (10-3) vs. Oregon State (7-5) Los Angeles, CA Sat., Dec. 18 7:30 pm ABC

What in the world is the L.A. bowl? Tough game to pick, I will go with Utah State in a toss-up.

Pick Result: Winner

New Orleans: Marshall (7-5) vs. Louisiana (12-1) New Orleans, LA Sat., Dec. 18 9:00 pm ESPN.

Not much of a trip for the Ragin’ Cajuns. They deserve better. The Sun Belt victors should roll.

Pick Result: Winner

Myrtle Beach: Tulsa (6-6) vs. ODU (6-6), Conway, S.C. Mon., Dec. 20 2:30 pm ESPN.

As long as Tulsa doesn’t get distracted, they should win based on the strength of their schedule.

Pick Result: Winner

Famous Idaho Potato: Kent State (7-6) vs. Wyoming (6-6) Boise, ID Tue., Dec. 21 3:30pm ESPN

Congrats Golden Flashes. You get to freeze your butts off for your bowl. At least they should be home for Christmas. I am taking Wyoming just because it is a shorter trip.

Pick Result: Winner

Frisco: UTSA (12-1) vs. San Diego State (11-2) (FL) Frisco, TX Tue., Dec. 21 7:30pm ESPN.

So is this the nicer of the two Frisco Bowls? And what in the world is Frisco doing getting two bowl games? Dallas suburbs aren’t that nice. Enjoy the Dave and Busters. This game, however, should be a good one. UTSA has been a bit streaky as of late, but I still like them.

Pick Result: Loser

Armed Forces: Army (8-3) vs. Missouri (6-6) Fort Worth, TX Wed., Dec. 22 8:00 pm ESPN

There should be a lot fans at this game for Army. They need atonement for the Navy loss. I am picking with my heart here. Go Black Knights.

Pick Result: Winner

Frisco Classic Miami OH 6-6) vs. North Texas (6-6) Frisco, Tx Thu., Dec. 23 3:30 ESPN

Classic? I would not describe this match-up as Classic. North Texas because they are closer?

Pick Result: Loser

Gasparilla: Florida (6-6) vs. UFC (8-4) Tampa, FL Thu., Dec. 23 7:30 pm ABC

This isn’t the usual UFC juggernaut. I think Florida wins one for SEC pride.

Pick Result: Loser

Hawai’i: Memphis (6-6) vs. Hawai’i (6-7) Honolulu, HI Fri., Dec. 24 8pm ESPN.

I always wonder if the Warriors like staying home for their Bowl Game. I am guessing yes because they can grab a cheap Christmas Day flight home after the game. I will go with Hawai’i with the “sleep in my own bed” advantage.

Pick Result: Cancelled

Camellia: Ball State (6-6) vs. Georgia State (7-5) Montgomery, AL Fri., Dec. 25 2:30pm ESPN

The Cramton Bowl seats 25k and is home to several high school teams. Awesome. Georgia State in a Bowl that only gambling degenerates care about.

Pick Result: Winner

Quick Lane: W. Michigan (7-5) vs. Nevada (8-4) Detroit, MI Mon., Dec. 27 11am ESPN

Well, at least the game is inside at Ford Field. I know it is closer for Western Michigan, but I like Nevada in this one. I don’t love them though. I am guessing that is the same thing their parents are saying about going to Detroit.

Pick Result: Loser

Military: ECU (7-5) vs. Boston College (6-6) Annapolis, MD Mon., Dec. 27 2:30 ESPN

If the weather was nice and I was stilling living outside of DC, I might consider going to this game. The only rub is the Navy’s stadium doesn’t have a water view. Boston College has been streaky. I will go with the Pirates of ECU.

Pick Result: Cancelled

Birmingham: Houston (11-2) vs. Auburn (6-6) Birmingham, AL Tue., Dec. 28 Noon ABC

This is being played at UAB’s new stadium, which already makes this bowl better than previous versions. A win here would be a nice feather in the Coogs cap and may give some insight as to Cincy vs Bama. I am going with the heart and not the head in this one. Houston for the win.

Pick Result: Winner

First Responder: Louisville (6-6) vs. Air Force (9-3) University Park, Tx, Tue., Dec. 28, 3:15pm ESPN

Another bowl game in Dallas? SMU’s stadium is fairly average but if they let fans tailgate for free on The Boulevard, it might be worthwhile. Air Force in a sentimental pick.

Pick Result: Winner

Holiday: UCLA (8-4) vs. NC State (9-3)  San Diego, CA Sat., Tue., Dec. 28 5:00 pm FOX

Pick Result: Cancelled

Now we are talking – this is a bowl game location. I like NC State to win one for the ACC.

Liberty: Texas Tech (6-6) vs. Mississippi State (7-5) Memphis, TN Tue., Dec. 28 6:45 pm ESPN

Pick Result: Loser

This bowl game has been around awhile. I thought that Memphis should be more fun than it actual is. SEC flexes its muscles here with a Mississippi State win.

Guaranteed Rate: Minnesota (8-4) vs. West Virginia (6-6) Phoenix AZ Tue., Dec. 28 10:15pm ESPN.

This is a bowl game with an identity crisis. It was the Copper Bowl, Insight Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Cheez-It Bowl. Oye, and it is played on a baseball field. Yuck. The Gophers, in particular, deserve better. I like them for the win.

Pick Results: Winner

Fenway: Virginia (6-6) vs. SMU (8-4) Boston, MA Wed., Dec 29 11am ESPN.

Another baseball stadium and this time in the North. Thirty-eight degrees is the forecast. Good luck SMU. I will take the Hoo’s of Virginia, thank you.

Pick Result: Cancelled

Pinstripe: Virginia Tech (6-6) vs. Maryland (6-6) New York, NY. Wed, Dec. 29 2:15 pm ESPN

I can’t imagine sitting in Yankee Stadium in the freezing weather, and I am a  Hokie fan. I am taking Virginia Tech for only that reason.

Pick Result: Loser

Cheez-It Clemson (9-3) vs. Iowa State (7-5) Orlando, FL Wed., Dec. 29 5:45Tpm ESPN

So let me get this right. The Cheez-It Bowl is now in Orlando in what was most recently the Camping World Bowl and was once the Blockbuster Bowl? I understanding the importance of naming rights, but can’t the organizers at least give a common second name? Branding 101. I will take Clemson, I guess.

Pick Result: Winner

Alamo: Oklahoma (10-2) vs. Oregon (10-3) San Antonio, TX Wed., Dec. 29 9:15pm ESPN

Finally a bowl I recognize, but the teams’ coaches – sort of? Two interim coaches so who knows who wins this. I will go with Oklahoma.

Pick Result: Winner

Duke’s Mayo: N. Carolina (6-6) vs. S. Carolina (6-6) Charlotte, N.C. Thur., Dec. 30 11:30am ESPN

Sort of interesting match up at least. I will go with Carolina. As in South Carolina.

Pick Result: Winner

Music City: Purdue (8-4) vs. Tennessee (7-5) Nashville, TN Thur., Dec. 30 3pm ESPN

Tough one here. Maybe Tennessee takes this a little more seriously? I am going with the Vols

Pick Result: Loser

Las Vegas: Wisconsin (8-4) vs. Arizona (8-4) Las Vegas, Thur., Dec 30 10:30pm ESPN

Who wouldn’t like a bowl game in Vegas? This is an attractive matchup. I like the Big 10 in this one with the Badgers getting the win. Not sure how sober the Badger fans will be in, but the team should be okay.

Pick Result: Winner

Peach: Michigan State (10-2) vs. Pitt (11-2), Atlanta, GA. 7pm ESPN

With Pitt’s QB, Kenny Prickett, out for this game, I think I like the Spartans. This is why I don’t like betting bowl games.

Pick Result: Winner

Gator: Wake Forest (10-3) vs. Texas A&M (8-4) Jacksonville, FL Fri., Dec.31 11:00am ESPN

Wake Forest is a nice story, but the Aggies have too much. Another win for the SEC.

Pick Result: NA – Rutgers substituted for A&M

Sun: Miami(FL) (7-5) vs. Washington State (7-5). El Paso, Tx. Dec. 31, 12:30pm CBS

The only thing great about this is the view in the Sun Bowl. Everything else  from the teams to the city is meh. Washington State, I guess.

Pick Result: NA – Central Michigan substituted for Miami.

Cotton: Alabama (12-1) vs Cincinnati (13-0), Arlington, Tx Fri. Dec. 31 3:30pm ESPN

I want the Bearcats to win, but I can’t pick against Saban. Roll Damn Tide

Pick Result: Winner

Orange: Michigan (12-1) vs. Georgia (12-1). Miami Gardens, FL 7:30pm ESPN

I am not confident, but I am not afraid either. I think the Wolverines win this one.

Pick Result: Loser

Outback: Penn State (7-5) vs. Arkansas (8-4)  Tamp, Fla Sat., Jan. 1 Noon ESPN2.

The under achiever (PSU) vs the over achiever (Arkansas). Franklin excels at winning games that don’t matter. Take the Lions.

Pick Result: Loser

Citrus: Iowa (10-3) vs. Kentucky (9-3) Orlando, FL Sat., Jan. 1 1:00 pm ABC

I think Kentucky is a bit over-rated. The Hawkeyes win, possibly by boring the Wildcats to death.

Pick Result: Loser

Fiesta: Notre Dame (11-1) vs. Oklahoma State (11-2), Glendale, AZ Sat., Jan 1, 1pm ESPN

Going with the continuity pick here. The Mullet will have the Pokes ready. The Irish loses another bowl.

Pick Result: Winner

Rose: Ohio State(10-2) vs. Utah(10-3) Pasadena, CA Sat., Jan. 1 5:00 pm ESPN

Buckeyes big in this one. This game alone screams for an 8 team bracket for FBS playoff.

Pick Result: Winner

Sugar: Ole Miss(10-2) vs. Baylor (11-2) New Orleans, LA Sat., Jan. 1 8:45 pm ESPN

This is about when I say I finally believe in Ole Miss and then they lose. Nonetheless, I am picking the Rebs.

Pick Result: Loser

Texas: Kansas State (7-5) vs LSU (6-6), Houston, Tx Tues. Jan. 4 9pm ESPN

I live in Houston, and I would go to this game if a) I could get a ticket for $20 or less and b) I had some Tiger fans to tailgate with. But really, the timing of this game is just terrible. They should have played this one the week before. For some reason, I think K-State will be more prepared, so I am taking the Cats.

Pick Result: Winner

I will update with results as we go. Blue games are played, green are upcoming. Enjoy the bowls and the holidays!

A Brief Summary of 2021

When you hit 9 stadiums in about two months, there are few things that help you along the way. We are grateful for all the things that helped us along the way from big to small.

In other news, I finished strong, going 3-1. It was only Bama’s drubbing of Georgia that I missed. Hitting on nearly 60% of the picks isn’t fantastic, but it’s not bad either. Bowl game picks next week, and I will be lucky to hit 50% of those. For now, take Army.

Final Picks and Championship Week

 

Last week was a good week. I went 3-1 with my picks and locked in a winning record for the year. Compared to TV prognosticators, I am a regular Nostradamus. Ole Miss got me off to a nice start on Friday. It has been a good year for the Rebels, er Black Bears, err Land Sharks. To be honest, I just call them Ole Miss. Wake Forest looked pretty good against Boston College. In the battle of the bottom, UMass continued to proved they are the worst of the FBS. After visiting New Mexico State, I have a soft spot for the Aggies. It was nice to see them get the win. Memphis on the other hand was a bit of a bad beat. They were cruising to a double digit win, so I stopped watching them on one of my smaller TV. I was dismayed later when I checked my phone to see they had gave up a late touchdown and would not cover. I didn’t take it too hard. I was just happy to be in the black again. Some other notes from last week:

  • Michigan earned the win against Ohio State. A solid win for sure. Alabama, on the other hand, were very lucky to win against Auburn.
  • I can’t imagine how gut-wrenching it is to be Cornhusker fan, their meltdown against Iowa was soul crushing.
  • I didn’t fact check it, but the announcer for the Cincinnati game said that their corner, Ahmad Garner had not given up a touchdown in two years. I want to the Bearcats in the playoff just to see how he does against the best of college football.
  • Hard not to like the cartoon wolf on the NC State helmets.
  • You know you are having a bad year when you kicker whiffs on an onside kick attempt. Florida State is second tier for sure.
  • Did a double take watching Texas Tech – When did they hire Will Ferrell as the interim head coach? Apparently La Tech was impressed enough to make him, Sonny Cumbie, their new head coach.

Ah Championship week. Win and advance. Lose and you are out. Well, not exactly. Cincinnati has to win to get in. Not so for Georgia, they will make the playoff win or lose. I like UTSA to rebound and beat the Western Kentucky. It makes me a bit nervous, but I have to believe Georgia will have their way with Bama’s weak O-line and cover against the Tide. I was originally going to take Iowa and the points against Michigan. However, I was reminded of how porous the Hawkeye line has been this year and visions of a Michigan rout appeared. Pitt makes me a bit nervous. Their QB Pickett throws a great ball, but he’s been careless of late and that may be all it takes for Wake to win. Here’s to hoping this Pittsburgh football doesn’t disappoint like their stadium roommate has of late.

That’s all I got, enjoy the games.

 

Gobble, Gobble!

The popular theme of Thanksgiving is that it is all about turkey and football. I mean, sure, there’s family and friends, but that’s a given for a holiday. Truth be told, the quality of the pro games on Thanksgiving is always a bit of gamble and if you aren’t a Lions or Cowboys fan, you are counting on the third game to deliver the goods. Thankfully on Friday and Saturday, the college game has far more intriguing and entertaining contests because it is Rivalry Week. The games are often much closer than they should be thanks to the familiarity of the teams and the emotions associated with the rivalries.

It does make the picking the games a bit dicey. Given last week’s results, 2-2, I am not exactly confident about this week. Last week started off well enough with Houston taking care of Memphis easily. I am glad that Cincinnati finally had a big game but not at my expense. Michigan waxed Maryland and put me ahead. UTSA came back to win in the last seconds of their game, but they just missed covering. It left me even for the weekend.

My other observations of Week 12:

  • Buckeyes had the most dominant win of the season, routing Michigan State, but all will be for naught if they lose to the Wolverines.
  • Utah – Oregon game was another one that was over at half-time. PAC-12 out of the playoff again.
  • Notre Dame will be on the outside looking in if Cincy keeps winning – Not the worst thing to happen to college football given their poor historical performance in the FBS.
  • Loved Missouri going for two and the win against Florida.
  • The Virginia Tech offense was stitched together on a wing and a prayer and they still almost came back to beat Miami. It was a very entertaining game.

I have tried to stay away from the rivalry games this week, but I couldn’t resist Ole Miss getting 2 points against Mississippi State. It was the only rivalry I went with for the weekend. Wake Forest can clinch the ACC Atlantic division with a win against Boston College. It should be incentive enough for them to cover. In a battle of possibly the two worst FBS teams in the country, I am taking New Mexico State over UMass. I saw the Aggies against Utah State and they didn’t look bad for a half. They should have enough to beat the lowly Minutemen. I am not sure why I am high on Memphis against Tulane. I am guessing because a win by the Tigers makes them bowl eligible.

Some other thoughts on a tasty weekend.

  • Ohio State vs Michigan is the game of the weekend. The way the Buckeyes dismantled the Spartans, I have to give the nod to Ohio State even if the game is in the Big House.
  • Bedlam isn’t too far behind in terms of significance, but the winner is still going to need some help given the SEC bias. I was tempted to take Oklahoma because they seem to always have the Pokes number. Again – avoid the rivalries.
  • Maybe Auburn has some magic for the Iron Bowl, but I doubt it. I think Bama’s biggest concern is avoiding any injuries.
  • Both Florida and Florida State have losing records. Given the amount of talent in that state, it is inexcusable for those teams to be that bad. Not sure their game could be any more insignificant.

That’s all I’ve got. Skip the shopping and enjoy the games this weekend.

 

Don’t Blink

We are all done for the season when it comes to ticking the stadium box. We finished strong with eight stadiums. If I average that same number for next five years, I will have hit them all. With only 38 stadiums to go, assuming three additions to the list, I will need to do some heavy planning to get the flow right. For now though, it is time to enjoy the crunch time as the season winds down. But before we take a look at this week’s big games, a review of my picks from last week, as bad as they were.

 

It started off well enough with Michigan State taking care of business against Maryland. I did say that picking Duke against Virginia Tech was an emotional hedge. Of course, it would be the one game the Hokies crushed their opponent. It did not, however, manage to save their coach, Justin Fuente, his job. UTEP continued their slide back to average. That’s two weeks in a row that the Miners have left me disappointed. Lastly, it was no Funroe in Monroe last week with Warhawks getting upset by Arkansas State. Add it all up and I am, indeed, regressing to the mean. Some other brief notes from last week.

  • That was quite the meltdown by Auburn. I turned that game off early and missed the Mississippi State come back. Relax Tiger fans, it could be worst. You could be Texas.
  • Penn State just doesn’t seem to know how win tight games.
  • SMU has some very entertaining running backs. Dudes were rolling against UCF
  • Florida has completely fallen off the rails. A competitive game against Samford?!?

As for this week, I don’t know what to think after a couple of bad weeks. I like Houston to cover against Friday night against Memphis as long as they aren’t caught looking ahead. I do like SMU against Cincinnati. The Bearcats might win, but I think the Mustangs can keep it close. It should be one the better games this weekend and ESPN Gameday should have been at this game instead of the earlier Tulsa – Cincy game. I like the Maryland mediocrity to continue against Michigan. Likewise I will stick with UTSA against UAB, who is only getting 4.5 points. Maybe UAB got a big shipment from ACME, otherwise I can’t see the Roadrunners struggling against the Blazers. Other notes on this week:

  • Air Force against Nevada should be a good game. Kind of regret not putting the Wolfpack on the schedule this year.
  • I’d like to think Wake Forest will beat Clemson. It would be sweet, but Dabo has Clemson playing pretty well.
  • Bama will have no problem with Arkansas. The Razorbacks are still a tier below despite their ranking at 21.
  • 2-8 South Florida at 1-9 Tulane. I recommend any fans going to that game stop by French Quarter and have few Hurricanes before kickoff – anything to take the edge off for that game.

That’s all I got. Enjoy the games.