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!

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.

 

Week 11 On second thought, our lot was much better

I was a little disappointed that we were in a quieter lot before the UTEP game. The tailgating was pretty chill. Turns out the other lot was nearly a riot. In hindsight, quite happy that we didn’t have to dodge flying bottles. And with that, my 2021 season is a wrap. I may still hit a couple of games before the season ends, but I don’t anticipate ticking the box. Nonetheless, it was great being back out there, mixing it up with fans all over the country. I am still have a few reviews to publish and those will come out in the following weeks. Other season traditions include my annual playoff rant, which gets kicked off later this month, and my year end summary. But, we aren’t there yet. So let’s summarize last week.

The two games I was most confident in were the ones I lost. I thought for sure Air Force had too much fire power for Army, but like I said last week, rivalry games are dicey. I am not looking forward to making those picks Thanksgiving weekend. Earlier in the season I was burned when I relied on the “Win one for the Coach” sentiment. Hence, I picked Baylor to beat a coach-less TCU which they did not. Things weren’t looking any better at halftime of the USU versus NMSU game. Utah State could not get out of their own way, and while I thought they would win, I did not see them covering. However, they roared back in the second half, getting me the win. UTSA against UTEP was not nearly as dramatic. The Roadrunners were pretty much in control from the first play. A 75 yard touchdown will do that.

Other observations from Week 10:

  • Cincinnati continues to win, just barely. To be fair, you could put ‘Bama in the same category after their sloppy win against a rudderless LSU.
  • I have been busting the Bearcats’ chops for not winning big, but they do keep winning. I have long had the contention that conference foes are tougher wins because they know your team inside and out. Notice Wake Forest falling, along with SMU dropping another game.
  • Amazing that Arizona finally got a win despite three turnovers.
  • Lastly, someone should tell UMass that you are supposed to beat the lower tier teams you schedule.

I feel good about this week’s picks so you might want to proceed with caution. I think Michigan State is going to be hungry after being upset by Purdue. It could be a bad weekend for the Terps. Virginia Tech should beat Duke, but they continue to slide. Things don’t look good for their coach Justin Fuente. I am taking Duke and the points in a bit of an emotional hedge. I know UTEP got spanked by UTSA, but they did have moments of brilliance against the Roadrunners. I think they will take care of business against the Mean Green. UL Monroe can score points in bunches, especially against a 1-8 Arkansas State.

Other notes for Week 11:

  • Cincinnati, please rout USF and don’t let the committee off the hook..
  • The worst game of the week: 1-8 New Mexico State against 8-1 Alabama. That game should not be on TV on principle alone.
  • It is about time for Michigan to choke. Lions in an upset. I have the same feeling about Oklahoma at Baylor. It’s the kind of game the Sooners lose.
  • I like Texas A&M to beat Ole’ Miss in the game of the week. I just don’t trust the Rebels, or Bears or Land Sharks – or whatever the Ole’ Miss mascot is these days.

That’s all got. Enjoy the games

Week 10 Tex Mex Doubleheader!

Despite ESPN Game Day giving UTEP the stiff-arm and instead going to see a 3-5 Tulsa get smoked by the Cincinnati Bearcats at the Nip, I am very excited for the last trip of the season. To be honest, all UTEP had to do was take care of business at FAU this weekend, and I bet Game Day would be coming to El Paso. Instead, they lost 28-25 and there went their bid to host Kirk and the Gang, despite an undefeated UTSA coming to town. Oh well, it will make the Friday night recovery easier if we don’t have to get up to wave our flag at Game Day.

This week, we are trying to attempt the very difficult same day double. That means driving up to Las Cruces Saturday morning to see Utah State lay the wood on New Mexico State at a 2 pm kickoff. I am hopefully the Aggies of Utah will roll over the Aggies of NMS so we can bolt out of there at halftime. It should give us plenty of tailgate time at UTEP in advance of what may be the best game of the weekend when the red-hot Roadrunners come to play the Miners at 8pm. I consider myself lucky to have such a big game at UTEP. Historically speaking the Miners haven’t always been good teams when I have seen them play before. That’s not to say their performance was not spirited – the New Mexico State Aggies maybe not so much. So, that’s the plan for this weekend.

As for my picks, it doesn’t get much worse than last week. Just when I thought I had Vegas on the ropes, I have my second 0-4 week. I had mistakenly thought that Iowa would show up against Wisconsin. That game was lost in the first ten minutes. Rice dragged it out later, going to OT before losing to the Mean Green. I got so wrapped up in the PSU vs OSU game that I lost track of Kentucky taking it on the chin against Mississippi State. That little gem ended my dismal week.

Some other random notes from last week:

  • Miami just jumped all over Pitt. You really can’t give any team that many points and expect to win. Not mention that the ACC Network coverage was brutal.
  • I want to support Cincinnati, but it is hard to argue that they look like a top tier team. They struggled with Tulane this weekend. Of course, so did Oklahoma earlier this season. One more reason for expanded playoffs.
  • Iowa State being Iowa State – no consistency
  • I am sure I have seen a team self destruct quicker than Florida did in the last two minutes of the first half against Georgia, I just can’t remember when.
  • Honorable mention to La Tech for the worst call of the weekend when they tried a bomb on 4th and three with 20 seconds instead of punting. ODU takes over, moves twenty yards and kicks the winner with no time remaining.
  • However, the worst call of the weekend was when SMU, after just tying the game with less than a minute to go, decides to kick off to arguably the best kick returner in the country, Houston’s Marcus Jones. Jones takes it to the house and there goes SMUs undefeated season. Absolutely a terrible decision.

There aren’t many match ups I like this week. I generally don’t like betting on rivalry games because anything can happen, particularly when it comes to the Armed Forces.  However, I have to believe that Air Force can beat Army by at least three points. Earlier this year I played the “Win one for the fired coach” bit and I got burned. Gary Patterson has left a great legacy, but I don’t think it will help TCU beat Baylor. I always bet the games I am at so that leaves me picking Utah State to cover 18.5  over New Mexico State. I don’t love such a big point spread, but I plan to leave the game at halftime so I will be cheering for Utah State to put New Mexico State away early anyway. I would like to keep the cheering and betting aligned on this one. I have a different take on the night game. I am putting my money on UTSA, but it’s an emotional hedge because if UTEP wins, the Sun Bowl should be rocking.

Other observations for the week:

  • If Liberty beats Ole Miss, does that tarnish the SEC and help Cincinnati? I doubt it.
  • Likewise, if Auburn beats Texas A&M, does it weaken Bama? Not at all
  • But, if Cincinnati only beats Tulsa by a touchdown, it definitely hurts the Bearcats Life is hard when you are a Group of Five team.
  • The game not too watch: 2-6 ODU against 1-7 FIU.

Good luck this weekend. In the meantime, enjoy my review of Arizona State.

Week 9 – Halloween

It was another good week of wagering with a solid 3 -1 week, It was not without drama, though. Alabama gave me a good sweat Saturday night as they struggled with Tennessee in the first half. There are definitely some chinks in the Crimson Tide armor. SMU continues to roll and Minnesota took care of business against Maryland. My only loss was Western Michigan. They were covering at the half, but a 21 point third quarter by the Rockets doomed the Broncos. Some other observations from last week:

  • A bit ironic that Illinois runs all over PSU the whole game and then pretty much abandons it in OT. Sorry, that was 9 OT periods of mostly bad football.
  • Rough weekend for the Military Academies that went 0-3 despite playing inspired performances
  • Speaking of inspired performances, San Diego State’s punter is a beast.
  • Oregon was kind of impressive with their win over UCLA while the Oklahoma State loss was as predictable as the turning of leaves
  • Pitt looks pretty good, Virginia Tech does not.
  • Some big weekends coming for the Big 12 and Big 10. It makes me long for an expanded playoff.

Here this week’s picks.

 

A lot of tight picks this week. I was surprised to see FAU an 11 point favorite over UTEP. It may be wishful thinking because I really want UTEP to win prior to my visit next week, but I am taking the Miners this weekend. I think Iowa will win a tight one against Wisconsin. Rice is much improved and I think they can cover against North Texas. I am least confident of my pick of Kentucky. I am a strong believer in the mental aspect of the game. In this case, I would think the kids recruited by Mississippi State feel they are just a higher caliber than the kids recruited by Kentucky. It’s almost like. “Look we can’t beat Bama, but we should not lose to Kentucky”. Of course, I am betting against that philosophy this week, especially with Kentucky getting 1.5 points.

Some other thoughts for the week:

  • Big week in the Big Ten. I guess I like Michigan against MSU and I was tempted to take PSU getting 19.5 against Ohio State. This is the kind of game the Lions play close, but their gimpy quarterback kept me from making the bet.
  • Cincinnati needs to crush Tulane this week to impress the committee along with some help. It isn’t fair, but that’s the reality
  • I am very tempted to head downtown to see SMU play Houston. If someone called me to go, I probably would.
  • Dog of Game of the Week: A 2-5 La Tech against a 1-6 ODU. Tix running awfully high at $25 on the secondary market. Ouch.

That’s all I got. Enjoy the games.

Tree