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!

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

Week 8 Average Slate

Yeah, let’s be honest. Week Eight doesn’t have the most intriguing slate of games. It may be the right time to refill the bank with the boss, if you know what I mean. It is fairly likely that I won’t be watching all day this Saturday. I will just check for winners on my phone. Did I mention that I went 3-1 last week? I don’t know if I am taking my picks more seriously or I am just luckier this year. In any case, it was another productive week. Only Arkansas let me down. In hindsight, their 4-0 start was a bit fraudulent. I should have known. UTEP took care of business. Texas A&M had their game in hand very early. Lastly La Monroe held up the state’s high standards by beating Liberty outright despite being a 32.5 point underdog. I have seen a lot of game in Louisiana – they have great athletes.

Some other notes from last week:

  • Beating Florida could not save LSU Coach Ed Orgeron’s job.
  • UConn not only won a game, it was televised.
  • Even though they beat Texas in a comeback, I am not sure I believe in Ok State. Feels like Gundy is the coach that always has a good team, but one that’s never good enough to win it all.
  • South Carolina stole that game from Vanderbilt
  • Late in the afternoon, I switched to Central Michigan vs Toledo. My reward? OT!
  • Don’t want to jinx my late season trip, but UTEP vs. UTSA is looking good.

This week’s picks coming soon.

 

I love the favorites this week. Correction, I like the favorites this week. I am going to ride SMU until they lose. They should certainly be able to beat a struggling 1-5 Tulane. Maryland may have the same record as Minnesota, but I think there’s a big difference in the level of competition. This is my least favorite pick of the bunch so tread lightly with your wagering. Western Michigan just scores points. I was very confident of this pick until I saw that WMU lost to Ball State, whom Toledo beat. So, this game is essentially a pick ’em. For my last pick, it is ‘Bama, as in “Roll Damn Tide.” I think Tennessee is in trouble in this one. Some other observations on a fairly pedestrian college football weekend:

  • Wake Forest is quietly 6-0. Army should be a pretty good test for the Demon Deacons.
  • Oklahoma State gets no respect. Undefeated underdogs at 4-2 Iowa State.
  • Game day is going to SoCal for Oregon versus UCLA. Hard to fault that pick this week. It may be the best game of the weekend, if not the best teams.
  • Clemson aren’t what they normally are, but it is still a big game for Pitt.
  • San Diego State is another undefeated team that will be tested this weekend, taking on a 6-1 Air Force.
  • The game to avoid. UMass at Florida State. Ugh that’s some bad football.

That’s all I got.

Tree

Week 7 A brief respite

Five games in four straight weekends is a long run. I have to admit that not going to a game this weekend is a nice break. Every once in a while I like to settle in front of multiple televisions and spend the weekend bouncing around games. I just hope that this week can come close to last weekend. I was amazed to see A&M upset Alabama. I did not see that coming. On the other hand, Iowa beating PSU was not surprising. Virginia Tech almost beating Notre Dame, again, was just as painful getting updates as it was watching it live two years ago. As for my picks, Houston got me off to a good start, steamrolling Tulane. ASU did the same to Stanford, but I was unfortunately on the other side of that. It was a bit of a bad beat when Stanford turned the ball over as they were driving for a very late touchdown. I don’t know what happened with BYU but it couldn’t have been good. Thankfully, UCLA brought me to even as they chalked up a couple of late touchdowns to cover. It was nice surprise considering they were only up by one at halftime.

 

This week’s slate of games is worrisome. It is one of those mid-season weeks where the rubber meets the road. Some strange odds and I don’t really like too many games. I picked UTEP partially out of hope. I am heading there in a few weeks, I would really like to see them keeping winning so their game against UTSA has some gravitas. I should probably do an emotional hedge. Instead, I am riding with the Miners. I think the Razorbacks are looking to stomp all over Auburn. The Aggies have no where to go but down, but I can’t imagine them getting lower than Missouri. Lastly, I am picking Monroe just out of pedigree. The state of Louisiana has better athletes than Virginia. Ipso facto, they at least ought to be keep it closer than 33 points against Liberty. Some thoughts on other games this weekend.

  • Michigan State is undefeated and they are only favored by 4.5 over a 2-3 Indiana. Same thing with a below .500 Nebraska being a 4.5 favorite over Minnesota. And, Washington is favored over UCLA. Can’t figure out any of these lines.
  • Florida vs LSU, Meh.
  • Yale vs UConn – This may be the only chance for a Huskie win this year.
  • I’d like to think a 6-0 Kentucky has a chance against Georgia, but I doubt it.
  • The Pitt – Virginia Tech may be the best game on Saturday.

That’s all I got. See you in the cheap seats.