Let’s Go Bowling

 

Bowl Game UPDATE: I managed a bit of rally as the bowl season closed and will finish slightly above 500. Like I said, if you are putting money on bowl games, you might as well be betting on the greyhounds. Anything can happen, but I did get LSU winning the championship right. Geaux Tigers indeed.  

 

Here’s my annual Bowl Review with me just picking the winners (in bold) straight up.  I haven’t even looked at the lines yet. I say that betting on Bowl games is a fool’s errand but I guess the heart wants what the heart wants. Enjoy the seasons, Bowl and Holiday.

Makers Wanted:  Bahamas – Buffalo (7-5) vs. Charlotte (7-5) Nassau, Bahamas Fri., Dec. 20 2:00 pm ESPN

What a great bowl game for Buffalo, giving them a chance to leave the snow and cold and play in the Bahamas. If there was ever a bowl game to go to as an Alum, this is the one. I am going with the 49ers due to a higher level of concentration. LOSS. This one wasn’t even close. Buffalo rocks Charlotte 31- 0

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco: Utah State(7-5) vs. Kent State(6-6) Frisco, TX Fri., Dec. 20 7:30 pm ESPN2

It is long way for Kent State to come and a relative easy trip for the Utah State faithful. At least they get to go to the west coast. Oh wait, this is Frisco, Texas, not San Frisco – sorry Mom and Dad. The travel, combined with a down year for the MAC, and I like Utah State. LOSS. The Golden Flashes shine with a 10 point win, 51 – 41.

Air Force Reserve Celebration: Alcorn State(9-3) vs. North Carolina A&T (8-3) Atlanta, GA Sat., Dec. 20 Noon ABC

No idea on this. Alcorn State I guess. LOSS. Almost feels like I should not count this one, but I will. N.C. A&T 64 – 44.

New Mexico: Central Michigan(8-5) vs. San Diego State(9-3) Albuquerque, NM Sat., Dec. 20 2:00 pm ESPN:

I was not impressed with Central Michigan in the MAC Championship. I like San Diego State. WIN. San Diego State rolls 48-11.

FBC Mortgage Cure: Liberty(7-5) vs. Georgia Southern(7-5) Orlando, FL Sat., Dec. 20 2:30 pm CBSSN

Didn’t Rutgers beat Liberty in the regular season? How did they make a bowl? I love that Hugh Freeze, fresh off an escort scandal at Ole Miss, became the head coach of the evangelical Liberty. I wonder how many times he had to be baptized to get that stink off? Georgia Southern wins this one. LOSS. Liberty wins 23 – 6. I think this one is more telling about Rutgers than Liberty. The psychological part of the game should not be underestimated and I have to believe the guys at Rutgers said to themselves, “I am a Power Five athlete and we may be bad, but we don’t lose to Group of Five teams.” 

Cheribundi Boca Raton: SMU(10-2) vs. Florida Atlantic(10-3) Boca Raton, FL Sat., Dec. 20 3:30 pm ABC.

FAU wins ten games and they have to stay home and host SMU.  And, they are losing their coach. I think the Ponies will run away with this one as I can’t imagine too many “Win one for Lane!” cheers coming from the Owls.LOSS. Maybe they do love Lane. FAU 52 – SMU 28

Camellia: FIU(6-6) vs. Arkansas State(7-5) Montgomery, AL Sat., Dec. 20 5:30 pm ESPN

It wasn’t too long ago that FIU was listed as my worst stadium to visit. They have certainly improved in play and in my rankings (thanks to awful experiences at Duke and UAB).  I still like the Red Wolves of Arkansas State. WIN. Whew, thank god the Red Wolves win 34 – 26.

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas (19) Boise State(12-1) vs. Washington(7-5) Las Vegas, NV Sat., Dec. 20 7:30 pm ABC.

I think Boise has a chip on their shoulder. I like them to make a statement for the Mountain West and beat the Huskies of Washington. LOSS. Turns out this was a statement game, but it was the Huskies making all the comments. See my Rutgers – Liberty comments for my analysis on this on. Washington 38 – 7.

R+L Carriers New Orleans: (20) Appalachian State(12-1) vs. UAB(9-4) New Orleans, LA Sat., Dec. 20 9:00 pm ESPN.

At least there is some consolation for App. State not getting a New Year’s Day bowl by getting a trip to New Orleans. I have no love for UAB and look for the Mountaineers to roll over the Blazers. WIN. The Mountaineers had me grumbling early in this one, but came back to win strong, 31-7.

Bad Boy Mowers: Gasparilla UCF(9-3) vs. Marshall Tampa(8-4), FL Mon., Dec. 23 2:30 pm ESPN.

This should be a good game to watch. UCF is still awfully good and Marshall had some tough non-conference games against Cincinnati and Boise State. UCF in a close one. WIN. The Knights win 48-25 in a game not as close as I thought.

SoFi Hawai’i Hawaii(9-5) vs. BYU(7-5) Honolulu, HI Tue., Dec. 24 8:00 pm ESPN

It would be interesting to know how the Rainbows feel about this game. You would think there is some glamour in playing a mainland bowl game. However, they may just think it is a pain in the neck. With this game, they can play the game and still have Christmas at home (if they are local). I saw Hawaii this year and they impressed me their pluck and grit. Rainbows to win this one. WIN. The Rainbow Warriors win in dramatic fashion.

Walk-On’s Independence: Louisiana Tech(9-3) vs. Miami(6-6) (FL) Shreveport, LA Thu., Dec. 26 4:00 pm ESPN

Miami is pretty awful and the Dawgs do not lose bowl games. It is a mortal lock that the Louisiana Tech wins this one. WIN. The Dawgs shut out Miami, as expected.

Quick Lane: Pitt(7-5) vs. Eastern Michigan(6-6) Detroit, MI Thu., Dec. 26 8:00 pm ESPN

Is Eastern Michigan just happy to be here or will they come to play? The same could be said for Pitt. I still like the Panthers in this one. WIN. Pitt by four

Military North Carolina(6-6) vs. Temple(8-4) Annapolis, MD Fri., Dec. 27 Noon ESPN

This is an interesting game. Temple is pretty good this year and UNC has been exciting, if not consistent. I like the Owls in a tight one. LOSS. Ha, I couldn’t have been more wrong as UNC cruised past the Owls 55 -13.

New Era Pinstripe Michigan State(6-6) vs. Wake Forest(8-4) Bronx, NY Fri., Dec. 27 3:20 pm ESPN

I saw this game, and thought this is only a game an alum could love. I guess freezing your butt off is compensated by having a holiday in NYC. Wake Forest, I guess…but really who cares about this dog? LOSS. Michigan State wins a close one, 27-21.

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas: (25) Oklahoma State (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5) Houston, TX Fri., Dec. 27 6:45 pm ESPN.

This game should be a great atmosphere. Both schools are a reasonable drive to Houston so I would guess NRG Stadium will be packed. In addition, these teams are pretty reasonably matched. I think Jimbo Fisher would like to quiet the “Former Students” of A&M. So I am going with the Aggies, but with little confidence after their shellacking at the hands of LSU. WIN. Aggies by 3.

SDCCU Holiday (22) USC(8-4) vs. (16) Iowa(9-3) San Diego, CA Fri., Dec. 27 8:00 pm FS1

It was surprising to see USC right the ship as the season progressed. This game strikes me as a pick ‘em. Given Ferentz’s streaky bowl record, I am going to roll the dice with the Trojans. LOSS. Iowa handles USC easily. 49- 24

Cheez-It Air Force(10-2) vs. Washington State(6-6) Phoenix, AZ Fri., Dec. 27 10:15 pm ESPN

I completely slept on Air Force this year. I had no idea they were having such a good year. At a minimum this should be a good game because Mike Leach always seems to make it interesting with the Cougars. Like I said, I know nothing about the Falcons but I am going to go with them. WIN. Air Force wins by 10.

Goodyear Cotton (17) Memphis(12-1) vs. (10) Penn State(10-2) Arlington, TX Sat., Dec. 28 Noon ESPN

While I wanted App State to get the New Year’s Day bid, it is hard to argue with Memphis getting the game. The Nittany Lions seem to think they are better than they really are.  I think this will be a really entertaining game. I am going with PSU, but grudgingly. WIN. Memphis hung with them for awhile, but PSU eventually took care of business, 53-39.

Camping World (15) Notre Dame (10-2) vs. Iowa State(7-5) Orlando, FL Sat., Dec. 28 Noon ABC

Notre Dame is another team that thinks they are better than what they are. The Irish are a bit dicey and Iowa State has lost a ton of close games this year. I am going to go with the sentimental pick and take Iowa State. Here’s to Purdy playing his ass off. LOSS. All Irish in this one, 33 – 9. 

Chick-fil-A Peach: (4) Oklahoma(12-1) vs. (1) LSU (13-0)  Atlanta, GA Sat., Dec. 28 4:00 pm ESPN

Oklahoma is good but LSU is great. Tigers are going to roll in this one. WIN. Yep Tigers all the way.

PlayStation Fiesta: (3) Clemson(13-0) vs. (2) Ohio State (13-0) Glendale, AZ Sat., Dec. 28 8:00 pm ESPN

This one should be a dandy. I am going with the Buckeyes only because they have played a tougher schedule. LOSS. Clemson in a great one.

SERVPRO First Responder: WKU(8-4) vs. Western Michigan(7-5) Fort Worth, TX Mon., Dec. 30 12:30 pm ESPN.

Hmmm. Nothing to say here. I guess I will go with the Hilltoppers. WIN. Hilltoppers by three.

Franklin Amer. Mort. Music City: Mississippi State(6-6) vs. Louisville(7-5) Nashville, TN Mon., Dec. 30 4:00 pm ESPN

Mississippi State is another middling SEC team. Louisville isn’t much better. The Cardinals in a toss up. WIN. Louisville by ten.

Redbox California(7-5) vs. Illinois(6-6) Santa Clara, CA Mon., Dec. 30 4:00 pm FOX

I guess I might bounce over to this game if the Peach Bowl gets out of hand. I saw Illinois nearly lose to UConn. I will go with the Bears. WIN. This was one I thought was a lock. The Illini were just too inconsistent.

Capital One Orange (9) Florida(10-2) vs. (24) Virginia(9-4) Miami Gardens, FL Mon., Dec. 30 8:00 pm ESPN

The ACC is hoping Virginia makes this a statement game. I am not sure they have enough to beat Florida. My money is on the Gators, but my heart is with the Hoos. LOSS. The Gators do their part for the SEC.

Belk: Virginia Tech(8-4) vs. Kentucky(7-5) Charlotte, NC Tue., Dec. 31 Noon ESPN

Unless they revert back to early season form, the Hokies should take care of the Wildcats. Virginia Tech gets the win. LOSS. Another frustrating loss for the Hokie faithful.

Tony the Tiger Sun:  Florida State(6-6) vs. Arizona State(7-5) El Paso, TX Tue., Dec. 31 2:00 pm CBS

How did Florida State manage to make it to a bowl game? ASU was hot and cold this season. I am going with the Sun Devils in this one. WIN. Herm Edwards for the win.

AutoZone Liberty (23) Navy(9-2) vs. Kansas State(8-4) Memphis, TN Tue., Dec. 31 3:45 pm ESPN

Navy could go from ten losses to ten wins if they beat Army this weekend. What a turnaround for the Midshipmen. K-State is pretty good but I am going with Navy in a sentimental pick. WIN. Boy did Navy have a good year or what?

NOVA Home Loans Arizona: Wyoming(7-5) vs. Georgia State(7-5) Tucson, AZ Tue., Dec. 31 4:30 pm CBSSN.

Ouch, this game has about as much appeal as a wide awake colonoscopy.  Wyoming I guess. WIN. Wyoming wins big.

Valero Alamo (11) Utah(11-2) vs. Texas(7-5) San Antonio, TX Tue., Dec. 31 7:30 pm ESPN

This is practically a home game for UT and they will need all the help they can get against the Utes.  The inconsistency of the Longhorns gets them again. Utah wins. LOSS. This one hurt. I can’t believe that Utah didn’t even show up for this game.

Outback (18) Minnesota(10-2) vs. (12) Auburn(9-3) Tampa, FL Wed., Jan. 1 1:00 pm ESPN

I was going to go with Auburn just on their SEC credentials but then I thought about the Gophers stingy DBs and Bo Nix’s tendency to throw the ball all over the field. This is a pick ‘em, but I am going with the Gophers. WIN. I don’t know what Minnesota has coming back, but they will be on my radar next preseason.

Vrbo Citrus (14) Michigan(9-3) vs. (13) Alabama(10-2) Orlando, FL Wed., Jan. 1 1:00 pm ABC

So apparently Saban is less than thrilled with this game while Harbaugh sees it as a way to save his job. No need for a fifth quarter for the JV’s in this one, half of them will be starting in this one. Roll Damn Tide. WIN. Michigan thumped again. Not much of a surprise here.

Rose Bowl Game (6) Oregon(11-2) vs. (8) Wisconsin(10-3) Pasadena, CA Wed., Jan. 1 5:00 pm ESPN

This should be a game worth watching. My guess is the Badgers wear down the Ducks with a heavy dose of a punishing ground game. LOSS. The one point win by Oregon was as great a game as predicted.

Allstate Sugar (5) Georgia(11-2) vs. (7) Baylor (11-2) New Orleans, LA Wed., Jan. 1 8:45 pm ESPN

I am going with the Bulldogs because even I can’t escape the SEC bias. The Bears had a nice run, but I don’t they are going to have a good time at the Sugar Bowl. WIN. Georgia wins in a game closer than I thought it was going to be.

TicketSmarter Birmingham: Boston College(6-6) vs. (21) Cincinnati(10-3) Birmingham, AL Thu., Jan. 2 3:00 pm ESPN.

It is another crime that Boston College gets a Bowl Game. Cincinnati is going to crush them. WIN. As predicted, the Bear Cats crush the Eagles, 38 – 6.

TaxSlayer Gator Indiana (8-4) vs. Tennessee (7-5) Jacksonville, FL Thu., Jan. 2 7:00 pm ESPN

I stopped watching Tennessee after they lost to Georgia State. They managed to feast on the weak sisters of the SEC to climb back to a bowl.  I think the Hoosiers are better and will win. LOSS. Thanks alot Indiana. This win goes a long way to supporting the claims of SEC dominance because no one will remember it was a one point game.

Famous Idaho Potato: Ohio (6-6) vs. Nevada (7-5) Boise, ID Fri., Jan. 3 3:30 pm ESPN

I guess Ohio and Nevada are lucky that folks are probably taking Friday off, otherwise there would be no one to watch this dreck. Nevada wins on the basis of a shorter trip to the game. LOSS. Well congrats to the Bobcats or something.

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces: Southern Miss (7-5) vs. Tulane (6-6) Fort Worth, TX Sat., Jan. 4 11:30 am ESPN.

Boy, Tulane really fell apart as the season came to the end. I am going with Conference USA in this one. Fly Eagles fly. LOSS. Grrr. What the hell, Southern Miss? This game wasn’t even close.

LendingTree Louisiana (10-3) vs. Miami (Ohio) (8-5) Mobile, AL Mon., Jan. 6 7:30 pm ESPN

I can’t believe that Miami won the MAC. Talk about winning with smoke and mirrors. As I noted in my review of South Alabama, Mobile is a pretty cool place. I hope the Bobcat faithful have a good weekend, because the Ragin’ Cajuns are going to run away with the game on Monday night. WIN. They did not exactly run away with it, but the Cajuns hung on to win.

CFP National Championship Semifinal Winners New Orleans, LA Mon., Jan. 13 8:00 pm ESPN:

Geaux Tigers. WIN. At least Clemson kept it close for a while.

Touchdown Jesus here we come

We are off to Notre Dame this week to see the Hokies take on the Fighting Irish. I have had this game circled since last year when when we picked it for our group trip. Of course, it did almost get erased a couple of times like when V. Tech nearly lost to Furman. With a number of “perils of Pauline” type wins and rotating QBs, the Hokies somehow have managed to right the ship and come in at 5-2. Notre Dame is also 5 – 2 but had been in the top ten all year until last week’s blowout at Michigan dropped them to number 16. Nonetheless, the Hokies are still getting 17 points this weekend and despite my best judgement I am picking them. Before I go into my other picks, some thoughts on Week 9 in FBS College Football.

  • No reason OU should complain about that onside kick call. It was the right call and it should have never came to that.
  • Nice upset of the Longhorns by the Horned Frogs, but ugh, those TCU uniforms. Rough week for the sartorial crowd between those uniforms and the perennial worst band uniforms sported by Texas.
  • Wisconsin did not show up against Ohio State. Not much fight in those Badgers
  • Gophers looked good in their gold helmets. I can’t say much about their actual play as their opponent was Maryland. We will find out soon enough if they are real when PSU comes to town. I bet Game Day gave that game some consideration, but given they were just at Penn State they made Memphis their choice this weekend.
    • The PSU tight ends are very good by the way.
  • Ohio State’s Chase Young is a beast. Four sacks, five tackles for a loss, and two forced fumbles. 
  • Auburn LSU didn’t feel as close as the score was. LSU was in control the whole time.
  • Love the UNC helmets, but not the navy blue uniforms.
  • SMU escaped with the win against Houston. They are going to have to step it up against Memphis if they want to stay undefeated.
  • The American Athletic Conference is a good conference – end of discussion.
  • Pitt defense chokes on the last Hurricane drive. Coach Pat Narduzzi let that game get away.

Some great finishes with the 3:30 EST games. It was one big finish after another and I was able to rotate them all through on the big 65″ silly in the Man Cave. Five TVs may seem like overkill, but it was well worth it last Saturday.

  • Navy gets the big kick to beat Tulane. I assume all the midshipmen got a weekend pass. Nice work by a true freshman kicker.
  • Couldn’t be happier for Mac Brown with that last second win against Duke.
  • Texas Tech tried to do too much – Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

As for the remainder of my picks, Tulane kept it close and Utah easily covered. Clemson just rolled over Boston College – so much for getting 35 points. And, Temple just let me down. Other random thoughts for the games this week.

  • Bargain of the week: Marshall vs Rice for $2
  • Watch out Illinois, Rutgers won last week against Liberty saving the Big 10’s reputation in the process.
  • Wofford gets $360k to play Clemson. I think the Tigers got off cheap.
  • Based on the remainder of Oregon’s schedule, the U Dub Huskies are their last hurdle to the PAC12 championship.
  • Remember when Miami vs. Florida State was “can’t miss game?” It is now one to avoid.
  • I think every UNC game I have seen this season has been exciting. I don’t think the UVA game is going to be any different.

That’s all I got, enjoy the games this weekend.