FedEx Orange Bowl: Iowa Hawkeyes VS Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Pick

FedEx Orange Bowl: Iowa Hawkeyes VS Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Pick: The Hawkeyes had one hell of a run, and were quite possibly one starting quarterback injury away from a perfect season, which is something the Oklahoma Sooners might also say, but the Hawkeyes made it to 9 wins before running into that unfortunate event. For a team that wasn’t even thought of in the Pre-Season Top 25, the Hawkeyes beat up on a few of the best teams in the Big 10, winning by double digits in both Penn State and Wisconsin. They lost just two games, but it ended up being 2 of their last 3. They lost by 7 at home against Northwestern, a game in which Stanzi (their QB) got hurt. They lost their next game by 3, in overtime, @ Ohio State. And defensively, the Hawkeyes are easily one of the Top 10 units in the nation. They fly to the ball and keep everything in front of them. Very underrated.

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But I don’t think you can completely stop the Yellow Jackets, as Georgia Tech has put up plenty of points against good defenses, and put up plenty of rushing yards against solid defensive fronts. If I believed the Hawkeyes could score with the Yellow Jackets, I think they’d be an easy pick here, but with Richard Stanzi playing a football game for the first time in two months, I just can’t see him being accurate enough to march the Jackets down the field.

He wasn’t a super-accurate passer to start with, as his 56% completion percentage and his 15-14 touchdown to interception ratio insists, but after two months off, most of that time getting healthy, it’s tough for me to see him torturing the Yellow Jackets’ secondary enough to keep this game close. Tech doesn’t play great defense, so anything is possible, but the Yellow Jackets are my pick to win and cover.

Iowa Hawkeyes VS Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-5)

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Arizona Wildcats: Pacific Life Holiday Bowl

I got the Cornhuskers early, and I’m grateful for it as the spread has jumped to -3 for Nebraska, but I still think they are a solid bet as field goal favorites. It hasn’t been all bad for the Pac-10 – what started out looking like a conference ready for a tough run in the bowls has turned around after those two early losses. USC fought back and got the Pac-10 their first win, and UCLA came back from a 4th quarter deficit to beat the Temple Owls. Now the Pac-10 is 2-2 and looking decent, at the very least. But will that change?

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I believe the Pac-10 takes a hit on Wednesday. While the game is once again being played in Pac-1o county (doesn’t it seem like all the Pac-10 involved Bowl Games end up being close to home games?) I still think the Cornhuskers end up too tough a match-up for Arizona. And nearly 62% of the public bet agrees with me – ugh – one of the times I’m not too fond of strength in numbers.

What I see from Nebraska is a run-first team that played their best football down the stretch, came a second away from beating the #2 ranked Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 Championship, and out-rushed 8 of the last 10 teams they went up against, winning 5 of their last 6. Defensively, they are just a heck of a lot better than people think. The Cornhuskers do their best work against teams with winning records, something I think continues during the Bowl season.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (pk) vs Arizona Wildcats

Boston College Eagles vs USC Trojans: Emerald Bowl Picks

Boston College Eagles vs USC Trojans: Emerald Bowl Picks: I just don’t think the all mighty super-team, best program over the last decade USC Trojans will be excited to play in a day-after-Christmas day game against a team like Boston College. Listen, I think BC is better than people give them credit for, heck, they might be better than USC this season, but the Trojans are used to Rose Bowls, Championship Games, and Top 10 opponents come Bowl time – unranked BC could very well be someone USC looks right past.

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And with the chances USC loses one of their most explosive players (McKnight) in an offense that, quite frankly, hasn’t produced like Trojan offenses of the past, seems like the start of something interesting. USC certainly has the talent to match-up with any team in college football, but McKnight is only one key player missing this game, and all signs point to the Trojans not taking this game too seriously.

This game is being played in San Francisco, which just happens to be the same state USC calls home, and this will probably be more of a home game type feel for the Trojans, but I have a feeling BC will come with some fight. This IS a big game for them, and a chance to prove they belong with the big boys. One thing USC has learned, every time they suit up, they get their opponent’s best – and I like the Eagles to give the Trojans exactly that.

Boston College Eagles (+9) VS USC Trojans

Nevada Wolfpack vs Southern Methodist Mustangs: Hawaii Bowl Pick

Nevada Wolfpack vs Southern Methodist Mustangs: Hawaii Bowl Pick The Wolfpack are one of the Top 20 teams in the Nation, and they certainly don’t get recognized as one. Now that can either work for them or against them when the SMU Mustangs meet up with Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl. I just happen to think it works for them. This team came a couple scores away from ending Boise State’s undefeated season, and they are a driven bunch. With a running attack second to none, this team should find enough room to run SMU off the field.

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62% of the public bet is on the Wolfpack, but the line has actually moved down (at most books) from the 13 points the spread began at. The Wolfpack seem to be a heavy “expert pick” even with their two starting running backs doubtful for the game against SMU. SMU brings no new injuries or absences into the Hawaii Bowl.

The Mustangs have been beaten up by high powered offenses and the Wolfpack certainly have one of those. Nevada scored 31 points or more in every single one of their final 9 games, winning 8 in a row from the middle of the season onward, finishing the year with an 11 point loss to Boise State on the road. Prior to the Boise loss, Nevada has outscored San Jose State, Fresno State, and New Mexico State 177-41, and I don’t think it was that close.

SMU has lost 3 of their last 4 games ATS, and haven’t looked impressive against other bowling teams. I think Colin Kaepernick will make up for his absent running backs and lead the Wolfpack to a big win.

Nevada Wolfpack (-12) @ SMU Mustangs:

New Orleans Bowl: Southern Miss vs Middle Tennessee Free Pick

New Orleans Bowl – Southern Miss vs Middle Tennessee Free Pick: The game’s being played in New Orleans, so nobody has a distinct advantage in this one, yet it’s close enough where teams will get fans driving in. Both these teams had solid seasons, and it should be one heck of an offensive showcase, and in those types of games, nobody’s ever out of it, and nobody’s ever safe.

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Middle Tennessee comes in winners of their last 6 games, outscoring their opponents at least 2 to 1 in 5 of those 6 contests. They haven’t played the biggest baddest competition over the last 6 games, but straight pancaking the competition needs to be recognized, and that’s exactly what they’ve been doing.

The Blue Raiders are 9-3 on the season, 9-3 ATS, 5-1 at home and 4-2 on the road. They’ve won everywhere. They score an average of 31 points per game while giving up 23. They are 7-5 O/U, going 4-2 O/U in their recent 6 game winning streak. They’ve out-rushed their opponents in each of their last 6 games.

The Golden Eagles are 7-5 on the year, 6-5 ATS, 6-0 at home and just 1-5 on the road, making me question their chances away from home in this bowl game. They’ve averaged 33 poitns per game while giving up 24.5. SMU has played a much tougher schedule than the Blue Raiders. The Eagles have won 5 of their last 6 games ATS, and are 4-2 SU over their last 6 games.

It comes down to their rushing attack, their momentum, and their ability to play anywhere – and because of that, I like the Blue Raiders to pull the bowl upset.

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles vs. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (+4)

St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida Vs. Rutgers, Preview, Picks

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I made some good points in my “Just Picks” newsletter about the St. Petersburg Bowl, presented by Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, and while I could easily find another way to say the same stuff, I think it would just be simpler for everyone if I just gave you the clip, I wanted to go with Rutgers and Tom Savage here, but I see a little problem with that pick and thus I’m going against a pretty good Rutgers team. Central Florida’s rushing attack is better, and they’ve out-rushed many opponents this year, and will probably out-rush the Scarlet Knights. In all four of Rutgers’ losses this year, they’ve been out-gained on the ground. That’s enough for me in what should be a very tight contest. Oh, and the game is being played in St. Petersburg, Florida. That’s just some of it. Here’s more.

I said that Rutgers has struggled when getting out-rushed, this is what I meant: They were out-rushed 5 times in the last 10 games – 3 of those games were straight up losses, and losses ATS as well. They were out-gained on the ground by Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and West Virginia, and all three of those teams got the win. Connecticut and Army also out-gained Rutgers, and while they beat Army fairly easily, UConn probably should have won that game.

I’ve liked Tom Savage all year, he’s done good things with his chances, and his fight has certainly impressed me – but match-ups are important, and I think the Florida Knights have a good chance to upset the Knights of Scarlet color.

Central Florida Knights (+3) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs Clemson Tigers Prediction

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Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs Clemson Tigers Prediction: This game has me really nervous after the week’s numbers, and the way the lines have shifted. I got this game on Tuesday back at GT -2.5, and that’s what I have to stick with, but almost every book has this game at even, and the ones that don’t have the Jackets favored by only a point, and there’s even one book that has Clemson favored in the ACC Title game. 64% of the bets are coming in on the Jackets, but the line has moved in the Tigers favor, hmmm…. That’s always tough on a guy like me, I try to think of it all.

Now I can see what there is to like about Clemson. The Tigers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 conference games, the underdog in this match-up is 13-2 ATS in the last 15 meetings, and the Yellow Jackets are coming off a game where their run game got shut down pretty well by a mediocre Georgia defense. Who has a very good defense? The Tigers, that’s who, up front they are very talented and I can imagine the books see a possible problem for the Jackets there. All they have is a run game, if that’s stopped, they have nothing.

But, Clemson gave up a ton of rushing yards to the Gamecocks last week as well, and I can’t see the Yellow Jackets struggling two weeks in a row on the ground. While the match-up is a good one, a great run game against a great defensive line, I think the Yellow Jackets are just flat out the better team. That gives them the nod in my book.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-2.5) @ Clemson Tigers:

Arizona Wildcats vs USC Trojans Free Football Pick

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Arizona Wildcats vs USC Trojans Free Football Pick: The Wildcats are a tough team to figure. They can play great football against the best of the best, and they can go out and lose to the Huskies or the Cal Bears. But Arizona has been more impressive than USC in just about every single key football category you could think of. Yards gained, yards allowed, points per game, time of possession, penalties, win differential against winning teams – you name it, the Cats have been the better team all year long.

But USC has 60% of the public bets, and every “expert” list I’ve seen has the Trojans as a great bet going into the weekend. I don’t buy it. The Trojans have a lot of stud athletes, sure, but Arizona can run the ball against the Trojans, and Nick Foles has shown he can throw it. This Arizona team outplayed the Ducks a couple weeks ago when they lost in overtime – I think they are the better team, they are getting more than a touchdown against the Trojans, and there’s not much else to say about it.

The Trojans have been out-rushed in 3 of their last 4 games, and took losses in two of those games. The Wildcats have lost just one game when out-rushing their opponent. And when the Wildcats do lose, they haven’t lost by much. Their biggest loss this season? Try a 10-point loss on the road at Iowa.

Arizona Wildcats (+7.5) @ USC Trojans

Florida Gators vs Alabama Crimson Tide Football Pick

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Florida Gators vs Alabama Crimson Tide Football Pick: The Alabama Crimson Tide have lost two straight to the Florida Gators, but that’s where the gambling numbers stop favoring Florida. Alabama is 6-1-1 ATS against the Gators in the last 8 games. Alabama has won 3 of their last 5 over Florida, and in all 3 of those games they were underdogs. This is the smallest spread either team have dealt with all year long. Neither has been an underdog yet this year. Alabama was actually up late in the Florida Game last year, but the Gators scored 14 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to walk away with the SEC Title.

But this is a different year and these are different teams. The Gators don’t have Percy Harvin anymore, and the Crimson Tide don’t have their senior quarterback anymore. Both teams have been great all year, and this should be a very tough-nosed game. But in the end I just think the Gators are too explosive.

I think Mark Ingram is a very good runner, but the Gators have been so dominant defensively this year, I just don’t see the Tide making much of their offensive snaps. Florida has yet to give up more than 20 points, and allow less than 10 on average. Alabama is just a point behind them, giving up only 11 per game. Both of these teams are good, I just think the Gators are better, and that’s what it comes right down to. Alabama is the slight public favorite, 52% like them.

Florida Gators (-5.5) @ Alabama Crimson Tide

California Golden Bears vs Washington Huskies Free Pick

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California Golden Bears vs Washington Huskies Free Pick: Coming into the season, the Cal Bears boasted one of the best running backs in the nation, if not the best. But Jahvid Best had a scary injury, and hasn’t played in quite some times. The interesting part of that scenario is that the Bears rushing attack hasn’t really suffered. In fact, I think the offensive line is blocking better, and overall, the Bears are a more efficient offense now that they aren’t relying on their stud running back.

That spells trouble for the Huskies. I’ve been pretty much dead on with the Huskies this year, I know them well. I know who they should play well against, I know who they struggle against. I’ve said all along that if you can fully commit to running the ball against UW then you can win easily. I think the Golden Bears can and will do that.

Not only are they the better team, and pose a tough match-up for the Huskies defense, but the Bears are playing their best football of the season. After struggling mightily against good teams, the Bears have beaten Arizona and Stanford back to back. And they’ve had two weeks to prepare for the University of Washington. I know Husky stadium is loud but I don’t know how long it will be that way.

If you look at stats, you’ll see that the Bears do just about everything more effectively than the Huskies. Stats, the way I feel, the moon alignment – I have everything going for me here. I think the Bears win 38-21 in Seattle.

California Golden Bears (-6) @ Washington Huskies