College Bowl Games Picks, Predictions & Previews 02/01/2010

I didn’t ace Friday’s New Years’ games, going 2-3 with a couple losses in games I took the favorite (West Virginia and Oregon) but I look to fight back in Saturday’s lesser known bowl games. No highly ranked Top 10 match-ups here, oh no, the BCS takes a break from “blessing us” with their handy work, and we get to see unranked foes go at it, lower ranked teams try to beat up on unranked opponents, and probably some really good football. Don’t get it twisted, highly touted games rarely live up to the billing while these small bowl games often go big. Here’s some small write-ups for Saturday’s games.

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Northern Illinois Huskies (+7) @ South Florida Bulls (International Bowl): The Huskies won 4 of their last 6 to become bowl eligible, at one point winning 4 in a row before losing their final two games to end the season (both against bowling teams, Central Michigan and Ohio). South Florida lost 5 of their last 7 after a 5 game winning streak to open the season. They didn’t lose to bad teams by any means, but that doesn’t mean they played like a dream either. Rutgers spanked them 31-0, but they did beat West Virginia. This is a tougher game than people are giving credit, and the 7 points are something I expect to come in handy.

Connecticut Huskies @ South Carolina Gamecocks (-4.5) (AT&T Cotton Bowl): I really like the Huskies, have been pulling hard for them all season long, and will be rooting for them to win again here – but that doesn’t keep me from using my brain and seeing a very small chance of that happening. The Gamecocks are too tough defensively, and with all that time leading up to this game, I think the Ol’ Ball Coach will have a nice plan of attack on tap.

Mississippi Rebels (-3) @ Oklahoma State Cowboys ( Bowl): I haven’t been a big fan of Mississippi, and watching them play at times this season has been painful – but they turned the season around a bit and have looked semi-successful toward the end of the season. They have some great players, and a RB that can dominate a game. I think they take care of the Cowboys.

Arkansas Razorbacks @ East Carolina Pirates (+8) (AutoZone Liberty Bowl): East Carolina had a great season, and while they can lay eggs, so can the Razorbacks. Arkansas can play great and play like pee, and something tells me a 4 week wait to play the East Carolina Pirates won’t have them rolling with excitement. East Carolina won 6 of their last 7 including 4 in a row to end the season. I think they keep on that hot streak and stick with the Razorbacks.

Michigan State Spartans @ Texas Tech Red Raiders (-7) (Valero Alamo Bowl): I know there’s been some crazy ish going down amongst these two teams, and a lot of players are probably really grateful a game is just around the corner so they can play football and quit talking about off-the-field problems. But I actually think Michigan State’s problems greatly out-weigh Texas Tech’s dilemma, especially for just one game. Mike Leach’s firing will certainly effect the Red Raider team, but probably next season more than this one day. His staff knows what he wants to do, and they’ll do it. As for the Spartans, loosing a gaggle of important pieces for a suspension because of a fight probably puts them in an impossible spot. The Raiders have almost every single one of their players for this game- that’s important.

New Year's Eve Bowl Games: Free College Football Picks

The amount of college games on the docket right now is a little overbearing, so I’m going to go ahead and write a little less about each game, include them into one article, and cut down on the amount of computer hours I’m putting in these last few weeks. Don’t worry, I’ll still have some of the bigger games of the College Bowl season with bigger write ups, so keep checking in. And don’t feel like I’m ripping you off, the same amount of research goes into these picks as any write up I do for any other pick I do all year. Here goes Thursday’s Bowl Games…

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Air Force Falcons @ Houston Cougars (-4.5): The quick little bit of information I gave on this game in my weekly newsletter still has me liking the Cougars to pull it out over the Falcons. I said the Falcons have been blistered by elite passing attacks, and in their last 3 losses they were out-gained through the air by 550+ yards. I think the Cougars have a chance to do that again.

Stanford Cardinal (+10) @ Oklahoma Sooners: I know the Pac 10 has been brutal, and I know the Cardinal are without their freshman sensation at running back, but something in me just trusts Jim Harbaugh to get his team prepared for this big game. Since he got on campus as the head man at Stanford, he’s had his kids ready to play better than expected, especially against elite opponents. They have a stellar rushing attack, and not just at running back, their offensive line is one of the best in the country. That should be worth a 10 point cover.

Navy Midshipmen (+7) @ Missouri Tigers: Navy has out-rushed their opponent in 8 of their last 10 games, winning 7 of those match-ups. Missouri was out-gained on the ground in 4 of their last 8 games, and in all four they recorded the loss. It’s not as good as gold, but with a touchdown to play with, I  sure like the consistent and disciplined Navy Midshipmen.

Iowa State Cyclones (+3) @ Minnesota Golden Gophers: Neither of these teams really impress me, but I know what I think about the Big 10, and while the Big 12 is a little overrated, they are much better than the Big 10. Both teams were terribly inconsistent, playing with Top 25 talent one week while getting beaten up other weeks – the one thing keeping me with Iowa is that Minnesota gives up lots of rushing yards, and Iowa State has shown the ability to win when they can run.

Tennessee Volunteers @ Virginia Tech Hokies (-4.5): The SEC really embarrassed the ACC toward the end of the year in some inter-conference match-ups, but I don’t see that happening here. Tennessee has gone through to stuff with some trouble within the program towards the end of the season, and while they played well in some games down the stretch, I think all that attention hurts them a bit against the Hokies. Va Tech won 4 straight to end the season, never giving up more than 13 points and out-scoring their opponents 132-35 in those games. Your can run on Tennessee, and the Vols don’t throw the ball real well – both those statistical advantages look to really favor the Hokies in this one.

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

Pittsburgh Panthers vs North Carolina Tar Heels: Meineke Car Care Bowl Pick

Pittsburgh Panthers vs North Carolina Tar Heels: As I said in my Just Picks Newsletter, the Tar Heels actually look like the better team to me. I know the Panthers have a pretty damn good record, and they’ve played tight against some very good teams, but I’m afraid they might have out-produced themselves this season. It’s not like the ACC has shown it’s speed, toughness, and grit against other conferences this year – but this Tar Heel team can shut down most any rushing attack, and they put a lot of pressure on opposing offenses. The Pitt Panthers have one real strength, their rushing attack, and I forsee the Tar Heels doing a very good job of slowing that portion of the Panthers’ offense down.

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69% of the public is against me in this one, and I understand why. The Panthers are 9-3 SU this season, 7-4 ATS – but they haven’t been awesome on the road, just 3-2 this season, and never really looking that good (besides @ Louisville, and lets be honest, that shouldn’t count). But Pitt has been tough, no doubt, they have yet to get beaten by more than 7 points, and lost their last two games by a total of 4 points, losing 44-45 against Cincinnati in the final game of their regular season.

But it’s that fall that has me worried. The Panthers went from a possible BCS bowl to a Meineke Car Care Bowl against an un-ranked ACC opponent – there may very well be a lull in their preparation for this game based on that alone. The Tar Heels have also played thier best football of the season in their last 5 games, beating Va Tech, Duke, Miami, and Boston College – before getting upset by a point against their in-state rival, NC State. I like them to win their 5th in 6 chances this Saturday.

Pittsburgh Panthers VS North Carolina Tar Heels (+3):

Marshall Thundering Herd vs Ohio Bobcats: Little Caesars Bowl Pick

Marshall Thundering Herd vs Ohio Bobcats: Despite nearly 68% of the public betting on Ohio in this one, the line has actually moved in the Bobcats’ favor. Starting at 3.5 this game has actually come down to a more user-friendly 3 point spread for the favorites. Interesting, always.

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But Ohio has been solid this season. They are 9-4 straight up and against the spread, playing good football at home (4-2) but even better football on the road (5-1) which I think is always a nice thing to have on your side come the Bowl Season – because, in a way, these are all road games. Ohio came in winning 4 of their last 5 games, including a tough loss to end their non-bowl season (10-20 @ Central Michigan – a game they covered). In fact, the Bobcats have covered 4 straight and 8 of their last 10 contests. They’ve played well against solid competition, losing by just 10 to a very good Central Michigan team, and lost by only 11 to Tennessee. They might not score much, but they can play.

Marshall comes in losers in 5 of their last 8, and more recently 3 of their last 4 games. They’ve played their best football against bad teams, and it’s tough to see them coming out and being tough against the Bobcats. Marshall is 6-6 straight up, 6-5 ATS, but just 2-4 on the road this season. They give up 3 more points per game than they score, which is never something I like to have on the team I’m picking. These teams are fairly equal, but I have to take the one winning the intangibles – and that’s Ohio.

Marshall Thundering Herd vs Ohio Bobcats (-3)

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:

Poinsettia Bowl Pick: Utah Utes vs California Golden Bears

Poinsettia Bowl Pick Utah Utes vs California Golden Bears: I know this game is in California, which basically will turn this into a Cal home game, but I think the Utes have a real chance to make the Pac-10 look even worse than they already do after BYU came out and destroyed one of the better Pac-10 players, the Oregon State Beavers. The Utes have a very good team, and are obviously well coached. But it will be their toughness up front that ultimately gives them a chance to upset the Bears of Cal.

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Utah was 9-3 this season, but just 5-7 ATS. They were 3-8-1 O/U, riding their strong defense to low scoring games and 9 wins. They were 6-0 at home, just 3-3 on the road (as you probably figured). They allow 19 points per game and score just over 29. The Utes lost 2 of their last 3 games, but won 6 straight prior to a tough stretch against top competition. Some of their most impressive outings came in losses as the Utes lost by a field goal to BYU in overtime to finish the season, and earlier lost by a touchdown at Oregon.

California has definitely been up and down, and spent most of the season ranked despite their relatively disappointing play against top competition. After starting the season 3-0 and ranked in the Top 10, the Bears got crushed in back to back games against Oregon and USC, losing by a combined score of 72-6. Gross. But they won 5 of their next 6, including back to back wins over Arizona and Stanford, no easy feat by any means. However, they finished their season rocking a 10-42 loss to Washington, and I just can’t trust that kind of garbage.

I like to take small colleges against big-name schools, especially when they are the better football team. I believe that is the case here.

Utah Utes (+3.5) @ California Golden Bears

New Mexico Bowl: Wyoming Cowboys vs. Fresno State Bulldogs

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New Mexico Bowl: Fresno State Bulldogs have won 7 of their last 8 games, and they are playing good offensive football coming in. Defensively, they certainly leave something to be desired, I mean not many teams give up 50+ points and win, but that’s what Fresno did to finish the season. Still, the only team they lost to over the last 8 games of the season was Nevada, one heck of a football team that almost ended Boise State’s undefeated run. Fresno has shown they can play with anyone.

Now that might be tough considering their draw in the opening Bowl game of the College Bowl season, they get Wyoming… Tough draw? Hardly, the Cowboys just barely go into the bowl family, and maybe, just maybe the Bulldogs find a tough time getting up for the Cowboys. But I’m not betting on that, I’m betting on a Fresno team that will play anybody anywhere, and a bowl game closer to Wyoming doesn’t worry me much – plus, Fresno is just flat out better.

Wyoming Cowboys gives up 10 more points a game than they score, and it’s not like they’re on fire coming into the bowl season – they’ve lost 4 of their last 6 games, and they haven’t played well against winning football teams. Fresno allows a lot of points, no doubt about that, giving up nearly 28 per game, but they throw it and run it and have the athletes to beat up on Wyoming, and I think they do.

Fresno State Bulldogs (-11.5) vs. Wyoming Cowboys

NCAA Football Free Picks: Bowl Season 2

Okay, here goes my last part of the Bowl Series games. I’m not going to say much about all these games, but I’ll give you a couple little tidbits, and I pick every single college game right here! Good luck bowlers!


Florida Atlantic @ Central Michigan (-7): Central Michigan is a little overrated, but Dan Lefevour is a stud, and Central has been a great home team all season long while FAU is just 2-5 on the road. This game is tough for me though, because FAU’s rushing attack is so good of late. Still, this game is in Michigan, basically a home game for the Chipps.


West Virginia @ North Carolina (+2): The Tar Heels and Mountaineers are very equal, but Carolina is basically playing at home, they get the benefit of the doubt in a home game.

Wisconsin Badgers @ Florida State Seminoles (-5): I think the best team in the ACC is playing in this game. They played great down the stretch, using their speed to their advantage. They have power too. I think they end up being too athletic for the Badgers. Wisconsin lost to Michigan for God’s sake.

Miami @ California (-8): More players keep getting suspended from this game. And they’re all Hurricanes. Weird. Miami has now lost 5 players for this game, including their starting quarterback. I like Cal to pull this one out because of that. The game is in San Francisco.


Northern Illinois @ Louisiana Tech (+1): This game’s easy, LaTech, in Louisiana, against a team they are better than. Sign me up for that party!


North Carolina State (+7) @ Rutgers: Both of these teams have really won a lot down the stretch, both come in with winning streaks, NC State with a 4 game deal, and Rutgers riding a 6 game streak. Both also started off terribly. What else? They were smoking their opponents. NC State beat Miami by 10 after upsetting the Tar Heels by 31. Rutgers blew out South Florida, Army, and Louisville to end the season – allowing just 33 points total while scoring 142. Why am I taking the Wolfpack? Russell Wilson is a freshman, and he’s dynamite. He also has covered every single game he’s ever started and thrown 16 touchdowns compared to 1 interception. I love his style.

Northwestern @ Missouri (-12): The Wildcats have played two good teams this year, they were iced by both. Missouri is good. The Tigers are also ranked three spots lower than the Wildcats, and they are favored, that’s a recipe for success.


Maryland @ Nevada (+2.5): I think Nevada is the better team, this is more of a home game for them, they’ve played on the blue field, the Terps traveled across America to play in Boise – I think the Wolfpack win this one by a touchdown or two.

Western Michigan (+3) @ Rice: This game is a home game for the Owls, but I still like Western Michigan. It’s a close one, I wouldn’t bet the house, but I’m putting my name on Western Michigan in hopes that Rice’s sieved of a defense will be the end of them in this game. Even in a shoot out, you need to find a way to stop your opponent.

Oregon @ Oklahoma State (-3): This game is being played in Pac 10 country, but OK State has played in tougher places. The Pac 10 isn’t worthy. Most of the public agree with me, which I don’t like too much, but how can you go against the Cowboys here?


Air Force (+4) @ Houston: The Houston Cougars lose when they get out-rushed, they almost certainly will be in this one. So I like my chances here.

Pittsburgh @ Oregon State (-2.5): I’m starting to get weary of 2.5 games, but that’s probably silly. The Beavers are ranked lower and favored, you know I like that. This game is in Texas, so no travel favorites here. I just hink the Beavers are really good when Jacquizz Rodgers is healthy, and I think he will be. I’m taking the Beavers.

Boston College (-3) @ Vanderbilt: It’s all about defense and what the Eagles do well, stop the run. Vandy can’t pass the ball to victory, and I think the Eagles take this one because of that. Boston College has won 8 straight bowl games, coincidence?

Minnesota @ Kansas (-8.5): Losses to Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa to end the season just don’t get me excited. Kansas will win here, I like them to do so by double digits. However, I warn you, Minnesota always seems to manage magic during the bowl season, not in wins, but at least in close games. I’m leaning Kansas here, but I’ve been more confident.

LSU @ Georgia Tech (-4): I think Tech runs the ball too well, and despite their talent, LSU hasn’t shown me the will to stop a rushing attack that continues to battle all game long. This game, in Atlanta, isn’t much different than a home game for the Yellow Jackets.


South Carolina @ Iowa (-3.5): The Hawkeyes run the ball too well, and that is trouble for a South Carolina team that prides themselves on stopping the run. That won’t happen against Shon Greene, he’s the most consistent runner in the nation. Every school he went up against new he was the guy getting the ball, new he was the one Hawkeye you needed to stop. Only nobody stopped him as he rushed for over 100 yards in every single game he played in this season. The Gamecocks are a good run defense, but the Hawkeyes will give them enough trouble here, and I don’t see much heart from Spurrier’s squad.

Clemson (-2.5) @ Nebraska: Nebraska beats the bad teams and loses to the the good teams. What about the middle? We shall see. Both of these teams have won three straight. Clemson is very talented. I think they take down the Cornhuskers in Florida.

Michigan State @ Georgia (-7.5): Georgia is talented enough to just out-muscle the Spartans. Kind of like Ohio and Penn State. Both of those teams crushed Sparty. That continues in Florida.

Penn State @ USC (-9.5): I think Penn State is underrated and the Trojans are a little overrated. However, this is a home game for the Trojans. This will also be the best team USC has played all season long. That being said, Pete Carol knows how to win bowl games, and there’s something to be said for a home team with a great post season coach.

Virginia Tech @ Cincinnati (-2): The Bearcats lost to the Huskies of Connecticut and the Sooners. That’s it. They win a lot of close games, this will likely be another. They haven’t beaten a great team, and the Sooners come in spanking the BC Eagles in the ACC Championship. I like the Cats though, their defense has great speed that I think will frustrate Tyrod Taylor and the Hokies.


Mississippi (+5) @ Texas Tech: Don’t ask me why, I can’t even figure it out, but I like Mississippi here. It might be one of those cases where Tech feels robbed and plays accordingly I guess. No Heisman invite for Harrell (what a joke), a bowl game against Mississippi after losing just once (to arguably the best team in the Nation) – I feel like this is what Kansas State had to deal with a long time ago, and it never really worked for them either. I wouldn’t bet too much on this game, though.

East Carolina (-2.5) @ Kentucky: Kentucky gives up more yards than they gain in almost every game they play, but they often find ways to make it close. ECU struggles with that too, but they won 9 games this season. These two teams are hard to explain. But ECU creates lots of turnovers, and that helps them put points on the board. In a game with two low-scoring offenses, easy points should get the job done. ECU is more likely to get those turnovers.

Utah @ Alabama (-9.5): The Crimson Tide had a great season, and took a tough loss against Florida. I would love for Utah to pull a Boise State, but I think the Crimson Tide are just too burly to be undone here. Utah has some great stories, and they could be one, but Alabama might very well be the Nation’s best team, and if they play with something to prove, they’ll win easily.


Buffalo (+4.5) @ Connecticut: These teams are very equal. This game is in freaking Canada. Anything can happen in Hockey country. I’ll take the 4.5 points here.


Ohio State @ Texas (-8): Yeah, I don’t like the Buckeye’s chances. Texas is a great team and this bowl isn’t a slap in their face. I expect an outcome similar to USC/OSU.


Ball State @ Tulsa (+3): Ball State was one huge upset loss away from an undefeated season, and they couldn’t do it as they were ousted by Buffalo of all teams. Then their coach bolted, and things just don’t seem right. Plus, Tulsa is really good despite a couple tough losses. I like the Golden Hurricane here.


Oklahoma (+3.5) @ Florida: I’m going this way for a couple reasons. 1 – Alabama should have pulled off the win against Florida, and I often see that kind of “last game” getting karma’d out. If that even makes sense. Also, I think Oklahoma is the best team in college football, and since I said that before the season started, if they win here I look even smarter than I already am – don’t take my bragging too seriously, in real life I’m more humble – ha. I understand taking Florida in what looks like a home game in Miami, but the SEC doesn’t impress me as much as it does everyone else, and I think Oklahoma’s big game experience against other Big 12 schools will pay off in this game. Plus, Bob Stoops and his OK boys can’t lose the big one forever, can they?

NCAA Football Free Picks: Bowl Season 1

Alright folks, I was going to try and break the bowl season into three different sections, and I was going to do a beautiful job doing it too. Then I decided to just go ahead and whip one hugemagnormous article with every single one of the 34 bowl games. Yikes. 34 bowl games? Yes sir, that’s a lot of football leading up to the National Championship – and that, well – that was going to be even better. But now, instead of that, I’m going to do 2 parts. The games before Christmas and the games after Christmas. It’s festive – go with it. I have to say it now though, I hate bowls and think an 8-16 team playoff with some non-championship bowl games is the way to make this thing work. 20 bowls and then a 16 team playoff with an actual champion at the end. That would make 35 games. On one, on one… Ready… break! Alright that’s all you get from me, now on to these blasted bowl games after every single team has basically had a month off to prepare for one single game. And to the winners go the spoils!!!


Navy Midshipmen (+3) @ Wake Forest Demon Deacons: The Deacons are definitely the favorite here. With fans and in the name game as well. But I think the Midshipmen would be in an even better bowl game had their senior quarterback, Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, stayed healthy this season. Unfortunately for the Deacons, the leader of the Midshipmen is back in action, and since he left Navy has built a powerful defense to help supplement their powerful rushing attack. I know it’s tough to beat a team twice in a season, and that’s what Navy will have to do against Wake Forest, but I think it happens. Kaipo-Noa and his Navy teammates have lost two straight bowl games, and both were as close as they get. This is a team with strong will and great discipline – I don’t see them losing three straight bowl games.

Fresno State Bulldogs @ Colorado State Rams (+3): I have to go with Colorado State because there’s more excitement here. Talent? The Bulldogs do a peel-out runaway with that one, but that’s not what football and bowl games are all about. Neither team has been all that impressive, but it was the Bulldogs that were supposed to be great. They didn’t really beat anybody special, and always seemed to be in tight games against lesser opponents. The Rams will smack you in the mouth and they will be excited to be back in a bowl after missing the post season in each of the past two seasons. The Rams will get a shot at their first bowl win since 2001. But the Bulldogs are 4-1 in their last 5 bowl games under head coach Pat Hill, and while that might be something to worry about, I haven’t seen much trust or team play from the Bulldogs this season – so I’ll go against them here.

Memphis Tigers @ South Florida Bulls (-12): I actually kind of like that South Florida has lost 5 of their last 7 games after starting the season 5-0 and ranked 10th in the Nation. They’ve had an extremely disappointing season, especially with all the talent they got back. Memphis hasn’t lost many games by double digits this season, just twice, Mississippi to start the season and East Carolina in mid-October. Still, I like the Bulls to figure it out between losing a bunch of games and reflecting on their season. They have the talent to win this game by 4 touchdowns. I expect bigger things out of this South Florida team next season, and I have a feeling that they play like they were supposed to and handle Memphis in a game that will take place just 30 miles away from home for them. Home teams do well in bowl games, and this is about as close to home as the Bulls can get.

BYU Cougars @ Arizona Wildcats (-3): Both these offenses are pretty solid, but Arizona’s defense is better. Not consistent, but better. I think Arizona has as much potential as any other team in the Pac-10. They have tons of talent and athletes that can torment the Cougars. Also, this is the first bowl game these Wildcat players have been to in their careers. BYU has been to the Las Vegas Bowl 3 straight years, this is their 4th. There has to be something there. I like Arizona’s team more. BYU hasn’t beaten anybody that I would consider good. I know Arizona plays in the Pac 10, which isn’t good by any means, but this team is talented, much better than their 7-5 record insists. And BYU, they aren’t as good as 10-2 sounds. With more excitement and a little more to prove, I think Arizona takes this game and covers in Vegas.


Troy Trojans (-4) @ Southern Mississippi: Troy is a very good football team. They’ve taken one game on the chin pretty tough, a game against Oklahoma State a year after Troy upset the Cowboys. OK State doubled the Trojans up. Besides that, the Trojans have played pretty well in 3 other losses. They allowed a ton of points in the final quarter in a game they were way up on LSU and lost by 9. They lost by 18 to Ohio State, but that game was closer than the final score says. And they also lost by 1 to Louisiana-Monroe. The Trojans are very well coached, have a very tough-nosed run defense, and don’t make many mistakes on offense. Southern Miss’s Larry Fedora is a solid coach, but in his first year at the helm for Southern Miss, he might just have a tough time preparing for a month for one game. I like the Trojans better and they’ve done this before. They’ll be ready.


Boise State Broncos @ TCU Horned Frogs (-2.5): A lot goes into an undefeated season, and the Boise State Broncos have definitely done well this year. However, I think TCU is easily the toughest team Boise will have played this season, and that’s why this should be a great game. TCU is a scary defensive team and Boise State has a very tricky and well thought out offense. They’ve been good in Bowl games, no doubt about that, but I really think they’ve met their match with the TCU Horned Frogs. TCU’s defense is just too good. The Broncos will find running basically impossible, making them one dimensional against a defense that can really make some plays. TCU has two losses, to undefeated Utah on a game winning touchdown with 47 seconds left in the game and against Oklahoma. Give me the Horned Frogs in California.


Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (pk): The Irish haven’t beaten a team with a winning record all season long. They are, and have been, one of the biggest disappointments in college football. Now they get to go to Hawaii, which is cool, but it also means they are playing the Rainbow Warriors. Not only do I think Hawaii is better than Notre Dame, but they get to play at home. They are used to the environment that will definitely be tough on the Fighting Irish. Well, not tough, but tough on their football play. I expect the Warriors to do even more damage to the Notre Dame name.