Texas Longhorns VS Alabama Crimson Tide: BCS National Championship Pick

As I said in my newsletter, Alabama is the best college football team in the Nation. Defensively they look superior to every other team, and offensively they often manhandle opposing defenses, control the clock, and have shown the ability to beat the snot out of opponents as well as win ugly. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they will win this game.

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A month of no games can play tricks on a team, and that’s one of the reasons why this ridiculous bowl stuff makes everything a little more interesting. For an entire month, the Texas Longhorns have been hearing people talk about how they don’t have a chance against the best team in the SEC. They’ve heard about Heisman winner Mark Ingram and the powerful running game. They’ve heard about the defense with a handful of future NFL players. Yes, for one month, they’ve got to hear all the reasons they should lose. And it’s amazing how motivational that can be for a team that didn’t lose a single game all season long.

But despite that motivational push, it’s tough for me to go against Alabama here. Bowl games are special, and you never know, but the Tide look too tough in areas I think are most important. They are as tough as nails up front of offense and all over the field defensively. They allowed just 11 points per game, allowed 7 or less in 6 contests, and held normally powerful offenses like Arkansas, Florida, and Ole Miss to fewer than two touchdowns. The Crimson Tide are certainly battle tested. They easily ran throw what many people thought was the very best team in the Nation when they blistered Florida 32-13 in the SEC Championship game.

Texas struggled down the stretch, barely beating Texas A&M in a game where the Longhorns allowed 39 points (nearly twice as much as the Crimson Tide ever allowed in a single game this season) and needed a long last second field goal to beat Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship. Anything can happen in Bowl games, but if both these teams play to their potential, I think the Tide win easily. So I’ll take Alabama to cover the spread.

Texas Longhorns VS Alabama Crimson Tide (-3.5)

Boise State Broncos vs TCU Horned Frogs: Fiesta Bowl Pick

As I wrote in my stream of conscious article right after the BCS games were announced, this is the best worst game of the bowl season. These are two of the best teams in college football, despite their conferences, and their “small college” “mid-major” status. TCU has one of the better defenses a college team has put together since Miami was paying kids to play back in the day, and Boise State just comes out and beats just about every damn team they play – aside from TCU, last season, when the Broncos lost 17-16.

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This season, the two “big-time-small-schools” get to play each other, again, with absolutely no way to prove anything at all except that one of these teams is better than the other on Monday, the 4th of January, after a month between games. And it has no chance of proving to anyone that the Horned Frogs or Broncos should be in the hunt for a national championship, because they can’t pull a big upset over a top ranked BCS school. Oh no they can’t.

But these are two great teams, and while it will certainly be a solid match-up, I think the Horned Frogs will get the best of the Broncos once again. Boise State has a very solid offense and an underrated defense, but TCU’s better in both aspects. They might not throw it better, but they are more efficient and they will control the clock in this one. Eventually, they’ll pull away, and win this one by double digits.

Boise State Broncos VS Texas Christian Horned Frogs (-7)

New Years Day Football Bowl Games Picks & Previews

Friday’s Bowl games boast some pretty intriguing match-ups for die-hard football fans – you have Bobby Bowden rocking his last game at the head of the Florida State empire that he built. You have two college powerhouses, old – Penn State against new – LSU – and both did work in their respective conferences this season. And then you have the two BCS games, but I’ll talk about them separately. Here are the three games for New Years Day.

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Northwestern Wildcats @ Auburn Tigers (-7): Well, Northwestern beat Iowa and Wisconsin, and I guess both of them had solid seasons in the all powerful Big 10 – but besides that, there’s hardly another noteworthy victory on their schedule, and their only good loss came against Penn State – good as in good team, not as in good game, they got beat 34-13. Other losses include Michigan State, Minnesota, and Syracuse – yikes. Auburn has had their fair share of piddlers, I mean they ended the season 2-5, but their 5 losses came to Arkansas, LSU, Georgia, and Alabama – and Kentucky, all pretty good teams in a pretty good conference. That’s enough for me, I think they win by double digits.

Florida State Seminoles @ West Virginia Mountaineers (-2.5): The ACC hasn’t wowed me this season, and West Virginia has speed to burn. This Mountaineer team is built for Bowl Games, because the longer they prepare, the more their speed can be put to use. Florida State is playing without their big guy, as Christian Ponder is down and out with injury – and I don’t think they have the firepower to put up enough points to beat FSU. There it is.

LSU Tigers (+3) @ Penn State Nittany Lions: This is the first really big Top 15 match-up of the Bowl Season, as the Tigers and Nittany Lions go at it. Not only are they highly ranked, and with just two losses between them, but both have the talent to play with anyone – but as is, I think the tigers are the better team. They don’t have the greatest rushing attack, and through the air they leave a little to be desired, but Penn State hasn’t had one impressive win all season long. Honestly, Michigan State, Northwestern? That’s about it. And while they killed both of those teams, those teams aren’t LSU. I think the Tigers win.

Texas A&M vs Georgia Bulldogs: Independence Bowl Pick

The public percentage on this is pretty much even, but I like the Bulldogs to win by double digits. I know Georgia’s defense hasn’t been what it was in the past, but A&M gives up massive amounts of points like it’s their job. In recent losses to Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas, the Aggies have given up 35 points, 65 points, and 49 points (dis)respectively.

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The Aggies are 6-6 SU this season, 6-5-1 ATS, and 8-4 O/U. They average 33.9 points per game while giving up 32.7. They have lost 3 of their last 4 games, and 6 of their last 9 to just barely squeak into the Bowl season. Quarterback Jerod Johnson has 28 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions, as his stellar offensive leadership has led the Aggies to the post season despite their porous defense.

The Bulldogs are 7-5 SU this season, but just 4-8 ATS, having a tough times with the teams they were supposed to beat easily. They were 5-6-1 O/U this season. But the Bulldogs have won 3 of their last 4, and seem to be playing their best football of the season. In all four of their final games, Georgia out-gained their opponent on the ground, setting up a nice offensive game plan. They beat both Auburn and Georgia Tech down the stretch, and their single loss in those last 4 games was against Florida.

Recently, Georgia has shown me the offensive firepower that suggests they won’t be out-scored by A&M which means the Aggies will have to stop the Bulldogs a few times if they want to take home the prize. I’m not sure they can do that, so I’m going the other way.

Texas A&M Aggies @ Georgia Bulldogs (-6.5)

MAACO Bowl Las Vegas: Oregon State Beavers vs BYU Cougars

BYU started with one hell of a bang, beating Top 5 Oklahoma when Sam Bradford went down. After that, they were everybody’s small college darling that could get a chance at the National Title – but then the rest of the season came, and despite going for 10 wins and just 2 losses, the now 14th ranked Cougars got smacked around a couple times when they could have proven themselves. Florida State, of all teams, smacked the Cougars for their first loss, 54-28. And after three straight wins to bounce back from that, the TCU Horned Frogs (one of the best teams in the Nation, mind you) embarrassed the Cougars at home, 38-7.

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It’s very possible that the best win BYU put on the board was a week 1 win over a team that lost thier Heisman quarterback, were playing with a brand new offensive line, and were definitely a bit overrated going into the season. After that, their best win likely came at home against Utah, or at home against Air Force. In both games, the Cougars were favored by more than a touchdown.

Oregon State, on the other hand, is one of the Top 10 teams in the Nation – or so I think. Luckily, I could give a piss about rankings, the same rankings that have BYU ranked above Oregon State because they have 10 wins to OSU’s 8. Well, I’ll take OSU’s losses over most of BYU’s wins, and I know a certain couple of Rodgers brothers will be ready to show their twin magic this Tuesday on ESPN. I’ll be watching.

The Beavers should win by a couple scores.

Oregon State Beavers (-2) vs. BYU Cougars:

Army Black Knights vs Navy Midshipmen Free Football Pick

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Army Black Knights vs Navy Midshipmen Free Football Pick: Over the last few years, the Midshipmen have dominated this rivalry. The Army/Navy rivalry is pretty close to even over the years, but as the Midshipmen have won easily, and the programs have lost a lot of the luster they carried when they were elite football programs, the game has gotten less publicity. But these teams are both on the upswing, and a close and good game could really help the game gain a little more spotlight. I know it’s not competing with much. The only football game being played this Saturday is the Army-Navy game.

The Army have put together their best and most competitive team in years. Their new coach has a disciplined system in place, and he seems to be getting the most out of the players he has. They are one win away from .500 on the season, 5-6, and have a better chance to upset the Midshipmen than they’ve had in years. They’re riding a 2 game winning streak coming in, but will that be enough to cover against Navy?

I say no. The Black Knights have been knocked out by good football teams. Air Force beat them by 4 touchdowns. Rutgers beat them by 17. Even Temple won by two touchdowns. Duke got a 16 point win. The Midshipmen are a good team, they are what the Black Knights are striving to become. Navy has played tight against everyone they’ve played (aside from the bad teams they’ve killed). The biggest defeat the Midshipmen have this season was a 13 point loss to Pittsburgh. Everything else has been within a score. I think they handle the Black Knights once again.

Army Black Knights @ Navy Midshipmen (-14)

Oregon State Beavers vs Oregon Ducks Pick & Preview

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The Beavers and the Ducks, Oregon State visiting Oregon, the Cival War, one of the best rivalries in the Pac-10, the two best teams in the conference, a trip to the Rose Bowl against Ohio State at stake, a chance to be the one that took USC’s place atop a conference that has been dominated by Southern California for a long time. Yeah, there’s a lot on the line for Thursday Night’s showdown in the Beaver State – if your state is named after you, shouldn’t you be the popular pick?

Alright, so maybe Oregon was called the Beaver State long before OSU became the Beavers, but I like to kid. What I see from Oregon State is a team that has yet to lose a game by more than 10 points, and that 10-point loss came very early in the season to a very good Cincinnati team that has, consequently, gone undefeated thus far. The Beavers other two losses, a 6-point defeat at the hands of the Trojans and a 5-point loss to Arizona. What makes them so tough to shut down? Well, they pass the ball with great efficiency (more passing yardage than their opponent in 6 of their last 8 games) and are down right dominant on the ground (have been out-rushed only twice this year). They are balanced, and they do both very well.

But Oregon has one of the best offenses in the nation, has one of, if not the best spread/read/running quarterback in the land, and a very talented young running back, plus a bruiser in Mr. Blount if they every decide to use them. Neither team stops their opponent much with defensive prowess, but both can make big plays, and they have.

The road team has won each of the last 2, but the home team won 8 in a row prior to 2007 and 2008. The final score is usually more of a blowout than a close contest, but with these offenses, it might be the last one with the ball – that makes the points the bet for me!

Oregon State Beavers (+10) @ Oregon Ducks

Arkansas State Indians vs Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Pick

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Arkansas State Indians vs Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Pick: These two teams are very equal. Since the Hilltoppers gave the axe to their head coach in the midst of an 0-9 season, they have played better football. They’ve lost 2 games by a total of 9 points, and they are currently rolling hard against the spread, winning their last 3.

The Hilltoppers lost to the University of Louisiana-Monroe by 3 points, then had Florida Atlantic take them down by 6 – both games were on the road. Arkansas State also lost to those two teams, but they lost to Monroe by 6 and Florida Atlantic beat them 35-18. Recently, the Indians are 1-4 over their last 5, having failed to cover the spread in any of their last 5 games.

The Hilltoppers have out-rushed two of their last 3 opponents, covering both games. The Indians have really only won two games this year (Mississippi Valley State doesn’t really count), and in both they out-rushed their opponent. Every game where an opposing ground attack as given them trouble, they’ve been ousted easily.

What’s making this game tilt even more in the Hilltoppers’ favor? How about the Indians starting quarterback, and probably their most efficient offensive player (Corey Leonard) is doubtful for Thursday’s game with Western Kentucky. Oh, and this game is a road game for the Indians, and they are winless on the road so far this year.

The game should be pretty close, but the home team getting 6 points against a road team they are even with? And that road team is missing their starting quarterback? Yeah, I like the Hilltoppers to cover, and probably get their first win of the year.

Arkansas State Indians @ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (+7)

Ohio Bobcats vs Central Michigan Chippewas CFB Free Pick

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Ohio Bobcats vs Central Michigan Chippewas CFB Free Pick: The Chipps have been a beast in week-day games this year. They’ve won me games where I’ve bet them to cover, and they’ve beaten me when I pick against them. They have one of the best quarterbacks in the Nation with Dan LeFevour, and they play tough up front on both offense and defense – but just because they’ve beaten up a lot of teams doesn’t make them a sure thing victor over the surprising Bobcats. This is how I see Friday Night’s big game…

This game has already hit 13, even a better number for those backing the underdog. I’m sure it’s moved that fast because the public is all over LeFevour and the Chipps. All the publicity goes to the Chipps, Dan has nearly 2,800 yards passing with 25 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. He also 650 yards on the ground with 14 rushing touchdowns. One of the better small college quarterbacks every, he has thrown for at least 21 touchdowns in each of his 4 seasons at Central Michigan. He’s run for at least 6 and as many as 19 TDs over the last 4 years. So far, he’s accounted for 99 passing scores, 46 rushing touchdowns, and 1 receiving touchdown in his career. The publicity is definitely with him and the Chipps, and they deserve it.

But betting isn’t all about who’s the best looking or who has the best numbers, no, it’s about covering that spread, and the Bobcats have been a good enough team to appreciate and see value in as double digit dogs, even on the road and facing the Chipps. The Bobcats hvae won 7 of thier last 8, just like CMU, and they’ve had some similar outcomes against some similar opponents. This should be a close one.

Ohio Bobcats (+12) @ Central Michigan Chippewas

Georgia Bulldogs @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Pick

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Georgia Bulldogs @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-7) Pick: I got this game at 7, and I must say that’s a lot sexier than 7.5. but even at the number you’re getting today. 7.5, the Jackets look like a solid bet to me. I see that Georgia makes their home in the famous SEC, the home of Champions and bullies and the greatest college football teams to ever play the game, not to mention the single most complete college football leader in the storied history of the sport, one Tim Tebow – but I still like the Techies’ chances. So, SEC, you’ve got nothing on me!

This Georgia Team got beat by Kentucky last week, at home no less. They got whipped by all the top ranked teams they’ve played, even Tennessee handed them a 45-19 loss. The Yellow Jackets have only had trouble with teams that can really throw the ball or are just flat out good. They lost to Miami when Jacory Harris was lighting the world on fire, they won by just 5 over Florida State as Casey Ponder chewed up their secondary, and Wake Forrest gave them trouble as Riley Skinner found his game. But Georgia doesn’t have that. Sure, they have some high yardage numbers, and Joe Cox has thrown 21 touchdowns, but the Bulldogs are hardly an elite passing team.

Georgia also gets smoked when they get out-rushed. Florida out-rushed them. Tennessee out-rused them, and so did LSU – all teams beat and covered against the Bulldogs. In fact, the only game they won while getting out-rushed was against South Carolina, by 7 yards, and even then the Gamecocks covered the spread.

Yeah, I like one of the best rushing attacks in college football – the Yellow Jackets by a touchdown.