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…
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.