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.

no banners

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.

West Virginia Mountaineers vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights Pick

no banners

West Virginia Mountaineers vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights Pick: This game has really moved around on me this week. I believe it opened up at even, and the line moved fast in betting favor of the Scarlet Knights, giving the home team 2.5 points when I picked my lines for the week on Monday Night. Since then, despite the high traffic of public bets on West Virginia, the line has moved in West Virginia’s favor, and now the Mountaineers are the underdog, +1.5 almost everywhere you look. 58% of the public bet is on WVU.

Rutgers has won 8 of their last 10, losing to Pittsburgh by a touchdown and getting routed by Syracuse, of all teams.But sometimes that’s what happens to young quarterbacks. Tom Savage has been great since taking over for the Scarlet Knights, and he’s been even more impressive at home. The only home games Rutgers lost all season were against Cincinnati and Pitt.

West Virginia has wan 6 of their last 8, getting beat by a field goal @ Cincinnati, and losing by 11 @ South Florida. The Mountaineers are 1-3 on the road this season. Their only road win was a beat down performed on the same Syracuse team Rutgers lost to a couple weeks ago. They are 4-6 ATS this season.

I like the home field advantage, I like the positive feel to the season thus far for the Knights. I like Tom Savage and the way he’s led his team. West Virginia is good, they’ll come to battle, but I like the home team.

West Virginia Mountaineers @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+2.5)

Pittsburgh Panthers vs West Virginia Mountaineers Pick, Preview

no banners

Pittsburgh Panthers (-1) @ West Virginia Mountaineers Pick, Preview: This is another game that scares me a little bit. The speed of the Mountaineers’ offense could give the Panthers defense a few fits, and this is a bit of a trap game for the Panthers, they just beat up on the Irish a couple weeks ago, and West Virginia is coming off a close loss to #5 Cincinnati – but not much about what the Mounties have done excites me.

West Virginia has beaten Connecticut – yep, that’s their best win. Their schedule wasn’t flashy, they didn’t have many tough match-ups on there, but Cincinnati, Auburn, and Connecticut are the 3 I would rank above the others – and they lost two of those games. And honestly, I’m giving their win over Connecticut up for what it was, a very tough-luck stretch for the Huskies.

The Mountaineers’ scoring is down, their defense has lost some of the athletes that helped them dominate the Big East. I think Pittsburgh has too much power for the Mountaineers. Up front, West Virginia can be moved around. The Panthers have a strong overall attack that opposing defenses can’t cheat against. I think that puts a mediocre Mountaineers team in tough spot this weekend.

Pittsburgh is undefeated against the Big East, and they are 4-2 ATS in those games. They find a way to win, and while the betting value isn’t on them in this one, I’m going against value and for the team that knows how to win.

West Virginia Mountaineers vs Cincinnati Bearcats Pick

no banners

West Virginia Mountaineers (+10) @ Cincinnati Bearcats Pick: The Bearcats have been awesome this season, rocking an undefeated record still as the season winds down. They’ve played awesome under two different quarterbacks, and didn’t have a real tight game until last week when they beat UCONN by a pair.

West Virginia has had their ups and downs, but they’ve mainly beaten the teams they were supposed to while losing to a team they weren’t expected to beat in Auburn and a very equal team in South Florida. But now they play the Bearcats.

It seems like it’s been West Virginia in this situation over the years. Undefeated, headed into a tough conference game against a team they are better than, but still is tough nonetheless. These Big East teams just seem to beat up on themselves, which allows morons to claim their conference weak despite good records against the “good-strong” conferences. But that’s a different article. What matters here is that this Mountaineer team gets to turn it around and play upset-underdog in Cincinnati this weekend. Sometimes it’s easier to be the hunter – I’m just saying.

What really has me taking West Virginia in this one is the quarterback controversy in Cincinnati. It may just be me, but it seems like any undefeated team that has some little mental hurdle late in the season seems to stumble. In this one, starting QB Tony Pike has been medically cleared to play, but the back-up, Zach Collaros, has been lights out in relief of Pike. And thought Pike has been called the starter “when he gets back”, it looks to me like he is back yet Zach is still the starter. Hmmm… It’s something little, but maybe Zach is looking over his shoulder in this one. It’s a short week to prepare for West Virginia, but a couple Bearcat mistakes and this should be close enough for West Virginia to cover.

West Virginia Mountaineers vs South Florida Bulls Free Pick

no banners

West Virginia Mountaineers (-3)@South Florida Bulls Free Pick: The South Florida Bulls have hit their common lull. Per usual, the Bulls started the season on fire, winning their first 5 games, only to drop the last two and come right back down to earth. The only difference this time is that Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, the two straight losses for the Bulls, are very good teams this season. SF is still 5-2, and 3-3 ATS. They look to turn things around and beat the Mountaineers, something they’ve done 2 of the last 3 seasons.

They Mountaineers are coming off yet another win, a 28-24 home win against Connecticut. West Virginia is 6-1 so far this season, but just 2-4 ATS, so they haven’t beaten up on the teams they were expected to. Their single loss came on the road to Auburn. The Mounties still use their vaunted rushing attack, handing the ball to lightning quick running backs, but the question is will South Florida’s elite defensive speed match that speed rushing attack? The Mountaineers have out-rushed every opponent so far this season.

I’m taking the Mountaineers because I think their rushing attack is good enough to keep the ball in their hands. The Bulls have been out-rushed and beaten in each of the last two games, and I think that trend continues against WVU. I think the Mountaineers play better on a short week.

Connecticut Huskies vs West Virginia Mountaineers Pick

no banners

UConn Huskies (+7.5) @ West Virginia Mountaineers: The Huskies have to have heavy hearts coming into this game, but I’ll be rooting for them, and I think they have a very good chance. The Connecticut Huskies are as good as any team West Virginia has played thus far, and the Mountaineers haven’t impressed me with their ability to step on the gas. I know a lot has happened this week since their teammate was stabbed and killed at a school dance, and different teams react different ways, but from what I’ve heard from the Huskies, I like their chances to keep this one close on Saturday. I speak from experience when I say that a teammates death can cause a team to really come together, to rely on each other, to put the team first – those are all key things in team success. I’ll take them and a touchdown plus.

DIRECTV – ESPN GamePlan Free NCAA Picks: Week 6

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at West Virginia Mountaineers (-14) 12:00 pm: Fresno State handled them easily, North Carolina trounced them on National Television, and Navy ran the ball all over them for a close victory. The fact that they beat Morgan State last week doesn’t make me feel better about Rutgers. West Virginia has some tough losses, but I think they play good in this one and oust the Knights by 3 or 4 scores.

Akron Zips (-3.5) at Kent State Golden Flashes 12:00 pm: (already picked this game in my NCAA Free Picks: Week 6) This Zips team is legit. They’ve played well against quality opponents. They almost took down Cincinnati last week, and that wasn’t because the Bearcats played bad. Akron forces the issue, and they should easily handle Kent State.

Boston College Eagles (-8) at North Carolina State Wolfpack 12:00 pm: I picked this game earlier, but the more I look at it the closer it is. Boston College’s quarterback situation is almost as bad as NC State’s, but I think BC is still the favorite to cover here but it’s not the greatest bet around, not as good as I thought it was yesterday.

Florida (-24) at Arkansas 12:30 pm (already picked this game in my NCAA Free Picks: Week 6)

South Carolina Gamecocks at Mississippi Rebels (-2.5) 2:00 pm: I like going against Spurrier, especially when his team is getting a “Spurrier line” – he’s tough to go against because he’s bound to make anything happen, but the better team is Mississippi – they are at home, and I don’t think they let down this week – nobody has let down games against Steve Spurrier’s teams, everyone hates them right?

Florida State Seminoles (+3) at Miami Hurricanes 3:30 pm: Talk about two up and down teams, you never seem to know what to expect from these two teams absolutely chalked full of talent. I’m just going to go ahead and chalk FSU’s 3 point output against Wake Forest up as a flukey bad loss and go with them headed into “The U” – Miami has talent, no doubt, but FSU has shown some strength against decent teams, Miami has only played well against nothing good. Rivalry game, but I’ll take the road team.

Arizona State (+10) at California 3:30 pm (already picked this game in my NCAA Free Picks: Week 6)

Temple Owls (+8) at Miami (Ohio) Redhawks 3:30 pm: I just like what Temple brings to the table with 11 returning starters, 20 seniors, and 26 juniors – this is a good football team that has had some tough losses against some good programs to start the season. I think they fight back with a nice win in this one.

Texas Tech (-7) at Kansas State 3:30 pm (already picked this game in my NCAA Free Picks: Week 6)

Nevada (-24) at Idaho 5:00 pm (already picked this game in my NCAA Free Picks: Week 6)

Florida International (-6) at North Texas 7:00 pm: Florida International is pretty decent – they stick close to good teams, and given a shot against a relatively equal opponent I think they will win easy. North Texas isn’t good – against anyone. Unless I’m sleeping on something, I like the FLINT to win by 3 touchdowns – lots of rushing yards from them in this one.

Northern Illinois at Tennessee Volunteers (-15.5) 7:00 pm: Alright – Week 1 was a fluke loss to a bad UCLA team. Week 2 was about right, killing UAB 35-3. Week 3 was about right, losing by a little more than I expected, but still getting handled by a real good Florida team. Week 4 might have been even better than I expect from Tennesse, going on the road and finishing two back of a good Auburn team. This week they play Northern Illinois. The best teams they’ve beat are Indiana State and Eastern Michigan. Yeah. They lost to Western Michigan (close game) and Minnesota (close game). I think Tennessee comes out with a little to prove in this one and wins by 3 touchdowns.

Oregon Ducks at USC Trojans (-16) 8:00 pm: I’m not crazy about this game, but I’ll take USC at home to come back and get a nice Pac 10 win. They are still one of the best teams in the nation, one down game where they were outplayed doesn’t change that for me. If they would have won last week I’m guessing this would have been a 22-24 point line. I’ll take the value coming after that loss, especially with all those quarterbacking questions at Oregon.

Ohio State (-1) at Wisconsin 8:00 pm (already picked this game in my NCAA Free Picks: Week 6)

Hawaii at Fresno State Bulldogs (-21): It’s that loss to San Jose State that does it for me here. I know this is a bit of a rivalry, but Hawaii just isn’t the same team without the coach that built their program. I’ll take Fresno State here and expect it to be 5 or 6 touchdowns by the end of this thing. The Bulldogs won’t let up.

Week 12 College Football Picks Review: 2007

A couple games under .500 this time around, this is how a half a point here, and a half a point there took me under the parallel bars.

LUCKY LESTER’S Free NCAA Football Pick Review

Free Picks: Week 12

West Virginia Mountaineers @ Cincinnati Bearcats (+6): win
(Line: Thursday, 2:00am EST: SBG Belmont)

They didn’t quite get the win, but my 6 points were just enough to cover and get me a much needed NCAA win to start off my week. The Mountaineers were too fast offensively for Cinci when it came right down to it, and with a win, they kept a fat chance open for a National Championship run if the right dominoes fall.

Pittsburgh Panthers @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-11.5): loss
(Line: Wednesday, 11:00pm EST: Belmont)

So, I was wrong about Pittsburgh. I thought they’d mail it in after a loss to Navy, but they’ve played pretty well late in the season, including a close loss to the Knights on Saturday. Rutgers didn’t dominate like I thought they would, something that has happened once or twice already this season.

Iowa State Cyclones @ Kansas Jayhawks (-26): win
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: WSEX)

“The Cyclones are one of the worst teams in college football, despite playing well in a big game or two this season (close game against Oklahoma and a win over Iowa come to mind) but they have also absolutely sucked against superb offenses (which the Jayhawks definitely have).” The Cyclones continued their trend, and the Jayhawks once again dominanted a lesser opponent. It will be interesting to see what happens when they play the Tigers this coming weekend.

Kentucky Wildcats (+7.5) @ Georgia Bulldogs: loss
(Line: Wednesday, 11:00pm EST: Belmont)

This half point loss wasn’t what I needed. I thought the Wildcats would have too much of a passing attack for the Bulldogs, but in the end, Georgia’s pressure off the edge put the Wildcats in one too many long yardage situations, and Georgia won by 8.

Duke Blue Devils (+6) @ Notre Dame: loss
(Line: Wednesday, 11:00pm EST: BodogLife)

The dream died, and in quite possibly the game that decided the worst team in college football, the Blue Devils once again stepped up to prove that they were the proud owners of that Burger King Paper Crown. The Irish won big, and let me tell you, that will be the last time that happens this season.

Five Free Dogs to Walk!

Maryland Terrapins (+7.5) @ Florida State Seminoles: loss (half point)
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Belmont)

Oklahoma Sooners @ Texas Tech Red Raiders (+8.5): win
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Bodog)

Tulane Green Wave (+2) @ Rice Owls: win
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Belmont)

Northwestern Wildcats (+13.5) @ Illinois Fighting Illini: loss
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Belmont)

Idaho Vandals (+34.5) @ Boise State Broncos: loss
(Line: Thursday, 4:00pm EST: Belmont)

Two half a point losses turned what could have been a 6-4 into a 4-6. There’s always next week! A 3-2 record with my elite picks made me feel a little better, but 7-8 overall isn’t much to be excited about.

Week 3 College Football Picks Review: 2007

Week 3 went well for Old Lucky Lester. I managed a 3-2 winning score in my free picks, and went 3-1-1 with my pay picks. That brings my pay picks to 7-2-1 over the last 2 weeks, and from the feel of it, this college football pick ’em is getting easier and easier.

LUCKY LESTER’S Free NCAA Football Picks

West Virginia Mountaineers (-16.5) @ Maryland Terrapins: (win)
West Virginia just covered the spread in this one, but just covered is a Win, and last time I checked, this game, like any other, is measured by wins and losses. An early win set me up for a nice week.

Cincinnati Bearcats (-9) @ Miami (Ohio): (win)
The Bearcats covered nicely, giving me my second Big East win in as many chances in Week 3. I tell ya, watch out for these teams, they are better than many give them credit for.

UCLA Bruins (-13.5) @ Utah Utes: (loss)
“UCLA hasn’t been as dominant as I’d like them to have been thus far, but they are winning football games by a solid margin. The people who know college football best think the Bruins should be rated about 10 spots higher than they are.” (Me) Apparently the Bruins shouldn’t be rated 10 spots higher than they are, more like 10 spots lower, or not rated at all. Utah stuck it too and overly confident team from Southern California. I bet they liked that out there on the banks of that big ass salty lake.

Boston College Eagles @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-7): (loss)
I was completely tricked in this one. The Jackets played poorly right off the bat, and they never got on track. Surely, BC was ready for everything the Yellow Jackets do offensively, and GT just couldn’t move the ball. Matt Ryan did was he does, and the Eagles are looking good at top the ACC.

Florida State Seminoles (+6**) @ Colorado Buffaloes: (win)
Well, what can I say, the Seminoles won easily against the Buffs. FSU may be in a lull, but, talentwise, the Buffs just can’t hang with the Noles. This game was a gimmie, I hope you won big like I did, here.

**The wrong character was used for the spread. When the pick was made the point spread was actually -6 and not +6. It doesn’t really matter though because I won anyways. The error was discussed over at

Here’s my Week 3 Elite Picks for NCAA College Football. 2 big winners in a row…

Arkansas Razorbacks (+3) @ Alabama Crimson Tide (push)
Tennessee Volunteers @ Florida Gators (-8): (win)
Duke Blue Devils @ Northwestern Wildcats (-16.5) (loss)
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (+33.5) @ California Golden Bears (win)
USC Trojans (-10) @ Nebraska Cornhuskers (win)

Free 2007 College Football Picks Week 3

Week 3 is ready to roar, and if the first two weeks are any indication of my ’07 season, this week is going to be full of wins. These are my free picks for Week 3, and I have to be honest, I feel pretty good about this week’s college match-ups. The ACC will try to fight back, but only in some games will they succeed. Week 3 is always a dandy, as the truth that has been waiting in the distance starts to force its way to the front porch.

LUCKY LESTER’S Free NCAA Football Picks

West Virginia Mountaineers (-16.5) @ Maryland Terrapins:
9/13/07 7:45pm EST
West Virginia is a bad team to face as your first true test of the season. After playing two games against low level competition, the Terps are well rested, but they aren’t ready for a tandem like Pat White and Steve Slaton. I’m not sure if you can get ready for something like that, but Florida International and Villanova isn’t the way to do it. Look for the Mountaineers to get off to a solid start before busting down the flood gates in the 2nd half. The ACC has been getting killed against solid teams. I have a feeling that trend will continue here.

Cincinnati Bearcats (-9) @ Miami (Ohio): 9/15/07 12:00pm EST
I love the Big East, and the Bearcats are the reason why. They showed me something last week against a pretty good Oregon State team. The Bearcats make 4 very good teams in the Big East, with WVU, Rutgers, and Louisville, this conference is no longer one of the weaker groups in college football. In fact, I’d rank the Big East above the Big 10 and definitely the ACC. I might even go as far as the Big 12 if it weren’t for Oklahoma’s chances to win it all. Either way, the Bearcats are forcing themselves into the equation, so much so that I see another statement game out of Cinci.

UCLA Bruins (-13.5) @ Utah Utes: 9/15/07 5:00pm EST
UCLA hasn’t been as dominant as I’d like them to have been thus far, but they are winning football games by a solid margin. The people who know college football best think the Bruins should be rated about 10 spots higher than they are. Utah goes for their 3rd straight loss, after dropping back to back games against Oregon State and Air Force. Honestly, this game may come down to that half point, but I like my chances with an improved UCLA squad that seems to be playing with a little urgency. I don’t think we’ve seen the best from them, yet.

Boston College Eagles @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-7):
9/15/07 8:00pm EST
The Eagles have put away their opponents rather easily on the scoreboard, but I’m not sure, after watching game film, that those games were as easy as they seemed. On the other hand, I know Georgia Tech has been a force in their two wins. It should be interesting, as neither team has had much competition thus far, but my money is on Georgia Tech. The Jackets have one of the best defenses in all of the land, and a stud back in Mr. Choice. He’ll have to run hard to get to the century mark against Boston College, a team that has outrushed their opponents by a total of 228 yards in the first two games, but I think he can do it. I also believe that Taylor Bennett will find open targets in a Yellow Jackets win. This will be the best game of his career thus far.

Florida State Seminoles (+6) @ Colorado Buffaloes:
9/15/07 10:00pm EST
I know the Seminoles have been a big disappointment over the last couple of years, and they struggled for a good portion of last weeks game against UAB, but look closer, and you’ll see a Seminole team that may have just figured it out last week. Nobody questions the athletic talent at FSU, so you have to think the confidence is coming. Well, the Seminoles went down 17-3, but instead of fading away, they busted tail back and finished the game on a 31-7 run to win easily. FSU just has to harness their defensive aggression, and they’ll win this one easily.