Welcome back, and Merry-almost-Christmas. We’ve reached the middle of this three-part series, and bowl season is in full swing. As I write this, Toledo and FIU (Go Panthers! Wait, it is Panthers, right?) are playing in what appears to be one of those wind machines you can pretend to go parachuting in.
EDIT: FIU and BYU both came home!
So let’s make some more picks, right after this.
Why I’m a genius: 8-2 ATS so far. Not too shabby!
Why I’m an idiot: Have a look at the over/unders. Not only am I 0-2, I bet more on the totals than I did on the point spreads. So despite the fact that I’m en fuego regarding the betting line, I’m barely up money-wise. Never in a million years did I think my Aggies would hang 52 in the New Mexico Bowl, and the total would stay below 66.5. Never gamble.
So even though our first batch of picks is still a work in progress, the calendar dictates that we issue another volley of
The boys and I will cover the rest of the Pac-12 first, then move on to some other bowls throughout the landscape.
Cheez-It Bowl: Cal vs. TCU (PK/-110)
Sponsor: IT’S RIGHT IN THE NAME! But it’ll always be the Weiser Lock Copper Bowl to me.
Motivation Edge: Yeesh. Gotta be the Golden Bears. TCU had much higher expectations than 6-6.
Analysis: The Horned Frogs had a largely disappointing season, and suffered a series of bad injuries. If you weren’t aware of just how bad their season was, they lost to Kansas. Cal, meanwhile, performed about to expectations, of not a little above. And if you ask formerly-astute-turned-carnival barking schlemiel Jon Wilner, Cal would have beaten WSU if they’d kept Chase Garbers in the game.
Dad’s Pick: $330 on Cal and $110 Under 39.5
Holiday Bowl - Northwestern (-7.5/-110) vs. Utah (+7.5/-110)
Sponsor: San Diego County Credit Union, but it’ll always be the Plymouth Holiday Bowl to me.
Motivation Edge: Probably a tough bounce back for the Utes after that brutal Pac-12 title game loss. Neither one of these teams has ever been here, so they should both be pretty fired up.
Analysis: We’re all aware of Kyle Whittingham’s bowl prowess. Granted, those have mostly been in also-ran bowl games against bad opponents, but I don’t think anyone would be upset if WSU had that kind of minor bowl game record. Northwestern always seems to make life hard on its opponent, and I don’t think that’ll change here.
Dad’s Pick: $110 on the WIldcats and $220 Under 46
Sun Bowl - Stanford (-6/-110) vs. Pitt (+6/-110)
Sponsor: Hyundai, but it’ll always be the John Hancock Sun Bowl to me.
Motivation Edge: Uhhhhhh, maybe the fans are motivated to be there? I’d probably go with Pitt. Maybe. I guess. After all, they have to be looking to avenge their loss in what was possibly worst bowl game ever, a 3-0 setback in this game a decade ago.
Analysis: No Bryce Love for the Cardinal. Then again, Bryce Love has been largely absent for the entire season. Look, I know it’s only the Sun Bowl, but this is a pretty good referendum on the state of affairs in the Pac-12. I mean, if Stanford can’t beat 7-6 Pitt, what even is the Pac-12?
Dad’s Pick: $220 on Stanford
Redbox Bowl - Michigan St. (+3/EVEN) vs. Oregon (-3/EVEN)
Sponsor: I really am starting to feel disappointment with the sponsors of these games just wedging themselves into the name. Anyway, it’ll always be the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl to me.
Motivation Edge: Both teams had disappointing seasons, so it’s tough to tell. My guess is Sparty is happier to be here.
Analysis: I don’t have a whole lot to offer. I know, stunning. Michigan State’s defense is good enough to fluster Justin Herbert in what will hopefully be his final college game. On the other hand, Michigan State’s offense is patently awful.
Dad’s Pick: I want Oregon to win, so, whatever. $100 on the Ducks
Rose Bowl: Washington (+6.5/-110) vs. Ohio State (-6.5/-110)
Sponsor: Northwestern Mutual, but it’ll always be the NO IT’LL ALWAYS JUST BE THE ROSE BOWL. THAT’S IT, JUST THE ROSE BOWL.
Motivation Edge: I’m sure both teams are incredibly motivated, for different reasons. Washington hasn’t been here in nearly two decades, while Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is leaving after this game, and he has never coached in the Rose Bowl.
Analysis: Coach-wise, it’s Eddie Haskell vs. whatever morally bankrupt TV character you can imagine. Well, if Eddie Haskell were also a complete hypocrite who always gets a pass because of his “golly gee” facade. It’s also strength-on-strength with the UW defense vs. the Buckeye offense. Here’s hoping Dwayne Haskins scores early and often.
Dad’s Pick: $110 on Ohio State
Alamo Bowl - Iowa State (+3.5/-110) vs. WSU (-3.5/-110)
Sponsor: Valero, but it’ll always be the Builders Square Alamo Bowl to me.
Motivation Edge: Let’s see, one team is playing in its biggest bowl game in school history (as a WSU fan, let that one sink in) while the other team along with its administrators and fans, spent a week griping about playing in a “lesser” bowl than they deserved.
Analysis: WSU opened as a 6.5 point favorite, and the line plunged almost immediately. It has settled at 3.5, but is just three in a couple spots. I’ve been dead set on taking the Iowa State money line ever since this matchup came to fruition. Iowa State has seen the Air Raid several times, they have a receiver who could murder every DB the Cougs put out there, their running game is solid, and their freshman QB gets better by the week. Not only that, but the vast majority of predictions I’ve seen are on the side of the Cyclones.
You know what? F*** it. This has been one of my favorite seasons as a fan. Despite the fact that every sign points away from WSU, and despite the fact that their modus operandi is to suck sewer water in the Apple Cup and bowl game, I choose to believe. Please don’t make me regret this, fellas, it’ll hurt too damn much.
The Pick: $110 on the Cougs
First Responder Bowl - Boston College (+2.5/-110) vs. Boise State (-2.5/-110)
Sponsor: ServPro, but it’ll always be the TicketCity Bowl to me.
Motivation Edge: Boise State is playing a Power Five school, so you can probably figure it out.
Analysis: If BC loses, they’ll finish 7-6 for the fifth time in Steve Addazio’s six seasons. Good God that’s some mediocrity. This will be Brett Rypien’s last game for the Broncos. Remember when Cougar fans were disappointed that he didn’t come to Pullman? It was a simpler time. None of that is analysis, but whatever.
The Pick: $110 on BC and $220 Under 56
Quick Lane Bowl: Georgia Tech (-5/-110) vs. Minnesota (+5/-110)
Sponsor: Quick Lane, but it’ll always be the Ford Motor City Bowl to me.
Motivation Edge: Probably somewhat even. The Gophers have to be excited to be anywhere this postseason, even if that “anywhere” is Detroit. Ok maybe they’re not excited. The Yellow Jackets are almost certainly looking to send Paul Johnson into retirement on a high note. The ACC apparently wasn’t, seeing as how they sent him to Detroit.
Analysis: Minnesota has been patently awful against the run this season. Guess what Georgia Tech is pretty good at? If I can be granted one non-WSU wish this bowl season, it’s that Georgia Tech wins without completing a pass.
The Pick: $220 on the Ramblin’ Wreck
Independence Bowl - Duke (+4/-110) vs. Temple (-4/-110)
Sponsor: Walk-on’s (once again...who?) Anyway, if you think this bowl game should be anything other than the Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl, there’s the door.
Motivation Edge: I mean...
Mentality. @IndyBowl#TempleTUFF pic.twitter.com/VHCAXVJhKM— Temple Football (@Temple_FB) December 11, 2018
Analysis: Duke is pretty good, but I think Temple is a touchdown better. Recency bias plays into this somewhat, as the Blue Devils got curb-stomped the last time they were on the field, and I still have no idea how Temple gained six miles of offense against UCF but didn’t win.
The Pick: $110 on the Owls
Pinstripe Bowl - Wisconsin (+3/-110) vs. Miami (-3/-110)
Sponsor: New Era
Motivation Edge: Probably the chain gang, because neither of these teams want to be anywhere near this thing.
Analysis: Wisconsin is starting their former backup again, while Miami might as well be starting the assistant water boy. There’s no way he can be worse than N’Kosi Perry. Gonna plug my nose and take the points, I guess.
The Pick: $110 on Bucky and $110 Under 47.5
Texas Bowl - Vanderbilt (-4/-110) vs. Baylor (+4/-110)
Sponsor: One of those big sporting goods stores, but it’ll always be the galleryfurniture.com Bowl to me. Is it irony that the bowl sponsor has “outdoors” in its name but the game is being played indoors?
Motivation Edge: Baylor may have morally bankrupt leadership, but its recovery to make a bowl game this quickly has to have them pretty damn excited.
Analysis: It’s times like this that make me realize how little college football I saw this season outside of WSU games.
The Pick: $110 on Vandy
Music City Bowl - Auburn (-4/-110) vs. Purdue (+4/-110)
Sponsor: Franklin American Mortgage, but it’ll always be the HomePoint.com Bowl to me.
Motivation Edge: Auburn didn’t want to play in the Peach Bowl last season. Do you think they want to play in this game? Purdue would have sacrificed their collective middle nuts to make a bowl game after week three.
Analysis: Purdue is a different team away from home, and that’s not a good thing. Even still, I think they’re treating this game like a championship, while Auburn probably looks at Purdue like just another version of the Washington Huskies. And we all know what happened when this crappy Auburn team played Washington.
The Pick: Boiler Up for $110
Camping World Bowl - West Virginia (-1/-110) vs. Syracuse (+1/-110)
Sponsor: In the name, because of course it is, but it’ll always be the Blockbuster/Carquest/Micron PC/Visit Florida Tangerine Bowl to me.
Motivation Edge: You think West Virginia wants to be here as much as Syracuse? If you do, I can’t help you.
Analysis: Will Grier isn’t playing. West Virginia’s best offensive lineman whose name I can’t pronounce isn’t playing. All of the Syracuse players are playing, so I’ll just leave this here.
The Gamble-Tron is gonna get in on this Camping World Bowl line while it's still available - Syracuse +5.5 for $550.— PJ Kendall ✈ ⚰ (@Deathby105) December 8, 2018
Peach Bowl - Michigan (-7/-110) vs. Florida (+7/-110)
Sponsor: Chick-Fil-A, and since Chick-Fil-A is arguably the best fast food restaurant on the planet, so I can’t get sentimental about this one.
Motivation Edge: I doubt you’ll find any motivated fans, since it seems like these two teams play each other in every bowl game. Anyway, it’s probably Michigan. Nearly all of their lineup may be playing college football for the first time ever, since most of the upperclassmen are sitting out.
Analysis: It’s always funny when guys who have no real high draft prospects feel it necessary to tell everyone they’re returning to school. Looking at you, Shea Patterson. That aside, he’s easily the better quarterback in this game. I’m taking the points anyway.
The Pick: $110 on Florida
That’s all for now. We’ll have Part III some time around Christmas.