Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Last Batch of Many, (Too) Many College Football Bowl Games.

Thursday was a good day. Tonight I went 2-0 to increase my bowl record to 8-4 (reminder: I'm not suggesting every game is playable) including 3 straight-up underdog wins on the ML.

As I'm writing this, OSU is handing Colorado it's collective hat and we've still got the Friday games so there's a lot of football still to play.  But the last batch of games, the big money games, might be some of the most interesting of all, and some of the ones that you might not be so quick to take a stab at.....

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. Saturday, December 31st, 10:00 AM CST.

LSU (-3.5) @ Louisville. [59.5]. As much as I want to root for LSU here, it's hard to not pull, at least a little, for Lamar Jackson to have a quality game. The biggest issue, that I see, is that Louisville's offense has never done well against truly top opposition, and their defense is just not as good as a lot of people think it will be.  The Tigers should be motivated to play for Coach O, and I question Louisville's fire since they were hoping for a playoff berth right up until they got roasted by the UH Cougars. One unknown, is LSU down like the rest of their (currently) 1-4 bowl record conference? LSU 24 Louisville 23. Pick: Too many unknowns here, so pass.  But if I like anything I like the UNDER.

TaxSlayer Bowl. Saturday, December 31st, 10:00 AM CST.

Georgia Tech (-3) @ Kentucky. [62.5]. As is always the question when Georgia Tech plays: "Can their opponent stop the run?" Unfortunately for Kentucky, they really can't.  They allow 225 yards per game, and 5.1 yards per carry.  If the Ramblin' wreck gets that kind of production it's going to be a long, long day for the Wildcats.  Paul Johnson is one of those coaches that fan bases love to hate, but who holds on to his job by doing just enough to keep from getting fired. I think the Yellow Jackets continue to pile on to the SEC, who is absorbing some blows this year. GA Tech 42 Kentucky 30. Pick: Georgia Tech to cover -3 and the OVER.

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl (CFP Semi-final), December 31st, 2:00 PM CST.

Washington @ Alabama (-14) [53]. This line continues to inch closer and closer to Bama blowout territory, and I think that's what we're going to see.  For all of the talk about the "SEC being down" Alabama is certainly not, and I think that Washington got a lot of their record on the backs of an overrated PAC-12 conference this year. I typically am not a fan of lines this big however, Saban dominates. Washington 10 Alabama 45. Pick: Alabama to cover -14.

Playstation Fiesta Bowl (CFP Semi-final), December 31st, 6:00 PM CST.

Ohio State (-2.5) @ Clemson. [58.5]. Finding upset potential in these games is a little bit harder than it is with games in the lower tier.  For one, almost everyone has seen these two teams play and we know an awful lot about them.  To my mind, Ohio State has two key advantages that Clemson is going to have to overcome.  Overall talent, and coaching.  But Clemson is by far the better team in terms of QB play, and skill of play makers. I see this game as pretty even, but I think there's a mild upset opportunity to be had here.  Ohio State 24 Clemson 27. Pick: Clemson to win on the ML.

Outback Bowl, Monday, January 2nd, Noon CST.

Florida (-3) @ Iowa. [40.5]. This game could be the snoozer of the day. Neither team is all that good at the offensive side of the game and neither has especially talented players that could surprise either. Iowa has a better QB but Florida has better players almost everywhere else (with the possible exception of O-line).  Both teams are solid defensively, but I think Florida has better players. Florida 17 Iowa 10. Pick: Florida to cover -3 and the UNDER.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Monday, January 2nd, Noon CST.

Western Michigan @ Wisconsin (-8.5) [52.5]. Western Michigan is a feel-good story, and Wisconsin's motivation is going to be suspect, at best.  One thing working against the Broncos however is that I just don't think they're very good.  The MAC is terrible this year, having gone 0-5 in bowl games and in danger of becoming the only non-win conference.  And the B1G, is pretty good. Motivation or no I like Wisconsin to win, and I'm pretty sure they do it convincingly. UNLESS they show up unmotivated.  That's why this game is a no-fly zone for me. Western Michigan 10 Wisconsin 31. Pick: Lay off of this. But, if you must: Wisc to cover -8.5 and the under.

Rose Bowl Game Presented by NorthWestern Mutual. Monday, January 2nd, 4:00 PM CST.

USC (-7) @ Penn State. [59.5]. I truly believe that the Trojans might be the 2nd best team in the country, right now. I also believe that Penn State is only a good, not great, football team. I expect USC to score early, and score often. I don't think this one is going to be all that close. Still, aesthetically it's the perfect setting for football. So, worth a watch for that. USC 42 Penn State 13. Pick: USC to cover -7.

Allstate Sugar Bowl. Monday, January 2nd, 7:30 PM CST.

Auburn @ Oklahoma (-3) [63.5]. Auburn is the team that drew the unlucky "well SOMEONE from the SEC has to be in a NY6 Bowl besides Alabama." straw.  Their reward for that? Playing an OU team that rattled off 9 straight wins in conference after starting the season 1-2 with losses at Houston, and AT Ohio State. That's a brutal run followed by a monstrous finish. Auburn meanwhile struggled finishing the season losing to Georgia, and getting dominated by Alabama. How this line is sitting at -3 is beyond me. I'm not griping however. Auburn 10 OU 38. Pick: OU to cover -3 and the UNDER (I don't think Auburn can score enough points to hold up their end for the over).

And that's it.  At least until next week when we have to look at the CFP championship game. (Hint: Alabama will probably be in there and will be favored by at least a Touchdown no matter who they play).

Good luck this weekend, and Happy New Year.

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