My week one college bowl picks left something to be desired. I finished at .500, but let’s hope I’m better this time around.
Here’s the complete Bowl Schedule and the preview for games leading up to New Year’s Eve:
Saturday, Dec. 26th
Location: Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL
Time/TV: 11:00 AM on ESPN
Preview: Marshall started the season with a win over a Big Ten opponent (Purdue, their first in school history) and only lost three times this season, all to eventual bowl teams.
The Thundering Herd have a chance to win ten ballgames for the third straight year on Saturday. UCONN is led by RB Arkeel Newsome on awesome and First Team All-AAC CB Jamar Summers on defense. The Huskies haven’t won a bowl game since beating South Carolina in the 2009 PapaJohn’s.com Bowl and need a win to finish with a winning record.
Line/Pick: Marshall is a five-point favorite and I expect them to cover in a low-scoring affair.. Marshall 17 UCONN 10
Location: Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX
Time/Tv: 2:00 PM on CBS
Preview: One team boasts their conference coach of the year while the other has an interim coach. Remember this story? That same Mike Leach was the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the Washington State Cougars and they get their star quarterback back, Luke Falk. The 2015 Cougars have the most wins by any WSU team since 2003. Falk leads the nation in passing at 387.8 yards per game.
Brad Kaaya leads the way for Miami, who hired former Georgia coach Mark Richt to take over after the bowl game. Watch out for Miami running back Joe Yearby. #1 Clemson also beat Miami by about 100 points at the end of October.
Line/Pick: WSU -2.5.. WSU gets their star qb back and the Pac-12 coach of the year leads the team to victory, right? Nope. Kaaya and Yearby have big games and the Hurricanes win the Sun Bowl.
Location: Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX
Time/Tv: 2:20 PM on ESPN
Preview: If I had to choose which bowl to watch in the two o’clock hour, it wouldn’t be this one. The Huskies routed the aforementioned WSU Cougars, sans Falk, in the Apple Cup to earn a bowl bid and face Southern Miss, whose best win was a 34-point beating of La Tech on the road. I can’t really think of any more reasons to watch this game, but here are three more.
Line/Pick: WASH -2.5.. Huskies win this one going away.
Location: Yankee Stadium
Time/Tv: 3:30 PM on ABC
Preview: A couple years ago, this matchup would have only be interesting on the hardwood. Both IU and Duke, better known for their basketball teams, have turned around their football programs and meet in Yankee Stadium. Duke will be without ACC Defensive Player of the Year and first-team AP All-American Jeremy Cash.
The Hoosiers might be without star Jordan Howard. Indiana is playing in just its second bowl game since 1993.
Line/Pick: The Hoosiers are favored by three points and just might win their first bowl game since 1991.
Location: Independence Stadium in Shreveport, LA
Time/TV: 5:45 PM on ESPN
Preview: This will be Frank Beamer’s final game after 29 years on the Virginia Tech sidelines. “Beamer Ball” carried the Hokies to 23 straight bowl appearances from 93-2006. Tulsa can put points up in a hurry, but this game is about Frank Beamer and the Hokies.
Line/Pick: Va Tech is favored by 14 points. I expect Tulsa to cover, but the Hokies and Frank Beamer go out with a win.
Location: Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA
Time/TV: 9:15 PM on ESPN
Preview: UCLA Freshman quarterback Josh Rosen completed 80% of his passes for over 350 yards and 3 touchdowns in the very first start of his career. The Bruins suffered several key injuries on defense. Paul Perkins is a key part to the Bruins offense.
Nebraska had quite a year. They lost to BYU in the season-opener on a hail mary, gave up 55 points in a loss to Purdue in West Lafayette and then handed Michigan State their only loss of the season the following week. Nebraska was one of several schools to accept a bowl invite with a 5-7 record.
Line/Pick: UCLA -6.5 I fully expect the Bruins to win this game by at least a touchdown, making this one a safe bet.
Monday, December 28th
Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD
Time/Tv: 2:30 PM on ESPN
Preview: Keenan Reynolds and the Midshipmen had one of their best seasons in program history and have a chance to go out on a high note in a “home” game against the Pitt Panthers. Reynolds finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting, set the Division I record for rushing touchdowns with 85 and has already set the school record for touchdown passes with 30.
The hearts of Pitt Panthers everywhere will be with James Connor. It was annoucned that Conner is dealing with Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma. The star running back tore a knee ligament in the season opener.
Line/Pick: NAVY -3.0 is a safe bet in Keenan Reynolds’ final game as a Midshipman.
Location: Ford Field in Detroit, MI
Time/TV: 5:00 PM on ESPN2
Preview: Minnesota won five games this year and is favored to beat the seven-win Chippewas.
Line/Pick: MINN -5.0 should be a safe bet, but the Gophers were inconsistent all year.
Tuesday, December 29th
Location: Amon G. Carter Stadium in Ft. Worth, TX
Time/TV: 2:00 PM on ESPN
Preview: Jared Goff is the headline in this bowl game. Goff is predicted by many to be a top 10 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The junior threw for over 4,000 yards to go along with 37 touchdowns.
The Air Force offense is much different. They are second in FBS with 321 rushing yards per game.
Line/Pick: I don’t think CAL -7.0 is too big of a risk.
Location: Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL
Time/TV: 5:30 PM on ESPN
Preview: This game could have been so much more. Baylor WR Corey Coleman, RB Shock Linwood and top two quarterbacks will miss the game. UNC played Clemson relatively tough in the ACC Championship game. The Tar Heels averaged almost 500 yards of offense and over 40 points per game. Former Tar Heel offensive coordinator Seth Littrell took the North Texas head coach position and won’t be with the team.
Line/Pick: UNC is favored by 2.5 points and I think they win by at least a field goal.
Location: Arizona Stadium in Tucson, AZ
Time/TV: 7:30 PM on NONE
Preview: First off, what a name for a bowl game. Second, ESPN PREVIEW. This is why we have ESPN. I didn’t watch one down from either team. This game isn’t even televised. I do know that both teams are in the Mountain West Conference but in different divisions.
Line/Pick: This game will probably go down as the best Home Loans Arizona Bowl in history. CSU covers at -3.0.
Location: NRG Stadium in Houston, TX
Time/TV: 9:00 PM on ESPN
Preview: Leonard Fournette averaged 193 yards rushing in his team’s 7-0 start. Fournette scored 15 teams in those 7 games, but everything went down the drain during a three-game losing streak. Rumors swirled the Les Miles was, then wasn’t, then was coming back before the athletic department finally announced Miles wasn’t going anywhere.
Texas Tech won seven games this season and boast the nation’s second-best offense.
Line/Pick: I think everyone is hoping for a shootout. LSU -7.0 is a very interesting line. How will Texas Tech’s offense do against an SEC defense? I’m glad I’m not into betting, because this one is crazy. Texas Tech in an upset.
Wednesday, December 30th
This might be the best day of games to date.
Location: Legion Field in Birmingham, AL
Time/Tv: Noon on ESPN
Preview: Paxton Lynch and the Memphis Tigers had quite a season. Their head coach moved on to Va. Tech. They beat SEC-foe Ole Miss and the Tigers emerged as one of the best Group of Five teams in the nation. Lynch is widely-regarded as the top draft-eligible quarterback in college. The 6-foot-7 quarterback tossed 28 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions including this record-setting performance:
Auburn won just six games this season and doesn’t do too many things well. They averaged 27 points per game (15 less than Memphis, and gave up 421 yards per game. Both teams give up 27 points per game, so this could be a shootout.
Line/Pick: AUB -2.5 Lynch and the Memphis Tigers pick up their second win against an SEC Team this year with a Birmingham Bowl victory.
Location: Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC
Time/TV: 3:30 PM on ESPN
Preview: The Belk Bowl showcases two above-average quarterbacks for teams that had decent seasons. Jacoby Brissett and the Wolfpack’s best win this season was…. Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs finished with eight wins, but were just .500 in the SEC West. They did produce this magnificent finish and win against Arkansas:
Line/Pick: MSST -5.5 is another interesting line. It will take a HUGE day from Brissett for the Wolfpack to upset the Bulldogs, and I think they get said performance.
Location: Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN
Time/TV: 7:00 PM on ESPN
Preview: What a tumultuous time in College Station. The Aggies have had two, five-star quarterbacks leave the team and their coach, Kevin Sumlin, just might be on the hot seat. Kyler Murray is going to Oklahoma. It’s unknown where Kyle Allen will go, but it won’t be back to College Station. The Louisville offense, led by Lamar Jackson, is extremely young but can still put up points.
Line/Pick: Lou -4.5 might just be because of all the uncertainties in Aggie-land. This one is a toss up for me, but the Aggies win in an upset.
Location: Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA
Time/TV: 10:30 PM on ESPN
Preview: Wisconsin just finished a relatively quiet nine-win season. The Badgers, usually known for their rushing numbers and defense, did more through the air this year than in previous years. Wisconsin’s three losses this year were to Alabama, Iowa and Northwestern, three, top-15 teams.
Cody Kessler and the Trojans overcame quite a wild season as well. Steve Sarkisian was dismissed and the Trojans rallied around new head coach Clay Helton. Kessler is another quarterback to watch this bowl season.
Line/Pick: USC -3.5 is a safe bet. Trojans win this won by two field goals.
Week two should be a fine appetizer for the New Year’s Six Bowl games.
Check Back the morning of New Year’s Eve for the rest of the Bowl Preview.