Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bowl Picks

With bowl season fast approaching it's probably time to get the picks in. However, with my record as it is (24-24 ATS and 38-10 SU), I'll only be officially picking the games that involve Big XII teams. But because I spoil you, I'll also throw in quick picks for the Poinsettia Bowl and the remaining BCS games. Between those, that should cover every relevant team in the country this year.

Poinsettia: Tuesday, 12/23 @ 7:00 pm
TCU v. Boise State (+2.5)
I base this pick on precisely nothing, except that I've learned not to doubt Boise State. I really like TCU and can't even explain how much I wish Jerry Hughes were a Jayhawk, but I'm wholly unimpressed with their offense to the point that I think the Broncos will do just enough to sneak out a win. Boise 23 TCU 20

Alamo: Monday, 12/29 @ 7:00 pm
Northwestern v. Missouri (-12.5)
This has become a chic pick for an upset. And quite an upset it would be as it's currently the largest spread on the board. As much as I'd be just fine with watching Chase whine through his last four quarters as he did last time in the Alamodome, I just don't see it. I'm higher on Penn State than most, but past them (and OSU to an extent) I saw absolutely no one in the entire conference worth taking seriously this year. Missouri 45 Northwestern 24

Holiday: Tuesday, 12/30 @ 7:00 pm
Oregon v. Oklahoma State (-3)
I think the Cowboys are favored on conference perception alone, but they're still plenty good to win this game. With that said, Oregon looked great the last few weeks of the season and while part of that has to be attributed to competition, it was also plenty legitimate. Put simply, this is a game I want to watch if for no other reason than both of these teams have dynamite offenses predicated on moving the ball on the ground, but with playmakers all over the field. No amount of analysis would take you very far with this one, so I'll channel my inner woman and pick the team whose uniforms are less ugly. OSU 41 Oregon 35

Insight Bowl: New Year's Eve @ 4:00 pm
Minnesota v. Kansas (-10)
Simply put, as long as over-confidence doesn't set in, this really shouldn't be a game. I think Tim Brewster deserves a ton of respect for what he's done in a short time there, but Minnesota just isn't that good. We've touched on this some and there's plenty more to come, but in the end it always comes back to that point. If Kansas is focused, energized, and protects the football they'll wrap it up by halftime. If they play sloppy and allow the under-heralded Minnesota defensive line to force some mistakes, then they could be in for a long game. But with Mangino cracking the (hopefully) proverbial whip I'll be betting on the former. Kansas 38 Minnesota 20

Gator: New Year's Day @ 12:00 pm
Clemson v. Nebraska (+2.5)
One of the toughest picks on the board, I don't think anyone has a clue what to expect here. After all, Clemson is coached by a guy named Dabo. But his players do seem to be buying into his energetic tactics. The talent is there for this to be a very good team, but they rarely look the part. Nebraska, on the other hand, has done a fine job masking their weakness (defense) by developing a ball control offense that doesn't entirely depend on running the ball. This sounds very simple, but few coaches are willing to admit their weakness and/or cannot do anything to hide it. Pelini has done both, while also forming an offense that can put some points on the board. I may be succumbing to a little conference bias here, but I'll take the Huskers. Nebraska 35 Clemson 31

Rose Bowl: New Year's Day @ 3:30 pm
USC v. Penn State (+9.5)
The Trojan defense is fantastic whenever it's not trying to tackle Jacquizz Rogers. But despite their future pros on offense, have we really seen anything from that unit to warrant a line like this? I know I haven't and yet I'm still struggling with this pick because of how little I trust the Penn State offense. The best defense they faced was Ohio State and they put up a measly 13 points, so it's hard to expect them to get much more than that. In fact, that's exactly what I'll give them. USC 21 Penn State 13

Orange: New Year's Day @ 7:30 pm
Cincinnati v. Virginia Tech (+2)
I can't imagine knowing any less about a BCS team than I do Cincinnati. What I do know is that they have a similar resume to Kansas a year ago, only if Kansas had been humiliated by LSU (Oklahoma) and then later by Colorado (Connecticut). But since neither of those things happened, I'll put my cash money on Virginia Tech. After all, the ACC could really use a BCS win one of these days. VT 23 Cincy 17

Cotton: Friday, 1/2 @ 1:00 pm
Ole Miss v. Texas Tech (-5.5)
Can you believe just two games ago Tech had the two Heisman frontrunners and were becoming a popular pick for the MNC? Now they're not even a touchdown favorite over Houston Nutt and Jevan Snead. If it weren't for Mike Leach doing everything in his power to get out of Lubbock, I'd be taking Tech by a few touchdowns. As it is, I'm going to say the Rebs keeps it close longer than the Raiders would like. Tech 38 Ole Miss 28

Sugar: Friday, 1/2 @ 7:00 pm
Utah v. Alabama (-10)
Like Penn State, I think the Utes are being under-valued here. I really like what Saban has done and I was higher on Bama than most in thinking that they could beat Florida. How fucking good is Julio Jones?! Unfortunately, there was just too much JPW. And that will again be the case in New Orleans. Of course, Utah isn't Florida so it won't be enough for the enormous upset, but it just might be enough to keep the game in single digits. Then again, Saban is getting a month to prepare here. I'm glad this isn't a pick with real Euros riding on it. And since I just remembered that Bill Snyder wooed away their offensive coordinator I'll be disregarding my earlier statements and taking Bama to cover. Alabama 23 Utah 10

Fiesta: Monday, 1/5 @ 7:00 pm
Ohio State v. Texas (-9.5)
The only real question here is how Texas comes out of the gates. If they've been focused for a month and intent on channeling their BCS hate into proving that they belonged in Miami then they'll have things wrapped up by the end of the third quarter. If they've been sulking to Dan Beebe about what coulda/shoulda been, then Ohio State will make them earn it. Ultimately, I have a lot of trust in Colt McCoy and even more in Will Muschamp that they've been doing the former. If that's the case, this one won't be a nail-biter. Texas 33 Aosu 17

MNC: Thursday, 1/8 @ 7:00 pm
Florida v. Oklahoma (+3)
This pick may be entirely based upon me doing everything in my power to cut down on this country's Tebowners, but what the hell. I really don't like Oklahoma. In fact, I dislike them quite a bit. But I really hate Florida. And Tim Tebow is a circumcising douche. And Gary Danielson loves him for it. All of these seem like perfectly legitimate reasons for me to pick the Sooners. Unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure that's how the hundred or so freakish athletes on the field will see things. By the way, Florida has more of those. Specifically, they've got fast ends that just might make Phil Loadholt look like Oprah through most of the second half. And yet, I'm bound and determined to do away with Tebowners so I'm counting on the Big Egg Bob to deliver the Big XII sweep of 7 wins and 0 losses this bowl season. Oklahoma 41 Florida 35

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