On this day after Christmas we give thanks to those who came through for us this season. But what I’m really thankful for is those schools that came through for us so far this bowl season! Many thanks to San Diego State, the Ragin’ Cajuns, ECU and Oregon State. With that being said, how in the world did Washington State not cover OR win against Colorado State? That was one of the most embarrassing losses I have ever seen. Disregard what I said earlier about admiring the job Mike Leach has done with the Cougars. That loss is directly on him. It was in the bag! The jello was freaking jiggling!!!!! Derek Carr also blew it big time against USC; however, we should have known better. Our #1 Rule is to always bet on the AQ conference teams. Shame on me. Here are the Bowl game gambling rules for your nubes out there.
1. Take AQ conference schools over non-AQ schools when in doubt. They have faced better competition and usually have more talent on the field. Don’t be swayed by overall record.
2. Bet on the coaches, especially if they are experienced. Talented and experienced coaches know how to manage the long layoffs between the last regular season game and the bowl game.
3. Teams that play closer to home are more successful. Never underestimate the power of the fan.
4. Bet on Alabama. Because, well, it’s Alabama.
5. Bet on teams that are underdogs by 6 or more points. Since the 2006 Bowl Season 6 or more point underdogs are 40-29 against the spread (58%).
6. Bet on teams that are underdogs by 10 or more points. Since the 2006 Bowl Season 10 or more point underdogs are 12-8 against the spread (60%).
7. Bet on the Fiesta Bowl. Don’t question it, just do it. Hello Baylor. We’ll get to you in a couple of weeks. Just put some money aside for that one.
8. Don’t bet on games taking place in the North East unless it’s indoors or you have a fantastic read on the game. Those games taking place in the extreme cold and potential snow are always screwy. It’s not worth your time. But watch those games, because snow makes football way more fun. That’s why I’m incredibly excited for the Super Bowl in New Jersey New York.
10. Never bet against Florida State.
Ok, time to get started. We’re taking you all the way up through the end of 2013 in today’s column. This is Part 2 of our 3-part College Football Bowl game gambling series. Let’s get to it!
12/26 – Thursday
Poinsettia Bowl – Northern Illinois +1 v. Utah State
This is one of the most confusing bowl games this season. Northern Illinois, who fell just short of qualifying for a BCS bowl game, will be traveling to San Diego to face off against a Utah State team that is better than its 8-5 record. Northern Illinois began as a point and a half favorite and is now a one-point underdog despite the fact that 66% of the public is backing them. Can anyone explain this one to me? Did all of the whales end up betting on Utah State? It is my opinion that Jordan Lynch, the Heisman Trophy finalist, is going to win his final game as a collegiate athlete and that Northern Illinois simply has too much offense. In college it seems that most of the time offense wins out over defense. Utah State has a quality defense but they have shown little cracks here and there throughout the season. I think the leak springs wide open against NIU.
Prediction: Northern Illinois 41 – Utah State 34
Little Caesars Bowl – Bowling Green -4.5 v. Pittsburgh
Breaking rule #1 again, but for good reason. Bowling Green is 10-3 on the season and is coming of a very impressive win over Northern Illinois. Pittsburgh is a very pedestrian 6-6 and probably only have two or three quality players on their entire roster, most notably DT Aaron Donald. While I fully expect Donald to have an impact, I believe that BGSU will dominate the game with their defense and will score enough to cover the 4.5 spread.
Prediction: Bowling Green 30 – Pittsburgh 17
12/27 – Friday
Texas Bowl – Minnesota -4 v. Syracuse
Minnesota, who was once 8-2 on the season, has lost its last two games and is playing a Syracuse team that barely squeaked in to a bowl game. This is going to be a relatively low scoring affair; however, Minnesota has the more dynamic offense and will take the lead early and hold it against the Orangemen. Syracuse has struggled against the Big 10 this season and I have to believe that trend is going to continue.
Prediction: Minnesota 24 – Syracuse 16
Fight Hunger Bowl – Washington -3 v. BYU
Usually I hate betting on teams that have lost their Head Coach and are dealing with off the field distractions. Just take a look at my USC and Boise State predictions. Somehow (Derek Carr and Fresno State’s defense) we only managed to go 1-1 in those predictions. BYU is a steady team that has a couple of impressive wins this season and also has 6 wins over bowl bound teams. So why would we go with Washington? Well, I’ll answer that question with a question. Is anybody sad or angry that Steve Sarkisian is gone? No. Do Washington fans believe that they have a better coach now with Chris Peterson? Absolutely. They should feel that way because they do have the better coach now. The Washington seniors want to go out in a big way and prove to Chris Peterson that this program is headed in the right direction. Moreover, the younger players are essentially competing for an early leg up in the job hunt for next season. Look for the Huskies to come out gunning and for them to put their foot on the throat of BYU early and often.
Prediction: Washington 37 – BYU 24
12/28 – Saturday
New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Rutgers +14 v. Notre Dame
They should have called this game the “You made it here so you’re getting fired bowl”. Or at least Rutgers should have. Sorry, that’s the best I could think of. Rutgers Head Coach Kyle Flood let go of his defensive coordinator, QB coach and Offensive Line coach after the disappointing 6-6 campaign. On the other hand, Notre Dame should have called this the “All of our coordinators are now Head Coaches, what the hell are we going to do” Bowl. I know, I’m really bad at naming bowl games. Notre Dame lost its offensive and defensive coordinators to head coaching jobs in the last month. So basically this game is going to come down to which team will be able to perform better without any coaching. Since I have no idea who will perform better under those conditions, I’m going with the underdog who is playing closer to home. Scarlet Knights it is.
Prediction: Notre Dame 34 – Rutgers 28
Russell Athletic Bowl – Louisville -3 v. Miami
If Teddy Bridgewater wants to be the #1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft he must play a solid game against the Miami Hurricanes. Miami, who is 9-3 on the season, was in deep water a couple weeks ago after dropping three straight games, mostly due to the loss of star RB Duke Johnson. However, the Hurricanes now have a shot at their first 10-win season since 2003. The problem is they are going up against a Louisville team that has a ton to play for in terms of draft position and they may be playing for Charlie Strong in his send off. I would anticipate that Strong is going to move on to another job after the season and I know the Cardinals would love to send him out with a win. Louisville is simply too talented of a team and too motivated to lose this game.
Prediction: Louisville 41 – Miami 31
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl – Kansas State -4 v. Michigan
Both the Wildcats and the Wolverines are coming off disappointing 7-5 seasons and can’t be pleased to be playing in this bowl game. The biggest difference between these two teams is that KSU was 5-4 in conference while Michigan was 3-5 in a relatively dreadful Big 10. I don’t take conference records lightly and believe they are a good indicator of future success. Kansas State sports the better defense and rule #3 comes in to play here. The game is being played in Tempe, Arizona. Look for KSU to show up in droves for this game.
Prediction: Kansas State 35 – Michigan 27
12/30 – Monday
Valero Alamo Bowl – Oregon -13.5 v. Texas
Do me a solid and don’t bet on this game. Whenever I talk about or write about the 2013 Oregon Ducks I lose. I’ll keep it short. Mack Brown is leaving Texas and I’m sure the Longhorns are going to fight like hell to send him out with a win. The thing is that Oregon is a much superior team and Marcus Mariota is fully healthy again. When Mariota is healthy, Oregon is undefeated this season.
Prediction: Oregon 47 – Texas 24
Holiday Bowl – Arizona State -14 v. Texas Tech
I’m sorry Kliff, we’ve had an amazing ride together this year but I’m tossing you to the curb. Arizona State is 10-3 on the season and won the Pac-12 South championship. Although they had a disappointing showing in the Pac-12 Championship game, they still had a very impressive season and Todd Graham (still don’t like him) had a team that is built for the future. Unless he ends up going to Texas (yes, I said it), ASU should be a force on the West Coast for years to come. Texas Tech has lost five straight games and isn’t quite ready yet to compete with the big boys.
Prediction: Arizona State 56 – Texas Tech 31
12/31 – Tuesday
Advocare Bowl – Arizona -7 v. Boston College
Both teams are 7-5; however, Arizona easily has the more impressive win this season (Oregon) and plays in the better conference. Boston College may have the Heisman Finalist, RB Andre Williams, but I don’t even think he’s going to be the best running back on the field in this game. Arizona’s Kadeem Carey is the most dynamic running back in the country and has been named an All-American twice. I think Arizona’s offense is going to dominate this matchup and the Wildcats in-conference experience will benefit them against BC at some point.
Prediction: Arizona 41 – Boston College 24
Sun Bowl – UCLA -6.5 v. Virginia Tech
If it seems like I’m betting on every favorite and every Pac-12 team it’s because I most definitely am. I don’t care. UCLA is the better team and had faced better competition all season long. This is why you should always bet on the SEC and the Pac-12. Wait, I may have to make another rule….
Rule #11: Always bet on the Pac-12 and SEC when in doubt.
Logan Thomas is a joke and Virginia Tech is only going to win this game if their defense has their best performance of the season. I’m sorry, I just don’t see that happening. Unless Jim Mora up and leaves for Texas I believe UCLA is going to dominate the Sun Bowl.
Prediction: UCLA 35 – VT 20
Chick-Fil-A Bowl – Texas A&M -11.5 v. Duke
With apologies to David Cutcliffe and the entire Duke Blue Devil community, I’m going with Texas A&M for one reason and one reason only…..
IT’S JOHNNY FOOTBALL’S LAST COLLEGE GAME!
IT’S JOHNNY FOOTBALL’S LAST COLLEGE GAME!
IT’S JOHNNY FOOTBALL’S LAST COLLEGE GAME!
MAKE IT RAIN! GET THAT MONEY!
OVO XO, JOHNNY. OVO XO!
2013 Season: 104-90-1
2012 Season: 57-39-7