The annual tradition of myself picking bowl game winners resumes this year. The Bowl Season has already started but I will begin picking the games from the day FOCUS hits the newsstands this week. As always, I will pick the games using a combination of knowledge and logic.
Dec. 22 (THU) Famous Idaho Potato Bowl…Idaho vs. Colorado State (7 p.m., ESPN) – Not sure what the difference is between an Idaho Potato and a Famous Idaho Potato is. Maybe I will learn this if I find time to view the game. Famous or infamous, how can Idaho lose this game?
Dec. 23 (FRI) Popeyes Bahamas Bowl…Eastern Michigan vs. Old Dominion (1 p.m., ESPN) – How can there be a Popeyes Chicken in the Bahamas but not one here in Hickory? (Ed.’s note: Sid, there is a Popeyes! Hwy. 70 SE by Walmart. YUM!) It has been a long long time since Eastern Michigan took part in a bowl game. I think they will spend too much time on the beach. Old Dominion wins big.
Dec. 23 (FRI) Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl…Louisiana Tech vs. No. 25 Navy (4:30 p.m., ESPN) – More logic. How can you go against Navy in the Armed Forces Bowl?
Dec. 23 (FRI) Dollar General Bowl…Ohio vs. Troy (8 p.m., ESPN) – You could go to Dollar General and gets some snacks for this game but the matchup leaves alot to be desired. Take your girl out Friday night so you can watch the pro games on Saturday. Meanwhile, Troy will come out on top.
Dec. 24 (SAT) Hawai’i Bowl….Hawai’i vs. Middle Tennessee (8 p.m., ESPN) – I like Middle Tennessee in this one if they do not get distracted. Hawai’i stays home so this is nothing special for them.
Dec. 26 (MON) St. Petersburg Bowl…Miami (Ohio) vs. Mississippi State (11 a.m., ESPN) – The Mid-American Conference will take another hit in this one. I will go with Mississippi State in a tight one.
Dec. 26 (MON) Quick Lane Bowl…Maryland vs. Boston College (2:30 p.m., ESPN) – These schools used to play annually when Maryland was in the ACC. Neither had a very good season so I will go with Maryland since the Big 10 had a better year.
Dec. 26 (MON) Camping World Independence Bowl…NC State vs. Vanderbilt (5 p.m., ESPN2) – Vanderbilt will find things a bit easier here versus an ACC foe instead of it’s usual SEC opponents.
Dec. 27 (TUE) Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl…Army vs. North Texas (12 p.m., ESPN) – Army just ended a long losing streak versus nationally ranked Navy a few weeks ago. It will find things a bit easier against North Texas.
Dec. 27 (TUE) Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman…Temple vs. Wake Forest (3:30 p.m., ESPN) – Temple finished strong while Wake just found out one of its radio guys was selling its plays. I will go with the Owls.
Dec. 27 (TUE) National Funding Holiday Bowl…Minnesota vs. Washington State (7 p.m., ESPN) – I saw Washington State get blown out a few times this year. I also know Minnesota gave several Big 10 teams problems this season. I will go with the Golden Gophers.
Dec. 27 (TUE) Motel 6 Cactus Bowl…Boise State vs. Baylor (10:15 p.m., ESPN) – Boise State has a pretty good record versus the big boys in Bowl Games. I like them in this one against a Baylor program still rocked with scandal.
Dec. 28 (WED) New Era Pinstripe Bowl…Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern (2 p.m., ESPN) – Pitt put up a lot of points late in the season. Northwestern is not that good and it has drawn a school few want to play right now. Pitt wins big.
Dec. 28 (WED) Russell Athletic Bowl…West Virginia vs. Miami (5:30 p.m., ESPN) – This should be a good one. Mark Richte left Georgia for the Miami job and knows how to prepare for Bowl Games. West Virginia can put points on the board. This is one of the better bowl matchups out there. I will take Miami in a close one.
Dec. 28 (WED) Foster Farms Bowl…Indiana vs. Utah (8:30 p.m., Fox) – I am not sure how Indiana got a bowl berth. Utah would be a tough opponent for virtually anyone and will win this one big.
Dec. 28 (WED) AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl…Texas A&M vs. Kansas State (9 p.m., ESPN) – The game is in Houston and Texas A&M will enjoy the familiar surroundings and the relatively easy matchup.
Dec. 29 (THU) Birmingham Bowl…South Florida vs. South Carolina (2 p.m., ESPN) – Both programs have seen better days but are starting to make news again. Still, I do not think the Gamecocks are that good yet. Take South Florida in this one.
Dec. 29 (THU) Belk Bowl…Arkansas vs. No. 22 Virginia Tech (5:30 p.m., ESPN) – This one’s being played in Charlotte. The Hokies travel well and are the better team. Go with Virginia Tech.
Dec. 29 (THU) Valero Alamo Bowl…No. 12 Oklahoma State vs. No. 10 Colorado (9 p.m., ESPN) – This one will be entertaining. Colorado is fun to watch and Oklahoma State can put points on the board. The scoreboard will be busy with the higher number being next to Colorado.
Dec. 30 (FRI) AutoZone Liberty Bowl…Georgia vs. TCU (12 p.m., ESPN) – Normally I would go with the Bulldogs in a bowl game. But Georgia is rebuilding and TCU should hang on and win. Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tenn.
Dec. 30 (FRI) Hyundai Sun Bowl…Stanford vs. North Carolina (2 p.m., CBS) – The Tar Heels have not seen a defense like Stanford’s defense in quite some time. I like the Cardinal here.
Dec. 30 (FRI) Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl…Nebraska vs. Tenn essee (3:30 p.m., ESPN) – The game is in Nashville and the Volunteers will give the homefolk an effort to be proud of.
Dec. 30 (FRI) Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl…South Alabama vs. Air Force (5:30 p.m., Campus Insiders) – First of all, where can I get Campus Insiders Network? Secondly, I like Air Force in this one which means I have picked all three military schools to win their bowl games.
Dec. 30 (FRI) Capital One Orange Bowl…No. 6 Michigan vs. No. 11 Florida State (8 p.m., ESPN) – Big matchup between Big 10 and ACC. The Wolverines are a few days and a few plays away from being undefeated. Florida State has gotten better as season progressed. I like Michigan in a close one.
Dec. 31 (SAT) Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl…No. 20 LSU vs. No. 13 Louisville (11 a.m., ABC) – LSU will play hard to stay close but Louisville has too much offense. Cards win big. Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
Dec. 31 (SAT) TaxSlayer Bowl…Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky (11 a.m., ESPN) – The Yellowjackets go down the road a bit to meet the Wildcats in Jacksonville. I think Kentucky will enjoy the Florida trip and pick up a rare bowl win.
Jan. 2 (MON) Outback Bowl…Florida vs. Iowa (1 p.m., ABC) – Iowa beat Michigan. Florida did not beat a higher ranked team all season. Give my the Hawkeyes in an upset. Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
Jan. 2 (MON) Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic…No. 15 Western Michigan vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (1 p.m., ESPN) – Western Michigan provided us a great story this fall. But Wisconsin is a whole other ball game. Badgers burst the Broncos bubble.
Jan. 2 (MON) Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual….No. 9 USC vs. No. 5 Penn State (5 p.m., ESPN) – Two of the hottest schools when the calendar hit November. Each beat a playoff school. Penn State’s run to a Big 10 title was fun to see but I think the Trojans have too much talent. USC wins a tight one.
Jan. 2 (MON) Allstate Sugar Bowl…No. 14 Auburn vs. No. 7 Oklahoma…(8:30 p.m., ESPN) – Oklahoma is playing better football of late. But the Sooners have a terrible bowl game record. I will make the trendy pick with Auburn.
Final Four Playoffs
The semifinals are on New Year’s Eve. I like Clemson over Ohio State and I think Washington will give Alabama a game before the Crimson Tide pull away late.
The rematch between Clemson and Alabama will not be as close as last year. Alabama is better and Clemson is not as good. Another national title for Bama.