Ten B1G squads qualified and were selected for a bowl game this year. Not bad. Can you guess how many of the 10 were favored to win by Vegas? None. Zero. Vegas predicted that the B1G would go 0-10. Well suck it Vegas and all of you B1G haters out there because the B1G went 5-5 and has a team in the Championship Game. That is about 500% better than projected.
Let’s take a look at B1G bowling and also on how I did with my picks…
Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, Vegas has LATech favored by 6-points but I think Illinois wins by three. Okay, the Bulldogs outplayed the Illini, plain and simple. LATech won by 17 easily covering. 0-1
Rutgers vs. North Carolina in the Quick Lane Bowl, North Carolina is a 3-point favorite but I think they win by a score to cover. The Scarlet Knights hung 23 unanswered points on the TarHeels in the first half. Yes, the Heels scored 21 in the second half but the Knights kept pace. Rutgers won by 19. 0-2
Boston College vs. Penn State in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Boston College is favored by 2.5-points but I think Penn State wins by 10. My gut told me the Lions would be up for this one, so much so that I didn’t even think they needed the points against the Eagles. I was right about that but not by the margin I expected. No matter, the Eagles didn’t cover anyway. Penn State won by one in OT. 1-2
Nebraska vs. #24 USC in the National University Holiday Bowl, USC is a 6.5-point favorite but I think they win by 17 more than covering. You just never know how a team will respond to losing a coach, especially one that the players seemed to love like they did Bo. My thought was that the Huskers would phone this one in and a good Trojans squad would make them pay. It looked like I was right until the Trojans shut down in the fourth quarter. USC won by 3 and didn’t cover. 1-3
Maryland vs. Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl, Stanford is a 14-point favorite and I think they cover winning by 17. I really like the Terrapins and I will be rooting for them as one of my B1G squads in the future. I also believe they had no shot against the Cardinal and on that point, I was right. Stanford won by 24 way more than covering. 2-3
#19 Auburn vs. #18 Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl, Auburn is favored by 6.5-points but Wisconsin wins by 21 when Gordon rushes for 300+ yards. Melvin Gordon only rushed for 251 yards and three TDs, so I was off the mark by just a little, but I had the right idea. Unlike the Huskers, I thought the Badgers would over-perform after loosing Gary Anderson. Yes, they left the door open for the Tigers to tie it up and take it to OT, but they still got the job done. Nice win against the SEC Wiscy. Wisconsin won by 3 in OT. 3-3
#8 Michigan State vs. #5 Baylor in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Baylor is a 3-point favorite. Go GREEN!!! Not picking the Spartan games has only hurt my averages. Think about it, last year I would have been right 13 more times and this year, 11. Oh well. If you watched the Cotton Bowl you saw one of the best bowl games I have ever witnessed. The Bears are a very good, tough, dominant team that has one major flaw in that they cannot run the ball (-20 yards rushing on the game). The Spartans defense struggled for three quarters against the creative and effective hurry-up passing attack of the Bears. But in the fourth quarter, and when it mattered most, the Spartans clawed and scratched their way back and finally took the lead for good with 17 seconds left. Never say die and Go GREEN!!! Michigan State won by 1. 3-3
#16 Missouri vs. #25 Minnesota in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Missouri is a 6-point favorite but I think they win in the final minutes by only three. I continue to pull for Coach Kill and his band of Golden Gophers, and sometimes it works out and other times it does not. The Gophers have come a long way but they have work still to do. The Tigers clearly outmatched the Gophers, and more so than I expected. Missouri won by 15 easily covering. 3-4
#1 Alabama vs. #4 Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl CFP Semifinal, Alabama is favored by 9-points but they cover winning by 17. Not many people picked the Buckeyes over the Tide, me included. Not many people were right. Nice win tOSU. Ohio State won by 7. 3-5
Iowa vs. Tennessee in the Taxslayer Bowl, Tennessee is a 3.5-point favorite but I think Iowa wins by three, possibly in OT. I’m done picking the Hawkeyes to win anything. What’s with these guys? Why do they pay their coach so much money to be mediocre at best. Hell, they lost to Iowa State, why shouldn’t they lose to Tennessee. And stop trying to look like the Steelers, that got old in the 80s. Tennessee won by 17 very easily covering. 3-6
Let’s call this a learning moment shall we? I was three and six in picking the B1G bowls and even if you added the Spartans in to the mix, it wouldn’t really help much. Granted, bowl games are very tough to call. There is a lot more at play than the statistical qualities of two teams. Apparently, I have much room for improvement in this area, and I’ll strive to do better next time.
Moving on, best of luck to Ohio State as they face Oregon in the College Football Playoffs Championship Game! How awesome is it that it’s the B1G versus the Pac-12? I love that the SEC is out and so is the Big XII. I really like the ACC (I live in the heart of it), but I’m very happy that FSU is out. Michigan State lost two games this year and those two teams are now in the championship game. I hate to lose, but if you are going to lose, it might as well be to the two best teams in the country. Go Bucks, beat the Ducks!