I wasn’t going to do bowl picks but I’m kind of bored and The first B1G bowl game comes on in about three hours, so there’s time. I always pull for the B1G to win every bowl (except for Michigan because I hate Michigan and you should too), so don’t mistake my pick against the spread with what I want the outcome to be. My heart always is with the B1G, but my brain has to look at the stats.
And away we go…
Saturday, December 26th:
Indiana vs. Duke – 3:30pm on ABC. The Hoosiers are 6-6 and the Devils are 7-6, but considering Duke is in the ACC, that’s really about even. The issue here is really the Indiana defense which gives up about 500 yards per game, most of that defending the pass. But Dukes offense doesn’t really strike fear in to my heart. If the Hoosiers can hold them under 35 points, I think they win. Indiana is a 3-point favorite and they win by 10 and cover.
UCLA vs. Nebraska – 9:15pm on ESPN. I’ll be lucky to stay awake for the first half of this late kickoff. We should all feel a little shame for allowing the Huskers to play in a bowl game with a losing record; I hate it. The Huskers are 5-7 and the Bruins are 8-4. UCLA has a better QB, better offense and better defense. That pretty much sums it up right there. I see Tommy Arm-so-Strong throwing two picks in this one. Nebraska is a 6-point dog and they lose by 14, UCLA covers.
Monday, December 28th:
Central Michigan vs. Minnesota – 5:00pm on ESPN. Again with a B1G squad bowling with a losing record, this shouldn’t happen. The Gophers are 5-7 and the Chips are 7-5 in the MAC. And being from the MAC, it’s really hard to compare stats as they are very different. `I think the Gophers are effective at running the ball which opens up the pass for a few quick strike opportunities. The Chippewas are trailing by the half and never lead after that. Minnesota is a 5-point favorite and they win by 9 and cover.
Wednesday, December 30th:
#25 USC vs. Wisconsin – 10:30pm on ESPN. A 10:30PM kickoff? I’ll read about it the next day. Sheesh. The Trojans are kind of like the Hoosiers, they put up big numbers but they give up big numbers too. They’ve had a hellava year and still managed to go 8-5. The Badgers only real asset is their defense which is excellent. The Badger offense is pretty bad; Joel Stave has more picks than TDs. I think the Trojans fail to get traction on offense against the Badger defense and they fall behind late in the second half. Wisconsin is a 4-point dog but they win by three, UCLA doesn’t cover.
Thursday, December 31st:
#3 Michigan State vs. #2 Alabama – 8:00pm on ESPN. Back to the Cotton Bowl and JerryWold for the Spartans. The Spartans and the Tide are both 12-1 and their playing for a spot in the National Championship, so this is as big as it gets. Statically, Alabama has the edge averaging about 25 more yards per game and allowing about 120 fewer on defense. The Tide also has Derrick Henry who has 1986 yards on 339 carries and a trophy case loaded with the top hardware in college ball. Let’s not kid ourselves, the Spartans are the underdog here. The Spartans do have the better QB in Connor Cook and the better receiver in Aaron Burbridge, but these two alone aren’t going to be enough. It’s going to take that raw courage and sheer determination to win to beat Saban’s boys. It’s the same story as with Georgia, TCU, Stanford and Baylor, and the Spartans got it done. They need to dig deep, never say die and fight until the final clock is 00. And some luck would help too. Michigan State is a 10-point dog but they win by one (on the last play of the game), Bama doesn’t cover. Go GREEN!!!
Friday, January 1st:
#13 Northwestern vs. #23 Tennessee – Noon on ESPN-2. I feel like the Vols are mighty cocky right now. Go ahead, be cocky, but you might ask yourself why? Is it just an SEC bias? Okay, that would explain it. The Cats are 10-2 and the Vols are 8-4. The Vols are averaging 34 points in the no-defense SEC, but the Cats are only giving up 16 in the smashmouth B1G, so I call that a wash. Both teams like to run the ball, so that should be interesting. To be honest, Tennessee has a fairly cakewalk SEC schedule this year, so they really don’t scare me all that much, it’s time to get over the SEC bias already. Northwestern is an 8-point dog but they win by seven, Tennessee doesn’t cover.
#14 Michigan vs. #19 Florida – 1:00pm on ABC. God, this is a miserable match-up. I hate both of these teams and really, really want them both to lose. Bottom line, the Wolverines are the better team and will win unless they shit the bed again like they did against Ohio State. Take care of your business Michigan, you’ve been handed a gift here. Michigan is a 5-point favorite and they win by 10 and cover.
#8 Notre Dame vs. #7 Ohio State – 1:00pm on ESPN. This could be a really great game and certainly more interesting than the Michigan-Florida crap-fest. The Irish have a fine offense but I don’t think they get the better of the Buckeyes defense which is outstanding. And then you consider that Buckeye O-line and Zeke Elliot pounding away like nobody that the Irish have faced this year and you can just picture the domers bending, bending and finally breaking. But it’s going to be tight and it’s going to be tense. Ohio State is a 7-point favorite and they win by six and don’t cover.
#6 Stanford vs. #5 Iowa – 5:00 on ESPN. Almost last but not hardly least, the grandaddy of them all. Anybody else kind of tired of the Cardinal being in the Rose Bowl every dang year. Tired or not, the Cardinal are a dangerous squad and they will bring talent and a playbook the likes of which the Hawkeyes have not seen this year. Iowa’s defense is excellent but in the second half, much like against the Spartans, they get fatiqued and start to slip, and that’s when McCaffrey has his way with them. Iowa is a 7-point dog and they lose by 17, Stanford covers.
Saturday, January 2nd:
Penn State vs. Georgia – Noon on ESPN. The Lions ended their season on a three game skid and perhaps their soul is broken. But then the Bulldogs are in the middle of a coaching change and that can scramble things sometimes too. Georgia looks better on paper with more wins (9-3 vs. 7-5), averaging more points, allowing less points tons of balance all the way around. But Penn State has Hackenberg… This was supposed to be his year but I would say he’s been more “good” than “great”. But I’m going to ignore all the facts and just flat out side with the Lions for no good goddam reason, and I’ll probably regret it. Penn State is a 7-point dog but they win by three in O.T.
There you have it, B1G bowl picks. Some of these games look really lame and some of them look awesome. I still don’t think losing teams should be allowed in bowl games, but I’m old school I guess. Best of luck to all of the B1G squads, let’s get it done this year. I hope everyone is pulling for Michigan State as they represent our fair conference in the College Football Playoffs, you know I’ll be pulling hard and going freakin’ nutz. And as always…