Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bowl Picks (Part Two)

Saragin Power Rating in parenthesis before team name. Point spread in parenthesis after favored team conference affiliation.

12.30 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Nashville) #23 (11) LSU 8-4 SEC (6) vs (36) Notre Dame 7-5 ACC – the Irish have been slumping as of late. Not sure how they will perform in such a minor bowl under their new coach. The game will be close, but the Notre Dame losing streak will continue. WRONG 9-13 (S 16-6).

12.30 Belk Bowl (Charlotte) #23 (29) Louisville 9-3 ACC vs #13 (7) Georgia 9-3 SEC (6.5) – a matchup of good vs evil. The Dawgs face their former defensive coordinator, and several former players who were kicked off the time. A good time for UGA to show the oft-disgraced Bobby Petrino that the road less traveled is the best. The Cardinals won nine games but lost to Clemson and FSU. Should UGA offensive coordinator Mike Bobo take a head coach position before the bowl head coach Mark Richt could step in and do an even better job of play-calling. Georgia will rebound from their embarrassing loss to Georgia Tech and soundly win the Belk Bowl. CORRECT 10-13 (S 17-6).

12.30 Foster Farms Bowl (Santa Clara CA)
(47) Maryland 7-5 Big Ten vs (23) Stanford 7-5 Pac 12 (14) – the unimpressive Terrapins have to travel cross country to face a tough Pac 12 team in their back yard. Easy win for the Cardinal. CORRECT 11-13 (S 18-6).

12.31 Chickfila Peach Bowl (Atlanta)
#6 (2) Texas Christian 11-1 (3) vs #9 (5) Ole Miss 9-3 SEC – will be interesting to see how let down TCU will be, falling from 3 to 6 in the rankings – and out of the playoff to the Peach. Many teams would fall flat, especially against a tough SEC West school like Ole Miss. But I expect the Horn Frogs to rise to the occasion and win a close game. CORRECT 12-13 (S 19-6).

12.31 Vizio Fiesta Bowl (Glendale AZ) #20 (34) Boise State 11-2 vs #10 (31) Arizona 10-3 (3.5) – the Wildcats will cap off a fine season by beating up on the Broncos, who are out of their element in the desert. WRONG 12-14 (S 19-7).

12.31 Capital One Orange Bowl (Miami Gardens) 
#12 (18) Georgia Tech 10-3 ACC vs #7 (6) Mississippi State 10-2 SEC (7) – the once top-ranked Bulldogs are fading and the Jackets are playing their best football in 25 years. Tech plays in this stadium every other year. Still the experts favor Mississippi State by a touchdown. MSU will win because GT has shunned their white jerseys for dark. Wasn't long ago the Jackets went bowling in dark jerseys they were blown out by LSU. I don't feel good about this at all. And besides, if I pick Tech they’ll lose. I’m picking MSU. WRONG 12-15 (S 19-8).

1.01 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl (Orlando) #25 (35) Minnesota 8-4 Big Ten vs #16 (19) Missouri 10-3 SEC (6) – after reaching rock-bottom on a windy day in Columbia against UGA, QB Maty Mauk and the Tigers trounced everything in their way (except Alabama). They’ll keep playing well against upstart Minnesota, whose mascot name escapes me. CORRECT 13-15 (S 20-8).
1.01 Outback Bowl (Tampa) #18 (26) Wisconsin 10-3 Big Ten vs #19 (9) Auburn 8-4 SEC (6.5) – how could such a talented Badger offense disappear against Ohio State? Will they show up against Auburn? Will new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp toughen up the Tiger defense in time for the bowl game? Auburn had trouble against Georgia’s fine rushing attack, and I’m sure interim head coach / permanent legend Barry Alavrez will take notice. But the Tigers are due for a big game, and will kick Wisconsin while they’re down. WRONG 13-16 (S 20-9).

1.01 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (Arlington) #5 (8) Baylor 11-1 (3) vs #8 (10) Michigan State 10-2 – like TCU, do the Bears have the fortitude to overcome being left out of the playoff? Can they stand up and finish strong, or will they pout? Or will we see a repeat of last year’s Fiesta Bowl, when lowly Central Florida beat up on Baylor? The Spartans are a much better team than UCF, perhaps the most formitable foe Baylor has seen this year. When Baylor students graduate they move to Dallas, so playing in Jerry-World will be like a home game for Baylor. But those fans will be filing out in the fourth quarter, tired of seeing Sparty dominate. CORRECT 14-16 (S 20-10).
1.01 Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual (Pasadena) playoff semifinal #2 (3) Oregon 12-1 Pac 12 (9.5) vs #3 (15) Florida State 13-0 ACC – everyone keeps picking FSU to lose, and they always find a way to win. Jameis Winston is undefeated as a starting QB at FSU, and no trouble he gets himself in can get him kicked off the team. Duck QB Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy, which pus a bowl jinx on his head. FSU returns to Pasadena for the second straight year, so they’re in familiar territory. Will they find a way to win one more time? The Noles were unable to stop Georgia Tech’s potent offense, and Oregon’s offense is even more explosive. FSU has yet to face a team a good as Oregon, though the Ducks have faced several great teams. They beat Michigan State convincingly. This game will be close and high scoring, but finally someone beats FSU. CORRECT 15-16 (S 21-10).

1.01 AllState Sugar Bowl (New Orleans) playoff semifinal 
#1 (1) Alabama 12-1 SEC (9.5) vs #4 (4) Ohio State 12-1 – after a slow start Bama is peaking at just the right time. The Buckeyes are playing well but will be no match for the Tide. WRONG 15-17  (S 21-11).

1.02 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Ft Worth) - (78) Houston 7-5 AAC vs (54) Pittsburgh 6-6 ACC (3) – the Panthers will be healthy, and should be able to beat the Cougars in front of a hostile crowd. WRONG 15-18 Pitt failed to recover two straight insides kicks and Houston won a comback for the ages (S 21-12).

1.02 TaxSlayer Bowl (Jacksonville) (30) Tennessee 6-6 SEC (3.5) vs (43) Iowa 7-5 Big Ten – in recent years corn-fed Big Ten teams have traveled to Florida for New Years and beaten up on highly touted SEC schools. The Vols have showed improvement and signs of brilliance this year, but failed to win several big games. This hasn’t been the best year for the Hawkeyes, but they’ll come out on top in what used to be called the Gator Bowl. WRONG 15-19 (S 22-12).

1.02 Valero Alamo Bowl (San Antonio) #11 (13) Kansas State 9-3 (1) Big 12 vs #14 (17) UCLA 9-3 Pac 12 – I expect both teams to play well. K-State faded in their season finale against Baylor. I’m picking the Bruins to win because they have the better QB. CORRECT 16-19 (S 22-13).

1.02 TicketCity Cactus Bowl (Tempe) (59) Oklahoma State 6-6 Big 12 vs (37) Washington 8-5 Pac 12 (5.5) – the Cowboys beat up on rival Oklahoma in their season finale, and will continue their winning ways in the desert. CORRECT 17-19 (S 22-14).
1.03 Birmingham Bowl (Legion Field) (65) East Carolina 8-4 AAC vs (22) Florida 6-5 SEC (7) – the Pirates are no slouches, but the Gators have responded well to adversity. No upset here – Florida wins.

1.03 GoDaddy Bowl (Mobile) (80) Toledo 8-4 MAC (3) vs (75) Arkansas State 7-5 Sunbelt – Toledo is tough, but won’t win in front of the mostly Arkansas State crowd.

1.12 College Football Playoff National Championship Game presented by AT&T (Arlington) #1 (1) Alabama now 13-1 SEC vs #2 (3) Oregon now 13-1 Pac 12. Heisman winners don’t fare well in bowl games, especially when playing for the national championship. That trend continues – the Tide rolls to a 16th national championship.

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