2021 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 10  

I was following a rather interesting thread on social media recently in which the original poster opined that fantasy football is pretty much all about luck. Others were quick to reply, defending the ideals of skill & knowledge. As with most things in life the answer isn’t clear cut black & white. Yes, people who know what they are doing have a better shot at success. Involvement is important…making the right trades, combing the waiver wire, starting or sitting the best players, understanding matchups. However, let’s not pretend that luck doesn’t play a huge role. Would you call owners of Patrick Mahomes and/or Derrick Henry uninformed or inept?? Of course not…but they’re probably not winning their league championship this season. At any rate, slow & steady wins the race, or atleast that’s what I’ve always heard thru the years. Zach & I both went 5-3 last week, continuing our laborious crawl back toward the .500 mark. We’ll get there…maybe. 

My Season: 28-31

Zach’s Season: 27-32

Boise State at Fresno State (-5)

At 4-4 the Broncos aren’t going to make it to the Mountain West title game, and at this point they’re just hoping for bowl eligibility. Conversely, the 7-2 Bulldogs need to keep winning if they want an opportunity to play for the conference championship. I have a feeling this will be a really entertaining game, so it’s too bad I have plans on Saturday evening and won’t be able to watch. Anyway, while I am tempted to pick an upset, The Vibes are telling me that Fresno will win by atleast a touchdown. Zach foresees a fun, high scoring, close game and likes the favorites to cover. 

My Pick: Fresno State 

Z’s Pick: Fresno State 

Tennessee at Kentucky (-2.5)

It’s Jim Beam vs. Jack Daniels!! If y’all don’t understand the reference you need to get out of the house more, but you’re probably healthier than us. At any rate, the Vols are 4-4 and playing for bowl eligibility, while the 6-2 Wildcats are in the midst of a stellar season in which the best they can hope for is a New Year’s bowl game because they play in the same division as the Georgia Bulldogs. Tennessee leads the all time series 81-26 (with nine ties), which combined with the home field should provide plenty of motivation for the favorites. I think they win easily. Zach doesn’t think Tennessee is a terrible team, but believes they’ve faced a brutal schedule that isn’t any easier this week.

My Pick: Kentucky 

Z’s Pick: Kentucky 

LSU at Alabama (-28.5)

As expected the playoff committee not only has Alabama in their Top Four…they ranked them #2, despite having one loss. I’m not surprised, and ultimately it is meaningless anyway because the winner of the SEC Championship between ‘Bama & Georgia is a lock for the playoff, while Alabama would certainly be eliminated with another loss. As for this game, the only reason it’s even appearing here is the points. So many  things factor into the discussion. I don’t care how bad LSU is playing there is no way they’d get beaten by 4+ TDs in Baton Rouge…but this game is in Tuscaloosa. ‘Bama cannot afford another misstep which adds an element of pressure. The Bayou Bengals have to have some pride left though, right?? If they could pull off a monumental upset and put the nail in the coffin of their rival’s championship aspirations it’d make their whole season. Do I think that will happen?? Absolutely not. Do I think the Tide will roll enough to cover the points?? Unfortunately I do. “Style points” are a thing, right?? I would be happy to be wrong though. The points are too much for Zach. He can buy ‘Bama winning by three TDs, but not four.

My Pick: Alabama 

Z’s Pick: LSU

San Jose State at Nevada (-10)

It’s a 10pm kickoff on Fox Sports 2, which is perfect. I’ll be home in time to watch atleast 3/4 of the action. Neither team is winning the conference but both should receive some kind of bowl bid. I am not especially knowledgeable about the Mountain West but as a night owl I’ve enjoyed their games thru the years. The odds are intriguing since the Wolfpack isn’t elite & the Spartans aren’t especially terrible, so ten points is quite a home field bump. The visitors are riding a two game winning streak, while the home team is coming off a beatdown of in-state rival UNLV. I think a touchdown will decide things one way or another, so I’m picking the underdogs to atleast cover. Zach concurs. 

My Pick: San Jose State 

Z’s Pick: San Jose State

Minnesota at Baltimore (-5.5)

The 3-4 Vikings aren’t winning the NFC North like I thought they would and just lost defensive end Danielle Hunter to a torn pectoral muscle. The Ravens are in a real battle in their division but had a bye last week. Logic dictates that Baltimore should win rather easily, but I’m not always the most logical person. The points caught my eye, and I really think Minnesota will atleast stay within a field goal. Conversely, Zach believes Baltimore has recovered from a sluggish start and is ready to roll now. 

My Pick: Minnesota 

Z’s Pick:  Baltimore 

Cleveland at Cincinnati (-3)

Not long ago the Battle of Ohio held no interest for anyone outside of the state’s borders, but both teams have emerged as legitimate playoff contenders. I predicted that the Bengals would surprise people and win the AFC North and halfway thru the season they’ve done nothing to dissuade me from that opinion. The Browns have not altered my assessment of them, although they’ve played somewhat better than I thought they might. This is where the rubber meets the road though, and if Cincinnati is to lay claim to the division title they have to defend their turf against division rivals. Zach really likes Bengals QB Joe Burrow and thinks he’ll lead his team to victory. 

My Pick: Cincinnati 

Z’s Pick: Cincinnati 

Tennessee at LA Rams (-7.5)

Wow, talk about two teams who’ve had an interesting week!! The Titans sit atop the AFC South and looked like they’d run away with the division crown after an overtime victory against the Indianapolis Colts. Unfortunately it was a costly win as they lost workhouse Derrick Henry…quite possibly the best running back in the NFL right now…to a foot injury. They’ve signed Adrian Peterson as a replacement. Peterson rushed for just over 600 yards in a committee backfield with the Detroit Lions last season, but he’s 36 years old & hasn’t played football in almost a year. Titans’ QB Ryan Tannehill now has to kick it up a notch, and fifth year RB Jeremy McNichols will get an opportunity to prove himself. As for the Rams, they’ve put all their chips in the middle of the table, trading for former Denver Broncos’ linebacker Von Miller and adding him to a defense that already had pass rushing beast Aaron Donald & defensive back Jalen Ramsey. The off-season acquisition of 33 year old QB Matthew Stafford has worked out quite well too. Just last week I would have told you that one of these teams is going to the Super Bowl, but it would’ve been the wrong team. Tennessee might still make the playoffs, but the loss of Henry is devastating. The Rams are clearly better right now, and I think they’ll win this one by double digits. Zach likes the home team as well. 

My Pick: LA Rams 

Z’s Pick: LA Rams 

Green Bay at Kansas City (-3)

Well damn…Aaron Rodgers tested positive for The Sickness. That makes this game a lot less interesting than it was just yesterday. KC has the home field too. You know who’s really pissed about this?? Fox. There goes their marquee matchup. To my complete shock & amazement Zach is sticking with his original pick despite the breaking news because “the Chiefs defense sucks”. I suppose we’re about to learn a whole lot about the future of Packers’ backup QB Jordan Love. 

My Pick: Kansas City 

Z’s Pick: Green Bay 

2019 College Football Pre-Season Top 25

First things first…I am indeed aware that the college football season begins tonight when the Miami Hurricanes visit the Florida Gators. I usually get these rankings published earlier in August, but…well, that didn’t happen. You’re not interested in my excuses and I’m not really into making any, so we’ll just go with the flow. I don’t think the Canes’ nor the Gators will factor significantly into how things play out, so it’s all good. We know that out of 130 FBS football teams only 65 “power” conference teams (including “independent” Notre Dame) have any shot at the national title, and this season it feels like it’s a ten team race at best. As a fan I am still entertained by watching games, but I have to admit that the foregone conclusion that the playoff has become sort of harshes my football buzz. I need underdogs. I need upsets. I need some semblance of parity. I need a little variety from year to year. One of the charms of college football has always been that each season players graduate and new players come in, which means that every year is different…except nowadays its seems like nothing much changes. There have always been dominant programs, but there were still cycles wherein some teams would rise for a couple of years while others fell off a bit. That yin & yang was part of the fun. I hope that happens this season. I hope a team or two that everyone expects to win a lot of games unexpectedly loses a few. I hope a few teams that no one sees coming win 10+ games and challenge for conference titles. I hope…but I won’t hold my breath. Still, it’s nice to have football back.

 

 

 

25        Virginia Tech

Last Season:     6-7

Key Games:     10/5 @Miami, 11/2 @Notre Dame, 11/23 vs. Pitt

This season will go one of two ways for the Hokies. Either they’ll have another miserable losing season and head coach Justin Fuentes will be on the hot seat…or they’ll rebound with 8 or 9 wins and have a legit shot to win a conference title in a rather weak ACC. Obviously I lean toward the latter scenario.

 

 

24        Auburn

Last Season:     8-5

Key Games:     8/31 vs. Oregon, 9/21 @Texas A&M, 11/16 vs. Georgia, 11/30 vs. Alabama

Here’s the thing about the SEC. Atleast half the conference is going to get some attention from the talking heads early in the season because…well, that’s just how it is. Heck, I have five SEC teams in these rankings, and that’s me being conservative. But logic dictates that only a couple of those teams will really be elite. The rest will either fall flat & have disappointing seasons or fall short a few times and end up with a solid 8 or 9 win season. I think the Tigers will land in the latter category. The season opener against Oregon should be a good barometer of what we can expect.

 

 

23        Michigan State

Last Season:     7-6

Key Games:     9/14 vs. Arizona St., 10/5 @Ohio St., 10/12 @Wisconsin, 10/26 vs. Penn St., 11/16 @Michigan

Trips to Columbus & Ann Arbor don’t bode well for the Spartans Big Ten title hopes, but I believe they’ll rebound from a subpar 2018 and win nine games.

 

 

22        Central Florida

Last Season:     12-1

Key Games:     9/14 vs. Stanford, 9/21 @Pitt

The Knights hadn’t lost a game in two years until they ran into the LSU Tigers in the Fiesta Bowl. Do I expect more of the same this year?? Maybe. Out-of-conference games against Stanford & Pitt are important and could make a huge difference. It’s probably too much to ask UCF to go undefeated again, but I think a ten win season deserves some respect.

 

 

21        Army

Last Season:     11-2

Key Games:     9/7 @Michigan, 12/14 vs. Navy

Very few football fans pay attention to the Black Knights until the very end of the season when the Army-Navy Game has the spotlight all to itself, but Army has gone 21-5 in the past two years, which is quite impressive. I don’t think they’ll go into Ann Arbor and pull off an upset, but I don’t believe another ten win season is far-fetched.

 

 

20        Northwestern

Last Season:             9-5                             

Key Games:              8/31 @Stanford, 9/21 vs. Michigan St., 9/28 @Wisconsin, 10/5 @Nebraska, 10/18 vs. Ohio St., 10/26 vs. Iowa

Perhaps it’s the purple uniforms, or maybe it’s the fact that they were perennial underdogs when I was growing up but ten win seasons have now become fairly normal in Evanston. It might be the tenacity of former linebacker & current head coach Pat Fitzgerald. For some reason I have a soft spot for the Wildcats. This prediction could be an epic disaster since they’ve got to travel to Palo Alto to begin the season and also have road trips to Madison & Lincoln. However, if Northwestern can gut out a few upsets and win eight games I may be onto something.

 

 

19        Fresno State

Last Season:     12-2

Key Games:     8/31 @USC, 9/7 @Minnesota, 10/26 vs. Colorado St.

I’m a bit sad because my work schedule has changed yet again and I have to be in bed super early on Friday & Saturday nights so I can get up at 5am. That means that for the first time in many years I won’t get to watch hardly any late night west coast games. The Pac 12 gets all of the attention, but don’t forget about the Mountain West. It has become standard for Boise St. to get the infinitesimal amount of love left over for the MWC, but I believe the Bulldogs will emerge as the better team this year.

 

 

18        Michigan

Last Season:     10-3

Key Games:     9/21 @Wisconsin, 10/5 vs. Iowa, 10/19 @Penn St., 10/26 vs. Notre Dame, 11/16 vs. Michigan St., 11/0 vs. Ohio St.

Are patience wearing thin where Jim Harbaugh is concerned?? Possibly, but I still think he’ll ditch Michigan before Michigan cans him…and neither scenario may ever happen. This isn’t the early 20th century anymore…everyone outside of the state of Alabama understands how difficult it is to win a national championship and knows it isn’t the only barometer for success. Harbaugh has won ten games in 3 out of 4 seasons leading the maize & Blue, which is pretty darn good. The one thing he has to do to quell any sort of rebellion: beat Ohio St. Now is the time. This is the year. The Wolverines could lose 3 or 4 other games and it won’t matter if they defeat the Buckeyes in The Big House in November.

 

 

17        Arizona State

Last Season:     7-6

Key Games:     9/14 @Michigan St., 10/19 @Utah, 11/9 vs. USC, 11/23 vs. Oregon

I’m a big fan of Sun Devils’ head coach Herm Edwards. He might be a better talking head than head coach, but I saw some flashes a year ago that leads me to believe that this is a team that could pull off a couple of upsets and sneak into the rankings.

 

 

16        Texas A&M

Last Season:     9-4

Key Games:     9/7@Clemson, 9/21 vs. Auburn, 10/12 vs. Alabama, 11/23 @Georgia, 11/30 @LSU

No team has more chances to affect the National Championship picture than the Aggies. All five key games noted above involve potential playoff contenders, so A&M has a unique opportunity to be the ultimate spoiler…or be embarrassingly inept. Entering Year 2 of the Jimbo Fisher era I believe they’ll continue to build a solid foundation that will eventually lead to playoff appearances in the near future.

 

 

15        Stanford

Last Season:     9-4

Key Games:     9/21 vs. Oregon, 10/5 vs. Washington, 11/16 @Washington St., 11/30 vs. Notre Dame

The Pac 12 is stacked, and it’ll be really interesting to see which team(s) emerge to lead the pack. Stanford has its biggest games at home, and that could lead to good things.

 

 

14        Nebraska

Last Season:     4-8

Key Games:     9/28 vs. Ohio St., 11/16 vs. Wisconsin, 11/29 vs. Iowa

I’m really going out on a limb. After back to back four win seasons the Cornhuskers enter Year 2 of the Scott Frost era, which means that noticeable improvement is expected.  So does that mean going from losing seasons to bowl eligibility?? Or does it mean bursting back onto the scene with 8-10 wins?? The biggest games are at home, and just one upset might mean a huge turnaround for the program.

 

 

13        LSU

Last Season:     10-3

Key Games:     9/7 @Texas, 10/12 vs. Florida, 10/26 vs. Auburn, 11/9 @Alabama, 11/30 vs. Texas A&M

Ed Orgeron now seems to be firmly entrenched as the Bayou Bengals’ head coach, and that kind of stability provides a real sense of freedom for a program. A split against the four noted conference foes would be fantastic, but an early season non-conference battle at Texas could be the key to LSU’s entire season.

 

 

12        Utah

Last Season:     9-5

Key Games:     8/29 @BYU, 9/20 @USC, 9/28 vs. Washington St., 10/19 vs. Arizona St., 11/2 @Washington

Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to figuring out the Pac 12, but the Utes seem to be getting a lot of love. Anyone who has spent any time reading sports related content here at The Manofesto will recall my affection for BYU, which is why I consider that an important in-state contest for Utah even though BYU has only won eleven total games the past two years. I’m not sure what to think about Southern Cal or the two Washington teams…all three could make these rankings look silly a few months from now. One thing is for sure…the Utes are going to need to have some big road wins to have a successful season.

 

 

11        Iowa State

Last Season:     8-5

Key Games:     9/14 vs. Iowa, 11/9 @Oklahoma, 11/16 vs. Texas

Everybody loves to yap about Oklahoma & Texas, but Big 12 fans know not to sleep on the Cyclones. They’ve won eight games in each of the last two seasons, and with QB Brock Purdy entering his sophomore year I think bigger things await. I am predicting that they’ll upset either the Sooners or the Longhorns and finish third in the conference.

 

 

10        Wisconsin

Last Season:     8-5

Key Games:     9/21 vs. Michigan, 10/12 vs. Michigan St., 10/26 @Ohio St.

The bottom line is this…the Badgers have to upset one of the two Michigan teams because going into The Horseshoe & beating Ohio St. in October might be too much to expect. Otherwise, I expect a solid 8-10 win season, which is par for the course.

 

 

9          Southern California

Last Season:     5-7

Key Games:     9/7 vs. Stanford, 9/20 vs. Utah, 9/28 @Washington, 10/12 @Notre Dame, 11/2 vs. Oregon

I’m doing it…I’m rolling the dice on the Trojans!! I’m not sure what the heck happened a year ago, but it was USC’s first losing season in eighteen years. Was it an anomaly?? Or was 2018 indicative of a backward slide that will continue for the foreseeable future?? Obviously I’m betting on the former, and in the words of Billy Joel I’ll walk away a fool or a king.

 

 

8          Texas

Last Season:     10-4

Key Games:     9/7 vs. LSU, 10/12 vs. Oklahoma, 11/16 @Iowa St.

The long road back to relevancy is about as complete as one can expect nowadays…all they need to do now is maintain consistency. A losing or even mediocre season now would be disastrous for a program that’s taken almost a decade to rebuild. Most “experts” expect the Big 12 to come down to Texas & Oklahoma, so the Red River Shootout in mid-October will be a huge game, but the Longhorns shouldn’t overlook Iowa St. just a month later.

 

 

7          Notre Dame

Last Season:     12-1

Key Games:     9/21 @Georgia, 10/12 vs. USC, 10/26 @Michigan, 11/30 @Stanford

Coming off a playoff season expectations are high in South Bend, but the schedule is brutal. One slip will knock them out of contention, and with big road games at Georgia, Michigan, & Stanford I’d be stunned to see the Irish go undefeated.

 

 

6          Ohio State

Last Season:    13-1

Key Games:     9/28 @Nebraska, 10/5 vs. Michigan St., 10/26 vs. Wisconsin, 11/23 vs. Penn St., 11/30 @ Michigan

Ohio St. is a football factory that recruits elite athletes and churns out winning seasons as easily as you & I change socks in the morning. However, the dividing line for such teams is whether they win 9/10 games and finish highly ranked or go undefeated and contend for a playoff spot. I don’t think there will be a significant dropoff under new head coach Ryan Day, and perhaps it is even positive for the program to be rid of the various distractions that accompanied former coach Urban Meyer. However, I don’t think you’ll see the Buckeyes in the playoff, and they might even suffer a loss to Michigan.

 

 

5             Oregon

Last Season:     9-4

Key Games:     8/31 @Auburn, 9/21 @Stanford, 10/19 @Washington, 11/2 @USC

Mario Cristobal started his reign as the Ducks’ head coach with a nine win season, so now anticipation is at a fever pitch in Eugene. A non-conference battle with Auburn to kick things off is a neutral site game at The Palace in Dallas. I don’t necessarily think that game will make or break either team’s season, but the winner will certainly be headed on an upward trajectory. I’m not sure what to make of the Pac 12 quite yet, but if Oregon can emerge from the pack they just might find themselves in playoff contention.

 

 

4             Alabama

Last Season:     14-1

Key Games:     10/12 @Texas A&M, 11/9 vs. LSU, 11/30 @Auburn

I don’t know about y’all, but ‘Bama has become a team I love to see lose. I’m just really over the whole thing. I know I should root for fellow West Virginian Nick Saban, but I just can’t. I’m an underdog kind of guy and The Tide has evolved into The Evil Empire. However, a year ago I opined that Alabama might have to lose as many as three games for the powers-that-be to leave them out of the playoff. We know for sure that they don’t need to win the SEC or even play in the title game. So here is how I see it going down. I think A&M and LSU will both provide legit tests for ‘Bama, but they’ll go into the SEC Championship ranked #1 or #2 in the country, lose the title game to Georgia, and still make the playoff.

 

 

3          Oklahoma

Last Season:     12-2

Key Games:     10-12 vs. Texas, 11/9 vs. Iowa St., 11/30 @Oklahoma St.

Sooners’ head coach Lincoln Riley…at just 35 years old…has made a believer out of me. Two straight 12 win seasons. Two consecutive Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks. With former Alabama QB Jalen Hurts transferring in to lead the offense I see no reason to believe that Oklahoma won’t win the Red River Shootout and claim another conference title. The Big 12 doesn’t get as much respect as the other “power” conferences, and it would probably be easy for the playoff committee to squeeze the Sooners out…but I don’t believe that’ll happen this season.

 

 

2          Georgia

Last Season:     11-3

Key Games:     9/21 vs. Notre Dame, 11/2 vs. Florida, 11/16 @Auburn, 11/23 vs. Texas A&M

Beating Notre Dame in September is an absolute must for the Bulldogs’ playoff hopes, but fortunately it’s a home game. I’m not buying into any Florida hype, and by late November I think tough schedules will have taken their toll on Auburn and A&M. I also believe Georgia will win the SEC Championship. I would much rather see a Clemson-Georgia National Championship versus any matchup involving Alabama.

 

 

1          Clemson

Last Season:     15-0

Key Games:     9/7 vs. Texas A&M

Champion wrestler Ric Flair used to say “to be The Man you’ve got to beat The Man”, and until someone steps up & knocks the Tigers from their perch there’s no other choice for the #1 spot. When I look at the schedule it looks like A&M is the only legit threat they face in the regular season, and the playoff committee hasn’t penalized Clemson in the past for the relative weakness of the ACC so it would be inconsistent to do so now. Most “experts” seem to recognize that Clemson is on a whole other level at the moment, and QB Trevor Lawrence is special. He’s my favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.

2013 NCAA Bowl Previews & Predictions

Before we dive in headfirst there are a few ground rules that need to be reviewed and some things that need to be said once so that I don’t find myself repeating them a dozen times. First of all, these picks are completely separate from our Pigskin Picks of Profundity. You will see no point spreads here. There are just too many games to track down all that data and the total random nature of bowl games makes assessing such things total folly anyway even though I am sure the folks in Vegas will do their best. Secondly, I have some strong opinions when it comes to the entire bowl system. I think the BCS is a load of crap and I am glad it is going away. The 4 team playoff we’re getting next year is a positive change and I would not mind a bit if it eventually expanded to 6 or even 8 teams. There are way way way too many bowl games (35 counting the national title game), and I don’t think it’d be a bad thing to have an 8 team playoff and something like 25-30 bowl games. I do not believe that 6-6 teams should have their mediocrity awarded with a post-season game. My threshold for bowl eligibility would be 7 games, but unfortunately I do not make the rules. The world would be a better place if I did. I am not a fan of corporate bowl names or bowl games named after a particular location. If it were up to me the New Mexico, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Beef O’Brady’s, Russell Athletic, GoDaddy, & Capital One Bowls (just to name a few) would go away and games like the Cherry, Freedom, Gotham, Pineapple, Tangerine, & Copper Bowls would be revived. I would also like to see the bowl season wrapped up by New Year’s Day, with the only games played after being the national semifinals and the championship game. Having said all that the reality is what it is and as a football fan I will enjoy the next several weeks. There are probably atleast a dozen…possibly as many as 15…games out of these 35 that have the potential to be really entertaining, and I suppose that we can always hope that the others produce a higher level of amusement that we have a right to expect. As always I will remind you that I am not very good at this so please…if you must wager…don’t bet the farm based on anything you read here. Happy Holidays!!

 

 

 

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NMNew Mexico Bowl

Albuquerque, NM

12/21 at 2pm on ESPN

Washington St. (6-6) vs. Colorado St. (7-6)

I know absolutely nothing about either team so this is a total shot in the dark for me.

Me:        Washington St.

Zach:     Colorado St.

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Las Vegas Bowlvegas

Las Vegas, NV

12/21 at 3:30pm on ABC

Fresno State (11-1) vs. USC (9-4)

Vegas baby…Vegas!! The Bulldogs have had a very nice season and fell just one game short of being a BCS buster. QB Derek Carr is being talked about as a potential 1st round pick in next spring’s NFL Draft, although one has to wonder whether or not he can have a more memorable career than his older brother David. I suppose it can’t possibly be less memorable. Meanwhile this isn’t exactly where the Trojans probably thought they’d end up when envisioning the season. Former head coach Lane Kiffin is long gone and interim head coach Ed Orgeron quit when he didn’t get the full time gig. I have no idea who is even coach them in this game. Largely due to that, and also because Fresno State is a legitimately good team I’m going to lean in that direction.

Me:        Fresno St.

Zach:     USC

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Potato Bowltater

Boise, ID

12/21 at 5:30pm on ESPN

Buffalo(8-4) vs. San Diego St. (7-5)

Atleast this will be somewhat entertaining to watch on the blue turf in Boise.

Me:        San Diego St.

Zach:     San Diego St.

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New Orleans Bowlnawleans

New Orleans, LA

12/21 at 9pm on ESPN

Tulane (7-5) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-3)

I’m thinking it’d be a good idea to take the over on this one. I had Tulane in my pre-season Top 25 but they weren’t quite as good as I thought. I still like them here though.

Me:        Tulane

Zach:     Louisiana-Lafayette

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Beef O’Brady’s Bowlbeef-o-bradys22

Tampa, FL

12/23 at 2pm on ESPN

East Carolina (9-3) vs. Ohio (7-5)

For anyone who is curious Beef O’Brady’s is a sports bar/restaurant franchise in the southeastern US. I have no idea if it’s any good because I’ve never seen one. As for this game it’s the MAC vs. C-USA and might actually end up being a rather fun game to watch. I’ve watched both teams play and the vibes are telling me that the Bobcats might be the slightly better team.

Me:        Ohio

Zach:     East Carolina

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Hawaii Bowlhawaii

Honolulu, HI

Christmas Eve at 8pm on ESPN

Boise St. (8-4) vs. Oregon St. (6-6)

Congratulations men…your mediocrity has been awarded with a trip to Hawaii for Christmas!! I have to believe these players are psyched for such an awesome trip. Boise State head coach Chris Petersen is now their former coach, as he finally…after years of rumors & flirtations…left the Broncos to be the new head man for the Washington Huskies. That means they’ll have an interim coach for this game. Meanwhile the Beavers are probably better than their record indicates but they do come into this game on a 5 game losing skid. I’m going to go out on a limb and pick Oregon State to break that slide and get back on track.

Me:        Oregon St.

Zach:     Oregon St.

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Little Caesars BowlLittleCeasers1

Detroit, MI

12/26 at 6pm on ESPN

Pitt (6-6) vs. Bowling Green (10-3)

As opposed to the teams heading to island paradise these two teams are headed to Detroit. Fortunately the bowl game is privately funded since the city is bankrupt. I wonder if a crack pipe and some bath salts is part of the swag each team will receive?? Anyway, Bowling Green is a much much better team and I’ll be disappointed if they don’t win this game by three TDs.

Me:        Bowling Green

Zach:     Pitt

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Poinsettia Bowlpoinsettia

San Diego, CA

12/26 at 9:30pm on ESPN

Utah St. (8-5) vs. Northern Illinois (12-1)

Utah State was defeated by Fresno State in the Mountain West title game, while Northern Illinois fell one win short of the BCS when they fell to Bowling Green in the MC title game. The Huskies are led by QB Jordan Lynch who placed 3rd in Heisman voting and that is good enough for me to pick Northern Illinois.

Me:        Northern Illinois

Zach:     Northern Illinois

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Military Bowlmilitary-officer-1

Annapolis, MD

12/27 at 2:30pm on ESPN

Marshall (9-4) vs. Maryland (7-5)

Full disclosure. I am a 1994 graduate of Marshall. I was there when QB Chad Pennington played his first game. I saw Randy Moss be a man amongst boys. I witnessed the 1992 1-AA National Championship firsthand. So I will not be picking against my Herd.

Me:        Marshall

Zach:     Marshall

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Texas Bowltexas

Houston, TX

12/27 at 6pm on ESPN

Syracuse (6-6) vs. Minnesota (8-4)

I give a lot of grief to Syracuse, but as I recall they pasted my WV Mountaineers in a bowl game last year so all bets are off and records don’t really matter during bowl season. All I know about Minnesota is that their head coach keeps having seizures on the sideline and really should resign. I suppose I’ll go with the Gophers.

Me:        Minnesota

Zach:     Minnesota

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Fight Hunger Bowlfighthunger

San Francisco, CA

12/27 at 9:30pm on ESPN

BYU (8-4) vs. Washington (8-4)

I think this may be a sleeper game but I have to wonder how many people will actually be watching. Washington just lost their coach to USC so we have yet another interim situation for the bowl game. I’ve always liked BYU so I suppose I’ll go with the Cougars.

Me:        BYU

Zach:     BYU

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Pinstripe Bowljoel

Bronx, NY

12/28 at Noon on ESPN

Rutgers (6-6)  vs.  Notre Dame(8-4)

Notre Dame has really flown under the radar in 2013. I know that 8-4 isn’t considered a good season in South Bend, but a year after playing for the national championship and (I am assuming) losing a plethora of seniors I’d have to say they’ve had a solid year. The Scarlet Knights are preparing for their move to The Big Ten (which has 12 teams) next season and this game should be an indicator as to whether or not they are ready to compete on that level. I’m going to say that they are and will prove it here.

Me:        Rutgers

Zach:     Notre Dame

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Belk Bowlbelk

Charlotte, NC

12/28 at 3:20pm on ESPN

Cincinnati (9-3) vs. North Carolina (6-6)

Cincinnati beat Duke in this game last season. I expect that they’ll handle the other Carolina team just as effortlessly.

Me:        Cincinnati

Zach:     North Carolina

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Russell Athletic Bowlrussell

Orlando, FL

12/28 at 6:45pm on ESPN

Miami, FL (9-3) vs. Louisville (11-1)

Louisville had much higher hopes coming into the year. It’s amazing what one loss will do to implode an entire season. Meanwhile it looks like The U is on the verge of being back. I think Louisville has the better quarterback…but Miami has the better overall team.

Me:        Miami, FL

Zach:     Miami, FL

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Buffalo Wild Wings Bowlwings

Tempe, AZ

12/28 at 10:15pm on ESPN

Michigan (7-5)  vs. Kansas State (7-5)

The Wolverines really lost their way in 2013. I thought they’d be a Top 10 team and obviously I was way wrong. K-St. has had a quietly solid season residing in the middle of the Big 12 (which has ten teams) pack. I’m not going to abandon Michigan now.

Me:        Michigan

Zach:     Michigan

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Armed Forces Bowlarmedforces

Fort Worth, TX

12/30 at 11:45am on ESPN

Middle Tennessee (8-4)  vs.  Navy (7-4)

So we have an Armed Forces Bowl AND a Military Bowl?? Seems excessive doesn’t it. As much as I’d love to go with The Academy here I believe that Middle Tennessee is more battle tested (ironic) against better competition and will prevail.

Me:        Middle Tennessee

Zach:     Middle Tennessee

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Music City Bowl

Nashville, TN

12/30 at 3:15pm on ESPNmusic

Ole Miss (7-5)  vs. Georgia Tech (7-5)

I can pretty much assure y’all that I won’t be watching this game. It just doesn’t seem the least bit interesting to me. That being said I suppose I’ll go with the Rebels.

Me:        Ole Miss

Zach:     Georgia Tech

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Alamo Bowlalamo

San Antonio, TX

12/30 at 6:45pm on ESPN

Oregon (10-2)  vs. Texas (8-4)

This isn’t where the Ducks wanted to be playing. But after two late season losses at Stanford and Arizona they didn’t even make it to the Pac 12 title game. This will be the swan song for Texas coach Mack Brown who was gently persuaded to resign recently. Because of the emotion involved with that situation, the fact that Oregon might be suffering from a strong case of “Why should we give a damn about this stupid game??”-itis, and the fact that the game is being played less than two hours from the Texas campus I’m going to go with the underdogs.

Me:        Texas

Zach:     Oregon

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Holiday BowlDocHolliday

San Diego, CA

12/30 at 10:15pm on ESPN

Arizona St. (10-3) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)

The Sun Devils made a decent run at a Pac 12 title but couldn’t overcome Stanford in the championship contest. Tech was a middle-of-the-road Big 12 team that is in the midst of a 5 game losing swoon. Clearly Arizona State is the better team, but I am expecting a high scoring close game.

Me:        Arizona St.

Zach:     Arizona St.

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Independence Bowlindependence

Shreveport, LA

New Year’s Eve at 12:30pm on ESPN

Arizona (7-5)  vs. Boston College (7-5)

I believe they are officially calling this game something else this year…something prosaic & corporate. But I am refusing to play along. Rich Fraudriguez has the Wildcats headed in the right direction, and they can take pride in the fact that they pulled off a huge November upset of Oregon. BC has one of the best running backs in college football even though no one had heard of him until about 2 weeks ago. I cannot bring myself to pull for the evil assclown that coaches Arizona so I am picking the Eagles to win yet another game that no one will watch because no one cares.

Me:        Boston College

Zach:     Arizona

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Sun Bowlsun

El Paso, TX

New Year’s Eve at 2pm on CBS

Virginia Tech (8-4)  vs.  UCLA (9-3)

I haven’t heard all that much about the Hokies this season although it seems like they had a solid season. The Bruins had hoped for a Pac 12 title but back-to-back midseason losses at Stanford and Oregon torpedoed those chances. I think UCLA plays against better competition in a better conference so that’s my pick.

Me:        UCLA

Zach:     UCLA

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Liberty Bowlliberty

Memphis, TN

New Year’s Eve at 4pm on ESPN

Rice (10-3)  vs. Mississippi St. (6-6)

Admittedly I have some residual bitterness after the Owls beat down my Marshall Thundering Herd in the C-USA title game. I just can’t bring myself to pick them. But I also believe that Mississippi St…as mediocre as they may be…has been battle tested in the SEC. Therefore I’m going with the Bulldogs.

Me:        Mississippi St.

Zach:     Rice

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Chick-Fil-A Bowlchickfila

Atlanta, GA

New Year’s Eve at 8pm on ESPN

Duke (10-3)  vs. Texas A&M (8-4)

This is the old Peach Bowl, but unlike most other corporate bowl games I actually like Chick-Fil-A so I’ll utilize the name. I think the Blue Devils’ record is probably a bit…bloated. The ACC is a rather pedestrian league with the exception of Florida State, who pummeled Duke by 5 TDs in the title game. We don’t know whether or not this will be the collegiate farewell for Aggies’ QB Johnny Manziel, but if it is one would have to think that he’d really like to go out in style.

Me:        Texas A&M

Zach:     Texas A&M

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Gator Bowlgator

Jacksonville, FL

New Year’s Day at Noon on ESPN2

Nebraska (8-4)  vs. Georgia (8-4)

If memory serves me correctly I believe these two met last year in a bowl game. I could look it up but does it really matter?? Both teams underachieved this season and will have to find motivation to end the season on a positive note. The Cornhuskers’ coach Bo Pelini is a brick or two or three shy of a load, and as entertaining as that is I can’t imagine that it is healthy for the team. The Bulldogs will be without quarterback Aaron Murray, whose senior campaign ended early with an ACL injury. I am expecting this game to be a low scoring defensive struggle with the Bulldogs coming out on top.

Me:        Georgia

Zach:     Georgia

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Heart of Dallas Bowlnap

Dallas, TX

New Year’s Day at Noon on ESPNU

UNLV (7-5)   vs.  North Texas (8-4)

Nothing proves the complete inconsequentiality of a bowl game then it being shown on ESPNU. I know nothing about these teams and doubt if I’ll watch this game at all. I guess I’ll go with UNLV.

Me:        UNLV

Zach:     UNLV

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Capital One BowlSamuel-L-Jackson-One-Million-Moms

Orlando, FL

New Year’s Day at 1pm on ABC

Wisconsin (9-3)  vs.  South Carolina (10-2)

Oh boy…a bowl game named after a credit card. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. However, despite the game’s unfortunate name it should actually be a fun battle to watch. Will South Carolina’s defensive wunderkind Jadeveon Clowney be able to stop the Badger running attack?? Can Steve Spurrier pull out enough big plays to overcome Wisconsin’s ground & pound attack?? The Vibes are telling me that Wisconsin’s three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust approach just might work.

Me:        Wisconsin

Zach:     South Carolina

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Outback Bowloutback

Tampa, FL

New Year’s Day at 1pm on ESPN

Iowa (8-4)  vs.  LSU (9-3)

Iowa is in a New Year’s Day bowl game?? I hadn’t noticed that they were that good. Meanwhile this is just about what most expected from LSU. They also will be without their starting quarterback as senior Zach Mettenberger due to a torn ACL. I think that tips the scales in Iowa’s favor.

Me:        Iowa

Zach:     Iowa

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Rose Bowlrose

Pasadena, CA

New Year’s Day at 5pm on ESPN

Stanford (11-2)  vs. Michigan State (12-1)

Okay now THIS is a game to look forward to. I am predicting that the winner of this game will secure for themselves a Top 5 ranking entering next season. The Spartans defense is tough and I think they’ll keep the scoring to a minimum, but at the end of the day I like Stanford to pull out a close one and take home their 2nd straight Rose Bowl trophy.

Me:        Stanford

Zach:     Michigan St.

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Fiesta Bowlmassacre

Glendale, AZ

New Year’s Day at 8:30pm on ESPN

Central Florida (11-1)    vs.  Baylor (11-1)

This is going to be ugly. I am having flashbacks to when Mike Tyson used to maul his opponents and get a knockout in the first round. Atleast we’ll all have the opportunity to go to bed early if we so choose. To my complete shock Zach is picking the upset.

Me:        Baylor

Zach:     UCF

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Sugar Bowlsugar

New Orleans, LA

1/2 at 8:30pm on ESPN

Oklahoma (10-2)   vs.  Alabama (11-1)

Everyone and their brother expected The Tide to be playing for another national title, but they were beaten by a miracle against Auburn. There’s been a lot of chatter lately about head coach Nick Saban bolting for Texas but he seems to have nipped that in the bud by agreeing to a contract extension. The Sooners have to be chomping at the bit knowing that they are probably better than their record shows and also salivating at the thought that Alabama is beatable…atleast in theory. I think this will be a fantastic game for 3+ quarters, but ‘Bama just has a little too much depth & talent for Oklahoma to overcome. Zach is not only predicting that the Tide will roll, but that they’ll win by 49 POINTS!!

Me:        Alabama

Zach:     Alabama

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Orange Bowlorange

Miami, FL

1/3 at 8:30pm on ESPN

Clemson (10-2)   vs.  Ohio St. (12-1)

Everyone kept saying that the Buckeyes were overrated and hadn’t played anybody. That was proven to be true in the Big Ten title game when they were handled by Michigan State. Clemson was beaten by #1 Florida State and in-state rival South Carolina…no shame in either of those losses. I just don’t have much faith in Ohio State’s defense. I think Clemson QB Tajh Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins will both come up huge in their final collegiate game and lead the Tigers to a double digit victory.

Me:        Clemson

Zach:     Clemson

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Cotton Bowlcotton

Arlington, TX

1/3 at 7:30pm on Fox

Oklahoma St. (10-2)  vs. Missouri (11-2)

This may as well be called the What Might Have Been Bowl. The Cowboys went into their final game against in-state rival Oklahoma with a chance to secure a conference title but fell short. The Tigers had an outside shot at a national championship spot before losing their conference title game. I look for this to be a high scoring affair with lots of big plays. It feels like it may even be an overtime kind of game. I’m picking Oklahoma State to pull off the victory by a field goal.

Me:        Oklahoma St.

Zach:     Oklahoma St.

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Compass Bowlcompass

Birmingham, AL

1/4 at 1pm on ESPN

Vanderbilt (8-4)  vs. Houston (8-4)

Shouldn’t two directional schools be playing in this game?? I doubt that many will be watching this one unless the first Saturday of the new year finds most of the country deep in snow & ice. Personally I think I’ll be at the local cineplex checking out a movie or two that I didn’t get to before Christmas. Anyway, I’m going with Houston because I have a sneaking suspicion that Vandy will be playing for an interim coach.

Me:        Houston

Zach:     Vanderbilt

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GoDaddy Bowlgodaddy

Mobile, AL

1/5 at 9pm on ESPN

Arkansas St. (7-5)  vs. Ball St. (10-2)

I hate this game. It’s horribly named, is played about two weeks later than it should be, and the matchup itself is about as unappealing as that time the fat detective showed his naked butt on NYPD Blue. Due to my affection for the MAC I’m going with Ball State.

Me:        Ball St.

Zach:     Ball St.

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National Championship Game

Pasadena, CA  –  1/6 at 8:30pm on ESPN

#1 Florida St. (13-0)   vs.  #2 Auburn (12-1)

champHere we go. This is the big one. As much as I detest the BCS and am looking forward to the 4 team playoff that begins next year I must say that more often than not the national title game ends up with an awesome matchup and this one is no exception. Auburn is proof positive that sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. But one must be cautious if there is an inkling to write off the Tigers because they won two games…against Georgia and Alabama…that they really shouldn’t have. We also should not overlook the fact that as much as Ohio State got knocked for their weak schedule Florida State’s schedule is arguably less impressive. I think this might be the best national title game since Vince Young & Texas outdueled Reggie Bush & USC in 2006. Once again my heart is going to rule over my brain. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher is a fellow native of Clarksburg, WV and graduated from the same high school as myself 6 years earlier. I can’t go against the hometown boy. Zach really likes Auburn’s offense.

Me:        Florida St.

Zach:     Auburn

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