Every week T-Roc will share his thoughts on what is going on in college football, make picks and fire back at your nasty comments. Want to learn more about him, check out his first post or visit his archive.
The Dec. 26-30 Bowls
Screw the intros. It’s too hectic for me to waste your time these days and with 10 games between Boxing Day and the 30th, there’s a lot to take in.
So here are your best betting options for the upcoming bowl games, along with each game’s equivalent in terms of Christmas leftovers (i.e. some will go down nicely… others will cause heartburn).
All numbers are based on Pinnacle.com’s betting lines as of December 24. None of the following picks factor weather into the equation, and late-breaking firings / hirings / arrests / staph infections are, as always, to be considered before actually placing a bet.
Friday, December 26
7:30 p.m. ET - Motor City Bowl
Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan: Over 65
The Motor City Bowl will be like that bowl of assorted nuts sitting next to your recliner. There’s no need to dip into it, but you’re just so used to stuffing things in your mouth that you can’t help yourself. Pig.
FAU averaged 42.8 points per game over its last four. CMU ended its season with a 56-52 loss. Last year’s Motor City Bowl, also involving the Chips, was a back-and-forth shootout. I’d take the over even if it was pushing 70 points.
Saturday, December 27
1 p.m. ET - Meineke Car Care Bowl
West Virginia vs. North Carolina: West Virginia -1 ½
Ahhh – this is the first beer of a holiday afternoon. Good-bye, Boxing Day bloat, hello return to health! Deliciously smooth… the difference really is drinkability!
There’ll be athleticism a go-go on display in Charlotte, none more worth watching than Pat White in his final college game. I’ll urge him to come play in the CFL once the game’s over. For now, I’ll just watch him steal a quasi-home game from the Heels.
4:30 p.m. ET - Champs Sports Bowl
Wisconsin vs. Florida State: Under 52
Uh-oh. The fourth and fifth beer of the afternoon are causing problems. You recognize the labels on the bottles as the same as you’ve been drinking for a long time, but something doesn’t taste right.
Now you know how backers of these schools feel. Former big-time winners, neither Wisconsin or FSU loved how 2008 ended up. I’m ignoring each team’s high-scoring season conclusions, as neither offence strikes me as capable of lighting up the opposition ‘D’.
8 p.m. ET - Emerald Bowl
Miami vs. Cal: Cal -8
Hey, now that’s some bounce-backability! Everything’s A-OK as beers 8-through-12 fly down the gullet. Your body’s feeling no pain and hey, this Emerald Bowl ain’t so bad, after all!
The Bears give this game by the Bay its star power, none brighter than Jahvid Best, who has to love the video from the Hurricanes’ final two games of the season. I like Cal to easily cover the spread behind a hometown crowd.
Sunday, December 28
8 p.m. - Independence Bowl
Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech: Northern Illinois pick’em
The previous day’s drinking made for a miserable morning and early afternoon, but cheer up, sunshine: Sunday night delivers an underrated game akin to the spiked eggnog you finally decide to try after Sunday dinner.
NIU lost only the games it was supposed to lose, and with the exception of the Ball State blowout, the Huskies lost respectably. QB Chandler Harnish is mobile enough to cause problems for the Bulldogs, even playing a near-home game in Shreveport.
Monday, December 29
3 p.m. ET - Papajohns.com Bowl
North Carolina State vs. Rutgers: Over 56
So are you going to work this Monday or are you milking your vacation time? Either way, park your collective arses in front of the TV for this one – it’ll be like the best sandwich possibly constructed out of leftover, four-day old turkey.
Rutgers scored 231 points over its final five games, all wins, while prepping for a game against a banged-up N.C. State defence. I like Rutgers to cover the spread, but I love the over in this game, thanks to the starting QBs both schools bring to Birmingham.
8 p.m. ET - Alamo Bowl
Northwestern vs. Missouri: Missouri -12
Remember the Alamo? Nah, forget it, this year. See that last slice of mincemeat pie in the back of the fridge? Don’t bother reaching for it unless you’re prepared to deal with the consequences.
The Wildcats say they’re coming to Texas with an emotional edge, but Mizzou was a true Big 12 big boy this year. Even going through the motions could be enough with the talent the Tigers have.
Tuesday, December 30
4:30 p.m. ET - Humanitarian Bowl
Nevada vs. Maryland: Nevada -2 ½
“Humanitarian”, eh? Who thought of this one, a bunch of left-wing hippies? Sounds dicey to me, as do those leftover brownies that only Uncle Sequoia and Aunt Moonbeam have been eating.
Nevada’s running stats are crazy impressive and its record isn’t so bad, once you consider the early Big 12 games. I think the Pack can provide another conference win over the ACC in Boise akin to last year’s Fresno State / Georgia Tech game.
8 p.m. ET - Texas Bowl
Western Michigan vs. Rice: Rice -2 ½
Surprisingly tasty, once you give it a chance, like the low-fat chips and dip your sister-in-law swears by. Good thing your hips aren’t ballooning like hers… I hope.
It’s no secret that both WMU and Rice live and die by the passing game – their offences live by it while their defences die by it. As such, the over is a tempting play, but I’ll stick with laying points with the Owls, winners of six straight and playing at home.
8 p.m. ET - Holiday Bowl
Oregon vs. Oklahoma State: Under 77
“Oh! My God, that’s delicious… Jesus, man, what’d you put in these things? It’s like a cornucopia in my mouth!”
That’s right, the definite must-watch of the post-Boxing Day / pre-New Year’s bunch kicks off in San Diego on the 30th. You’ll look back at the rosters for this game in five years time and be amazed at the number of NFLers everywhere… even on the defensive side of the ball.
So once again, the sun in Southern California provides secure footing for defenders to keep the score at 35-31, as opposed to the 48-45 game oddsmakers want you to expect.
Record through December 15: 45-45-1 ATS
Bowl record through December 25: 4-3 ATS
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