2019-12-28 10:57

So, 2nd part of the bowl season is over, almost half of the games are played.
But many high quality games will come up the next few days.


Mon. Dec. 23
UCF vs Marshall

The game did look over already at halftime.
UCF did lead 24-7 and even when Marshall did score 18 points in the 3rd quarter, the Knights did outscore them even then and the 4th quarter did go also in favor of the Florida team, so at the end it was a big game for the Knights and a bowl loss for Marshall.
It will be interesting to see, whether UCF will rebound again from their 3-loss season (which is still VERY good) or whether they had their peak and do get similar seasons from now on (or worse).
Marshall had a good season, too, but of cause they want to improve from that 8 wins season again.
UCF 48 vs Marshall 25 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 5-4

Tue. Dec. 24
Hawai'i vs BYU

That was a good game, at least if you like the Warriors.
BYU did commit too many turnovers and did led Hawai'i back into the game several times.
With 1-minute left to play did Hawai't take the lead and BYU did throw an INT on the next drive to seal this game as Warriors win.
Honestly, I think BYU should have looked for a different coach, but of cause the early prolongation do force them to wait now for at least the next season to make a call, otherwise the penalties would be too high.
For Hawai'i the next season looks promising, I hope they can improve further.
Hawai'i 38 vs BYU 34 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 6-4

Thur. Dec. 26
Louisiana Tech vs Miami

If you like defense games, this one was a game for you.
LT did score only 14 points, Miami .... NOTHING.
Unbelievable, and for sure the new coach Diaz got the big hint by the AD, who said after the game they would stick with Diaz, but he wants 'necessary changes'.
That season was WAY worse than any season Mark Richt (the former coach before Diaz) had in 3 seasons. 6-7 record is not good enough for THE U.
LT can work with that win and might contend next season again.
Louisiana Tech 14 vs Miami 0 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 6-5

Pittsburgh vs Eastern Michigan

A close game, much close than expected and Eastern Michigan could have been proud of that result, even with the loss, if not for the punches their QB did throw on the field.
Their coach did not accept that and did react right from my point of view during the press conference, so this will be dealt with.
Overall the Eagles did play tough and strong, but Pitt was a bit better.
With 47 ticks left to play did Pitt grab the lead again and stopped EMU for good on the next drive.
For the Panthers this was a mixed season from my point of view and they should be better next season.
EMU had compared to the last few seasons a down season, but given the programs history, they are likely grad they had the bowl game.
Pittsburgh 34 vs Eastern Michigan 30 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 7-5

Fri. Dec. 27
North Carolina vs Temple

The Tar Heels went wild and did play like there is no tomorrow.
Temple had no chance at all and overall I'm happy for the UNC community they had that year.
I'm curious to see, whether the new energy of the Heels will translate next season into more wins.
Temple did show good results, so maybe they can really content next season for the American title, but this season they were not good enough.
North Carolina 55 vs Temple 13 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 8-5

Michigan State vs Wake Forest

The 1st half was good, the 2nd half was all defense.
At the end did MSU just played better and stronger, so they won this with a few points difference.
I hope for the Spartans fans that next season will improve their record again, the best for the conference is a strong Spartans team.
And Wake Forest did play a good season, I hope they can keep it up next year.
Michigan State 27 vs Wake Forest 21 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 9-5

#25 Oklahoma State vs Texas A&M

OSU did start good and scored 14 points in the 1st quarter, but then they sputter and the Aggies took over the game.
When Oklahoma State did come alive again the game was almost over and Texas A&M did win this one by securing the one-side-kick and running the clock down.
Overall I think both teams did underperform.
Interesting is that the constant coaches change discussion at the Cowboys did not happen this year while they played so bad compared to other seasons.
At A&M I guess the people want to see why the hired a National Championship coach soon.
#25 Oklahoma State 21 vs Texas A&M 24 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 10-5

#22 USC vs #16 Iowa

Oh man, the Hawkeyes did play wild, while the Trojans were already on holiday.
Honestly, I think if Clayton will not win BIG next season, like a Conference Championship and a playoff spot, he will be gone.
USC did look not good here and that is NOT acceptable on a TOP 5 program.
For the Hawkeyes, it looks like they found some kind of anger management for the lost division race.
Maybe next season they can win it all again.
#22 USC 24 vs #16 Iowa 49 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 10-6

Air Force vs Washington State

On paper this was clear (at least for me), but the Cougars were unable to make plays at some situations and Air Force was.
The result was that Air Force slowly did score some more points than the Cougars, hence Washington State lost.
Tough to say, whether Air Force will improve next season, they had a good year, but might get better.
Washington State had one of the worst seasons under Leech as HC, so chances are good they will rebound next year.
Air Force 31 vs Washington State 21 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 10-7

Next up the games for Saturday and Monday, 8 in total.


Sat. Dec. 28
#17 Memphis vs #10 Penn State

@AT&T Stadium - Arlington, TX
This one exists since 1937.
It was named one of the 6 CFP-Bowls.
The payout is part of the CFP-system.
Last season this was one of the semi-finals, but this season it's the highest ranked non-power5-conference teams (Memphis) against an at large team (Penn State).
Not a bad matchup, but Penn State should be highly favored here.
It's a bit surprising to see the betting line only to be -7.0 for Penn State.
I would have put that higher. More than 10 points as difference I guess.
Memphis can play and score, no doubt, but if you have seen Penn State games this season, their line is really big and strong, so unless Memphis can control the line of scrimmage over the whole 4 quarters, the Tigers will have problems.
I think the Lions will just win the battle in the trenches and will run and pass, almost at will, and will win here.
Nittany Lions win.

#15 Notre Dame vs Iowa State

@Camping World Stadium - Orlando, FL
This is played since 1990.
The ACC should face up against the Big12. But we got Notre Dame (almost ACC) vs a Big12 team.
Each team gets around 2.275.000$.
Still played in the same stadium, but the Citrus Bowl was renamed, so don't be confused. And of cause was the Bowl also renamed.
To get this confusing level at 100%, this is the former Russell Athletic Bowl.
Notre Dame is ranked quite high from my point of view and we will see a great game (hopefully) and against an always challenging Iowa State team.
The Irish are 10-2 right now, while the Cyclones are 7-5, but had many close games against quite high ranked teams.
Sure they lost, and eventually they will lose again here, but it shows the team has potential.
Given the unique situation with a bowl game, we have an open game, I think.
Notre Dame is favored by 3.5 points, which is not too much.
The biggest question mark from my point of view is, whether the Irish will play like they did against Georgia or like they did against Virginia Tech?
They lost to Georgia, but that team is STRONG and they did lose just by 6 points on the road, while against VT they did win, but the Hokies are not the best of the ACC and the Irish won only by 1 point at home.
Iowa State did show a lot of potential and they can win here.
I do expect a close game with ...
Cyclones win.

#4 Oklahoma vs #1 LSU

@Mercedes-Benz Stadium - Atlanta, GA
Since 1968 is this Bowl played and is fielded in the home of the Atlanta Falcons.
It's part of the College Football Playoff system, which includes the semi-finals and final, but also a list of Bowl for at-large-teams.
Because of this, the old Peach Bowl naming was reinstated 3 seasons ago.
The payout is part of the College Football Playoffs system.
A good matchup for the semi final and it's LSUs game to lose here.
The Tigers are perfect and did win the SEC in style, so they are for sure the favorite against a 12-1 Oklahoma team, even if they won the Big12.
LSU is favored by 13.5 points, which says a lot for a matchup between the #1 vs #4.
LSU has all the tools to win here, on offense and defense, so from my point of view only a bad day of LSU can give Oklahoma a way into this game to win.
Oklahoma did play good over the season, but they had often some relax-phases, which did cost them almost several games, but at the end only 1 game in reality.
Here, against a superior team, they need 100% and maybe more to win.
I doubt that and therefore I pick LSU.
Tigers win.

#3 Clemson vs #2 Ohio State

@University of Phoenix Stadium - Glendale, AZ
The Bowl is played since 1971 and belongs also to the CFP-Bowls.
We have the 2nd semi-final this season in this bowl.
The payout is part if the CFP-system.
The best matchup for the playoffs by far.
Clemson did start slow, but became better through the season and finished perfect with the ACC title.
Ohio State did start dominating and never stopped until they won the BIG10.
Now the teams do meet and we will see hopefully a great game.
Clemson most of the time only play game where they were favored by double digits, so it will be new for them to be only a 2.0 points favorite.
Wait a minute ...
Clemson is favored?
For me, this is not right, not only because Ohio State was outstanding so far, but also because Ohio State play and won against many ranked teams, while Clemson did play only Texas A&M and later ranked Virginia in the ACC Championship game.
Sure, they won the games and many of the game with a high margin, but here they play Ohio State, who won against Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin twice.
Close game expected, sure.
Clemson winning? Not in my world.
Buckeyes win.

Mon. Dec. 30
Western Kentucky vs Western Michigan

@Gerald J. Ford Stadium - Dallas, TX
Played since 2011, until last season known as Heart of Dallas Bowl.
This season not played in the Cotton Bowl stadium because the NHL is doing their outdoor game there this year and the bowl was moved to the home of Southern Methodist Mustangs.
Each team gets around 1.100.000$.
For this season is was planned to have a BIG10 team facing a CUSA team, but instead we got a C-USA team against a MAC team,
Which makes this a bit boring, but fine, we take what we get.
Why boring?
WKU is 8-4 this season and did not shine with some sort of dominance.
They play OK football, but not enough to do anything inside their conference in terms of contention.
Marshall and Florida Atlantic were just better this season.
And they face Western Michigan, which finished 7-5 and far away from results they had in the past and contention inside the MAC.
So ... this could become a good match, but the teams are not the best.
WKU is favored by 3.0 points, but I think Western Michigan could win also.
If Western Kentucky brings on their a-game, they will win.
Whether this will happen is up to the coaches and the players.
I hope they will.
Hilltopper win.

Mississippi State vs Louisville

@Nissan Stadium - Nashville, TN
Since 1998 is this Bowl played and they field it at the home of the Tennessee Titans.
The SEC send a team versus an ACC team or BIG10.
Each team gets around 2.750.000$.
This season the matchup does not strike much of a cheer here.
The 6-6 Bulldogs are far from what they were seasons ago and the Cardinals are still in rebuilding mode, finished 7-5.
Mississippi State is favored by 4.0 points, which is OK.
The potential is there to just wash Louisville away, regarding talent, they question is, whether the Bulldogs can activate it.
If given the chance, Louisville can score, so if MSU can control the line and pressure the Cardinals QB, they will win.
If not, this will be an open game.
I think the Bulldogs should win here, by a good margin.
Bulldogs win.

California vs Illinois

@Levi's Stadium - Santa Clara, CA
Since 2002 does this Bowl operate, even under different names.
It is played at the home of the San Francisco 49ers.
This is a PAC 12 Bowl facing some team from the Big10.
A team get about 2.212.500$ as payout.
I think nobody would have seen this matchup coming.
Cal did play good at some point of the season and finished 7-5, the Illini did play in some games fantastic and finished surprisingly 6-6.
Cal is favored by 6.0 points which is OK, if Illinois has some sort of brilliant day again, they can upset the Bears with some extra effort.
Overall Cal should be a bit better, but you never know.
Expect some crazy game.
Golden Bears win.

#9 Florida vs #24 Virginia

@Hard Rock Stadium - Miami, FL
This is played since 1935 and is fielded at the home of the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes.
It's also a part of the CFP-Bowls.
The payout is part of the CFP-system.
If not a semi-final it does usually feature the ACC Conference Champion.
Since that one plays in a semi-final this season (Clemson) the 2nd placed team was invited, Virginia.
Unfortunately they play an at-large-team, which should just shove them around and win here single handed.
Virginia is not in the level of strength Florida is, hence the 14.5 point favorite role of the Gators.
Can the Cavaliers win here?
Yes, but only if Florida plays unconcentrated and not at 100%.
This can happen and did happen for other matchups in the past, but I go with the Gators.
Gators win.

Don’t forget your Pick’em picks!

'Til next time

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