2018-12-27 12:06

Happy Christmas to all of you.

The bowls until X-Mas are through and we (well, I) have to cover the next upcoming bowls.
Before that, the review of the last bowls.


Sat. Dec. 22
Memphis vs Wake Forest

Another wrong pick of mine, thanks to a missed 43 yard FG with time running out to tie the game.
Memphis defense was just weak on that day and their offense did not help much.
At the end did Wake Forest win because they played a bit better.
I think Wake Forest can think positive towards next season.
Memphis has also a lot of potential and with their current setup they should compete again next year.
Memphis 34 - Wake Forest 37 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 6-5

Sat. Dec. 22
Houston vs Army

This one I had only wrong regarding the margin.
Army did not win, they did WIN. BIG TIME.
With a difference in point of 56, they did tie the record with 2008 blowout win of Tulsa vs Bowling Green.
I will not go into that question how you can score 56 points more than the opponent, when you know they are coming mostly on the ground, I just want to mention that Army, a program which was very down for several season now finished the season with their 11th win.
Houston on the other hand is only a shadow of that team left behind by the now HC of the Longhorns, Tom Herman, which was in the hunt for a playoff spot.
This Houston team today has to regroup, rebuild or re-whatever.
Houston 14 - Army 70 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 7-5

Sat. Dec. 22
Buffalo vs Troy

With an impressive 4th quarter did Troy win this Bowl game.
Both teams had their ups and down, and the game was open until Troy did turn on the booster.
Buffalo did lose a fumble late in the 4th and Troy did score out of that field position a TD, the Bulls did miss a FG in the drive afterwards and suddenly the game was decided.
Still, both teams can look hopeful into the future.
Buffalo 32 - Troy 42 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 8-5

Sat. Dec. 22
Hawai'i vs Louisiana Tech

The 1st quarter went a bit as expected, but Hawai'i was unable to get more points out of Louisiana Techs turnovers and went only with a 7-3 lead into the half.
Then did a different Hawai'i team came out of the locker room and committed a turnover after turnover and soon was LT far gone to catch realistically.
Not with such a performance.
I'm a bit disappointed by that, but I'm sure the players of the Warriors are even more disappointed, playing like that at home.
Hawai'i 14 - Louisiana Tech 31 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 8-6

Wed. Dec. 26
Boston College vs #25 Boise State

This is a 1st time ever.
This game was called off after a 1.5h delay because of weather conditions.
BC had scored a TD mid of the 1st quarter when the game was paused because of rain, lightning and thunder.
They waited for 1.5h and when they did see that the forecast was bad for the near future, the game was canceled.
This is the 1st time a bowl is canceled because of that.
As far as I can see right now, the bowl will not be scheduled again, both universities do offer full refund.

Wed. Dec. 26
Minnesota vs Georgia Tech

The Gophers had a great day in this bowl and did send Johnson into retirement with a loss.
There was no way GT could win this game, not with that performance.
I would say, for both teams this is a good start into next season, Minnesota has something to build on and GT will get a new coach and can try to make it better.
Sure, not a good way to send the former coach off, but ...
Minnesota 34 - Georgia Tech 10 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 8-7

Tue. Dec. 26
California vs TCU

That was a defense battle as you would wish it to be.
Cal did score in the 1st quarter and held TCU scoreless for the whole 1st half, 7-0 at halftime.
TCU did score in the 3rd quarter and held Cal scoreless in the whole 2nd half, 7-7 after 4 quarters.
We are going into overtime.
Both teams QBs had at that time 4 INTs each!
Cal did start the 1st drive and was stopped by TCU with another INT.
TCU did start playing and needed 10 plays and basically the whole remaining time to score a game winning FG.
I think it is save to say that both teams are not proud about this game and do like to finish the season by that.
California 7 - TCU 10 (OT) -> Jacks BOWL Score: 9-7


Thur. Dec. 27
Temple vs Duke

@Independence Stadium - Shreveport, LA
Since 2014 it's again the Independence Bowl, played since 1976.
It was named totally different 2013 and some seasons before.
Because of the 200-year celebration of independence at 1976, this Bowl had his original name.
The SEC 10th team should face an ACC team (7th). Did not work again this season. Instead we have an 8-4 American team vs the 7-5 ACC team.
Each team gets around 1.200.000$.
Not that interesting from my point of view and with Temple playing under interims coach, this could get ugly.
Geoff Collins was named new HC of Georgia Tech and Ed Foley, the TE/SP coach and assistant HC will coach the bowl for Temple (who already named their new HC in Miamis DC Manny Diaz).
I'm willing to give the Blue Devils the nod here, even when they lost the last 2 games.
This is an upset pick, since Temple is favored by 3.5 points, but I think in this situation is the coaching important and David Cutcliffe is a good one with a 6-4 record and in his 11th season with Duke.
Sure, this can go either way, but I think Duke will win this, anyhow.
Blue Devils win.

Thur. Dec. 27
Miami vs Wisconsin

@Yankee Stadium - New York, NY
Operated since 2010, it does field an ACC team against a Big10 Team.
Each team gets around 2.000.000$.
Both team are again 7-5 during the season and Miami is favored by 2.5 points.
Both teams had high ambitions, but did fail to succeed on the field.
The result is, this is not as interesting as it should be and 2 defense teams do clash here.
I think the cold weather should sting a bit in the Hurricanes performance and the Badgers should be able to grind this out.
Badgers win.

Thur. Dec. 27
Baylor vs Vanderbilt

@NRG Stadium - Houston, TX
This is played at the home of the Houston Texans.
It's played since 2006.
The Big 12 should face up against a SEC Team here.
Each team gets around 3.000.000$.
This is a disappointment regarding matchup.
Both are 6-6 and should be from my point of view playing in a less credited bowl, but OK, they did invite them they get them.
Both had ups and downs during the season and of cause it is a good thing they managed to get the 6 wins needed to play a bowl, but this just lacks the excitement.
For me this is taking a coin and throw, since both teams had signature wins and head shaking losses, so whom to pick in such a matchup?
Vegas sees Vandy ahead, by 4.0 points.
But I have doubts with their defense and with Baylor in 100% mode, this could become a high scoring game.
But is Baylor 100%?
Flip a coin.
I pick the upset and might regret it.
Bears win.

Fri. Dec. 28
Purdue vs Auburn

@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 we have an interesting BIG10 vs SEC matchup with Purdue, also known as the team which destroyed the Buckeyes season, at 6-6, plays Auburn, the team which was meant to challenge Alabama but just came up with 7 wins.
Auburn is a 3.5 point favorite and I think that reflects the issues with this matchup.
Normally Auburns ambitions are way higher and normally a Purdue team would be a major underdog in such a matchup, but thanks to a down season in Alabama and a very nice season, even if it is not really visible in the record, at Indiana, we have such a game.
This can go any way.
A Purdue team like it did play against Ohio State can beat everybody.
But that one we did see only 1 time.
An Auburn team which did play Tennessee or Alabama is beatable and that happened too often.
In fact so often that their HC likely was on the edge of being fired.
Of cause this was not the case officially, but the patience is running out.
A win against Purdue is a must, a loss like last season against UCF is not wanted and could actually be a bad sign for the team and the coach.
Purdue has nothing to lose, they come in as underdog with a coach which did deny the job at Louisville, and can play simply football.
So will Purdue play 120% percent for their coach?
Could be.
But Malzahn did change stuff lately and with time and preparation he could bring Auburn to excel.
His Bowl record does not help in this conversation (1-4).
I'm torn between a rational approach and emotional one.
At the end I just can't believe that Auburn will let this go, so ...
Tigers win.

Fri. Dec. 28
#16 West Virginia vs #20 Syracuse

@Camping World Stadium - Orlando, FL
This is played since 1990.
The ACC should face up against the Big12.
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. This is the former Russell Athletic Bowl.
I'm surprised that the 8-3 West Virginia team, which almost got into the BIG12 Championship game, is a 1.5 point favorite underdog against a well playing 9-3 Syracuse team, which did play great lately, but had some down games against the better teams.
Both teams should be able to light up the scoreboard, but I think West Virginia should be able to stop Syracuse a bit better than the other way around.
The margin of errors will be high in this game and likely the last team getting the ball is winning.
I'm not betting against West Virginia here, I think they will outplay Syracuse with several big plays.
Mountaineers win.

Fri. Dec. 28
#24 Iowa State vs #13 Washington State

@Alamodome - San Antonio, TX
This Bowl exists since 1993 and has tie ins to the Big 12 and the PAC12.
Each team gets around 3.820.000$.
Not as great as last season but quite good as matchup.
Iowa State is a team no one wants to play against, because they somehow can beat anyone on a good day.
Washington State is almost the same, but both teams do have different approaches.
Iowa State can become a brick wall, while Washington State can become a scoring machine.
Now with offense pros vs defense pros it is always tough.
Wazzu is favored 3.0 points, which is not much in an anticipated game with a few more TDs.
The Cougars did struggle on their last game in snowy conditions, but that should not be the case in Texas in a dome.
I think Washington State will find lanes and spots to throw to and will win this by a score.
Cougars win.

Sat. Dec. 29
#10 Florida vs #7 Michigan

@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 and is hard to tackle.
I found an article which stated that each Power 5 conference gets 50 mio. regardless of CFP-participation.
Around 6 mio will get each team for a playoff spot, 4 mio for each team in the Big 6 bowls, which this is one of them.
Non power 5 conferences will get 18 mio, Notre Dame 3.75 and other independents only 1.85.
So a huge payout from the system itself, and a nice bonus from this one in addition.
Actually I'm not a fan of this matchup.
Florida did not play as their fans expected then to play (still 9-3), but did play better than last season.
Michigan did play great (10-2 overall) until they did suck against Ohio State.
Now those 2 teams do face off against each other on neutral field.
Michigan is favored to win this by 6.0 points which is a lot given that both teams had their ups and downs and it's hard to say whether Floridas defense can really stop Michigans offense or whether Michigans offense can find spots inside Floridas defense or whatever.
Both coaches are good, so preparation should be fine.
Michigan has lost some defense players, but will Floridas offense be good enough to challenge the backups playing now?
Hard to say.
Overall I think is Michigan in better shape and should be a bit better but motivation is a factor in this also.
Who comes to play?
Since the Wolverines have to avenge the bowl loss of last season AND the loss to Ohio State, I guess Mister H. will bring his guys to 100%+ and win this.
Wolverines win.

Sat. Dec. 29
South Carolina vs Virginia

@Bank of America Stadium - Charlotte, NC
This is played the home of the Carolina Panthers and the bowl is played since 2002.
The ACC should face up against a SEC team.
Each team gets around 1.700.000$.
A nice matchup, with Virginia getting slowly into shape again and South Carolina is rebuilding/reloading.
The Gamecocks are better equipped with talent, but I do trust the Virginia coach more regarding bringing the best out of their talent to the field.
The betting line is South Carolina -5.5, so this is within 1 score.
Both teams did finish 7-5, but the strength of schedule is different.
Biggest win of SC was against Mizzou, while UV did win against Miami.
With time the Gamecocks should play good enough football to win against a high motivated Cavaliers team.
But I would not be surprised to see an upset here.
Gamecocks win.

Sat. Dec. 29
Arkansas State vs Nevada

@Arizona Stadium - Tucson, AZ
And a new Bowl since 2015.
The payout is roughly 155.820$
A 8-4 Sun Belt team vs a 7-5 Mountain West team.
Sounds better than the 6-6 vs 6-6 of last season (which I did anticipate wrongly and picked the loser from the Mountain West).
I'm leaning toward Arkansas State here, since they did win their last 4 games.
The line is -1.5 for ASU, so this is supposed to be close.
But ... Nevada did play also some good football games and Arkansas State did pile up wins against not so good teams, so just taking those wins as measurement is a bit short.
Overall I do trust the 2nd year coach of Nevada to make the team excel in their last game of the season, so ....
Wolfpack wins.

Sat. Dec. 29
#3 Notre Dame vs #2 Clemson

@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.
This one is one of the Semi-finals and from my point of view likely the closer one, but also likely the more boring one.
How that?
Notre Dame is 12-0 and Clemson is 13-0 but that does not mean both teams are equal.
I think there is a bigger gap between the strength of both teams and Clemson will likely keep Notre Dame on some distance and force them to play faster and that will help Clemsons very nice defense.
With a very good QB at the helm Clemson will also expose the weak spots of the praised Notre Dame defense and we will see a "just another day at the office"-game by Clemson to get to the real test in the National Championship Final.
You think I'm overdoing this?
Could be, but Clemson is a 12.5 points favorite against a perfect Notre Dame team, so many people do think like I do.
If the Irish manage to win this, it's a great upset and good luck in the final.
But I doubt it and therefore ...
Tigers win.

Sat. Dec. 29
#4 Oklahoma vs #1 Alabama

@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, and this season it is a semi-final.
The payout is part of the CFP-system.
This is the game of the day and could become very entertaining.
My imagination does spin the tale of the always scoring Crimson Tide and the almost always catching up Sooners and the longer the game runs, the wilder will the offense of Oklahoma play. Crazy plays, surprising plays, great plays, just to stay in the hunt.
Or we will see the stone cold wall of Elephants stopping EVERY play and Alabama wins (almost) with a shutout.
Because one thing is clear for me.
This Alabama team will win.
Alabama is a 14.0 points favorite and if Oklahoma wins THIS game, it's the upset of the year.
'nuff said.
Crimson Tide wins.

Don't forget your Pick'em picks.

'Til next time

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