2018-12-31 09:30

Almost 3/4 of all games are gone and some of them were really entertaining.
But many will come in the next days.

Before that, let's review the past ones.


Thur. Dec. 27
Temple vs Duke

Imagine you did lead 27-14 with 4 and a half minutes to go in the 1st half and you somehow did stop scoring for the rest of the game.
No problem if your defense holds the ground.
Well, Temples defense did not.
In fact they did allow 42 unanswered points and did help that way Duke to win this bowl game.
Looks like the interims coach was unable to motivate the team of the Owls and Duke did play very well to overcome their weaker 1st half.
For Temple it means they have to see what comes next, because the supposed to be next coach Manny Diaz did get an offer from Miami to become their next HC, so Temple loses their new HC after less than a month and will have to look for another replacement.
Duke can celebrate one of their best seasons they had under Cutcliffes reign. He has now a 3 bowl win streak.
Temple 27 - Duke 56 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 10-7

Thur. Dec. 27
Miami vs Wisconsin

It looked like Miami was frozen by the weather of NY (which was about 8° Celsius) and Wisconsin did enjoy the warm day with an excellent performance.
The Badgers did pass for only 73 yards but ran 333 on the ground and did win this big time in Badgers way.
This is not a good season for the Hurricanes and Richt did decide to retire shortly after that game on 30th of December.
His DC Manny Diaz, the supposed to be new HC of Temple will now become the new HC of Miami.
Wisconsin will hopefully take this game as next step for next season.
Miami 3 - Wisconsin 35 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 11-7

Thur. Dec. 27
Baylor vs Vanderbilt

That was a very point-driven game.
Vanderbilt and Baylor did exchange the lead very often.
Vandy 1st, then Baylor, Vandy came back and got 21-17 into the half.
Baylor took the lead back after the break and extended it until Vandy came back and took the lead early in the 4th quarter. 35-31.
But Baylor did answer and did Vandy to tie the game at 38.
The Bears did need only 4 plays to score another TD and with 1 minute left did Vandy pass incomplete on 4th and 5 to lose the game.
Nice game!
Baylor 45 - Vanderbilt 38 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 12-7

Fri. Dec. 28
Purdue vs Auburn

The Tigers did set a bowl record with that game, scoring 56 points in a half, which were the most of any bowl in any half ever.
No wonder did Purdue lose the game, by a mile.
They were held to 14 points and were unable to prevent Auburn from scoring until late in the game.
I guess Auburn-fans are glad with that nice finish after that not to satisfying season and do look forward to the next season.
Same is true for Purdue, which was able to keep their HC and did had a great season, despite the 6-7 final record and the bowl loss.
Purdue 14 - Auburn 63 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 13-7

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

When West Virginia did score a Field Goal late in the 3rd quarter to take the lead at 18-17, nobody did knew that those points would be the last for the Mountaineers from that point on forward.
Syracuse did score a TD in the next drive to take the lead back, did intercept West Virginia and scored a Field Goal afterwards, forced the Mountaineers to a 3 and out after that and scored another TD on the next drive.
Now behind 34-18 did West Virginia try what they could, but were unable to do anything so Syracuse did take home the win.
I'm curious to see, whether the Mountaineers will have another down season after this good one, or whether they will be able to build something on top of it.
Syracuse on the other hand is expected to become better next season.
Expectations will be high, maybe too high.
#16 West Virginia 18 - #20 Syracuse 34 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 13-8

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

A very close game here and at the end did Wazzu win it by 2 points.
In a turnover prone game did Iowa State fumble the game away, when they were behind by 1 point and got the ball.
They did fumble in their own half and did give the Cougars excellent field position.
Washington State did score and lead 28-20 at that point.
Later with about 4 minutes to go did Iowa State score the potential tying TD, but failed the 2-point-conversion and gave the Cougars the ball back.
Unable to prevent the 1st downs did the Cyclones then had to see the clock ticking down until the game was over.
I still think that Iowa State has the potential to turn the BIG12 upside down and with Les Miles now in Kansas and a new guy at Kansas State, the future does look interesting in the BIG 12, for sure.
Washington State will try to build on their season and hopefully we will see another great one next year.
#24 Iowa State 26 - #13 Washington State 28 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 14-8

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

Man I can't even say how disappointing that game was.
Not because my pick was wrong, but because Michigan did from my point of view just not play.
They did make bad decisions and they were unable to stop anything.
Well deserved win for the Gators, who can think about next season with ambitions, while Michigan has to play much better to fulfil their ambitions for a BIG10 Championship at least.
#10 Florida 41 - #7 Michigan 15 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 14-9

Sat. Dec. 29
South Carolina vs Virginia

If you are held to zero points, you did not come to play, not on a matchup like that.
The Gamecocks were the favorites and did not even score a single point.
Virginia will hopefully take another step forward next season and play for the ACC crown, because with THAT kind of game, they should.
On the other hand do the Gamecocks just not get it done.
Sure the HC is only in his 3rd season there, but I just can't help it, I think Muschamps is not the answer, at least not in the SEC as HC.
But of cause, next season is another chance to show that he can bring this team to full speed.
South Carolina 0 - Virginia 28 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 14-10

Sat. Dec. 29
Arkansas State vs Nevada

That was a close one.
Arkansas State did lead at the half 7-3, then did happen ... nothing until 1 minute to play in the 4th quarter when Nevada did punish in a TD and went ahead 10-7.
Not over yet.
Arkansas State got the ball and went in 8 plays to Nevadas 14 yard line and did hit the game tying field goal.
We're going into overtime.
Arkansas State got the ball first and were stopped at the Nevada 7 yard line and ddi settle for a field goal.
Nevada did come out and did hit the receiver in 3rd and 7 for a TD instead. Over.
Nice game and I think both teams did play good defense.
Arkansas State 13 - Nevada 16 (OT) -> Jacks BOWL Score: 15-10

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

That went almost as expected, except the margin of the win was much higher.
When challenged to the max did Notre Dame just fell apart and did allow so many points that you can not speak of a close game anymore.
Seriously, Notre Dame was again overrated in this matchup, I'm pretty sure some other team would have given Clemson a bigger challenge than the Golden Domers.
I'm not sure what is missing in South Bend, but there is something missing and the team is for sure not at the same level as the winner of this game.
Clemson did play great offense and defense and does deserve another trip to the National Championship game.
#3 Notre Dame 3 - #2 Clemson 30 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 16-10

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

Alabama did lead 28-0 when Oklahoma finally started to play.
At the half it was 31-10 for Alabama.
Then came the Sooners out of the locker room and did have a good 3rd quarter, getting closer with 31-20.
Open game?
Well, Alabama did strike right after that and it was 38-20.
From that point on every team did strike in the next drive, but with the high margin ahead, Alabama did bring this home, easily.
So it is Alabama - Clemson again and honestly it's the best matchup we could get this season, because both teams were the best 2 teams in the country.
Oklahoma will have to wait and see what will happen, but next season will likely be different.
Right now I would say that their HC will not go to the NFL, so this could be a good season next year, but you never know.
Could even be that their QB will return, which will make them an instant contender.
Time will tell.
#4 Oklahoma 34 - #1 Alabama 45 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 17-10

Now the next games for the this day, today.


Mon. Dec. 31
Cincinnati vs Virginia Tech

@Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium - Annapolis, MD
Since 2008 this Bowl is played.
For the next 3 years it will feature teams from the ACC vs AAC.
Each team gets around 1.000.000$.
Cincinnati had a good season in terms of record (10-2), but it was obvious they did miss something and they lost to Temple and UCF during the season.
They won against UCLA on season opener, which did send UCLA in a deep hole and Cincinnati on high until they crashed against Temple.
Now they face Virginia Tech, a team which was supposed to compete for the division title, but at the end needed an extra scheduled game on championship gameday against Marshall (as compensation for the canceled games during the season against East Carolina) to get the crucial 6th win for a bowl.
The betting line is Cincinnati -6.5 and I think that's fair given the fact that the Hookies did play very unstable the whole season.
But don't underestimate their strength, as they did show against Marshall.
The question is, can they play as motivated again?
I doubt it and think that the Bearcats will win this, easily.
Bearcats win.

Mon. Dec. 31
Stanford vs Pittsburgh

@Sun Bowl Stadium - El Paso, TX
Since 1935 is this Bowl played and since 1963 it's played in Sun Bowl Stadium, the home of the UTEP Miners at El Paso, Texas.
It's a game between the PAC 12 and the ACC.
Each team gets around 2.150.000$.
Stanford is clearly favored to win here.
Well, if -4.0 points is a clear line in that case.
Don't think that Pitt is a bad team, they aren't one, they just have problems scoring.
The 7-6 Panthers lost big time against Clemson in the championship game and that will hurt.
They also lost to Miami by 21.
This is not the same team which did challenge Notre Dame on the road and lost by 5.
The Cardinals finished 8-4 and had their problems with some teams, but did finish strong on the road against UCLA and Cal.
This will be a nice game, I hope a close one.
Cardinals win.

Mon. Dec. 31
Michigan State vs Oregon

@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.
We have a Michigan State team playing spoiler for some teams this season but finishing 7-5, and an Oregon team which finished 8-4, but which was unable to get a food into the top of the division again.
The Ducks are favored by 1.5 points which is not much and shows how much the people are not sure how this will go, including me.
The Spartans defense is very good, while Oregons offense does feature one of the best QBs of the season, who did say he will return next season.
Who will let go.
I see 2 outcomes.
Number 1 is, that MSU can control Oregons offense and does win in a close one, while the Ducks do commit errors after errors in catchup mode.
Number 2 is, that Oregon can exploit some weaknesses in the Spartans defense and scores often enough to have the Spartans in panic mode, losing by a few scores.
I do believe more in 2 than in 1, hence.
Ducks win.

Mon. Dec. 31
#23 Missouri vs Oklahoma State

@Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium - Memphis, TN
This one exists since 1959.
It's meant to play the Big 12 #4 vs a SEC pool pick.
Each team gets around 1.437.500$.
It's played in the home field stadium of the Memphis Tigers.
Both teams did show bad games and good games.
The 8-4 Tigers are 8.5 points favorite to win this against a 6-6 Cowboys team, which had more bad games against top teams than usual.
I think Missouri had issue and could have even challenged Georgia for the division, if they wouldn't had those issues, so I hope they were able to stop those and play at 100%.
Because if so, they can stomp the Cowboys of this season.
If the Cowboys do find their strength of their better games, this could become interesting.
Well ... I doubt it and I see Mizzou winning this.
Tigers win.

Mon. Dec. 31
#22 Northwestern vs #17 Utah

@Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, CA
This is played at the home of the San Diego Chargers.
It's played since 1978 and they managed to get the regular PAC12 vs. BIG10 matchup going.
Each team gets around 2.825.000$.
There are still people in BIG10 country who likely don't understand how Northwestern (8-5) did win the division with 8-1 a record and lost against Akron.
Anyway, they are basically the Vice-champ of the BIG10 and is playing against the Vice-champ of the PAC12, the 9-4 Utes.
The Utes did lose only the championship game and during the season against both teams from Washington and against ASU.
All good teams, from my point of view.
No wonder, they are favored to win this bowl game by 7.0 points.
I say, Northwestern has to bring their A-game, of they want to beat that Utes team.
In addition to that did just came out that Green Bay is interested in Northwesterns HC, so that’s an additional distraction.
Upset is possible, but I pick the Utah team.
Utes win.

Mon. Dec. 31
NC State vs #19 Texas A&M

@EverBank Field - Jacksonville, FL
Since 1946 is this Bowl played, also once known as GATOR BOWL.
It is of cause played in Florida, on the home field of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
At the moment it is a SEC vs Big Ten Bowl, but that did not work again this season, an ACC team was taken as filler, again.
Each team gets around 2.750.000$.
This is over on 1st sight and also on 2nd sight.
The 9-3 Wolfpack did lose against Clemson, Syracuse and Wake Forest, while the 8-4 Aggies did lose against Clemson, Alabama, Mississippi State and Auburn.
Yes, A&M did lose some steam at the end of the season, but for that the time between that and the bowl is available and with A&M now in better shape they do face a rested NC State team, which is still not in better shape than at season end.
At least that's my take.
A&M gets the betting line of -7.0 which is from my point of view a gift for NC State, I do expect a larger margin.
Aggies win.

Don’t forget your pick’em picks.

'Til next time

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