2016-12-30 13:33

The big bowls are coming and the amount of games is increasing.
Lucky me I have a few days of vacation. :-)


Wed. Dec. 28 - 2:00 pm ET
#23 Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern

That was a nice football game with both teams taking the lead regularly.
This was awesome.
At the end did Northwestern had a bit more in the tank than Pitt and won this game.
A great finish for Northwestern and Pitt is for sure not happy.
Pittsburgh 24 - Northwestern -> Jacks BOWL Score: 11-10

Wed. Dec. 28 - 5:30 pm ET
#16 West Virginia vs. Miami

Miami did outplay West Virginia by a mile.
The Mountaineers did produce too many penalties and did let the Hurricanes receivers too much room to make play.
It looks like Miami will be a player next season, while West Virginia had a good season, but was not good enough to win this bowl game.
West Virginia 14 - Miami 31 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 12-10

Wed. Dec. 28 - 8:30 pm ET
Indiana vs. #19 Utah

This would have been much less close, if Utah wouldn't have produced too many turnovers.
The Utes gave Indiana basically the key to the endzone too often and had to deal with those errors all game long.
At the end, when Indiana needed a Hail Mary to win the game, did the Utes defense step up and prevented the pass to secure the win.
Utah can close that nice season with a win, while Indiana has to deal with their coaching change.
Indiana 24 - Utah 26 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 13-10

Wed. Dec. 28 - 9:00 pm ET
Texas A&M vs. Kansas State

What a nice thing by the KSU players.
Instead of putting an ice cold Gatorade bath on their pushing 80 HC after the win, they had prepared a confetti filled Gatorade bowl to slash that on him after the win over Texas A&M.
Both teams had chances to score, but Kansas State did create just more of those and did trust their players to convert it into points.
KSU had a great comeback season this year, while A&M will battle with the same stuff they had last season, whether their HC is the right guy to lead the team inside the SEC.
Texas A&M 28 - Kansas State 33 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 14-10

Thur. Dec. 29 - 2:00 pm ET
South Florida vs. South Carolina

The Bulls did lead the game by 15 points at the half and also when the 4th quarter started.
Then did South Carolina held them scoreless and was able to tie the game with the last minutes of the game including a 2-point-conversion to force overtime.
The Bulls started and did score a TD, South Carolina lost their momentum and was sacked on 4th and 6, which ended the game.
A closer game than I did expect, but still a Bulls win.
South Florida 39 - South Carolina 46 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 15-10

Thur. Dec. 29 - 5:30 pm ET
Arkansas vs. #22 Virginia Tech

Arkansas did come out of the locker room and was leading 24-0 at the half.
Over, right?
Not so fast.
VT came out of the locker room after halftime and did score 21-0 in the 3rd quarter and 14-0 in the 4th to win that bowl game.
Arkansas had another break down and for sure something is not right with the team.
Virginia Tech can dream of next season, I think they are on a good way to become relevant again.
Arkansas 24 - Virginia Tech 35 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 16-10

Thur. Dec. 29 - 9:00 pm ET
#12 Oklahoma State vs. #10 Colorado

Well, I thought Colorado’s defense would take over the game, but it was helpless and was unable to stop the Cowboys all day long.
On the other hand did the OSU defense held Colorado at ZERO points until only 5 and a half minutes were left to play.
OSU did answer on the next drive with a TD, which did sink the Buffalos for good.
A good season for OSU, which had rumors that their HC is looking for a new job, but so far no changes.
Colorado finished the season with 2 losses (PAC12 Champs game and the Bowl), which is for sure no reason to be happy.
Oklahoma State 38 - Colorado 8 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 16-11

Now the next games for the next 2 day, including the College Playoffs Semi-Finals.


Fri. Dec. 30 - 12:00 pm ET
Georgia vs. TCU

@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$.
I have to say that I don't have a lot of excitement on that matchup.
Georgia did play some good games, but also many bad ones and TCU did play just a bad season and were lucky to finish 6-6.
So this can become a good football game, but I doubt it.
My gut feeling says Georgia should be able to win this, but Vegas sees TCU ahead, although just with 1.5 points.
I think the time since the last game will help Georgia more than TCU and I therefore pick Georgia as the winner.
It's still to see, whether Georgia will get back into the elite status the Georgia people would like to see it, but I just doubt TCU to improve this season further.
Bulldogs win.

Fri. Dec. 30 - 2:00 pm ET
#18 Stanford vs. North Carolina

@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$.
All Stanford, that's what I think.
Stanford is a good team and the preparation time will help them.
North Carolina is also not a bad team, but in that matchup, this season, I see Stanford ahead but more than a score.
Just 2.5 points ahead.
We will see, what will happen.
UNC had good games, but lost against NC State at the end of the season, which was not a good sign.
This are not the Tar Heels of last season.
The only x-factor is whether Stanford can get their thing together one more time.
Cardinals win.

Fri. Dec. 30 - 3:30 pm ET
Nebraska vs. #21 Tennessee

@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$.
As last season, I don't like the game.
Two disappointing teams do face each other.
Nebraska did not play well in the crucial games and Tennessee had high hopes, but injuries and momentum did lead to a collapse.
I give Tennessee a small edge here, but it's slim.
Vegas has Tennessee 6.5 points ahead, which can happen, but I can imagine a wide range of scores here.
My gut feeling says that Tennessee will bank on their luck once more.
Will this be enough?
Not sure.
Coin toss and the winner is ....
Huskers win.

Fri. Dec. 30 - 5:30 pm ET
South Alabama vs. Air Force

@Arizona Stadium - Tucson, AZ
And a new Bowl since 2015.
The payout is roughly 155.820$
Last season it did feature an inner conference matchup, but this season they got at least the planned MWC teams into this, even they needed a SBC team to fill the other spot, instead of planned CUSA team.
The game is played on the home field of the Arizona Wildcats, which did host the Cactus Bowl a long time ago in the same stadium, before it moved to different locations.
This game should be over before it starts.
South Alabama looks like a team which might exceed the SBC level of play at some point in the future, but right now they are just a 6-6 team and do face a MWC team which finished 9-3.
Because of this is Air Force a 13.5 points favorite, which is still not as much as I expected.
If Air Force does play here at 100% I expect a one sided game and a big win for them.
Falcons win.

Fri. Dec. 30 - 8:00 pm ET
#6 Michigan vs. #11 Florida State

@Sun Life 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, last season it was one of the semi-finals, this season only one of the bigger bowls.
The payout is part of the CFP-system.
It features Michigan, which had a great season this year, but which lost to Iowa and Ohio State and did fall from the ranks too much to get into the playoffs.
And it also features Florida State, which did start not that good and lost the crucial games against Louisville, Clemson and UNC, but finished with several wins to crawl back into the higher ranks.
It's a bit surprising to see the team ranked #11 in this bowl, and the loser in this games of bowl spots is Colorado, ranked #10, which has to play in the Alamo Bowl, which does not get THAT much money as the big bowls.
Michigan is the favorite here, Vegas gives them a line of -6.5, which could be not enough.
FSU had not played often against teams that good as Michigan and they did lose with a big margin against Louisville and with a small one against Clemson.
I think the Michigan HC will have his team motivated at 100%+ while I think FSU will play also at 100% but will not have the power to match that Wolverines offense and defense over a complete match.
FSU can win here, no doubt, but in 100 games I see Michigan winning this 80 times.
Wolverines win.

Sat. Dec. 31 - 11:00 am ET
#20 LSU vs. #13 Louisville

@Camping World Stadium - Orlando, FL
Since 1946 played, under different names. Thanks to whomever, we have the Citrus Bowl back since last season.
It is still played in the stadium formally named after the bowl in Orlando, Florida.
Should have been a SEC against Big Ten Bowl, but instead a ACC team was selected.
Each team gets around 4.250.000$.
I like the matchup, even if the game looks a bit one sided.
One sided?
Yes, I think LSU will get more than they had wished for.
LSU had a great season under the new HC, but they had some trouble lately and the AD was not 100% on Orgeron and did aim for now Texas Longhorns HC Herman.
I think Orgeron did a good job on the team, but I think he also needs some time to shape the team into his team.
Louisville on the other side does feature the Heisman-Trophy-winner at QB and only a better Clemson team did bring the team not into the playoffs.
Yes, the lost their last 2 games, against Houston and Kentucky, which could be a sign for a meltdown of the hyped Cardinals, but I doubt it.
I think after some time of healing and preparation will Louisville shine a last time in this lineup.
Vegas thinks LSU is the favorite, 3.5 points. We will see.
Cardinals win.

Sat. Dec. 31 - 11:00 am ET
Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky

@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 this season and again a ACC team was taken as filler.
Each team gets around 2.750.000$.
I'm expecting a boring game here.
Georgia Tech had a good season, but far from great and Kentucky did manage to lose the chance on the SEC division title in their last few games to finish at 7-5.
GT is favored to win this, by 3.5 points, but the truth is, any team can win this.
If Kentucky does bring their A-game, I think they can stop GTs ground attack and can win this, and if GT does good on offense, I think Kentucky has no tools to prevent the scoring.
So the best what can happen is, that both do bring their A-game and then we might see a close game and a good game.
But my feeling is not good on this prediction.
At the end, I will pick a team.
Georgia Tech looks a bit tougher, but Kentucky was able to win against rival Louisville.
I pick GT, I think Kentucky will not be motivated as they were against Louisville and they will be doomed by that.
Yellow Jackets win.

Sat. Dec. 31 - 3:00 pm ET
#4 Washington vs. #1 Alabama

@Georgia Dome - Atlanta, GA
Since 1968 is this Bowl played and is now 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 last season.
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.
The Bowl features is one of the 2 Semi-Finals and most likely the most anticipated bowl of the season.
Because everybody is asking themselves, whether Alabama will be stopped or whether they will march through their opponents and will win this game and the next game to repeat.
Alabama is the only Power 5 team left unbeaten and they are really good this season.
Now add time for preparation and it's hard to imagine a loss here.
Washington did win the PAC12, but lost on their way against USC during the season and are not perfect, something some people do see in Alabama.
They see Alabama as 13.5 points favorite, which is huge, if you think that the best 4 teams should face each other in the Semis.
I think Washington would need a perfect game to win this.
Alabama does score on offense, defense and special teams, most of the time, because they do exploit the faults and errors of their opponents, merciless.
If Washington does deny those opportunities, then they have a chance.
Teams did score against Alabama, some more some less, but it is possible.
And some teams did keep Alabama quite good at check with a good defense, so it is possible.
But I just can't believe in it.
Washington might play almost perfect, but their defense will be too weak to win this.
Crimson Tide win.

Fri. Jan. 1 - 1:00 pm ET
#3 Ohio State vs. #2 Clemson

@University of Phoenix Stadium - Glendale, AZ
The Bowl is played since 1971 and belongs also to the CFP-Bowls.
This season it's the second semi-final.
The payout is part if the CFP-system.
I have a bad feeling here.
I don't think Clemson can matchup against Ohio State this season.
The betting line is 3.0 points in favor of OSU, so Las Vegas does also think that OSU will win here, but I think OSU will destroy Clemson.
This team is good and they did drop too many games during the season, otherwise they would have been the BIG10 champs, but that doesn't mean that they can beat that ACC champ.
Yes, Clemson is a good team, no doubt.
I just have the feeling that this season Clemson has some issues, which will cost them the game.
OSU will only lose here, of they play sloppy.
Buckeyes win.

'Til next time

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