Month: December 2019

2019-20 CFB Bowl Picks

 

Saturday, December 21

SMU (-3) over FAU – 3u

This is a home game for the Owls, but I’m not sure that’s the most positive thing for this situation. Yes, FAU rolled in this game a couple of years ago, but SMU is worlds better than the crappy Akron team that showed up in Boca Raton two years ago and were 23-point dogs.

That was an exciting time for FAU then. It was the end of Lane Kiffin’s first year when they effortlessly ran through the C-USA. They won again this year, but now Joey Freshwater is out the door and Glenn Spencer takes over as interim. The players wanted Spencer to get the head job full-time, but the admin went with Willie Taggart. The rest of the staff are likely more worried about their next job.

Part of the fun of bowl season is going on a trip and the Owls don’t get that luxury. What they do get is a 10-2 SMU team from a much stronger conference coming in excited about a week of Boca living. The Mustangs have more talent across the board and put up more efficient numbers than FAU this year, despite playing a SOS that was 40 spots higher, according to Sagarin.

Thursday, December 26

EMU (+11) over Pitt – 2u
EMU +365 – 0.5u

This has to be a disappointing outcome for Pitt. Last year they won the Coastal, got to go to the Sun Bowl, and were once again playing for a Coastal title just a few weeks ago. They lost it and also missed out on the (rumored) opportunity to play in the Pinstripe Bowl in NYC against Michigan State.

Instead they get a trip to beautiful Detroit. They still get a matchup with the green-and-white from Michigan, but it’s the MAC version. I’d imagined they could be more enthused.

Meanwhile, the EMU fanbase should come out in full force for this one. It’s a 36-minute drive across I-94 from their campus in Ypsilanti to Ford Field. The Eagles haven’t won a bowl game since 1987 and now they’ve got their chance against a Power 5 school.

And it wouldn’t be their first P5 win of the season, as they won at Illinois 34-31 back in September. I make fun of Chris Creighton’s teams obsession with playing one-score games, but it’s pretty nice to bet on when they’re catching double-digits against a team that didn’t play a hard schedule and their biggest win was still only 10 points.

Friday, December 27

Wake (+4.5) over Michigan State – 1u
Wake +155 – 0.5u

Everything about the state of MSU’s program is concerning right now and I’ll continue to bet against it. There’s injuries to both sides, but most of the key guys for Wake are expected to go, except for Sage Surratt, who we already knew was going to be missing.

It’s a smaller play because Wake hasn’t been the most consistent team, but I’ll take that over a MSU’s consistently poor play the second half of the season. The Spartans had to beat helpless Maryland at home in the season finale just to become bowl eligible and it almost looked as if they didn’t want to, eking out a 19-16 victory over the 3-9 Terps.

I think if there’s one thing you can depend on it’s Wake’s ability to throw the ball in this game. The weather looks like it’s going to be pretty clear in 40-ish degree weather.

Oklahoma State (+7) over Texas A&M – 2u
OSU +220 – 0.5u

Our first game with big “sitting out for the NFL Draft” implications and it’s double-positive for the Pokes. Chuba Hubbard says he’s gonna play and if that’s not good enough, the Aggies best defender — DT Justin Madubuike — is going to sit out. Madubuike is essential in both phases of the game. He’s led the team with 22 TFL the past couple of years and also led the team in sacks this year.

A&M played a pretty tough schedule, but I think it’s made them a bit overrated. Your typical power rankings will say they played five Top 10 teams this year, and I don’t really disagree with that. They went 0-5 and lost by an average of 18 points. Other than that, there’s not much to the resume. Outside of Kyle Field, their two performances were a 7-point win at 4-8 Ole Miss and a 4-point win on a neutral field against 2-10 Arkansas.

USC (+2) over Iowa – 2u
USC +110 – 0.5u

Fair warning, I’m like -12u on Iowa games this year. Nate Stanley is my mortal enemy and I’d like to see him go out in flames for all of the headaches he’s caused me this year.

But for some analysis outside of personal vendettas: I think the Iowa secondary is going to have problems with all of the USC receivers that have elected to play in the bowl game.

The pass defense looks pretty good on the surface for the Hawkeyes, but they haven’t really played that many good passing teams. They’ve only played three teams in the Top 40 of the country in passing yards per game: Iowa State, Purdue, and Minnesota. ISU threw for 323 at 9.3 YPA, Purdue threw for 327 for 6.5 YPA (with a backup QB), and Minnesota threw for 368 at 9.4 YPA.

Full disclosure: Iowa went 3-0 in those games, but they were all by less than a touchdown and I think it’s fair to say that they were especially fortunate in the ISU and Minny games. I’m not sure they can survive again in a near road game against the Trojans in San Diego.

Wazzu (+3) over Air Force – 2u
Wazzu +130 – 0.5u

We return to the wonderful world of the Cheez-It Bowl, which gave us the greatest game in the history of football last year. Four quarters and an overtime, nine interceptions and 17 combined points. It was fantastic theater.

I don’t totally get why Air Force is favored in this one. They went 10-2 compared to Wazzu’s 6-6, but their best win was…Colorado, who doesn’t power rate in the top half of the FBS. They beat the Buffs in OT a week after they had a dramatic win over an overrated Nebraska team. Meanwhile, Wazzu rolled Colorado by 31 a few weeks later.

AFA has the ability to keep things close by controlling the TOP and running out the clock, but Wazzu is in the same ballpark as the only two teams the Falcons have lost to this year, both by double digits.

I’m not here to disparage the troops, but Air Force is 1-8 against Power 5/ND schools since 2007. That’s how little they face this type of competition. Less than once a year and the only win is this year over a team that finished on a 2-6 slide.

Saturday, December 28

Memphis (+7) over Penn State – 1u
Memphis +230 – 0.5u

I might’ve been the world’s biggest Penn State supporter this year that wasn’t a Nittany Lion fan at heart — and it paid handsomely — but I recognize their offensive flaws. They’ve been cycling through RBs in a mediocre running game and Sean Clifford’s been unhealthy after an up-and-down season.

I’m not fully bought in to the “motivation is the biggest factor of bowl season” mantra, but there might be something to be said for this New Year’s Six game that the Group of 5 gets to play in. They’re 3-2 SU and 4-1 ATS, with the only loss coming by a half point. They were also 3-1 SU in the three years before that in BCS games.

The play on this was downgraded because Mike Norvell is no longer involved, but Memphis had a great staff overall.

The only game PSU covered in the last four games of the season was a back door-ish cover against OSU when they were getting buried, but got back in to the game on a series of flukish fumbles.

Oklahoma (+14) over LSU – 1u

I’m not sure that Oklahoma really has a chance to win this game, but there’s a similar thought process here as there was when I picked OU to cover against Bama last year. Once again, people are just dismissing the Sooners like they’re a walkover for the #1 seed.

And once again they have the explosiveness to make even a blowout look close when times get tough. OU is the perfect team to rack up points when it doesn’t seem like it matters. The Alabama game was a good example last year and the K-State game this year was perfect. They damn near won the KSU game just piling on garbage points.

LSU’s defense has looked better in recent weeks, but I’m not convinced they’re the real deal. They’ve faced one explosive offense this year – Alabama – and gave up 41. They also faced a decent offense in Texas and gave up 38. Other than that, it’s been a parade of mediocre. They still managed to give up 37 to Ole Miss and 38 to Vandy, two teams who combined to go 3-13 in the SEC.

Oklahoma’s offense isn’t as potent as years past, but they still average 40+ and Jalen Hurts’s dual-threat ability provides a facet LSU hasn’t seen very much this season.

The Sooner D still isn’t great, but better than in their past couple of appearances in the playoffs and CeeDee Lamb still gives them the best offensive playmaker in the game.

Clemson (-2) over Ohio State – 4u

clemson3.png

Sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is and this is one of those times. There’s no stone-cold facts that make this a great bet, but I just watch the two teams and believe in Clemson more.

I don’t have any numbers at the ready that support this, but whenever I watch OSU, I feel more-and-more convinced that if a team can get to Justin Fields and get him out of rhythm, they can beat OSU.

As always, Clemson has a sick pass rush. They get a month of Brent Venables prep and that pass rush should provide some pressure against Fields. As good as Fields can be, if the Tigers can keep him bottled up in the pocket, he’ll miss some throws.

I also love the month of prep for Dabo Swinney, Jeff Scott, and Tony Elliott against the vaunted OSU pass rush and Chase Young. This is a group that has gone 8-2 SU and 9-1 ATS in their last 10 postseason games. I trust them to be the better prepared team against a rookie HC.

Update on late Friday night:

clemson4.png

clemson5

 

Monday, December 30

Florida (-14) over Virginia – 2u

I don’t know what to say other than Florida is better in about every phase of the game. Bryce Perkins is a great player, but he can’t do it all. Since Kyle Trask has taken over as starting QB, the Gators have beaten every non-Top 5 team by at least 11.

UVA has played two Top 40 teams all year. They were both Top 15 – like Florida – and lost by a combined 60 points.

Tuesday, December 31

Wyoming (-7) over Georgia State – 2u
Wyoming/GSU under 49 – 1u

There are two things overvaluing GSU this season: their win over Tennessee in Week 1 and the fact that many don’t realize that stud QB is still playing for GSU, but he’s playing on a torn ACL and is way less effective without his ability to run.

Ellington ran for 67 YPG pre-torn ACL and four TDs. Since then he has ran for -5 yards and 0 TDs. It’s a big difference in the offense.

Wyoming has its problems offensively, but I expect them to give the ball more to third-string QB Levi Williams more. Sean Chambers got hurt and backup Tyler Vander Waal has gotten the majority of the snaps since then. The problem is that Vander Waal stinks and he’s now making it easier on HC Craig Bohl by entering the transfer portal and giving Bohl the out of playing Williams more. Williams is a dual-threat like Chambers and should be more in-tune with the offense after 15 bowl practices.

It would be a bit of a surprise to me if this game even gets over 40 on the total.

Wednesday, January 1

Alabama (-7) over Michigan – 1u

This is the squarest bet you can find, but it’s just impossible to envision Michigan hanging with the Tide unless five more key players choose to sit out for Alabama. Tyrell Lewis and Trevon Diggs are sitting out for the Tide defense, but I don’t think that’s enough to make a difference. The insane WR corps for Alabama’s offense is still intending to take the field and that’s probably enough.

Minnesota (+7.5) over Auburn – 1u
Minnesota +240 – 0.5u

Auburn’s played the tougher schedule and is probably the better team, but if there’s one weakness to find in these two teams, it’s probably the Auburn passing game. I’m not one to doubt PJ Fleck with a month to motivate his team.

Thursday, January 2

Cincinnati (-7) over BC – 2u

Anthony Brown has been out at QB for months and his replacement has not shown the ability to remotely match his production. Now, AJ Dillon is also sitting out. David Bailey is a good replacement, but he’s gonna have to hold it down, otherwise there’s a big dropoff in his second-string for the bowl game.

BC is also dealing with a substitute teacher as interim HC. Steve Addazio got fired and now the WR coach – with no HC experience – is taking the reigns for the month.

Indiana (+1.5) over Tennessee – 1u
Indiana +115 – 0.5u

The two teams have had fairly similar seasons: they’ve beaten who they’re supposed to beat and lost to who they should. UT hasn’t faced many teams with the ability to throw like IU can and it may be the difference.

Friday, January 3

Ohio (-7.5) over Nevada – 4u

I thought Nevada was butt cheeks before they lost several starters on defense due to suspension. The Wolfpack are the worst 7-5 team I can remember in recent history.

The Bobcats have a 2.0+ YPP margin despite playing a schedule that was nearly 20 spots higher than Nevada. They ended the season on a 118-27 run over the last couple of weeks. They lost to a really good Louisiana team by 20, otherwise their five losses were by an average of 4 PPG.

There’s not a single discernible edge for Nevada in this game.

Ohio is 6-1 ATS their last 7 bowl games.

 

 

 

2019-20 CFB Bowl Rankings: Watchability

 

39.Ohio vs. Nevada
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Boise, Idaho
Jan. 3, 3:30 p.m., ESPN

There’s not much to like about this game. Ohio is a 6-6 MAC team and Nevada is maybe the worst 7-5 team in recent memory. It’s on the Friday after the new year when things really start to settle in that if you live anywhere it gets cold, you’ve got a couple months of winter hell to look forward to and the only thing ahead is fairly meaningless basketball games and the NFL playoffs. It’s on a Friday afternoon, but it’s on the blue turf where it could also be snowing and it’s not an exciting game at all.

38. Georgia State vs. Wyoming
NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Tucson, Arizona
Dec. 31, 4:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network

Georgia State was a lot more fun before Dan Ellington started playing on a torn ACL. Wyoming has never been fun really, but any fun was lost when Sean Chambers went out and Tyler Vander Waal took over at QB. At least it’s on NYE, but you’ll prefer watching the Navy/Kansas State game that starts 45 minutes prior.

37. Georgia Southern vs. Liberty
Cure Bowl
Orlando, Florida
Dec. 21, 2:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network

It’s a contrast of styles and I like both teams, but it doesn’t really appeal to the masses. But it is the first full day of bowls and I’m sure the bets will be flying.

36. Pitt vs. Eastern Michigan
Quick Lane Bowl
Detroit
Dec. 26, 8 p.m., ESPN

This should probably be the worst game, but at least there’s the potential of a MAC team beating an ACC team. Given Pat Narduzzi’s penchant for mangling key situations and EMU’s uncanny knack for playing close games, it could be a recipe for chaos.

35. Buffalo vs. Charlotte
Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
Nassau
Dec. 20, 2 p.m., ESPN

It’s the first bowl game of the season and it’s in the Bahamas. Charlotte is playing in their first ever bowl game. Could be worse.

34. Kent State vs. Utah State
Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl
Frisco, Texas
Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2

The second bowl game of the season and there’s some potential for points on a Friday night heading into Christmas week. The Twitter NFL Draft experts will be providing some “expertise” on Jordan Love’s performance.

33. San Diego State vs. Central Michigan
New Mexico Bowl
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Dec. 21, 2 p.m., ESPN

CMU at least provides the potential for points, but SDSU is dedicated to playing games with a total under 35. It’s the opener for the first full Saturday of bowl games.

32. Louisiana vs. Miami (OH)
LendingTree Bowl
Mobile, Alabama
Jan. 6, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

This is the last bowl before the national championship. It occurs on a Monday night and it’s in Mobile. There are pros and cons to this game, but I’m intrigued to watch the Louisiana running game matched up with the best defense from the MAC. When you think about it, it’s really the ultimate for a #MACtion and #FunBelt matchup on a random Monday night.

31. FIU vs. Arkansas State
Camellia Bowl
Montgomery, Alabama
Dec. 21, 5:30 p.m., ESPN

I don’t know, this might be too high, but I feel like there’s a pretty good chance this goes over the total of 62.5.

30. Western Kentucky vs. Western Michigan
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Dallas
Dec. 30, 12:30 p.m., ESPN

This is an ultimate “avoid the scaries” type of game. It falls on a Monday afternoon between the post-Christmas weekend and right before the new year celebration. Think of it as a mimosa at Sunday brunch after you just went on a two-day bender and you aren’t ready to fully embrace that real life is about to resume.

29. Tulane vs. Southern Miss
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Fort Worth, Texas
Jan. 4, 11:30 a.m., ESPN

It’s a late bowl. A contrast of styles on a Saturday morning after New Year’s Day. It’s a pregame for a couple of NFL playoff games of which I’m sure will feature the Texans and/or the Bills and it might be more entertaining.

28. App State vs. UAB
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
New Orleans
Dec. 21, 9 p.m., ESPN

It’ll probably be a blowout because the UAB offense has gone to hell, but it’s fun to watch App State and this will be a solid TV2 option as the Rams and 49ers play.

27. Illinois vs. Cal
Redbox Bowl
Santa Clara, California
Dec. 30, 4 p.m., FOX

This is a competitive bowl pretty much every year and I wouldn’t expect this to be any different. The amount of scoring is always a variable and unfortunately this might be close to last year’s 7-6 affair between Oregon and Michigan State. But it’s still kinda fun. Illinois is thrilled to be in a bowl and Cal was part of the classic Cheez-It Bowl last year (10-7, a million interceptions).

26. Boston College vs. Cincinnati
TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl
Birmingham, Alabama
Jan. 2, 3 p.m., ESPN

Your post-New Year’s Day hangover game. You’re probably working and looking for a game to stream while you just try to idle until the weekend. Cinci vs. a Power 5 team and that P5 team has AJ Dillon on it.

25. UNC vs. Temple
Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
Annapolis, Maryland
Dec. 27, Noon, ESPN

Sam Howell is the main draw here. He’s a true freshman stud QB and may be the most exciting thing in the ACC outside of Clemson going forward. Add in Mack Brown and Rod Carey trying to overcome his abysmal 0-6 bowl record and it’s fairly interesting.

24. UCF vs. Marshall
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
Tampa, Florida
Dec. 23, 2:30 p.m., ESPN

The masses have rejoiced in UCF losing three games this year, but they were all on the road by a combined 7 points. Marshall isn’t terrible and it’s an intriguing game for storylines. It’s a decent afternoon game when many people will be taking the day off before Christmas.

23. Mississippi State vs. Louisville
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Nashville, Tennessee
Dec. 30, 4 p.m., ESPN

This was better when Tennessee was supposed to be playing Louisville, but this is what we’ve got. I swear if Joe Moorhead plays Tommy Stevens over Garrett Shrader again, he should be fired.

22. Miami (FL) vs. Louisiana Tech
Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
Shreveport, Louisiana
Dec. 26, 4 p.m., ESPN

There is big-time upset potential here. La Tech is undervalued because they played two of their biggest game of the season without their starting QB and best WR. I don’t know how much Miami cares and the game is in Louisiana.

21. Wake Forest vs. Michigan State
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
New York
Dec. 27, 3:20 p.m., ESPN

There were rumors of Pitt playing MSU in this one, which would’ve only been intriguing because of the Narduzzi vs. Mentor matchup. Luckily Wake provides some scoring punch and now we’ve got good offense vs. good defense as the hook for this game.

20. Kentucky vs. Virginia Tech
Belk Bowl
Charlotte, North Carolina
Dec. 31, Noon, ESPN

The Twitter account is usually better than the game, but there are worse ways to kick off your NYE. It’s probably our last chance to watch Lynn Bowden play QB.

19. Navy vs. Kansas State
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Memphis, Tennessee
Dec. 31, 3:45 p.m., ESPN

Malcolm Perry has turned in to one of the most exciting players in the country. If you’re working NYE, still young enough to be willing to participate in the most overpriced, overrated holiday of the calendar year, the second half will be the start of your pregame. Everything feels more fun during a pregame. Including a football game in Memphis that’s gonna have a lot of running plays.

18. SMU vs. FAU
Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl
Boca Raton, Florida
Dec. 21, 3:30 p.m., ABC

Probably too low for a game that’s gonna feature one of the highest totals on the board, but unfortunately many won’t care about the game because it’s two Group of 5 teams. Buffalo and New England will also be playing at a similar time. Also, I’m assuming Joey Freshwater won’t be attending.

17. Florida State vs. Arizona State
Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl
El Paso, Texas
Dec. 31, 2 p.m., CBS

Actually should be a pretty entertaining game, but it gets downgraded because I’m assuming Gary Danielson will be on the call and he’ll probably spend half the time fellating the SEC and/or laughing at student photographers who get knocked out cold on the sidelines.

16. Tennessee vs. Indiana
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
Jacksonville, Florida
Jan. 2, 7 p.m., ESPN

This may be a personal bias, but I’m excited for this game. It’s IU’s best team in decades and their offense was pretty fun with Kalen DeBoer calling the shots. They’ll get a Tennessee team that finished the year strong and a potential Vols win will be a great spark for the “Tennessee is back” hype train.

15. Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
Houston
Dec. 27, 6:45 p.m., ESPN

Will be much more interesting if Spencer Sanders plays and we get a Sanders-Kellen Mond showdown, but Dru Brown is a decent replacement if Sanders can’t go. Of course, this would be 10x better if we would’ve gotten Texas-Texas A&M in this game. Mike Gundy’s mullet still keeps the world turning and Chuba Hubbard is always fun.

14. Florida vs. Virginia
Capital One Orange Bowl
Miami Gardens, Florida
Dec. 30, 8 p.m., ESPN

I know there’s some stupid rule that allows Virginia to be in this game, but it’s unjust. They don’t deserve it. I don’t hate the Hoos, but this would be much more intriguing if it was Boise or App State against the SEC. Florida and Dan Mullen have a special place in my heart, but their average game has 48 points in it and that doesn’t put asses in the seats.

13. USC vs. Iowa
San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
San Diego
Dec. 27, 8 p.m., Fox Sports 1

It’s worth watching just to see the USC receivers go up against a pretty good Iowa defense. It feels like a game I’d typically bet on, but I refuse to wager on another Iowa game this year. I haven’t added it up, but I’m pretty sure the difference between me being in the red and the black on games this year is the amount I’ve lost on Iowa games.

I know he’s a college kid, but I legitimately hate Nate Stanley. He’s my mortal enemy. Every time I bet on Nate Stanley, he sucks and vice versa when I bet against him. Every time I’m watching another ticket go up in flames and they show him on the sideline taking his helmet off, with that horrendous haircut, over those 80s era-sized pads he wears, I get enraged.

So yeah, probably not betting it.

12. Air Force vs. Washington State
Cheez-It Bowl
Phoenix
Dec. 27, 10:15 p.m., ESPN

Triple option vs. the Air Raid. Mike Leach. An academy. Cheez-It Bowl. Friday night. Late. This game has so much potential.

11. Hawaii vs. BYU
SoFi Hawai’i Bowl
Honolulu
Dec. 24, 8 p.m., ESPN

I love the playoffs, I love Pasadena, but it’s hard to replicate the happiness tornado that Christmas Eve, family, and kickoff in Honolulu (and maybe a slight buzz) creates for a man. We had to endure a Dec. 22 game day last year because the NFL insists on ruining everything, but we’re back to peak-Hawaii Bowl this year. Not to mention, it’s gonna be a damn good football game. Let the inexplicable amount of debris fly across the field, get out your leis and puka shells, and enjoy the hell out of this Christmas Eve treat.

10. Washington vs. Boise State
Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl
Las Vegas
Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m., ABC

Chris Petersen in his last game as UW’s coach vs. his old team. It’s an easy sell.

9. Notre Dame vs. Iowa State
Camping World Bowl
Orlando, Florida
Dec. 28, Noon, ABC

Pound-for-pound, this begins our best day of the bowl slate. Say what you want, Notre Dame’s presence just makes everything more interesting. Iowa State might be one of the best 7-5 teams in a while. Their five losses were by a combined 21 points.

8. Auburn vs. Minnesota
Outback Bowl
Tampa, Florida
Jan. 1, 1 p.m., ESPN

The SEC vs. the Big Ten is always entertaining. I’m not sure if Auburn’s offense has turned a corner after the big game against Alabama, but they still have a great defense. It’ll be an intriguing matchup between them and Minnesota’s stud WRs and a pretty decent running game to go with it.

7. Georgia vs. Baylor
Allstate Sugar Bowl
New Orleans
Jan. 1, 8:45 p.m., ESPN

Personally…….I kind of don’t care about this game and it probably won’t be that fun to watch, but it feels like it matters and it’s the nightcap to New Year’s Day.

6. Utah vs. Texas
Valero Alamo Bowl
San Antonio
Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

I say it every year, but I love the Alamo Bowl. There have been some great games in recent years and there’s something about that dome. It should be electric with Texas involved in San Antonio and Utah is still a really good football team.

Also, here’s what I wrote heading into Texas’ appearance in the Sugar Bowl last year:

This game could end up being a blowout, but if it doesn’t, we’ve got some real strong “TEXAS IS BACK, FOLKS” potential.

Followed by:

Followed by:

longhorns

5. Memphis vs. Penn State
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
Arlington, Texas
Dec. 28, Noon, ESPN

Kicking off at the same time as ND-ISU and those games will lead into the playoffs. I can’t tell if Mike Norvell is actually coaching Memphis or not in the bowl game, but it’s probably all semantics anyway, as I’m sure most of his focus in the lead-up will be on FSU.

Memphis has a real chance to win the game. We’ll see what PSU’s motivation is after missing out on playing in the Big Ten championship, walking through the Rutgers game, and then getting upset that they weren’t picked for the Rose Bowl.

4. Alabama vs. Michigan
Vrbo Citrus Bowl
Orlando, Florida
Jan. 1, 1 p.m., ABC

This will be so much better if like 20 guys don’t sit out, but it’s a possibility. At the end of the day, it’s still Alabama and Michigan and still Saban vs. Harbaugh.

3. Oregon vs. Wisconsin
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual
Pasadena, California
Jan. 1, 5 p.m., ESPN

There is not a more stimulating visual setting in sports than the Rose Bowl and the color clash of these two only helps that cause. Not to mention, you’re gonna get some great takes on Justin Herbert as a draft prospect (he’s probably gonna suck in the NFL) and apparently Jonathan Taylor is planning on playing for the Badgers.

2. LSU vs. Oklahoma
College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Atlanta
Dec. 28, 4 p.m., ESPN

There’s a lot of potential here for yet another semifinal blowout, but at least there will most likely be a lot of points.

1. Ohio State vs. Clemson
College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, Arizona
Dec. 28, 8 p.m., ESPN

This is about as good as college football can get. It’s going to be a delight.

2019 CFB Season Win Total Recap

First off, here’s all the plays before the season. If you’re new, all of the 3*-5* confidence picks are actual bets.

It was another great year for the win totals. 14-5-1 for +26*. Of the five losses, four of them were plus money bets. After starting this a couple of years ago, the bets have gone 38-17-6 (69%) for +58.3*.

While slightly less profitable than the 2017 season, this was the most successful year, top-to-bottom. The 2* picks were 19-10-1 for +16.4*. Anything above the 1* picks were a total of 33-15-2 (also 69%) for 42.4*.

Across the board for all 130 teams in the country, the result was 73-50-7 for +45*.

There are also four teams still alive in the conference championship games this weekend: Oregon (+300), Baylor (+1800), Boise (+110), and Louisiana (+1350). Five of the other six picks all would’ve been playing in the title if not for losing head-to-head games with teams that won their divisions.

Here’s the results for the actual bets:

Team O/U Total Price W L Result $
Arkansas under 5.5 -140 2 10 W +3
Baylor over 7.5 -115 11 1 W +3
FIU over 7.5 +105 6 6 L -4
Florida over 8.5 -135 10 2 W +4
GA Southern over 6.5 -120 7 5 W +3
Hawaii over 5.5 -130 9 4 W +3
Indiana under 6.5 -125 8 4 L -5
Notre Dame over 9 -120 10 2 W +3
Nebraska under 8.5 -110 5 7 W +3
New Mexico under 4.5 -130 2 10 W +4
Northwestern over 6.5 +110 3 9 L -3
Penn State over 8.5 -110 10 2 W +3
Rutgers under 3 -105 2 10 W +3
Temple over 6.5 -140 8 4 W +3
Tennessee under 6.5 +125 7 5 L -3
Tulane over 5.5 -150 6 6 W +3
Uconn under 2.5 -115 2 10 W +3
Virginia over 7.5 -140 9 3 W +3
VT over 8 -125 8 4 P 0
WVU over 5.5 +150 5 7 L -3
Total 14-5-1 +26

THE GOOD

Most of it was good, but Arkansas, Baylor, Hawaii, and Nebraska all cleared by 3.5 games and New Mexico by 2.5 games. The Nebraska play should’ve been 4* or 5* bet, but all of the hype around them got in my head a little and I couldn’t fully commit.

Rutgers and UConn both had extremely low totals, but also both won the games you thought they would win and never came all that close to winning anything else.

Penn State, Florida, and Notre Dame were also fairly easy for as high of totals as they were.

A win in the Commonwealth Cup would’ve been awesome for VT, but some pushes are better than others. The Hokies looked like a 6-6 team at the absolute best through four weeks before Hendon Hooker took over at QB.

THE BAD

Two of the five losses were both by a half of a game and both were plus-money, but losses are losses.

WVU was much closer to cashing than the market price suggested, but ultimately came up short. There were a couple of close losses, but more close wins. More disappointing was the 21-point loss they had at home against Texas Tech late in the year when they outgained the Red Raiders, but had four turnovers. Jarret Doege took over at QB in that game and things seemed to get better from there in the last few weeks.

Tennessee probably should’ve been a winner, but the Kentucky game was a killer. The Cats outgained them despite having a WR at QB, but had five trips into Vol territory result in 0 points. After losing at home to Georgia State and BYU, the Vols went 5-3 in conference play despite giving up more points against the SEC than they scored. They were outscored 112-30 by the three actually good SEC teams that they played.

THE UGLY

Northwestern was pretty bad. Only needed four more wins. I admittedly got swept up a bit in the Hunter Johnson hype, but more than anything it was a Pat Fitzgerald-respect pick with plus-money. Turns out Hunter Johnson and every Northwestern QB stinks and there was good reason I didn’t have to pay the juice on that one.

The under on Indiana lost by a couple. I figured they’d be 3-0 in the non-con and 0-4 against the typical Top 4 of the East. What I didn’t anticipate was their three crossover opponents – Nebraska, Purdue, and Northwestern – all finishing 3.5 games under their season total expectations. They still haven’t beaten a Big Ten team with a winning conference record since 2008. But there’s definitely something to be said for winning the games you’re supposed to win and they did that eight out of eight times.

I pretty much knew the FIU pick was over when they lost to WKU at home in Week 2. The Hilltoppers were better than expected this year, but that was one FIU really needed. They were 2-2 in close games, so it’s not like it was bad luck or anything. The Panthers were just really horrific on the road, going 0-5 and were only close once. They had to upset Miami late in the year just to get bowl eligible.

Here’s the 2* plays that went 19-10-1 for +16.4*:

2.png

Not gonna post the 1* because who really cares, but they went 40-35-5 for +2.6*. Can’t wait for next year.