Big Game Hunting: Picks for all college bowl games through New Year’s Eve
Have I mentioned I don’t bet on sports? What a schmo. But you go ahead and reach for that piggy bank. Dig deep under that mattress. Plunder Junior’s college fund if you must.
There’s just no easy way to say it:
You’re welcome, America.
That goes for the rest of the world, too.
It would be tacky at this point for you to try to give me a present, but it’s never too late to extend your sincere and — dare I say it? — profound thanks. After all, I’ve lined your pockets with winning college football bets all season.
Since we’re bragging, I’m 47-28-1 vs. the spread in this column. I haven’t picked ’em that well in — give me a moment to flip through the files — ever. Look, I’m just a man. I put my -pants on one leg at a time like everyone else. Frankly, they’re the only pants I’ve worn all pandemic, but now we’ve gotten sidetracked.
Have I mentioned I don’t bet on sports? What a schmo. But you go ahead and reach for that piggy bank. Dig deep under that mattress. Plunder Junior’s college fund if you must. My picks for all the bowl games through New Year’s Eve:
First Responder: No. 16 Louisiana (-14) vs. UTSA (2:30 p.m. Saturday, Ch. 7): Louisiana hammered Big 12 runner-up Iowa State by 17 on the road. It has beaten five bowl teams, including Conference-USA champ UAB. Its only loss was to Coastal Carolina on a late kick. Dallas is Ragin’ Cajun country, 31-14.
LendingTree: Western Kentucky (+3½) vs. Georgia State (2:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN): The favored Panthers have the better offense, and beating Georgia Southern in their most recent game was impressive. Who wants to be in Mobile, Alabama, for the holidays more? Panthers, 23-17.
Cure: No. 23 Liberty (+7) vs. No. 9 Coastal Carolina (6:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN): These teams are a combined 20-1. They’re both legit. But the 11-0 Chanticleers have too good a thing going not to finish the deal. How else will they make a hilariously flimsy claim on the national title like UCF did a few years back? Coastal, 34-30.
Cheez-It: Oklahoma State (-2) vs. No. 18 Miami (4:30 p.m. Tuesday, ESPN): The Hurricanes quit two weeks ago against North Carolina, allowing a humiliating 544 rushing yards. They’ll be motivated to make amends — until OSU puts a drive together that cracks their spirit. Pokes, 29-20.
Alamo: No. 20 Texas (-9½) vs. Colorado (8 p.m. Tuesday, ESPN): There are all sorts of ways in which the Longhorns have -underwhelmed under coach Tom Herman, but Herman is 3-0 in bowl games at Texas and 4-0 in his career. Hook ’Em, 36-28.
Duke’s Mayo: Wake Forest (+6½) vs. Wisconsin (11 a.m. Wednesday, ESPN): Wake should be at a physical disadvantage, but the Badgers don’t know who their own quarterback is, haven’t run the ball with real success this season and have been in constant flux. Why not? Upset.
Music City: No. 17 Iowa (-14½) vs. Missouri (3 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN): The -Tigers gave up 48, 49 and 51 points in their last three games, and you know what that means: Iowa will score at least 14. But -seriously, Hawkeyes by 10.
Cotton: No. 10 Florida (-3) vs. No. 8 Oklahoma (7 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN): The -Gators once were thought of as a strong playoff candidate, but it’s the Sooners who have become a playoff-caliber team. Spencer Rattler matches UF star Kyle Trask throw for throw, and an improved OU defense does the rest. Sooners, 38-31.
Armed Forces: No. 22 Tulsa (-2½) vs. Mississippi State (11 a.m. Thursday, ESPN) Do the Bulldogs, with their sorry 3-7 record, really want to still be playing? Then again, they lit up SEC defenses through the air down the stretch. More cowbell, 31-24.
Arizona: Ball State (8½) vs. No. 19 San Jose State (1 p.m. Thursday, CBSSN): See: the Spartans’ thoroughly convincing win against Boise State for the Mountain West title. This team is no joke. SJSU by 10.
Liberty: Army (+7) vs. West Virginia (3 p.m. Thursday, ESPN) Neal Brown isn’t going to send an unmotivated team out onto the field in his first bowl game with the Mountaineers. West By God, 24-14.
Texas: Arkansas (+5) vs. TCU (7 p.m. Thursday, ESPN) The Horned Frogs are 52-26 (.667) in road and neutral-site games going back to 2009. What’s Gary Patterson’s secret? Getting the team the heck out of Fort Worth, it seems. TCU, 34-24.
Last week: 8-0 straight-up, 5-3 vs. the spread.
Season to date: 56-20 straight-up, 47-28-1 vs. the spread.