Top Tips & Predictions For Getting Through Bowl Season
The college bowl season used to be a time of excitement; it were a reward for a good to outstanding season, something to cap off a successful year.
Now it’s a time of trying to figure out if schools you’ve never heard of can cover a point spread against other teams you’ve never heard of in your pool (Eastern Michigan or Old Dominion? Arkansas State or UCF?) in games with ridiculous sponsor names (the Taxslayer Bowl, the AutoNation Cure Bowl, the Raycome Media Camellia Bowl and, of course, the unforgettable Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Tho I must admit, I do miss the Poulan Weedeater Bowl, now called the Camping World Independence Bowl).
It is next to impossible to predict what will happen in these bowl games for several reasons.
First, in most cases the games mean nothing so who wins is determined what mood the players are in when they run out of the tunnel. Secondly, there’s a wave of ineligible players after the winter grades come in and affect rosters, often involving front-line players. Third, there are the teams with interim coaches because the head coach has been fired or has left for a higher-paying job and you just never know how the players will react to this until they hit the field.
However, there are some tips that will help you fill out your pool and get you through bowl season. They are:
1.) Follow The Vegas Point Spreads But Don’t Live By Them
2.) Drink Before Looking At Your Pool
3.) Drink As You Are Filling Out Your Pool
4.) Drink When You Have Finished Filling Out Your Pool
5.) Drink While You Are Watching The Games
The Prognosticator is (thankfully) not going to go through all 40-something games but have selected a few of special interest to regular readers. The Prognosticator has a separate post to analyze and predict the NYE College Football Playoffs.
Bold College Football Bowl Predictions
All times PT
Tuesday, Dec. 27
BOISE STATE vs. BAYLOR (Motel 6 Cactus Bowl, ESPN, 7:15 p.m.)
Everyone will forever associate Boise State with bowls because of its late-game trickery upset over Oklahoma in that memorable Fiesta Bowl. But these are not the same Broncos, not by a long shot. Still, they can kick up a dust storm and the Bears went into hibernation mid-season. Winner: Boise State.
Thursday, Dec. 29
ARKANSAS vs. VIRGINIA TECH (Belk Bowl, ESPN, 2:30 p.m.)
Another year of high expectations has ended in another Belk-type bowl yet Razerback fans are still high on the head hog. Perhaps they are just happy Bobby Petrino is still not their coach. The Hokies are ready to do the pokey at being 9-4 in their first Beamer Ball-less season since the team was known as the VIP Gobblers. Unfortunately for the Hokies, that will have to do for now in this battle of teams with consumable mascots. Winner: Arkansas
Friday, Dec. 30
NEBRASKA vs. TENNESSEE (Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, ESPN, 12:30 p.m.)
The last time the Vols were in Nashville, the bricks started tumbling from Rocky Top. You see, Butch Jones said he had to build the program “brick by brick” but after losing to Vanderbilt in the last game of the regular season seems it’s as if he built the program with plywood. If an opponent huffs and puffs, it will go tumbling to the ground. Mike Riley and the Shuckers, however, are too winded without their starting quarterback and top receiver to do anything except knock off a few shingles. Winner: Tennessee
SOUTH ALABAMA vs. AIR FORCE (Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl, 2:30 p.m.)
This is such a big game, the Prognosticator could not find it listed on TV. Now you might ask a reasonable question – why have a bowl game if you can’t even get it on ESPN? The Prognosticator can only surmise at the answer were you to present it to the bowl committee: “Because we have a sponsor!” This leads to a follow-up question, of course, as to why a company would sponsor a bowl game that’s not on TV. But I’ll leave it at that for the moment. As for the game, the Jaguars beat both Mississippi State and San Diego State this year but won’t be able to withstand the attack of the Falcons, who are still soaring after winning the Commander In Chief’s trophy. Winner: Air Force
MICHIGAN vs. FLORIDA STATE (Capitol One Orange Bowl, ESPN, 5 p.m.)
Jim Harbaugh is still stinging from that Ohio State 4th down call, but rumors of him headed to the L.A. Rams enabled him to briefly focus on another issue that made him mad. The big question here is will the team be able to focus on this game or be daydreaming about the just-played College Football Playoff? Then again, can the offensivley-challenged Wolverines keep up with FSU’s athletes and speed? Of course, the Spears have been slinging arrows all over the place this year but have a stud of a running back, which is a lo more than Michigan can offer on offense. Winner: Florida State
Monday, Jan. 2
WESTERN MICHIGAN vs. WISCONSIN (Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, ESPN, 10 a.m.)
Each year, someone has to play one of these secondary schools to keep those schools and their conferences happy, and this year it’s the Badgers. This is what you get for not winning the Big 10 Bucky! Of course, you are unmotivated while the Buster Broncos are busting at the seams to prove they can play with the big boys. And these teams can indeed play with the big boys. For a game. That’s why it will be close. Winner: Wisconsin
USC vs. PENN STATE (Rose Bowl, ESPN, 2 p.m.)
Troy goes galloping into the Rose Bowl in a scene nobody would have believed three months earlier. Then again, who would have ever imagined Penn State would be here, either? This should be called the Unexpected Bowl. The Nittany Lions burned Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship by doing the unexpected – heaving the ball downfield. It’s hard to get used to seeing Penn State doing that; you’re trained to see them slam the ball up the middle and hold on defense.
So this could be a wild one, a dropback duel that may wind up being the best of all the bowl games. Winner: USC
AUBURN vs. OKLAHOMA (Allstate Sugar Bowl, ESPN, 5 p.m.)
There’s nothing like a few nights on Bourbon Street to make one forget a few miserable moments from the season, and that reality will hit Auburn and OU fans like a Hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s bar. Perhaps the Auburn people should head instead to the Tropical Isle for a few Hand Gernades because watching their team’s offense has been like a walking through a mine field – cautious steps forward with the possibility it could blow up in their face at any moment.
At least the porous Sooner defense should allow the Tigers to get a few first downs, if not actual touchdowns. There’s no way, however, that Auburn can keep up with Boomer’s point producers. This one could be the biggest blowout of the bowl season, leaving the Bus Gus limping back to the Plains on a spare tire. Winner: Oklahoma.