I enjoy writing all my articles for the WAD, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy writing some more than others. Well, this is one of the articles I really enjoy writing. That’s right, it’s Part I of my bowl preview. Here’s how this is going to go down…today I’m simply going to give you my predictions for the pre-January 1 bowls, and then I’m going to give you predictions and breakdowns for the New Year’s Day games and the first four BCS Bowl Games. Don’t act surprised. Did you really think I wasn’t going to milk the National Championship Game for its own column? Here we go:
1) Clemson -11 vs. Kentucky
2) Missouri vs. Oregon St. OVER 52
3) Houston vs. South Carolina OVER 56
4) Maryland +1 vs. Purdue
5) Texas Tech -6.5 vs. Minnesota & OVER 65.5
6) Navy +6 vs. B.C.
7) Texas vs. Iowa OVER 53
8) Georgia +2.5 vs. Va. Tech
9) Miami -3.5 vs. Nevada
NEW YEAR’S DAY ACTION
1) Tennessee -4 vs. Penn State - Here’s the deal with this game: Penn State had a solid year, and they were respectable against Michigan and Ohio State, but they never gave you a reason to think that this was any better than a decent team. Tennessee, on the other hand, at times this season, looked like they might be one of the best teams in America. In short, they are a better team than Penn State, and there is no glaring reason to think Penn State will be any more motivated in this one than the Vols, so you’ve got to go with the Vols.
2) Auburn vs. Nebraska OVER 46 – Look for a bunch of trickeration from Bill Callahan, a lot of big holes for Kenny Irons, and at least one pick six from Brandon Cox. This game just reeks of points!
3) Wisconsin +2 vs. Arkansas - This is this year’s first example of what I like to call the “MF’ing” Corollary, named, of course, after the legendary gambler, Colby Chiles. Here’s how it works: when two teams are squaring off in a bowl game, and one team is disappointed to be there and the other team is either a) happy to be there, or b) has something to prove, you take the latter team. So, there you have it…all Arkansas can think about is how close they blew their chance at the BCS, and all Wisconsin can think about is how they want to prove to the world that they belonged in the BCS. Circle gets a square and I’m taking the Badgers.
4) West Virginia -11 vs. Georgia Tech - Look for the Jackets to quit after the first quarter. That’s just Chan Gailey’s style.
1) The Rose Bowl
Michigan +1 vs. USC - See the MF’ing Corollary above. Not to mention that the Wolverines are still holding out hope for a piece of the National Championship…stranger things have happened!
2) The Fiesta Bowl
Oklahoma -7 vs. Boise St. – C’mon! You really think I’m going to take a team from Idaho against Bob Stoops? Puuuuuhhhlease!
3) The Orange Bowl
Louisville -10 vs. Wake Forest - Look, nobody would love to pick Wake more than me, but the simple fact is that there is no way Wake can score enough points to stay within 10 of Louisville. Then again, four months ago I would have told you that there was no way Wake could win 11 games and the ACC.
4) The Sugar Bowl
Notre Dame +9.5 vs. LSU - Nobody was playing better football than LSU at the end of the season, but something tells me this one is going to be closer than the experts think. Maybe it’s the fact that it is Brady Quinn’s swan song, maybe it’s that the Tigers will have a lot of distractions playing in the first post-Katrina Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, or maybe it’s the fact that, at some point, Charlie Weis has to beat a ranked team, right?
Okay, if that’s not enough for you, here’s my Week 17 NFL picks:
1) NYG -2.5 @ Washington
2) New Orleans +3 vs. Carolina
3) Cleveland +4 @ Houston
4) Detroit +13 @ Dallas
5) Jacksonville +2 @ K.C.
6) Tennessee -3 vs. New England
7) Cincy -6 vs. Pittsburgh
8) Tampa -3 vs. Seattle
9) St. Louis -2.5 @ Minn.
10) Philly -8 vs. Atlanta
11) Buffalo +9 @ Baltimore
12) Indy -9 vs. Miami
13) Arizona +13.5 @ San Diego
14) San Francisco +10.5 @ Denver
15) Chicago -3 vs. Green Bay
And, yes, I intentionally didn’t pick the Jets game because I want them to lose so badly that I’m afraid if I pick against them it will jinx me, and if I pick them, I will be supporting them. I just can’t deal with either option. What can I say? I’m insane!