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Friday, December 18, 2009

Picking the Winners: Bowl Season (Part 1)

The regular season was not kind to either of us, but the bowl games are a different story. So let's get to the first round of games in our post-season pick-em.

Dan: Does it get any better than bowl season? I say no. I remember back in the day when I lived with a few roommates I would watch every single bowl game. Yes . . . every single one. And I’d gamble on most of them as well. Why? Because I have issues. Ha ha . . . but seriously it made it fun. I love bowl season. What was better than plunking down a $200 parlay on Christmas Eve and watching Timmy Chang get you a Hawaii cover and the over cover? That meant most of my Christmas gifts were paid for! This year we have 34 games. Ugh. Even that might be a bit much for me.

Dave: So our regular-season battle came down to the final week, and you edged me by two games. But I foresee a comeback during bowl season. And to add to the enjoyment, I'm using some quotes from my favorite Christmas movies to help me with my picks...


New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque, NM): Wyoming (6-6) vs. Fresno State (8-4)
Spread: Fresno State (-12)

Dan: The first bowl game of the season and it is a real stinker. If you are a player on a team, where is the least desirable place for you to go to a bowl game? I think my first choice is Albuquerque. What the heck are you supposed to do in Albuquerque? At least if you go to Boise, you get the blue field.

As for the game I was shocked to see that Wyoming even made a bowl. How did that happen? Their best win is either over 4-8 San Diego State or 5-7 Florida Atlantic. LOL. That is a bowl team? As for Fresno State, they are capable of putting points on the board. I think they can put enough on the board to take the cover in this one as Wyoming has little to no offense… Fresno State 34, Wyoming 13.

Dave: A special "Christmas Vacation" quote for the good folks at Wyoming...

Eddie: You surprised to see us, Clark?
Clark: Eddie, if I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now.

Heck, I'm sorta surprised to learn that Wyoming was even an Division I-A team, let alone a bowl-eligible Division I-A team. Sure, they beat Tennessee last year, but I assume that was Crompton-related rather than a real statement about Wyoming's abilities on the football field.

On the other side of the ledger, we have Fresno State, who has taken great enjoyment in being non-conference fodder for big boys for years. This year, Pat Hill's bunch played Wisconsin, Illinois and Cincinnati outside of its conference plus faced Boise State in its conference. Add to that the sterling numbers from tailback Ryan Matthews (6.8 ypc, 17 TDs) and I'll happily give the Fightin' Dick Cheneys 12 points. (In other words… Fresno? Fres-yes!)… Fresno State 30, Wyoming 10.

St. Petersburg Bowl (St. Petersburg, Fla.): Rutgers (8-4) vs. Central Florida (8-4)
Spread: Rutgers (-2.5)

Dan: Rutgers finished 8-4? Huh? How did that happen? Another team that beat no one. I guess the UConn win was nice but that is a real stretch. So I live in Jersey and work in Delaware. Both states are pretty close and I need to cross the Delaware Memorial Bridge to get back to Jersey. Each night I cross the bridge I see a big billboard with Greg Schiano on it that states,“This is Rutgers Country!” Complete with him, his team and everyone else looking on with a mad-at-the-world expression. I find that hilarious. Rutgers Country? Really? I, for one, can tell you no one in Jersey cares about Rutgers football. No one in the northeast cares about college football. As for this game this is pretty much a home game for Central Florida so take the Knights! And no one in Jersey will care either way what happens… Central Florida 24, Rutgers 19.

Dave: "I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel."

I could be wrong, but I think that's the precise directions on how to get to Rutgers. But there's always a ton of traffic on the bridge over the Sea of Swirly Twirly Gum Drops and they don't let you text while driving in the Candy Cane Forest anymore.

Of course, the trip to St. Petersburg from New Jersey is even more complicated, while Central Florida has just 106 miles to travel for the game. The result will be an abundance of UCF fans -- well, if there is such a thing -- and slim pickings among Rutgers faithful. But fans don't decide bowl games, and there's certainly a few other interesting tidbits here.

First, George O'Leary has already updated his resume to include "Win in St. Petersburg Bowl, 2009."

Second, this is a battle between the Golden Knights and the Scarlett Knights. They should joust instead of play football. Or at least let them play football in armor suits while carrying spears.

Third, this game is "presented by Beef 'O' Brady's" to ensure it sounds completely fraudulent. I hate Beef O Brady's, but during my stint living in Albany, Ga., this was one of the few places open on Sundays that a.) served beer and b.) had the football games on TV. But whose stupid idea was it to open up a bar that caters to families? This is like opening up a strip club that caters to nuns. When I show up hungover and unshowered on a Sunday morning to curse at Andy Reid for three hours as he bungles his challenges and clock management in another debilitating loss for the Eagles, I don't need to be worrying about offending the sensibilities of the family sitting next to me with two small children who came in for the chicken finger platter after church. And the worst part of it all was, in order to cater to the kiddies, management insisted that a few TVs were always tuned in to cartoons, and invariably my seat would end up pointed directly at that particular TV, so instead of focusing on football, my attention would keep being drawn back to the antics of Sponge Bob (who, I might add, can call a game better than Andy Reid by a wide margin). So I can only assume that at this game, Beef O Brady's will insist on having the Jumbotron tuned to "Wizards of Waverly Place" to keep the kids entertained during this game, too.

And fourth, Rutgers can't move the football (99th nationally in total offense) and UCF doesn't let anyone run on them (fourth nationally in rushing defense).

So while Rutgers will get a nice chance to see sunlight and temperatures above 40 one last time before April, they won't be getting a victory… Central Florida 24, Rutgers 21.


New Orleans Bowl (New Orleans, La.): Middle Tennessee State (9-3) vs. Southern Mississippi (7-5)
Spread: Southern Miss (-3.5)

Dan: Another stinker! We are up to three in a row! Quick… what is Middle Tennessee State’s school mascot? The Blue Raiders! Why do I know this? Because again, I have issues. I know way too many schools mascots, it is just one of those things that I have picked up over the years by wagering on games.

In this one, you have a Middle Tennessee State team that actually has a decent body of work. Their losses came to good teams (I call Troy good). And they blew out the bad teams. That is impressive. As for Southern Miss, they are somewhat impressive as well. They won seven games and 4 of their 5 losses were by a td or less. That is not too shabby. I have no clue who to pick so I’ll take the points… Southern Miss 24, Middle Tennessee State 21.

Dave: From "Bad Santa"…

Kid: Candy corn?
Willie: Well they all can't be winners.

No, this ain't exactly the best matchup in the world, but hey, they can't all be winners.

Did you know, however, that Southern Miss running back Damion Fletcher has more yards rushing (5,224) than any other active player in college football? I think someone at Florida needs to look into this because I'm certain that record is supposed to belong to Tim Tebow.

Fletcher and the rest of the Fightin' Brett Favres get the treat of taking on Middle Tennessee State, which I assume is the worst type of directional school. I mean, it's one thing to be Eastern Michigan or Southern Miss or Western Kentucky… but Middle Tennessee? Of course, it's "notable alumni" section on Wikipedia includes a whopping four people, one of whom plays in the WNBA and one of whom is Kelly Holcomb, so "notable" is obviously a sliding scale.

But on the upside, both of these schools get to play a bowl game in New Orleans and then spend the holidays with their families. I get to cover a bowl game in Shreveport and spend Christmas deciding whether to split 10s for the fun of it. So I think I'm the real winner here… Southern Miss 28, MTSU 17.


Las Vegas Bowl (Las Vegas, Nev.): Oregon State (8-4) vs. BYU (10-2)
Spread: Oregon State (-2.5)

Dan: Finally, a decent game. Man, I wish that Virginia Tech’s bowl tie in was the Las Vegas bowl. That is one bowl game I would definitely attend. Why not? Yeah I know it is pretty close to Christmas and would be tough to get out there. But here is what you do: You fly out the 21st. You get bombed the first two nights. You then put a grand on the team that is going to cover (that being the Beavers). You win. You wake up the 23rd and fly home and have a very, merry Chistmas! I know it doesn’t work that way. But that would be nice right?

In reality this how it works: You show up in Vegas on the 21st. You head to the Hard Rock where they are handing out “free” shots of Jager at the roulette table. Six “free” shots later you are down $200. You then lose another 200. You get drunker. You embarrass yourself in front of every lady at the Hard Rock clubs. On the 22nd you repeat. You then put 1,000 on your team (the Beavers) and they do not cover. So you lose 2,000, you are hungover as all heck, you’ve vomited all over your clothes, you can’t afford Christmas gifts or a cab to the airport and then you need to fly home to see your family. Merry freaking Christmas.

As for this game take the Beavers… Oregon State 35, BYU 24.

Dave: From "A Christmas Story," after Flick gets his tongue stuck to the poll...

"Now I know that some of you put Flick up to this, but he has refused to say who. But those who did it know their blame, and I'm sure that the guilt you feel is far worse than any punishment you might receive. Now, don't you feel terrible? Don't you feel remorse for what you have done? Well, that's all I'm going to say about poor Flick."

Here's what I'd like to see happen leading up to this bowl game:

Well-meaning but sheltered Mormon player for BYU: "Drink an entire bottle of Jager? Are you kidding? That's dumb."
Burly, grizzled Oregon State lineman: "That's 'cuz you know it'll work!"
BYU player: "You're full of it!"
OSU lineman: "Oh yeah?"
BYU player: "Yeah!"
OSU lineman: "Well I double-DOG-dare you!"

Seems to me that Oregon State should make a point of exposing BYU's players to all the horrifying bits of debauchery Vegas has to offer, then show up to play the next day feeling great while the suddenly corrupted BYU players nurse their hangovers and wonder what hit them. It's a perfect battle plan. In fact, I TRIPLE-dog-dare them to do it! (If you'll forgive the sudden breach in etiquette.)… Oregon State 30, BYU 23.


Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego, Calif.): Utah (9-3) vs. California (8-4)
Spread: Cal (-3.5)

Dan: Another desirable bowl location. Man, the Pac-10 and MWC know how to do it. Why these other conferences are sending their teams to Mobile, Ala., Albuquerque, Boise, etc. when you can go to San Diego is beyond me. They should have bowl games in the Bahamas and Cancun. That is my genius idea. I mean why not?

In this game you get a Cal team that always disappoints in bowl season/end of season vs. a Utah team which has something to prove. Cal just got destroyed at Washington. I mean murdered. As a result I like the Utes… Utah 27, Cal 24.

Dave: I'm a little perplexed on this game, and when I'm perplexed, I go to Bill Murray for advice...

Lew: I was a captain of industry, feared by men, adored by women.
Frank: Adored? Come on, let's be honest, Lew. You paid for the women.

Last year, Utah was a captain of industry, feared by Alabama, adored by women. This year, they're headed to the Poinsettia Bowl, which happens to not even be the best bowl game in the city of San Diego.

That said, it's hard to argue with the trip. I lived in San Diego for two years, and it remains one of my favorite places in the country -- and I only remember about half of my time there thanks to 75-cent beer night at Beachcomber.

Fun fact about Utah: The Utes have won their last eight straight bowl games, including two BCS games. Cal, on the other hand, can't be thrilled to be playing in a lower-tier bowl after falling to Washington and playing without Jahvid Best yet again. But hey, I'm a risk taker. I don't always make good decisions. I like to live dangerously. And, most importantly, I've already thought too much about this game… Cal 27, Utah 21.


Hawaii Bowl (Honolulu, Ha.): Nevada (8-4) vs. Southern Methodist (7-5)
Spread: Nevada -14

Dan: Super Model University (or SMU) is making their first bowl appearance since they suffered the death penalty back in 1984. I have a buddy who attended SMU and he said that is the nickname. Said the school is chock full of supermodels who come from a ton of cash. Works for me. Better than a school that is full of fatties who live in trailers.

As for the game, I have a special place in my heart for the Hawaii Bowl. I love being around the family on Christmas Eve and throwing some cash down on a game between WAC and Conference USA teams. Then the inevitable, “Why do you look so happy" or "Why are you so angry” question always pops up. Of course, usually this game involves Hawaii but not this year. Oh well. I think SMU can keep it within the number. Nevada should not be laying 14 to anyone… Nevada 38, SMU 27.

Dave: "Guys, I'm eating junk and watching rubbish! You better come out and stop me!"

Yes, by Christmas Eve I'll be doing nothing but eating junk food and watching rubbish like Nevada and SMU… though I'll be doing it in a hotel room in Shreveport, La. Fun times.

Of course, while I'm carb loading in a Marriott before an all-night bender at the casino, June Jones will be making his triumphant return to Hawaii, where he's regarded with nearly as much respect as Don Ho and Magnum P.I. (only without a great mustache).

Here's the problem though: SMU ranks 88th nationally in rushing defense, allowing nearly 190 yards per game on the ground. Nevada ranks first nationally in rushing offense at more than 360 yards per game on the ground. So the game plan is pretty simple: Run the ball early and often and keep SMU off the field. Sounds like a plan to me… Nevada 42, SMU 24.

Regular Season Records: Dan 59-70-3 (.453), Dave 57-72-3 (.438).


Dawgfan17 said...

Dave- I totally disagree with you about Beef's, I lived in Valdosta for 6 years and loved the one there. They always had 1.50 pints. 8.99 all you can eat wings, cheap pitchers of beer and above average food. The best part though was the waitresses, on average, were very very attractive, though it did suck when you would get the 1 out of 5 working that wasn't hot.

Kathleen said...

So far I am 0-2 on my bowl picks. Double overtime??

At least college football is back on!

Dennis said...

I know there is still another bowl left in Part 1, but based on your results on picking winners thus far, I'm kinda hoping you aren't picking Georgia in "Part 2".