Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bowl Previews: This Week's Bowls*

We've got quite a few bowl games this week. Two today, two tomorrow, two Thursday, Then even more as New Year's approaches. My record for picking these games hasn't been bad. 3-5. Better than I was doing with picks earlier in the year.

Today - 4:30 PM - ESPN
Little Caesars Bowl - Detroit, MI
Western Michigan Broncos vs. Purdue Boilermakers (-3)
WMU has a good offense, but a poor defense. They can throw the ball. Purdue is in the middle of the pack defensively and offensively. The polite word is "balanced," the appropriate word is "mediocre." Kalamazoo is only 2 and a half hours from Detroit. I think WMU has the edge in this game.

WMU +3

Tonight - 8:00 PM - ESPN
Belk Bowl - Charlotte, NC
Louisville Cardinals vs. NC State Wolfpack (PK)
UL lost to Florida Int'l, and Marshall. NC State lost to BC. Neither of these teams impresses me. NC State will have the crowd behind them. Louisville will struggle to put up points. I'll take a 4-4 ACC team over a 5-2 Big East team.

NC State (pick 'em)

Wednesday - 4:30 PM - ESPN
Military Bowl, presented by Northrup Grumman - Washington, DC
Toledo Rockets (-3) vs. Air Force Falcons
Toledo lost 4 games. To Boise State, Ohio State, Syracuse, and Northern Illinois. That's not awful for a MAC team. That loss to NIU was 63-60, which sums up Toledo's greatest strength (their offense) and biggest weakness (defense). Air Force doesn't have a defense that's anything special. They can run the ball (320.3 yards per game), so either they'll keep the ball away from Toledo's explosive offense, or they'll fall behind and need to chew up clock to catch up. Air Force isn't equipped to take full advantage of Toledo's porous defense.

Toledo -3.

Wednesday - 8:00 PM - ESPN
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl - San Diego, CA
California Golden Bears vs. #24 Texas Longhorns (-3)
Cals 7-5 record was inflated by wins against some bad teams. Texas is in a similar boat, only not as bad. The Longhorns have more talent in this battle of mediocrity. They also crushed UCLA, whereas Cal lost to the Bruins.

Texas -3

Thursday - 5:30 PM - ESPN
Champ Sports Bowl - Orlando, FL
Florida State Seminoles (-3) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Two powerhouse programs that were expected to do well in 2011 but fell very short. I simply do not believe in Notre Dame. Sure, they won 8 games, they beat Michigan State, but their schedule is packed with bad teams. BC, Maryland, Purdue. FSU, on paper, is a much better team. And they'll be the better team on the field as well.

FSU -3

Thursday - 9:00 PM - ESPN
Washington Huskies vs. Baylor Bears (-9.5)
Washington lost to pretty much every good team in the Pac-12. They allow 33.3 points per game, which does not bode well for a matchup against RG3 and the Bears of Baylor. This game should see plenty of points. But Baylor will have more of them. Much more of them.

Baylor -9.5

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