Week of December 6: 5-5
There are 34 bowls this year. This means that every team in the Football Bowl Subdivision with a winning record made it to a bowl game. If rewarding excellence is the purpose of bowl games, then some of these games are an absolute joke. What these games provide are a way to fill some hotel rooms and to give some cities some publicity on national TV. And, they provide programming for ESPN. Some of these games are glorified exhibitions between mediocre teams. Others are great matchups.
The first of three installments of bowl picks:
EagleBank Bowl, Dec. 20, Washington, D.C. Navy vs. Wake Forest. This amounts to a home game for Navy against a team that the Midshipmen upset earlier in the year. My question is: who wants to go to a bowl game at RFK Stadium in D.C. in December? That’s not exactly a garden spot. Wake Forest gets revenge. Pick: Demon Deacons
New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 20, Albuquerque. Fresno State vs. Colorado State. The first edition of this bowl that does not feature the hometown Lobos. Fresno State has been to bowl games before, while the Rams have made a major improvement this year. Pick: Fresno State
magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl, Dec. 20, St. Petersburg. Memphis vs. South Florida. The latest bowl to be played in a baseball stadium, this new bowl is sponsored by a tool that allows you to plug your phone into a computer. Ok, at least it’s not sponsored by LoJack. Who wants to watch a bowl game between Memphis and USF? Ugh. Pick: USF
Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 20, Las Vegas. Arizona vs. BYU. Did you know Las Vegas got three inches of snow yesterday? This is BYU’s fourth consecutive trip to this bowl. I wonder how this bowl would do without BYU in it. Zona finally gets to a bowl in Mike Stoops’ fifth year. The Mountain West has had its way against the Pac-10 this year. That won’t change in this game. Pick: BYU
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 21, New Orleans. Southern Miss vs. Troy. Southern Miss makes a bowl game in a rebuilding year. The men of Troy, Alabama once again won the Sun Belt conference. Troy is a little better than Southern Miss. Pick: Troy
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Dec. 23, San Diego. TCU vs. Boise State. There’s something wrong when a matchup between the 8th and 11th ranked teams in the nation occurs two days before Christmas in a bowl named for a credit union. At least it’s in San Diego. This game has greatness written all over it. Can the Broncos go 13-0? I don’t know. Pick: TCU
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Dec. 24, Honolulu. Notre Dame vs. Hawaii. It’s pretty sad when Notre Dame can royally suck and still get a trip to Hawaii. Problem is, they’re playing Hawaii on their home field. It’ll feel just like a BCS bowl in one way for the Irish: they’ll lose. Pick: Hawaii.
Motor City Bowl, Dec. 26, Detroit. Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan. Yuck. There are some bad bowls out there, and this is one of them. Florida Atlantic went 6-6, played in the worst conference in college football, and still made it to a bowl. There’s something wrong with this picture. Central Michigan had it going this year in the MAC before losing to Ball State and Eastern Michigan. Pick: Central Michigan
Meineke Car Care Bowl, Dec. 27, Charlotte. West Virginia vs. North Carolina. Good matchup bound to sell lots of tickets in Charlotte. Tar Heels were one of the better teams in a dreadfully balanced ACC. West Virginia was favored to win the Big East, but ended up here. Pick: North Carolina
Champs Sports Bowl, Dec. 27, Orlando. Wisconsin vs. Florida State. Badgers nearly lost their last game to Cal Poly. Seminoles showed signs of improvement this year, but aren’t quite where they want to be. Pick: FSU
Emerald Bowl, Dec. 27, San Francisco. Miami vs. California. Canes visit the City by the Bay. Hopefully, they’ll have a good sightseeing trip, because there’s no way they’ll beat Cal out there. Pick: Cal
Independence Bowl, Dec. 28, Shreveport. Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech. How did the 6-6 Huskies get into this bowl? The former executive director of the bowl now works for NIU. This is a really lame matchup, brought about because the Big 12 and SEC each sent two teams to the BCS and didn’t have enough teams left for the Indy Bowl to pick. Somebody has to win this game. Pick: Tech