I wish I could tell you things got better for Jon and I over the past few days. Sadly, much like the Big 12 and especially Oklahoma on Monday, we continue to be embarrassed. Those two things might be related.
Either way, we both picked OU and I got 3 right in other 5 games in which we somehow disagreed every time. That means no matter the result of the Peach Bowl (we both picked TCU) Jon leads by a single game.
Going into that SEC-Big 12 matchup, Jon is 79-80, and I'm 78-81. I would like to point out both of us finished somewhere around 20 games above .500 last year, so apparently we have significantly regressed in 2014.
A reminder: we are, as a form of protest, eschewing all corporate sponsorship references.
|Wednesday, 3:00 p.m.
Cardinals Stadium, Glendale AZ
LT: Yeah, Arizona's got a good team and even had a strong finish to the regular season before that predictable blowout at the hands of Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game. But this is Boise in a bowl game. They've won 4 of their last 5 and 10 out of 15 all time, plus their last appearance in the Fiesta Bowl was that magical win over Oklahoma on the Statue of Liberty two-point conversion. Yeah, this one. You remember. That's good enough for me. Broncos cover.
JM:This is an underrated game, I think. We're looking at two teams which, in the fullness of time, got through a combined 26 games without a single WTF result. None of their combined five losses is totally out of whack; Boise's loss to Air Force and Arizona's loss to USC are the most suspect lines on either resume, and in the end neither can be ruled a "bad loss". Arizona's regular season win over Oregon was an outlier, but it also wasn't a surprise as the Wildcats have become Oregon's new bete noire. Boise's better across the board statistically, but not very much so and it's also against significantly worse competition.
In other words, this game's going to be tight. As Arizona's had a tendency to play close games all year, it stands to reason that there's game-ending HAM potential, which is a neon sign screaming "take the underdog". So I'll side with Luke here, and take Boise and the points.
|Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.
Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami Gardens FL
LT: Georgia Tech's unique offense could cause some problems for a Mississippi State defense that isn't that good, although they struggled a lot more against the pass than the rush. That's a problem for the Yellow Jackets, but the bigger issue is in this case, the SEC bias is right. Mississippi State is a much better team, and unless something weird happens, they're going to dominate this game. Clanga covers.
JM: I absolutely don't want to sell Georgia Tech short. Although everyone can say they've done it, they played Florida State close. They crushed what turns out to be a pretty good Clemson team. They beat what turns out to be a pretty good Georgia team. They destroyed North Carolina State, who... well, may not be "good", but they sure aren't horrible. But there's only one column in the traditional stats where the two teams aren't close to even, and that's points allowed. They score at about the same clip, but Georgia Tech allows a touchdown more per game than the boys from Starkvegas. And Mississippi State managed that against better competition. MSU covers.
|Thursday, 11:00 a.m.
HALL OF FAME BOWL
Tampa Community Stadium, Tampa FL
LT: Hooray! It's Wisconsin's last game of the season! Always a reason to celebrate. Auburn has been somewhat unpredictable this year, but they didn't lose any games 59-0. Tigers cover.
JM: I would like to argue this, largely because I think Wisconsin can create the same issues for Auburn that K-State did. But more and more as the season's gone on, I think Auburn's offensive non-performance in Manhattan was a fluke. And if your offense can rack up nearly 400 yards on Alabama in one half, you've got to be crazy to expect a team which let a third-string quarterback blow them out of Indianapolis to do much better. War Damn Eagle.
|Thursday, 11:30 a.m.
COTTON BOWL CLASSIC
Cowboys Stadium, Arlington TX
LT: This one should be interesting. On the one hand, Baylor seems upset and may not be giving Michigan State a lot of respect, especially in the case of Shawn Oakman. I'm just glad somebody's telling it like it is. Big Ten football is not interesting. I've been saying this for years. However, Michigan State actually has a pretty solid defense, and they've certainly got something to prove as well after playing second fiddle to Ohio State in a conference that didn't garner a lot of respect this season. Maybe it's because of the Big 12's recent performance, or maybe it's because of what happened to Baylor last year against UCF, but I'm taking Michigan State to pull the upset.
JM: The way my performance has been going the last week, Baylor fans are already threatening to visit grave consequences upon my person if I pick Baylor in this game. The way things have been going for the Big 12 the last week, maybe a reverse jinx is called for. And while the first answer which pops up for most people if you ask them "who's the most similar team to Oregon?" is "Baylor", Bryce Petty is not Marcus Mariota -- and Baylor's mighty offense has actually proven to me sort of mortal at times this season. So... yeah, I'm taking Sparty and the points, and y'all can accuse me of being afraid of random Baptists on Twitter all you want.
Citrus Bowl, Orlando FL
LT: Speaking of disrespect, is anyone in the SEC or Big Ten more looked over than Missouri and Minnesota? I doubt it. Then again, neither of these teams has anything resembling a quality win, unless you count the Golden Gophers' 28-24 triumph at Nebraska, which I don't. This one comes down to Minnesota's ability to run the ball, and I just can't seem them having a lot of success against Mizzou's dominant D-line, which features three guys amped up to play their last collegiate football game, assuming Shane Ray leaves early to be a top 10 pick in the draft. Tigers cover.
JM: Shane Ray, Missouri's answer to Ndamukong Suh. Man, I hope he fills your heart with pride. But that's neither here nor there. I like Minnesota a lot. Jerry Kill's doing good things, and let's not beat around the bush: they're a quality team. But the Tigers are going to cover.
|Thursday, 4:00 P.m.
Rose Bowl, Pasadena CA
LT: Marcus Mariota vs. Jameis Winston. I'm pretty sure that's all this game is, based on the previews I've seen. Mariota probably wins that battle, but when you add the Ducks' other dynamic weapons on offense and their underrated defense, it may not be all that close. Honestly, I'm shocked this line has gotten smaller since it opened, but maybe that's all the delusional Seminole fans. Florida State will finally be exposed and even Winston won't be able to make the comeback this time. Ducks cover.
JM: Man, can you just imagine if this game plays out like, you know, every other Florida State game this year? Oregon would be up by 40 at halftime. And that's the biggest problem here for the Seminoles. That first-half lack of effort isn't going to fly against the Ducks, because they'll bury Florida State so deep that even Frank Reich couldn't climb out of that hole. Puddles covers.
|Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Superdome, New Orleans LA
LT: Two lines of more than a touchdown in our first-ever semifinals? I sure hope things are more interesting than that. Sadly, I'm afraid they won't be. Alabama's offense may not be that good outside of Amari Cooper, but he's basically unstoppable and Ohio State is sending its third-string quarterback against one of the best defenses in the country. That's a recipe for disaster. Crimson Tide covers.
JM: Meh. Ohio State will show some life, but it won't be enough. Roll Tide.
Next: We look at all the useless bowls after New Year's (not the Alamo Bowl, of course) and also that newfangled championship game thing.