Luke went 3-2 on Saturday, while I went 2-3. Thanks for giving up that safety and then not scoring a touchdown to end the game, Appalachian State.
We'll get right on with this set of picks.
|1:30 PM, Monday, Dec 21, 2015
MIAMI BEACH BOWL
Marlins Park, Miami FL
|(25) Western Kentucky
11-2, 8-0 CUSA
|-2.5||(rv) South Florida
8-4, 6-2 AAC
JM: First, let's be clear: Willie Taggart did a fantastic job in Tampa this year, and it looks like he's got the program back on track after things mysteriously and inexplicably went south under Skip Holtz -- who, in turn, has done good things at Louisiana Tech. It's sort of the prototypical example of how sometimes you just have the wrong coach with the wrong administration at the wrong program.
But the Bulls are up against a team which clearly outclassed their conference this year. After losing to Indiana in a shootout back in September, the only team the Hilltoppers didn't flat blow out was LSU. Brandon Doughty is a weapon of pass destruction. Western Kentucky covers.
LT: Yeah, Western Kentucky is really good and Mr. Doughty will probably get drafted next April. If it's anything like last year's WKU bowl game, you'll want to tune in. If you've forgotten, that was the one where the Hilltoppers dominated for three quarters, then fell asleep as Central Michigan scored five touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including the last on a crazy lateral play. However, their bold two-point conversion attempt failed and WKU escaped with a 49-48 victory. They shouldn't need that drama this time. Hilltoppers cover.
|2:30 PM, Tuesday, Dec 22, 2015
FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Albertsons Stadium, Boise ID
7-5, 5-3 MAC
6-6, 5-3 MWC
JM: Utah State had a rough year, but I'm sorry. I just can't take Akron seriously enough to pick them. Aggies cover.
LT: The first Kansas State game I ever went to was in 1995, when the 'Cats beat Akron 67-0. Perhaps because of that experience, I too have trouble taking Akron seriously. And yet, I've got some catching up to do against Jon, the Zips have won four in a row (against awful competition) and that's a rather large spread for a team that lost three of its last four. I'll take a flier here and say Akron finds a way to cover, because bowl season is crazy.
|6:00 PM, Tuesday, Dec 22, 2015
MARMOT BOCA RATON BOWL
FAU Stadium, Boca Raton FL
10-3, 7-1 AAC
9-2, 6-2 MAC
JM: There are a couple of games prior to this one which are must-watch games because of what they represent (Las Vegas) or because you just know they're going to be fireworks displays (Miami Beach). But this is the first one you have to watch simply out of respect for both teams. Both squads were, at some point this season, legitimate threats to be playing the Peach Bowl instead. Both teams have legit wins on the ledger. Both teams, simply put, are good. It's a hard call, but I think Temple's defense does the job here. Owls cover.
LT: What Jon didn't mention there is because of how their seasons went, both of these teams might be unhappy to be here and just not show up for this one. Hopefully not, because it would be nice to see a good game, but I'd rather give one of these two teams a chance to knock off a mediocre Power 5 team in an "upset" that wouldn't be a real upset at all. Alas, the winner of this game won't get the credit they deserve for a solid season.
But since it's impossible to predict the mental state of college athletes going into this game, we'll look at these two teams on their merits. Yes, Temple's defense is good, but Toledo can be pretty stout as well. Their one weakness comes against the pass, but Owls quarterback P.J. Walker didn't exactly have a standout season. I think the Rockets cover.
|3:30 PM, Wednesday, Dec 23, 2015
SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego CA
8-5, 6-2 MAC
8-4, 5-3 MWC
JM: I am really not down with Northern Illinois this year. Boise had its problems, sure, but I still think they're going to cover here.
LT: Sure, the Huskies weren't great, but until the MAC championship against Bowling Green and the genius of Dino Babers, NIU never lost by more than 10 and only lost by a touchdown once. The Huskies actually had a pretty good pass defense most of the season and this isn't quite the Boise air attack of old. Broncos may still win, but NIU covers.
|7:00 PM, Wednesday, Dec 23, 2015
Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile AL
8-4, 6-2 SBC
|+7.5||(rv) Bowling Green
10-3, 7-1 MAC
JM: This is like fire vs. water. Kennedy vs. Nixon. Syracuse vs. Tulane. Two really decent teams, with their head coaches already on the move elsewhere, and two styles which are so different it's almost not even the same sport. Generally when you have two offenses which are both explosive in completely divergent ways, it comes down to the defenses. Bowling Green gives up 161.6 yards per game on the ground, which is not really outstanding. Georgia Southern only allows 204 in the air, which isn't bad at all. And that, I think, is enough of an edge for the Eagles to at least cover.
LT: Nope, I'm just not betting against Dino Babers, whether it's money or pride at stake. He's too good and, quite frankly, too cool. Also, Syracuse > Tulane and Sun Belt football is terrible. Remember how their undefeated champion, Arkansas State, got crushed by Louisiana Tech on Saturday? Falcons cover.
Next: Luke again grabs the reins, leading us into the first half of the Saturday's Boxing Day extravaganza.