We can't give you an update on how we're doing, as at the time we're posting this one of the games from the previous FEPO post is still underway and two others haven't even started yet. Of course, since Luke and I agreed on everything in that post, I am still leading by six games with 27 to go.
Sensing this, Luke has disagreed with me on three of today's five picks. If he's lucky, he'll cut that to three games back with 22 to go. If he's the opposite of that... well, nine games back with 22 to go is a pretty steep hill to climb, and a less ethical competitor would just pick the same team Luke does in the games Luke picks first over the second half of Bowl FEPO.
Fortunately for Luke, and for you lot, I'm trying to get my winning percentage above the magical 55% line which indicates "I'd have won money betting the same amount on every game we picked this year". But enough of that. On with today's selections:
|2:30 PM, Saturday, Dec 26, 2015
NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL
Yankee Stadium, Bronx NY
7-5, 4-4 ACC
6-6, 2-6 B10
Indiana is Indiana. They're prone to looking really good, then looking awful. And Duke? Remember when they were ranked? Remember when they were 6-1? That's some Texas Tech-level faceplanting right there, I tell you what. By the end, Duke had to struggle to beat Wake Forest. Then again, Indiana struggled to beat Wake Forest earlier in the year. Ultimately, I guess Indiana had the best win by either team (Western Kentucky), so I'll go with the Hoosiers to cover.
LT: The name Indiana still haunts me a little, I really dislike the Big Ten, and the Hoosiers have a miserable history in bowls. So does Duke, but I've got a lot of catching up to do, so we're just going to ignore that. I'm taking Duke to cover, despite all the red flags.
|4:45 PM, Saturday, Dec 26, 2015
CAMPING WORLD INDEPENDENCE BOWL
Independence Stadium, Shreveport LA
6-6, 4-4 ACC
6-6, 3-6 AAC
JM: This is a fun one, because Luke will be covering it for his Real Job, which means Luke will get the chance to ask Frank Beamer questions after his last game as a head coach. He'll be asking him questions about a win, but I don't think he'll be asking questions about a 13-point win. Tulsa's got no defense, but their offense is explosive. Virginia Tech's offense is... not. That's a recipe for a Tulsa cover.
LT: That's true, and Frank Beamer is one of the very few people that could make me kind of sad I didn't spend Christmas in Shreveport, where I would have gotten to ask him questions before the game as well. He probably would have said something like, "Well, Luke, here's what I think" because he always addressed people by name. Anyway, I'm a sucker for emotional motivation, particularly bowl games, and if you don't think VT will be playing with a little bit of extra passion for its coach, you're crazy. Hokies cover.
|8:15 PM, Saturday, Dec 26, 2015
FOSTER FARMS BOWL
Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara CA
5-7, 3-5 B10
8-4, 5-4 P12
JM: Nebraska's horrific pass defense against Josh Rosen? I don't even have to make excuses to pick against the Huskers here. UCLA covers.
LT: The lone concern, of course, is that the Huskers only lost by more than 6.5 points twice this season. Then again, one of those games came at Purdue, which essentially makes that argument invalid. I wish the UCLA rush defense were better, but the Bruins' secondary should make it difficult for Nebraska to move the ball through the air. That means when the Huskers fall behind, it could get ugly. UCLA covers.
|1:30 PM, Monday, Dec 28, 2015
MILITARY BOWL PRESENTED BY NORTHRUP GRUMMAN
Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, Annapolis MD
8-4, 6-2 ACC
9-2, 7-1 AAC
JM: It was a nice season for Pitt under new head coach Tom Narduzzi. He's got them going in the right direction. The problem I'm having here is that Pitt has played to the level of their competition all season. They put up good fights against North Carolina and Notre Dame. They let teams like Syracuse and Virginia stay in the game right to the final whistle. Maddening, and worse it means you can't assume anything about how they'll match up with Navy. But since the game is basically right there in Navy's back yard, I'll take the Middies to cover.
LT: Don't forget senior quarterback Keenan Reynolds will be out to prove in his last game that he should have been invited to make a helicopter trip to New York City, and Pittsburgh's run defense was decent, but not great. The Panthers haven't seen anything like the Midshipmen's attack, and a remarkably young Pitt team won't have the same motivation or experience as Navy's seniors. Navy covers.
|4:00 PM, Monday, Dec 28, 2015
QUICK LANE BOWL
Ford Field, Detroit MI
7-5, 6-2 MAC
5-7, 2-6 B10
JM: We joke about Minnesota, but Central Michigan isn't really that good this year, and that line is too small. Minnesota's losses were by and large to teams that were simply better; the Gophers had to face Michigan and Ohio State, and also lost to Iowa, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and TCU. Those are six games that nearly anyone not in the College Football Playoff could have lost. The only actual black mark on their record was losing to Nebraska. Minnesota should cover.
LT: Minnesota got shut out at Northwestern. That seems like a black mark to me, even if we're still pretending those Purple Wildcats are a good football team. The Gophers have lost seven straight bowl games, and this just seems like the kind of matchup where Central Michigan will care a lot more, plus the Chippewas won six of their last seven while Minnesota lost five of its last six. Jon's probably right the Gophers are more talented, but CMU covers.
Next: Luke takes over again to lead into the heart of the week and the first of the Big Boy Bowls.