It's all about quality teams from power conferences today, as it should be on New Year's Day. Sit back, relax and enjoy some football, maybe while laughing at the picks Jon and I made below for Entertainment Purposes Only.
I'm losing by a lot and I don't really want to talk about it.
(Editor's note: Unfortunately for Luke, because there's only one difference among today's set of picks and Jon has an eight-game lead after last night's playoff semifinals, the title has been clinched. Jon is currently 87-82-2 to Luke's 79-90-2. Jon is legitimately and sincerely hoping Luke doesn't miss another pick. Unless he picks Arkansas tomorrow.
|11:00 AM, Friday, Jan 1, 2016
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa FL
10-2, 6-2 B10
LT: Tennessee was one of those teams all year that always seemed to be competitive and trip over itself at exactly the wrong moments. Northwestern, meanwhile, got a ton of mileage out of a season-opening win over Stanford and then got blown out the only two times (Michigan and Iowa) it played competent teams. Apparently Vegas fell for the mirage, too, so even if the Vols choke in the end, that spread is far too large. UT covers.
JM: I'm at a loss here. I can't even begin to fathom that line. Northwestern is not that good, and they've been criminally overrated by everyone who isn't a computer for months. Tennessee, meanwhile, has been underrated; they've been a top-40 or better team the entire regular season, but rarely even received token votes in the polls. This is a classic mismatch of perception vs reality. Vols cover.
|NOON, Friday, Jan 1, 2016
BUFFALO WILD WINGS CITRUS BOWL
Citrus Bowl, Orlando FL
9-3, 6-2 B10
10-3, 7-1 SEC
LT: Did Florida get an offense over the last month? No, they did not, and the Wolverines have a competent defense, which is really all they need to shut down the Gators at this point. Michigan covers.
JM: Even Spencer Hall is already getting drunk, waiting to watch his beloved Gators get trucked. I know. I saw it on Twitter. Wolverines cover.
|NOON, Friday, Jan 1, 2016
BATTLEFROG FIESTA BOWL
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale AZ
|(7) Ohio State
11-1, 7-1 B10
|-6.5||(8) Notre Dame
LT: Ohio State certainly appears to be the better team here, but this is one of those games where I think Notre Dame has more motivation. The Buckeyes expected to be in the playoff, and the Fighting Irish want to prove they don't always lose in bowl games. Plus, Notre Dame's defense really is good enough to cause some problems for an inconsistent Ohio State offense. ND covers.
JM: You might thing I'm just throwing Luke a bone here, potentially extending the suspense if he manages to hit this one. But no; I think Ohio State actually is the better team, and I think they are by enough to make up that pointspread. Buckeyes cover.
|4:00 PM, Friday, Jan 1, 2016
ROSE BOWL GAME PRESENTED BY NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL
Rose Bowl, Pasadena CA
12-1, 8-0 B10
11-2, 8-1 P12
LT: Iowa proved its legitimacy in the Big Ten championship game. The Hawkeyes actually have a good football team. However, Stanford is quite good, too, and Christian McCaffrey probably wants to prove he should have won the Heisman. Honestly, though, I'm starting to wonder about the legitimacy of the Pac-12, and Stanford doesn't really have the passing attack to take advantage of a mediocre Iowa secondary. That spread is starting to look awfully large. Hawkeyes cover.
JM: Yeah. I hate to say it, and I mean really hate it, but Iowa's the better team. Luke covered my reasons. Iowa covers.
|7:30 PM, Friday, Jan 1, 2016
ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans LA
|(13) Oklahoma State
10-2, 7-2 B12
9-3, 6-2 SEC
LT: Both of these teams have great passing attacks, poor running games and sketchy defenses. It should be a fascinating shootout. I'd love to see Ole Miss get destroyed by another Big 12 team, but that seems unlikely. Just like Ole Miss covering a touchdown spread. Cowboys cover.
JM: Somehow, despite the insanity surrounding the Nkemdiches, the line moved a half-point in Ole Miss's favor over the last month. Their defense has been eviscerated, after underperforming all year. Cowboys are going to cover. Probably even win.
Next: Luke's tired, Jon's sober. We're on the final lap. Time to bring it home.