We project the traditional...and not so traditional...bowl match-ups.
Last Week: 3-3 ATS 5-1 SU
For the Year: 27-39 (.409) ATS 42-24 (.636) SU
We learned last week that there might be a massive conspiracy against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky fiasco, but there might also just be incompetent referees...
...that we might want to start giving David Shaw and Stanford some credit. Shaw's only home loss in two years is to Oregon, and while the loss to Washington earlier this year was terrible, the Cardinal still control their own destiny to the Rose Bowl...
...that yes, Texas A&M can hold on to a lead. While the win at Alabama was very impressive, I'm beginning to wonder if we all overrated the Tide a little bit based upon these past two weeks. But still, since 2008 Alabama has only lost three games at home, to Auburn in 2010 (won the national championship), LSU in 2011 (played for the national championship) and now the Aggies in 2012. Rarified air, indeed.
...we learned that Mike Stoops sounds a bit ridiculous when after Oklahoma's 42-34 victory over Baylor, he said "we take things personal", of course referring to Baylor's win over Oklahoma last season. Mind you, this was AFTER his defense gave up 34 points, 252 yards rushing, 25 first downs and 3 touchdowns to Lache Seastrunk...
...we learned that Kansas State CAN give up a touchdown after turning the ball over on offense, but it will come in the final minute with a significant lead. Collin Klein wasn't sharp in the least bit, but the game was still never in doubt.
And finally, we learned that sometimes in order to honor a legend, you have to give a modern interpretation. Besides, if you look close and squint both eyes, you can almost see Street to Peschel.
Sadly enough we are nearing the end of the college football regular season, but the silver lining is that bowl season nears, where you suddenly become an expert of the Central Michigan Chippewas as you fill out your office pool. Well let's get a head start on the competition by trying to sort out who might be going to what bowl this season...
The Bob Knight Bowl: Mike Leach vs. Tommy Tuberville
Mike Leach was run out of Lubbock for allegations about his treatment of Craig James's son, and now Washington State's best player, Marquess Wilson, has left the team and accused the coaching staff of mistreatment. Tommy Tuberville, of course, was shown knocking the headset off of a grad assistant this past weekend. And Billy Gillispie was run out of town after a year leading the Texas Tech basketball team due to similar accusations. And, of course, Tech hired Bobby Knight after he left Indiana. Perhaps Tech's next coaching hire should be Jason Garrett?
THE SEC BCS Championship Bowl: Alabama vs. Georgia
Refusing to give up their six year streak of national champions, the SEC calls the SEC game the "national championship". CBS, looking for ratings, refuses to acknowledge other games that day. ESPN, seeing an opportunity to talk about the SEC, Tim Tebow and piss off their viewers, decides to join in on the fun as well, sending College Gameday and makes their own crystal trophy, made from Lee Corso's very own china cabinet.
The SEC is Overrated, CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP Bowl: Florida vs. Georgia vs. South Carolina
After losing to Alabama, Georgia joins into this Royal Rumble, featuring teams that are ranked in the Top 10 of the BCS despite their out of conference opponents being a combined 27-32 at this point in the season.
The Fish Bowl: Johnny Manziel vs. Marcus Mariota
Johnny Football is the name you've heard all season, and by now you are about to throw the car radio out of the vehicle, but Manziel has been impressive, no doubt. He's thrown for 2780 yards with 18 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, as well as running for 1014 more yards with 15 touchdowns. But where is the hype for Marcus Mariota? He's thrown for 2164 yards, 28 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, as well as rushed for 516 yards and 3 touchdowns. Okay, his numbers aren't as good, but his team is 10-0 and could be headed for the BCS Championship game, while Manziel's is 8-2 and excited about the Cotton Bowl.
The Prognosticator Bowl: Nate Silver vs. HornMafia
The Gene Chizik Bowl: Gene Chizik vs. Mike Brown
While the Lakers coach was fired after five games this season, Gene Chizik won a national championship 22 months ago and now appears to be on the way out at 2-8 Auburn...with good reason. Chizik is a legend here, earning the right to keep his name on this trophy for a long, long time.
The Holiday Bowl: TCU vs. UCLA
Well if nothing else there should be some attractive ladies in the ESPN crowd shots.
The Meineke Car Care Bowl: Minnesota vs. West Virginia
The two schools that sell beer in their stadium meet in Houston, which will be more concerned about the NFL playoffs starting than any sort of bowl game in their town. They should just move it to a home and home series so at least people get to drink beer.
The Pinstripe Bowl: Syracuse vs. Iowa State
Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl is a tradition that goes back to 2011, while Iowa State doesn't know what to do in a game where they might be favored.
The Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Stanford
Alamo Bowl officials try to recreate the magic of last year's Fiesta Bowl, a 41-38 OT win for Oklahoma State. But they forget that Andrew Luck and Brandon Weeden have left, only to be replaced by Not As Good and Three Guys Is Almost Enough to Start Our Own Burger Chain.
The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Michigan State
This bowl would be a lot more exciting if no matter what happens, bowl officials could dictate what happened in the final minute, for example making a touchdown worth 13 points if Michigan State is down 13 on their final drive. It is a third-tier bowl game in December, who cares?
The Cotton Bowl: Texas vs. LSU
Deloss Dodds uses the Jedi Mind Trick to sway bowl officials to send Texas A&M to the Capital One Bowl or somesuch, while Corey Webster awakes in a cold sweat that morning screaming "Roy Williams!!!"
The Rose Bowl: Nebraska vs. Notre Dame
Notre Dame arrives here after losing to USC, or after beating USC, I guess it doesn't really matter. Bo Pelini does something to embarrass Nebraska, and they lose. Stop me if you've heard this before.
The Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Rutgers
Orange Bowl officials, frustrated with terrible match-ups and declining attendance, sends the Orange Bowl to Toronto in exchange for the rights to the defunct International Bowl.
The Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Clemson
Alabama sleep walks through another bowl game that isn't the national championship, while Clemson pulls a Clemson and loses to a team that is sleep walking through a game that isn't the national championship. Fans drink in Bourbon Street, unaware of what they witnessed, and too taken by the Hurricanes to care.
The Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Florida
Oklahoma makes it to the BCS despite three losses* (*spoiler alert) because they are Oklahoma and that is the luck they have. Mike Stoops says they take it personally when they back into a BCS Bowl, so Florida goes out and wins 3-2.
The BCS National Championship Game: Oregon vs. Kansas State
In what has been a volatile year for college football, I believe this is the third or fourth time I have projected a national championship match-up, and neither of these teams were in any projection. Oregon folds in a BCS game like they usually do, but they have pretty uniforms, Bill Snyder, having flashbacks to 1998, walks off the field, never to be seen again. Oregon wins, Kansas State re-hires Ron Prince just to see the Internet explode, and the Wildcats are never to be heard from again. Well until 2013, when they beat Texas in Austin despite losing every starter from the previous season.
On to the games...
Wake Forest @ Notre Dame -24:
This might be the very first time that Wake Forest has made this column in all my years of doing it, which tells you how bad the non-Big 12 slate is this week. Anyhow, Notre Dame is vying for their first undefeated home schedule in 14 years - and shouldn't find much resistance here. Wake has failed to score more than 20 points in 6 of their 10 games this year.
Notre Dame 27 Wake Forest 7
ATS - Wake Forest
SU - Notre Dame
USC -3 @ UCLA:
UCLA has beaten USC only once since 1999, a 13-6 victory in 2006. And it hasn't been pretty, a 50-0 USC victory a capper to the 158-35 USC edge since that game. But, there is reason for optimism in Westwood this week, as the Bruins ride a four-game winning streak into this matchup while USC has lost two of three.
I don't think it will matter much here, though. Until UCLA proves that the tide has changed, you have to go with the Trojans.
USC 37 UCLA 28
ATS - USC
SU - USC
Stanford @ Oregon -21:
My adoration for how Stanford has held up post-Harbaugh and post-Luck aside, they haven't fared well against Oregon the past two years - losing 53-30 in Palo Alto last year and 52-31 in Eugene the year before.
The Cardinal didn't play well defensively in a win against Arizona earlier this year, and while Oregon might be banged up, they're a tad bit better than the Wildcats.
Oregon 51 Stanford 28
ATS - Oregon
SU - Oregon
Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State -10.5:
Oklahoma State has won three straight in what has been a fun series. The Cowboys have three quarterbacks with conference wins this season - and we have no idea who might start under center on Saturday.
The Red Raiders have fallen off since their triple overtime victory over TCU on October 20th, losing to Kansas State and Texas and needing overtime to defeat Kansas last week. Oklahoma State has lost once since a September loss to Texas - a 44-30 defeat at the hands of Kansas State.
These appear to be two teams headed in the opposite direction.
Oklahoma State 48 Texas Tech 31
ATS - Oklahoma State
SU - Oklahoma State
Oklahoma -11 @ West Virginia:
What the hell West Virginia? They have now lost four in a row after starting out the season winning five in a row...and things don't look promising here as #12 Oklahoma comes to town...should be another easy win for the Sooners.
Oklahoma's recent problems away from Norman against any team but Texas has been well documented...and West Virginia is bound to win another one eventually, right?
West Virginia 38 Oklahoma 34
ATS - West Virginia
SU - West Virginia
Kansas State -13 @ Baylor:
Baylor has never beaten a team ranked #1 in the country, and likely won't do it here, either, even if I'm convinced that Kansas State will play an imperfect game at some point this season.
But, of course Baylor has massive problems defensively, and likely won't get any better when facing likely Heisman Trophy winner Collin Klein.
Again, you have to go with the hot hand here.
Kansas State 44 Baylor 23
ATS - Kansas State
SU - Kansas State
For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for Cotton Bowl tickets.