1. Webster (2-0)

T2. Pizzola (1-1)

T2. Bottero (1-1)

4. Papa (0-2), early fade material!


San Diego County CU Poinsettia Bowl – BYU Cougars vs. San Diego State Aztecs

  • Consensus line: BYU -3.5, total 48
  • Public action: 56% on BYU, 62% on the under

Pizzola: I see this being a low-scoring game. The Aztecs love to run the football but their #2 tailback Walter Kazee is injured, which will leave them shorthanded against one of the best run defenses in the nation. They’ll struggle to move the ball with any sort of consistency. On the other side of things, BYU’s offense isn’t very consistent either and they don’t get much production from the quarterback position. The Cougars don’t score a lot of touchdowns and their kicking game is terrible, so I don’t see them getting into the 20s here. Essentially, I’m banking on BYU’s stout defense and horrible offense to make this a slow game filled with a lot of punting. Under 48

Webster: All over the Aztecs in this one. They’re playing in what is basically a home game, they’re getting points, they’re on a 7-game winning streak and BYU has serious question marks at the quarterback position. SDSU also features one of the best players in college football you’ve never heard about, running back Adam Muema, who is averaging over 6 yards per carry. Watching Muema cook will be worth the price of admission. Take the points. San Diego State +3.5

Bottero: BYU quarterback Riley Nelson is dealing with a rib injury, but the injuries that I think will have the greatest impact on this game occurred in October. Adam Dingwell has been fine in relief of Ryan Katz, but the Aztec offense hasn’t been what it was, and Taysom Hill’s running ability added a dimension to the Cougar offense that isn’t there when Nelson is under center. This game will be played at Qualcomm Stadium where the Aztecs allow only 19.4 points per game, while BYU ranks fifth in the nation in points allowed. Under 48

Papa: BYU has played a couple of stinkers this year which included a 7-6 loss at Boise State and a 6-3 win against Utah State at home. They also held Notre Dame to 17 points at South Bend in a game they could have easily won. BYU has a great defense and have proven that they can keep opposing offenses in check on the road. Technically, this is a home game for SDSU but BYU fans travel well and if they represent like they did at Notre Dame, SDSU’s advantage might not be as significant. BYU is capable of playing at a slow tempo, and I think there’s a good chance they slow things down against SDSU in this rivalry game. Under 48

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl – Ball State Cardinals vs. UCF Golden Knights

  • Consensus line: UCF -7, total 62
  • Public action: 64% on Ball State, 82% on the over

Pizzola: I really have no idea what to do with this game. Normally, I love backing underdogs, but Ball State is one of those teams that just loses games that they’re supposed to lose. The Cardinals have played a tougher schedule than UCF but that doesn’t really matter here. UCF is still steaming after their loss to Tulsa and they’ll take their frustration out on Ball State. After all, UCF has been beating the teams that they’re supposed to all year as well. At first glance, this number looks high, but I’d rather lay the points than grab them. UCF -7

Webster: I’m not going to sit here and lie to you saying that I’ve studied both Central Florida and Ball State all season long, I owe you more than that. I DID, however, watch Central Florida blow a lead and lose to Tulsa in the Conference USA Championship a few weeks ago in a game that featured one of the best punt return touchdowns this season. Do yourself a favor and watch it. Despite losing to Tulsa twice this season I think that UCF won’t have much trouble against a Ball State team that is 0-5 in bowl game history. UCF -7

Bottero: In honor of Ball State alum David Letterman here are the Top Three Jokes to Tell at the 2012 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl. Number three: What are the toughest six years of a UCF Knight’s life? 3rd grade. Number two: If two married UCF grads get divorced, are they still cousins? And the number one Joke to Tell at the 2012 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl: How many UCF Knights does it take to screw in a light bulb? All of them, and they get a semester’s credit for it. Ball State pulls off the upset. Ball State +7

Papa: Ball State is on a roll coming into this game finishing their season on a 6-game winning streak. Four of those wins were on the road and they were 5-1 ATS during that streak. This is Ball State’s first Bowl appearance in four years; they should be primed and ready to go. I’m going to ride the hot team here and gladly take the seven points being offered. Ball State +7


R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – East Carolina Pirates vs. UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns

  • Consensus line: UL-Lafayette -5, total 65
  • Public action: 72% on UL-Lafayette, 90% on the over

Pizzola: I know that the public is pounding the over and while I rarely follow suit, this total is way too low. East Carolina’s defense is atrocious across the board, so the Ragin’ Cajuns are probably going to score at will here. The Pirates know that they don’t stand a chance of winning this game unless they can match points, so they’ll do their best to take some shots down the field in the passing game. ECU doesn’t run the ball very effectively so expect to see a lot of passing, which in turn, means more scoring. Both teams can easily score into the 30s here. Over 65

Webster: First of all, I love the name the Ragin’ Cajuns… just had to get that out of the way. As for the game, both teams had respectable years for being 3rd tier programs and a 9th win would be a good step for both schools. I’m not sure which team will get that 9th win but I do know that both these teams put up a lot of points. While a total in the mid 60s might seem a little high, I think that these two might hit that number by halftime. Over 65

Bottero: Both teams are coming off three consecutive wins. I don’t think the winner in this game wins by more than a touchdown, which makes the Pirates look like a decent pick because they are the side getting points, but I will go with the over. East Carolina’s offense has not travelled well, but they ended the season on a roll. The Pirates scored 47.0 points per game in their final three games, while the Ragin’ Cajuns scored an average of 39.3 points in their final three. Over 65

Papa: As Pizzola mentioned, the public is hammering the over in this one and it’s hard to make a case against them. Both of these teams love to throw the ball and it’s only fitting that the Superdome is the venue for these two high octane offenses. The Pirates and the Ragin’ Canjuns in New Orleans for a Bowl game is a party planner’s dream and I’m sure we will see a good share of end zone partying in this one. Over 65


MAACO Bowl Las Vegas – Boise State Broncos vs. Washington Huskies

  • Consensus line: Boise State -5.5, total 45.5
  • Public action: 66% on Boise State, 51% on the under

Pizzola: This isn’t the same Boise State team from years past. Their rushing and passing offenses rank right in the middle of the pack nationally, and they’ll be in tough against a Washington defense that was able to shut down both Stanford and Oregon State this season. I’m tempted to take the points with the Huskies but I think the under is the safer play here. While I have a gut feeling that the Huskies will pull off the upset, I can easily see the Broncos defense limiting them to a couple of scores. In a game where both defenses are superior to the opposing offenses, I’ll ride the under. Under 45.5

Webster: I’m SO happy Boise State wasn’t close to finishing the season undefeated. The past four years when every sportswriter was whining about the Broncos not getting a shot at the National Title drove me nuts. They never deserved it, they never won against any team that mattered and Kellen Moore put up great numbers against lousy competition. Call me a hater, call me what you will, that’s just how I feel. That being said Boise State is very good and will blow the Huskies out of Sam Boyd Stadium. Boise State -5.5

Bottero: This is the third consecutive trip to the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas for the Broncos. Standouts like Kellen Moore, Doug Martin, and Titus Young have moved on to the NFL, and this is clearly a rebuilding year for Boise State, but I will always back Coach Petersen when he has extra time to prepare for an opponent. Keith Price has regressed in his junior season after throwing 33 touchdowns a year ago, and I expect his struggles to continue against a strong Boise State defense. Boise State -5.5

Papa: Boise ranks sixth in the FBS in Points Allowed (14.9), and Husky QB Keith Price has a TD/INT ratio of 18:11. Boise is also fourth best in the nation in the turnover margin department forcing 33 turnovers and only giving the ball away 18 times. There’s more, Boise State is only one of five teams in the nation to hold their opponents to less than 30 points. I don’t think Washington can contribute much to the 45.5 point total in this spot. The Broncos held Nevada to 21 points in their season finale, and Washington’s offense is nowhere near as powerful as Nevada’s. Under 45.5


Sheraton Hawaii Bowl – Fresno State Bulldogs vs. SMU Mustangs

  • Consensus line: Fresno State -12.5, total 59.5
  • Public action: 72% on Fresno State, 88% on the over

Pizzola: This is probably my favorite play of the Bowl season thus far. I don’t see SMU scoring a lot of points here. The Mustangs have a solid running back in Zach Line but the Bulldogs defense is smart and fast, and should be able to key on him for the majority of the game. SMU doesn’t figure to have much success moving the ball through the air against a Fresno State defense that’s ranked 17th nationally. The Bulldogs will get out to an early lead and try to avoid getting into a shootout by running out the clock as quickly as they can. This total is too high for this type of game. Under 59.5

Webster: Mustangs head coach June Jones deserves high marks for what he’s done with this Mustangs team over the past four years. Taking a perennial 1-win-per-season team to four straight bowl games is quite a feat, but beating Fresno State? That will take a herculean effort. The Bulldogs are led by QB Derek Carr who’s thrown 36 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions this season. Fresno State has won by at least eleven and a half points on their current 5-game win streak and I think that trend continues against SMU. Fresno State -12.5

Bottero: It is always tough to tell how teams will handle the trip to Hawaii, but the Bulldogs make this trip every other season so it should not be an issue for them. Fresno State has won each of their last five games by at least 16 points, while SMU needed to pull off an upset of Tulsa just to qualify for a bowl game. The Bulldogs are 11-1 against the spread on the year and 9-0 versus the number as favorites. I see Fresno State making short work of SMU in this one. Fresno State -12.5

Papa: Bottero hit the nail on the head. Trend #1: Fresno St. is 11-1 ATS this year, trend #2: Fresno is 9-0 ATS as favourites, and last but not least, Fresno is 7-0 ATS as a double-digit favorite. The line has moved to 12.5 since it opened at 10.5, but I have no problem laying the points here. I’m going to put a small play on Fresno State and try not to scoreboard watch during my Christmas Eve celebrations. This is definitely a “Follow This Game” option on my handy Score Mobile App. Fresno State -12.5


The 3rd Edition of our Bowl Previews will be posted on Monday, December 24.

It will include:

  • Little Caesars Pizza Bowl – Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky
  • Military Bowl – Bowling Green vs. San Jose State
  • Belk Bowl – Cincinnati vs. Duke
  • Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl – Baylor vs. UCLA
  • Advocare V100 Independence Bowl – Ohio vs. UL-Monroe
  • Russell Athletic Bowl – Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech
  • Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas – Minnesota vs. Texas Tech

Until then, good luck.