Bowl Records:

1. Pizzola (5-2)

2. Webster (4-3)

3. Bottero (3-4)

4. Papa (2-5)


Little Caesars Pizza Bowl – Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky

  • Consensus Line: Western Kentucky -5.5, total 57
  • Public Action: 69% on Western Kentucky, 74% on the over

Pizzola: I’m not really sure what to do with this game. On one hand, Western Kentucky is clearly the superior team, but on the other hand, Central Michigan will have a big edge playing this game within their home state. The Chippewas ended the season in much better form than the Hilltoppers, and considering this is Western Kentucky’s first ever Bowl game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them start slowly. This isn’t much more than a small lean, but I’ll roll with the underdog.
Central Michigan +5.5

Webster: There are a lot of red flags for Western Kentucky heading into the Little Caesar’s Bowl. The first being that the coach that got the program back to prominence, Willie Taggert, left WKU to take the open head coaching vacancy at South Florida back in early December. I’m usually very wary about teams bouncing back after they get ditched by their coach; however, the Chippewas haven’t faced a squad as physical as the Hilltoppers this season. Western Kentucky ranks 12th in FBS with 7.24 tackles for losses per game. I think there’s good value with the Hilltoppers laying less than a touchdown here. Western Kentucky -5.5

Bottero: Western Kentucky does not enter this game in great form, having lost three of their final four games. Central Michigan won four of five to close out their schedule, but those wins came against low level competition like Akron and Massachusetts. The Hilltoppers allowed 30 or more points in four of their final six games, while the Chippewas scored 30 or more points in each of their final six games. I don’t love either side, but I think they will get their points. Antonio Andrews and Zurlon Tipton should both have big days on the ground. Over 57

Papa: There really isn’t much to look at here. It’s almost like walking by that one store in the mall that’s always empty. However, here are a few factors that might sway your decision should you decide to wager on this game. This is Western Kentucky’s first ever Bowl appearance, Central Michigan is technically playing a home game, and the Chippewas also boast a great running back in Zurlon Tipton. I’ll probably pass on this game but for the sake of making a pick so that you can fade me, I’m going to side with the dog here. Central Michigan +5.5


Military Bowl – Bowling Green vs. San Jose State

  • Consensus Line: San Jose State -7, total 43.5
  • Public Action: 66% on San Jose State, 57% on the over

Pizzola: I’ve actually watched a couple of San Jose State games this season and there’s no doubt that they’re a solid team. However, I’m really concerned about head coach Mike MacIntyre jumping ship to Colorado. We’ve seen this situation many times in the past where a head coach jumps to another team before their Bowl game, and things don’t tend to work out too well. I also wouldn’t be too comfortable backing the Spartans as a favorite considering they have to travel across the country to D.C. for this game. Teams tend to struggle when making cross-country road trips. Bowling Green has had a tough time with good defenses this season, but this looks like a solid spot for the Falcons. Bowling Green +7

Webster: As Pizzola mentioned, Mike MacIntyre bolted SJSU after a 10-2 season to take the Colorado job, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to bet against them. The Spartans put up stunning offensive numbers this season thanks to junior QB David Fales who ranked 7th in the nation with just under 3,800 yards through the air. However, the high flying San Jose offense will have their hands full against the 9th-ranked defense of the Falcons. I’m not really sure what comes out on top; a potent passing attack or a nasty defensive front, but I do know that it won’t be a pleasant day in D.C. on the 27th and that usually bodes well for the under. Under 43.5

Bottero: San Jose State enters this one riding a six-game winning streak, while Bowling Green has won seven of their last eight games. Bowling Green relies heavily on their defense which has allowed just 15.7 points per game on the year. MAC Defensive Player of the Year, and one of the best interior pass rushers in the nation, Chris Jones led the unit with 12.5 sacks from the defensive tackle position. Additionally, the Falcons have a defensive back on their roster named BooBoo Gates. I think that is reason enough to pick them. Bowling Green +7

Papa: This game smells a lot like the Toledo/Utah State game from earlier this Bowl season, and we all saw what Utah State did to Toledo in the second half of that game. San Jose State comes into this game ranked #24 in the nation and deservedly so. They finished the season 10-2 with big wins over BYU, San Diego State, and Louisiana Tech. This team loves to throw and I don’t think Bowling Green will be able to keep up. I think the Spartans run away with this one and win by at least two touchdowns. San Jose State -7


Belk Bowl – Cincinnati vs. Duke

  • Consensus Line: Cincinnati -7, total 60
  • Public Action: 64% on Cincinnati, 82% on the over

Pizzola: This total is too low. Both team’s offensive strengths just so happen to be the defensive weaknesses of the opposing squad. Cincinnati’s running game is solid; led by George Winn who accumulated 1,200 yards and 12 TDs on the ground this season. Add in the threat of a mobile quarterback and it would be no surprise to see the Bearcats pick up 250 yards on the ground here. On the other side of things, the Blue Devils figure to be able to move the ball through the air. Sean Renfree isn’t an elite quarterback but he’s pretty accurate and should be successful in running a dink-and-dunk style of offense here. I just don’t see where the stops are going to come from in this game. Both teams will easily score in the 30s. Over 60

Webster: Are we starting to see a pattern here? The Bearcats are yet another team with no head coach for their bowl game after Butch Jones left at the end of the regular season to take the Tennessee job. Cincy did manage to lure Tommy Tuberville away from lunch with Texas Tech recruits but Double T won’t be coaching the Bearcats come the 27th (surprise, surprise). Even with defensive line coach Steve Stripling taking the reigns for the Belk Bowl I don’t think Cincy will face much resistance from Duke. The Blue Devils should be commended for a great year, especially when you consider that since 2000 they’ve had 3 winless seasons. Still, I wouldn’t bet on Duke as underdogs if they were playing this game at Cameron Indoor Arena. Cincinnati -7

Bottero: The Blue Devils lost each of their final four games, but motivation will not be a factor here as the team is playing in their first bowl game since 1995. The team’s defense was a big reason for their late season collapse as the unit allowed an average of 49.5 points over their final four games. Seniors Brendon Kay and George Winn will have little trouble moving the Bearcat offense. Sean Renfree will have to be efficient through the air to keep up and he’s fully capable of doing so. Over 60

Papa: There were two conferences I stayed away from wagering this year; the Big East and the ACC. Like the New Orleans Bowl, the public is hammering the over in this one at over 80%. I can’t disagree with that. I’m such a square. Over 60


Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl – Baylor vs. UCLA

  • Consensus Line: UCLA -1, total 81.5
  • Public Action: 61% on UCLA, 51% on the over

Pizzola: Another low total. Yes, 81.5 is a low total for this one. UCLA will try to not to get into a shootout with Baylor, but in the end, they just don’t have the defense to get consistent stops. Nick Florence did an admirable job of replacing Robert Griffin III at Baylor, and with an outstanding receiving corps, Florence should be able to disect a subpar Bruins’ secondary all night long. UCLA’s strength on defense is getting to the quarterback, but Florence was sacked only 16 times in 451 dropbacks this season, so that shouldn’t be much of an issue. Meanwhile, Baylor’s porous defense stands no chance of stopping the Bruins offense. The Bears can’t stop the run and they’re even worse at defending the pass, so Brett Hundley should be able to comfortably lead his team to at least seven touchdowns. Shootout alert. Over 81.5

Webster: Finally, finally, finally a big time Bowl matchup and what a game this one will be. Baylor was absolutely sick on offense again this season, even without RG3 under center. The Bears offense ranked first in the nation this year averaging over 575 yards per contest. On the other side, Jonathan Franklin became the all-time leading rusher in Bruins’ history with 4,369 yards over his four years in L.A. I think that this game will come down to momentum. The Bears, after stumbling in the middle of the season, have rebounded very well down the stretch with wins over Kansas State (who were ranked #1 at the time), Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State. Meanwhile, UCLA lost two heartbreakers in a row to Stanford at the end of the year. Jim Mora Jr. is a great coach and all but getting your players’ heads back into a good place after those losses is easier said than done. Baylor +1

Bottero: Baylor’s trip to the Alamo Bowl a year ago netted 123 points. Robert Griffin III has moved on to the NFL, but Nick Florence has filled in nicely, leading the nation with 387.7 yards of total offense per game. He has developed a nice rapport with Terrance Williams, and the two should be busy on this day. Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin have the Bruin offense humming as well. The team scored an average of 49.3 points in their three games prior to back-to-back meetings with Stanford. Over 81.5

Papa: I can’t sum things up any better than Pizzola and Bottero. Over 81.5


AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl – Ohio vs. UL-Monroe

  • Consensus Line: UL-Monroe -7, total 61
  • Public Action: 62% on UL-Monroe, 83% on the over

Pizzola: This game has all the makings of a blowout. Ohio was brutal down the stretch this season, losing four of their last five games. Bobcats’ quarterback Tyler Tettleton really struggled towards the end of the year and wasn’t able to duplicate his success from a year ago. Ohio will be able to move the ball, but not enough to keep up with the Warhawks. Ohio’s pass defense is subpar and they have virtually no hope of limiting UL-Monroe’s aerial attack. Add in the fact that the Warhawks have been playing decent teams all season while the Bobcats have been beating up on lemons, and you have a recipe for a three-touchdown victory. UL-Monroe -7

Webster: Maybe I’m not really reading into the subtleties of this game but on paper this one seems pretty simple. Louisiana-Monroe has a couple of wins since November 1st, Ohio does not. The Warhawks throw the ball very well, averaging just under 300 yards per game through the air. The Bobcats give up an average of 230 yards passing per game. When Louisiana-Monroe wins, they usually win big, while Ohio is just 1-7 against the spread in their last 8 games. Maybe I’m missing something but I really like the Warhawks in this one. UL-Monroe -7

Bottero: Louisiana-Monroe will not have any trouble finding motivation as this is the program’s first Bowl game. Kolton Browning leads an exciting Warhawk offense that averaged 35.5 points per game in the regular season. He’ll oppose Tyler Tettleton who led an ultra-efficient Bobcat offense that features 1,500 yard rusher Beau Blankenship. The total for this game would be much higher if Louisiana Tech had accepted their invitation to participate in this game, but these teams should still put up their fair share of points. Over 61

Papa: Personally I think there are way too many MAC teams that play in Bowl games (7) and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all of them were/are underdogs in each of their games. Nonetheless, it’s a Bowl game and that’s what makes this time of year exciting. As long as there is a college football game to watch, I’ll do what I can to watch it.  However, in this case, I think I might have better things to do like figure out why there are so many MAC teams in Bowl games. 90% of the public is on the OVER in this one so again, like the square that I am, I’m going to follow suit. Over 61


Russell Athletic Bowl – Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech

  • Consensus Line: Virginia Tech -2.5, total 41
  • Public Action: 63% on Rutgers, 70% on the over

Pizzola: This total looks extremely low for a college football game, but don’t be fooled. I don’t see how either team gets into the 20s here. Both teams have rock solid defenses, but more importantly, both defenses are rock solid in the red zone, meaning that Rutgers and Virginia Tech will be settling for field goals whenever they’re miraculously able to move the ball. Both teams ended the year in disappointing fashion which means that neither team will be too motivated here. I don’t know who’s going to win this game but a 13-10 final seems about right. Under 41

Webster: Virginia Tech is an incredible story. They’ve reached a bowl game in their last 20 seasons, becoming just the sixth team ever in college football to make it to the post-season in 20 consecutive years. However, they BARELY got in this year needing two wins at the end of the season just to make it. Meanwhile, Rutgers had a chance to make it to a BCS Bowl game before losing their last two and eventually getting relegated to the Russell Athletic Bowl. VT is laying two-and-a-half points here and that’s great news because I’m all over the Scarlet Knights in this one. Rutgers has a lock down defense that ranks fifth in the country in points against and Hokies QB Logan Thomas has been inconsistent to say the least. I like Rutgers to snap their 11-game losing streak to Virginia Tech. Rutgers +2.5

Bottero: I flirted with the idea of selecting Rutgers, but instead I will take the under. Motivation could be an issue for the Scarlet Knights as they fumbled away a BCS bid. The team ranks fourth in the nation in scoring defense, but have been held back by an inconsistent offense. The team scored an average of only 11.0 points in their last three games. The Hokies are favored in this game based on name recognition, and that alone. The team needed wins in their final two games just to become bowl eligible. Under 41

Papa: Rutgers was one win away from earning the automatic Big East bid for a BCS Bowl game, losing their last two games of the year to Pitt and Louisville. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the Scarlet Knights come out flat in this one. If there is one thing that Rutgers does well, it’s their ability to play defense and hold opposing teams to an average of 14.3 points per game. That’s good enough for me to play the under in this one. Under 41


Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas – Minnesota vs. Texas Tech

  • Consensus Line: Texas Tech -13, total 56.5
  • Public Action: 80% on Texas Tech, 81% on the over

Pizzola: I really don’t have much of a feel for this game. At first glance, this looks like a game that Texas Tech wins by 35 points, but after much deliberation, I’m going to side with the Gophers. Texas Tech had their head coach and offensive coordinator bolt for other programs after the season, which will undoubtedly have an effect on the outcome of this game. I also didn’t like the way that they closed out the year, losing four of their last five games, with their lone win coming against 1-11 Kansas in double overtime. Defensively, the Red Raiders were in complete shambles down the stretch. Minnesota isn’t likely to move the ball with much success but I think they can score into the 20s and keep this score respectable. It’s only a lean but I’ll take the big, ugly dog. Minnesota +13

Webster: Let’s wrap up this round of picks with another game featuring a head coach-less team. After Tommy Tuberville left for the greener pastures of Cincinnati, the Red Raiders will have offensive line coach Chris Thomsen in charge when they face the Golden Gophers. Both of these teams didn’t exactly set the world on fire down the stretch combining for a whopping five wins since the start of October, but the good news is they both allow a ton of points. With a total under 60 points, I think that it’s basically a no brainer to hammer the over in this one. Over 56.5

Bottero: The Red Raiders are in the habit of playing exciting Bowl games in which points are not hard to come by. The departures of Tommy Tuberville and Neal Brown hurt, but senior quarterback Seth Doege is still around. The Golden Gophers have not been lighting up scoreboards this year, but when they get MarQueis Gray involved in the offense things get a little more interesting. The team should find some success against a Texas Tech defense that allowed 111 points in their final two games. Over 56.5

Papa: I’m a big fan of both the Big Ten and Big 12 football, and it’s probably because they have enough egos to name each of their conferences with Big! Minnesota faces a big challenge playing in Houston and the biggest question here is if they can keep up with Texas Tech’s high powered offense. Big Papa says no. Texas Tech -13


The fourth edition of our Bowl previews will be posted on Friday, December 28.

It will include:

  • Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl – Air Force vs. Rice
  • New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Syracuse vs. West Virginia
  • Kraft Fight Hunter Bowl – Arizona State vs. Navy
  • Valero Alamo Bowl – Oregon State vs. Texas
  • Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl – Michigan State vs. TCU
Until then, good luck!