Bowl Records:

T1. Pizzola (9-7)

T1. Papa (9-7)

3. Webster (8-8)

4. Bottero (6-10), fade him away boys


Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl – NC State vs. Vanderbilt

  • Consensus Line: Vanderbilt -7, total 51.5
  • Public Action: 56% on Vanderbilt, 56% on the over

Pizzola: Maybe I’m missing something here, but how are the Commodores only favored by a touchdown? They’re playing this game in their home city and they match up extremely well both offensively and defensively with N.C. State. The Wolfpack are unable to run the football whatsoever which means they’ll have to rely on their aerial attack to move the football. The only problem? Vanderbilt has one of the best pass defenses in the nation. N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon has been sacked 33 times this season and he’s not going to like facing a stout SEC defense. The Commodores cruise to victory. Vanderbilt -7

Webster: I’d really like to go with the Wolfpack here… I really would… But there are some classic red flags popping up when I look at this one. N.C. State struggled so much in the last few seasons that they fired Tom O’Brien. Dana Bible steps into this one as the interim head coach and I always hate that when that happens. I also hate that this game is being played in Nashville which as Pizzola mentioned, is basically a home game for the Commodores. That’s more bad news for the Wolfpack. Finally, Vandy closed the season on a 6-game winning streak, covering the spread in five of those games. This one seems like a no-brainer, lay the points. Vanderbilt -7

Bottero: The Commodores have won six games in a row by an average margin of 24 points. The team’s offense is unspectacular but effective, and should benefit from good field position throughout the game. North Carolina State’s passing offense is one of the better units in the college football but they will face a Vanderbilt passing defense that ranks fifth in the nation. Mike Glennon will receive no help from the team’s running game, and that could spell trouble. Vanderbilt -7

Papa: The SEC finally makes it’s Bowl debut with Vandy as a seven-point favorite and I can’t help but fear a back door cover in this game. Both of these teams were extremely inconsistent this year and it’s hard for me to pick a side in this matchup. The only edge I can give is to Vanderbilt’s stout defense that played well against their SEC foes. I don’t think N.C. State’s offense will be able to manufacture too many points in this one. Under 51.5


Hyundai Sun Bowl – Georgia Tech vs. USC

  • Consensus Line: USC -7.5, total 62
  • Public Action: 54% on USC, 62% on the under

Pizzola: I really don’t have much of a feel for this game. USC’s seniors will probably want to go out with a bang but I can’t be 100% sure of that in a lousy Bowl matchup. Either way, Georgia Tech has always struggled to get their offense on track when opposing defenses have extra time to prepare. Under Paul Johnson, the Yellow Jackets are 27-9 when opponents have had only one week to prepare, but an appalling 8-16 when opponents have had more than one week to prep. USC’s offense will definitely suffer a bit without Matt Barkley but their defense should be able to limit Georgia Tech to a point total somewhere in the teens. I’ll lean with the Trojans. USC -7.5

Webster: Karma comes to mind when talking about USC’s season. Basically everything that could have gone wrong for the Trojans did and that’s why they’re playing Georgia Tech in a Bowl game named after a third rate Korean car rather than playing for the National Championship. I’d love to pick against the Trojans in this one; however, I’m not so confident that the Yellow Jackets can keep it close. I do think plenty of points are going to be scored though. It will take USC’s defense a little while to figure out the triple-option that Georgia Tech runs and Marqise Lee has been putting up monstrous numbers all season long. Look for this one to go over the total. Over 62

Bottero: The Trojans started the year ranked No. 1, but have disappointed on so many levels. Matt Barkley will miss his final collegiate game, but Max Wittek looked good in his lone start against Notre Dame and should fare well against a Georgia Tech defense that has allowed more than 40 points six times this season. Paul Johnson’s spread option offense should have success against a USC defense that has not lived up to expectations. Quarterback Tevin Washington has had a good career with the Yellow Jackets and should go out with a good game. Over 62

Papa: Despite their disappointing record, USC is a pretty good team. Wittek impressed me in his first career start against Notre Dame last month. He gave his team a chance to win and for the most part he showed a lot of poise and composure in the pocket. With a months worth of prep and practice under Wittek’s belt, I think he’ll do just fine. Even though Georgia Tech is on a bit of a roll, I really like USC in this spot, and I think laying 7.5 against a mediocre ACC team is great value. USC -7.5


AutoZone Liberty Bowl – Iowa State vs. Tulsa

  • Consensus Line: Iowa State -1.5, total 51
  • Public Action: 62% on Iowa State, 74% on the over

Pizzola: I have ZERO feel for this game. I’m not even going to bother breaking it down because I can’t provide any insight whatsoever. If I were setting the line and total for this game, I would have set them at the exact numbers that they’re at right now. Fading the public has been a winning strategy all bowl season, so I’ll go with the big anti-public play here. Under 51

Webster: Tulsa had a great 2012 season, winning ten games and making it to the Liberty Bowl. Iowa State? Well, I’m sure they’d love to forget this year. The Cyclones got pounded in the Big 12 winning just three conference games. They also went just 1-3 down the stretch covering just once in their final four games. Meanwhile, the Golden Hurricane were pretty great straight up and against the spread all year. They’ll try to match a school record with 11 wins in this one and they’ll try and do it by avenging a loss to Iowa State that they suffered in the first game of the season. I love Tulsa in this one. Tulsa +1.5

Bottero: Nearly four full months have passed since these teams last met, but how much has really changed since then? Iowa State had to overcome a nine-point first quarter deficit in their season opener against Tulsa, but still came away with a 38-23 victory. The team has moved quarterbacks in and out of the starting role all year and they have landed on Sam Richardson who has looked like the best of the bunch. The redshirt freshman threw seven touchdowns without an interception in the final two games of the season. Iowa State -1.5

Papa: I don’t know what to make of this game, and I don’t know why ESPN decided to play this game on New Year’s Eve, but what do I know. Iowa State beat Tulsa in the first week of the season 38-23 in Ames and I’m sure that’s the motivation that Tulsa will use to prepare for this rematch. The Cyclones have faced off against a number of quality programs from the Big 12 this year including a big win against Baylor in late October.  They also upset TCU on the road and held their own against Kansas State. Tulsa, on the other hand, did not face one ranked team this season which is probably why they finished 10-3. Let’s face it, Conference USA football isn’t as competitive as the Big 12 and despite the added revenge incentive that Tulsa holds, I can’t see them winning this game. Iowa State -1.5


Chick-fil-A Bowl – Clemson vs. LSU

  • Consensus Line: LSU -6, total 59
  • Public Action: 76% on LSU, 78% on the under

Pizzola: I might be the lone wolf taking Clemson here but I really think that this game will be close from start to finish. Clemson boasts a top-10 offense and LSU boasts a top-1o defense, so something’s gotta give, but here’s the thing that people are failing to look at in this game; Clemson’s offense is the best in the nation in the red zone. You’d figure that LSU would have a strong red zone defense, but they’re actually in the lower half of the NCAA in that category. I know that I can rely on Clemson to score TDs when they get into the red zone but I can’t say the same for LSU. A victory would be HUGE for this Clemson program and I’ll gladly grab the points. Clemson +6

Webster: Apart from the National Championship game and Oregon-Kansas State, this is the Bowl game that I’m most looking forward to. What a classic match up between Les Miles’ stout Tigers defense and a potent Clemson offense led by one of the most dynamic athletes playing quarterback in the game today, Tajh Boyd. I don’t know what else you could ask for in a Bowl game on New Year’s Eve. With both teams so evenly matched this is a tough one to figure out, so I’ve decided to look at past bowl game performances. When you peer into the past, the outcome of the present gets a little clearer. Clemson is a woeful 1-7 ATS in their last eight bowl games while LSU is 5-2 straight up under Les Miles in the postseason, covering in five of those games. I think the Tigers get up for this one and stop Boyd. LSU -6

Bottero: Steve Spurrier must have chuckled when this matchup was announced. Clemson has plenty of weapons on offense, while LSU has Zach Mettenberger, sothe team will have to rely on its stable of backs. Clemson’s record was built up mainly against lesser competition, and they went on to lose their final game of the season against South Carolina. In spite of that, I think Clemson is too strong offensively to be shut down, even by LSU. If they can hit around 20 points, LSU won’t have the offensive firepower to build up enough of a margin to cover the spread. Clemson +6

Papa: There’s no question that Clemson can score; they put up at least thirty-seven points in each of their ten wins this year. LSU, on the other hand, is a strong defensive team that can grind it out and play tough, physical defense. They ranked amongst the best in the nation in points allowed and held teams like Alabama, South Carolina and Florida to less than 23 points. I’m going to use Clemson’s last game against South Carolina as a measuring stick to make my pick.  Clemson was held to only 17 points in that game and allowed South Carolina backup quarterback Dylan Thompson to throw for three touchdowns. LSU should run away with this one easily, proving that the ACC is no match against SEC football. LSU -6


Heart of Dallas Bowl – Purdue vs. Oklahoma State

  • Consensus Line: Oklahoma State -17, total 69.5
  • Public Action: 76% on Oklahoma State, 62% on the over

Pizzola: You’ll almost never see me lay 17 points with any team in any sport, but in this case, I’ll make an exception. This is a massive mismatch. There’s still some uncertainty as to who will start at quarterback for the Cowboys but it won’t matter. Their third stringer, Clint Chelf, put up 162 points in three games against West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech. Purdue won’t offer up much more resistance than any of those teams. With the game being played in Dallas, this is essentially a home game for Oklahoma State and they’ll want to cap of their season with a blowout win. Oklahoma State -17… I’m such a square

Webster: Oklahoma State gets points, plain and simple. In the regular season, in the postseason, the Cowboys love to score. They scored under 30 points just once this season in a 20-14 win over the Kansas Jayhawks. The big secret in this game is that Purdue also puts up big points on the scoreboard as well. The Boilmakers had the same amount of 50-point games as Mike Gundy’s team this year (3). Purdue also loves to GIVE UP big totals as well, in the Big Ten no less. Oklahoma State might put up 70 on their own. Over 69.5

Bottero: Purdue won their final three games to gain bowl eligibility, while Oklahoma State lost their last two contests, but those games were played on the road against solid competition. The Cowboys are going to do what they want on offense, so this pick comes down to how Purdue’s offense will fair against the Oklahoma State defense. I say they get their points. The unit has shown flashes when not playing elite Big Ten defenses, and the Cowboy defense will provide little resistance. Besides, my picks wouldn’t look the same without an unhealthy number of overs. Over 69.5

Papa: I’m pretty sure this is the biggest spread on the board and I’m tempted to take 17 points against Oklahoma State but it’s hard for me to back a mediocre .500 team from the Big Ten. Despite finishing 7-5, the Cowboys are a solid team that can put up big numbers. The Cowboys were ranked 19th in the pre-season polls but never really played up to their expectations, dropping their last two games of the year. Head coach Mike Gundy should have his team motivated for this game and I won’t be surprised if the Cowboys put up 60 points against the Boilermakers. Oklahoma State -17

*** Gator Bowl – Mississippi State vs. Northwestern

  • Consensus Line: Northwestern -1.5, total 52
  • Public Action: 68% on Northwestern, 90% on the over

Pizzola: Northwestern has lost four straight Bowl games, but I think they come out on top here. Sure, Mississippi State has played a tougher schedule this year, but who cares? The Bulldogs suffered a bunch of beatdowns at the hands of good opponents; that means nothing to me. Northwestern actually beat four teams that are in Bowl games this year which is much more impressive in my eyes. I also like the fact that the Wildcats seemed to get better as the season progressed, while the Bulldogs got their asses handed to them by their rivals Ole Miss in the final game of the season. Mississippi State’s average defense will have trouble with the dual rushing threat of running back Venrick Mark and quarterback Kain Colter. It won’t be a lopsided victory but I’ll easily lay the 1.5 points. Northwestern -1.5

Webster: Has there been a better betting story this season than the Northwestern Wildcats? 11-1 against the spread in 2012 is an incredible feat. Also incredible? The fact that this program hasn’t won a bowl game since 1949! The 20th-ranked Wildcats are favored against the Bulldogs in this one, meaning if they want to improve to 12-1 ATS they’ll have to snap a 64-year Bowl drought. They’ll also have to do it against a Mississippi State team that’s won five straight Bowl games. I’m a sucker for a good story so I’ll lay the points and take the smart kids. Northwestern -1.5

Bottero: It wasnot very long ago that Mississippi State was the 12th-ranked team in the nation. Now they find themselves in a lesser bowl game against Northwestern.The Bulldogs have lost four of their last five games, but those losses came against Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU, and rival Mississippi. How much can they really be faulted for those losses? Northwestern won three of their final four regular season games, but they have not won a bowl game since 1949. Mississippi State +1.5

Papa: The Bulldogs come into this game banged up on offense. Starting QB Tyler Russell sprained his ankle in the season finale and his effectiveness will be a big question mark here. Furthermore, the Bulldogs running game suffered a big blow in early December losing backup running back Nick Griffin to a torn ACL in practice, leaving two redshirt freshmen to back up starter LaDarius Perkins. Northwestern is pretty balanced on both sides of the ball. Their defense only allowed an average of 22 points per game while their offense ranked in the top 50 in points scored. Northwestern loves to run the ball and have a great rushing attack with running back Venric Mark and QB Kain Colter. If there is one SEC team that’s vulnerable in this Bowl season, I think it’s Mississippi State. Look for Northwestern to take advantage of the Bulldogs weaknesses in this matchup. Northwestern -1.5


Capital One Bowl – Georgia vs. Nebraska

  • Consensus Line: Georgia -8, total 60
  • Public Action: 78% on Georgia, 71% on the over

Pizzola: Nebraska was humiliated by Wisconsin to close out their regular season, but aside from that loss and a loss to Ohio State earlier in the season, the Huskers were fairly consistent. Nebraska struggled in both of those games because the Buckeyes and Badgers both boast strong power running games. Georgia doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, the Bulldogs can run the ball, but they’re not a run-first offense. Georgia employs a more balanced attack and Nebraska is equipped to deal with that—kind of. Meanwhile, Georgia hasn’t been all that strong against the run this season. Taylor Martinez and Ameer Abdullah should be able to pick up at least a couple hundred total yards on the ground and keep the chains moving. Georgia is far superior to Nebraska but this isn’t a great matchup for them. Nebraska +8

Webster: Georgia came oh so close to knocking off Alabama in the SEC Championship a few weeks ago while Nebraska, well, they didn’t come that close to beating Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship (I think Montee Ball just scored another touchdown on the Huskers). Now Georgia is a way better team than Nebraska, hence the big line, but I’m always wary of SEC teams that lose in their conference championship and are forced to play in a lesser Bowl game. I think Mark Richt is an OVERRATED head coach and I don’t think he can get his Bulldogs to mentally commit to this game. Sure, they might win, but it’ll be closer than you think. Nebraska +8

Bottero: Both teams were hoping to play somewhere else this Bowl season. Nebraska was a win away from the Rose Bowl, while Georgia’s loss to Alabama in the SEC title game cost them a shot at playing for the national title. The Cornhuskers were beaten badly on the ground by Wisconsin to the tune of 539 yards, so they have something to prove here. Three of the last four SEC title game losers have gone on to lose their bowl game. Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs will have trouble building a margin against the top-ranked pass defense in the nation. Nebraska +8

Papa: I personally think that if Georgia played in any other conference than the SEC they would be undefeated. Their two losses came against South Carolina and Alabama, in a classic SEC Championship game. Georgia is as balanced as it gets, and they are solid on both sides of the ball. Nebraska comes into this game after being pummeled in their finale against Wisconsin, allowing 70 points in a Big Ten blowout. The Cornhuskers have shown that they can bounce back after a big loss, winning six games in a row after a 63-38 loss to Ohio State in early October; however, none of those opponents were as athletic and talented as Georgia. The Bulldogs are a hungry team and were five yards shy from a possible national title shot. I smell a blowout. Georgia -8


Outback Bowl – Michigan vs. South Carolina

  • Consensus Line: South Carolina -5.5, total 47.5
  • Public Action: 80% on South Carolina, 60% on the under

Pizzola: We’ve seen a couple of games this Bowl season where both defenses are better than the opposing offenses, and those games stayed under the total with flying colors. Here’s another one. For Michigan, Denard Robinson won’t be much of a passing threat against a solid defense, so you’ll likely see a bunch of stalled drives. The Wolverines will also be without their second best rusher, Fitzgerald Touissant, which will hurt the offense even more. On the other side of things, the South Carolina offense hasn’t been the same since they lost Marcus Lattimore for the season. The Gamecocks will have had plenty of time to adjust to the loss of Lattimore, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to reproduce his production. I think this ends up being a low scoring, slug ‘em out type of game. Under 47.5

Webster: This is a TOUGH one, I can’t lie. On one hand, you’ve got a South Carolina team led by one of the best college coaches in history who is so close to getting this team over the hump and into national championship contention. On the other hand, you’ve got a Michigan team that has come back from the brink of irrelevance on the shoelaces of one of the best athletes in the college game. Picking a winner against the spread would be a difficult task so this time I’m going to take the coward’s way out and go with the under as both teams have proved this year, aside from a couple of exceptions, that they can stop their opponents with great defense. Under 47.5

Bottero: Both sides bring with them defenses that allow fewer than 20 points per game. Denard Robinson’s senior season hasn’t gone the way he or the team had hoped, while the devastating knee injury suffered by Marcus Lattimore leaves the Gamecocks without their top offensive weapon. The name Jadeveon Clowney is one you should know by now because you will be hearing it a lot on Sundays. Devin Gardner is not as mobile as Robinson, so keeping him upright could be an issue as well. Under 47.5

Papa: I’ve always had a soft spot for the University of Michigan. When I was kid, my father would pack up the family for a road trip to visit his friends in Sterling Heights at least three times a year and that was enough for me to adopt the maize and blue as my college team. The Wolverines are in a tough spot here facing off against another SEC giant in South Carolina, who were able to limit a similar offense in Clemson to 17 points. My heart says take the points but my head says lay them so I’m going to stay away from picking a side. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to see seven touchdowns in this contest so I’m going with the over. Over 47.5


Rose Bowl Game – Stanford vs. Wisconsin

  • Consensus Line: Stanford -6, total 47
  • Public Action: 66% on Stanford, 59% on the over

Pizzola: Both defenses are going to prove to be hard to crack here which means I’ll side with the underdog. Wisconsin has already played three overtime games this season, so I’m going to stick with the trends and lean towards another close affair. Stanford’s offense is completely built around Stepfan Taylor, but that’s all that they have, and the Badgers have a superb run defense. Kevin Hogan took over at quarterback down the stretch but he was only able to muster 973 yards through the air in five starts, so I’m not too worried about the Cardinal beating the Badgers through the air. I don’t see the Badgers having much success moving the ball either but they’re the ones getting six points here. I’ll take Wisconsin instead of the under because both defenses are capable of forcing game-changing turnovers. Wisconsin +6

Webster: I write the second paragraph you see on these picks so if Pizzola didn’t already do it, let me be the first to say IT’S THE GRANDADDY OF THEM ALL! Wooo! The game we’ll all be watching and betting on as we kill our New Year’s Eve hangover with a New Year’s Day buzz. However, despite this being a huge game, I feel that the shine is kind of off this one thanks to a five loss Wisconsin team playing for the roses. I know what Ohio State did was “bad” (free tattoos are a scourge in the college ranks) but seriously, can the NCAA just turn a blind eye and let the Buckeyes suit up against Stanford instead? Wouldn’t EVERYONE be happier with that game? At least OSU would cover. Stanford -6

Bottero: Wisconsin will be the first five-loss team to play in the Rose Bowl. Barry Alvarez is back on the Badger sideline with Bret Bielema taking the job at Arkansas. Alvarez took the team to three Rose Bowls in his time as the team’s head coach, winning all three. The Badger passing offense was much better when Joel Stave was under center, and he has been cleared to play in this game. Even if he does play, the team will rely on Montee Ball for most of their offensive production. Stanford has a solid defense and won’t give up many points, but they won’t score many either. Wisconsin +6

Papa: It’s no secret that Stanford can play defense and that was evident when they held Oregon to 14 points on their way to a stunning 17-14 OT win on the road in the middle of November. This will be Montee Ball’s last game with the Badgers before he enters the NFL Draft in the spring and there’s no better place than the Rose Bowl to end his collegiate career. I think both offenses deserves more credit than the oddsmakers are giving them. Wisconsin should be able to put together some good drives in this game and Stanford might not be able to control the momentum as much as they would want.  There are too many offensive weapons on both sides that should put this total over the number. Over 47


Discover Orange Bowl – Florida State vs. Northern Illinois

  • Consensus Line: Florida State -13, total 58.5
  • Public Action: 64% on Florida State, 66% on the over

Pizzola: Rumor has it that NIU would have been a 7-point underdog in this game if their head coach Dave Doernen didn’t bolt for N.C. State. The Huskies could be flat without their head coach, but I think they’re more likely to be inspired since no one is giving them a chance in this game. 13 points is a lot of points considering the Seminoles offense is nowhere near as good as people believe it is. They didn’t finish in the top 40 in the nation in rush or pass offense and that was against a pretty weak schedule. Florida State has played down to the level of their opponents frequently this season (loss at N.C. State, narrow wins against USF and Georgia Tech), so I’m really not sure how anyone can be that confident in laying this many points. Northern Illinois +13

Webster: Not much to say about this one. They couldn’t make this line high enough. Florida State -13

Bottero: The Huskies have won 12 games in a row since a loss in their opener, scoring 40.8 points per game along the way. The absence of Dave Doeren hurts, as does the fact that they will face the nation’s second-ranked defense. Florida State certainly possesses the better all-around talent, but Northern Illinois will be motivated to prove that they belong in this game. The Seminoles will win, but expect the Huskies to keep this game within single digits behind an inspired performance from quarterback Jordan Lynch. Northern Illinois +13

Papa: I hate FSU and I think they are an overrated team that plays undisciplined football. Granted, they have an athletic squad with a number of talented players but losing outright to N.C. State as a double-digit favorite really soured me. If that wasn’t enough, FSU barely scraped out a win against Georgia Tech in the ACC title game also as a heavy favorite. The lack of big game experience could be an issue for Northern Illinois, but this team sounds like they are ready to do battle on the big stage. I like their swagger, and I think they have enough fire power and discipline to keep this game close and possibly upset the Seminoles. Northern Illinois +13


The sixth edition of our Bowl previews will be posted on Tuesday, January 1st.

It will include all Bowl games from Wednesday, January 2nd to Sunday, January 6th.

Until then, good luck!