Bowl Records:

Pizzola (14-11-1)

Webster (14-11-1)

Papa (13-12-1)

Bottero (9-16-1)… #AmateurHour


Allstate Sugar Bowl – Florida vs. Louisville

  • Consensus Line: Florida -14, total 46.5
  • Public Action: 68% on Florida, 78% on the over

Pizzola: I have to grab the points with Louisville here. Florida boasts a solid defense but their offense leaves much to be desired, so I have a tough time seeing them pull away from the Cardinals in this one. The Gators struggled to score in most of their non-conference games this season, including games against Jacksonville State, UL-Lafayette, and Bowling Green. Louisville’s rush defense is pretty average and they won’t completely shut down Florida’s rushing attack, but they’ll stack the box and hope to force some third-and-longs. The Cardinals pass defense is strong and they won’t fear Gators’ quarterback Jeff Driskel who was extremely inconsistent this season. Driskel was sacked 33 times in 216 dropbacks this year (13% sack rate), which means the Louisville pass rush may be capable of making a game-changing play. This game stays within single digits. Louisville +14

Webster: Louisville is clearly outmatched in this one as they look to snap the Gators streak of four straight bowl game wins. Early in the season it looked like the Cardinals might crash the BCS party but eventually tough losses to Syracuse and UConn derailed their hopes. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville’s quarterback and the Big East Player of the Year is really something to watch. His success or failure against this Florida defense; the defense that Louisville head coach Charlie Strong helped build, will determine how this one goes. With that being said, I’ll be taking the points in this one based on a shaky Gator offense that ranked 103rd in the nation in total yards. Louisville +14

Bottero: Spreads this big are normally reserved for teams with better offenses than the Gators. Teddy Bridgewater has the seventh-best passer rating in the nation. Florida’s fifth-ranked defense will give him some trouble, but the Cardinals will put up enough points to make a 14-point margin unreachable for the Gators. Louisville has played close games all year, with seven of their last 10 contests decided by a touchdown or less, and this one should be no different. Charlie Strong will have his boys motivated as he faces off with his former employer. Louisville +14

Papa: Florida scored only 33 touchdowns on offense this year so it might be difficult to lay two touchdowns with them in this game; but then again, this is the Big East we’re talking about. Florida is a team that likes to run the ball, and they should find success against a Louisville defense that is weak against the run. Louisville has a great wide receiver corps and a decent quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater but this offense hasn’t produced enough in the running game to be a threat to the Gators defense. The Cardinals defense likely won’t be able to stop Mike Gillislee and the Gators running attack in this contest, so I’m going to lay the two touchdowns. Florida -14


Tostitos Fiesta Bowl – Kansas State vs. Oregon

  • Consensus Line: Oregon -8, total 75.5
  • Public Action: 66% on Oregon, 66% on the over

Pizzola: I’m not really sure what to do with this game. I’ve seen a lot of both of these teams this season so I’ll go with what my gut tells me. Kansas State’s defense is solid, but they’re unlikely to duplicate the success that Stanford had against Oregon, especially since they were already gashed by Baylor earlier this season. The only problem is that I don’t see the Ducks having much success stopping the Wildcats either. Kansas State is probably going to pick up somewhere around 200 yards on the ground and while their passing attack isn’t formidable, they’ll still be able to generate some success through the air against an Oregon defense that doesn’t get to the quarterback. I really think that this game comes down to the last possession so I’ll take the points. Kansas State +8

Webster: This one would have passed for a pretty kick ass National Championship game; however, both teams stumbled down the stretch. Both the Ducks’ and the Wildcats’ losses this year gave a blueprint on how to beat them. Stanford showed that if you play a physical game and punch Oregon in the mouth they can be very vulnerable. While on the other side, Baylor proved that you can beat Kansas State if you can force Collin Klein into making bad decisions. Both are easier said than done, but I think that Oregon’s defense is more likely to bother Klein than KSU’s defense is to play a physical, hard hitting game. I’m laying the points and going with the Ducks and Chip Kelly (before he bolts to become the head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles). Oregon -8

Bottero: This looks like it will be one of the more entertaining games of the bowl season as both of these teams were a misstep away from the title game. The key to this contest will be whether or not Collin Klein can put his late season turnover troubles behind him against an Oregon defense that leads the nation with 24 interceptions. Regardless of what his true intentions are, it feels like Chip Kelly has one foot out the door, and his players must feel that too. Kansas State +8

Papa: This is probably one of the best matchups this bowl season and what you see is what you get between these two high profiled football programs. There’s probably not much insight I can add to this game that my counterparts haven’t already mentioned so I’ll spare you from all the statistical jargon. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t originally think about playing the over in this game but my gut feeling says this game will be a lot tighter than most people anticipate it to be. My play here is the under. Under 75.5


AT&T Cotton Bowl – Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M

  • Consensus Line: Texas A&M -3.5, total 72
  • Public Action: 56% on Texas A&M, 78% on the over

Pizzola: While I’m tempted to go with the Sooners +3.5, I believe that the over is the safer option. We’re going to see points here. Oklahoma will do their best to contain Johnny Manziel, but that’s easier said than done… just ask Alabama how that worked out. The two defenses that gave Manziel fits this season were LSU and Florida, but both have strong rush defenses, and the Sooners don’t. It also doesn’t help that Oklahoma didn’t play very well defensively down the stretch. On the other side of things, Landry Jones should be able to move the ball with ease against an A&M pass defense that isn’t particularly good. Oklahoma’s red zone offense is ranked third in the nation, while the Aggies red zone defense is a measly 79th. Both teams will move the ball and both teams will be scoring touchdowns instead of field goals. Over 72

Webster: Finally Jerry Jones gets to see some GOOD  football being played in his house (sorry Pizzola, had to take that shot). Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel has been incredible this year and that’s why he became the first freshman in history to take home the award… but that’s exactly why I’m picking against his team. Think of what Manziel has gone through since the end of the season; the television appearances, the dinners, the parties. All of that stuff takes your mind off the task at hand, beating Oklahoma. Also, you better believe the Sooners are coming into this one ready to play after being snubbed by the BCS committee in favor of Northern Illinois. Oklahoma beat six bowl teams coming home at the end of the season and I like them a lot in this one. Add in the fact that A&M has a 2-7 record against the spread in their last 9 bowl games and I’m on the Sooners. Oklahoma +3.5

Bottero: Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones brings a 3-0 bowl record into this game. His counterpart may draw more national attention, but the senior’s veteran leadership will be an asset in the critical moments of what should be a close game. The SEC has beaten the Big 12 in eight of the last nine Cotton Bowls, but this is the same Aggie team that the Sooners have beaten in eight of the last nine years. Oklahoma +3.5

Papa: I’m willing to bet that this might be the highest scoring game throughout the Bowl season and it could possibly be one of those games where each team will score points on every possession. Both teams are ranked in the top 15 in total yards, passing yards, and points scored this year. The only disparity being Oklahoma’s rushing yards per game where they ranked 61st in the country, compared to A&M’s 13th. I’m not one for betting propositions but I think I might sprinkle a few units on the over for each of the team totals in this game as well. Over 72


BBVA Compass Bowl – Ole Miss vs. Pittsburgh

  • Consensus Line: Ole Miss -3, total 52
  • Public Action: 54% on Ole Miss, 74% on the over

Pizzola: Both of these teams are pretty evenly matched but Pittsburgh has some slight advantages that might swing this game in their favor. For starters, they ended the season very strongly with back-to-back beatdowns of South Florida and Rutgers. If you remove their two terrible losses in the first two games of the season from the equation, you have a team that’s played pretty well for the duration of the year, aside from a massive letdown after a triple-overtime loss to Notre Dame. I lean to Pitt in this spot because I feel they’re less likely to commit turnovers. Tino Sunseri threw only two interceptions this season and hasn’t thrown one since the third week of the season. Ole Miss, on the other hand, is terrible with turnovers and they give up a ton of sacks. Give me the points. Pittsburgh +3

Webster: I hate when college football does this. For the past few days now it seems like we’ve had some great, high stakes bowl games. Instead of keeping the fun going, or building up more hype for the National Championship (if that’s even possible), we get a matchup of 6-6 teams. But this is still a chance to make some money and I think we can do that if we just believe a little bit in the Panthers. Pitt was pretty brutal this season but they did hold their own against some of the better teams on their schedule, most notably taking undefeated Notre Dame to triple-overtime as Pizzola mentioned. On the other side of things, Ole Miss had the same record but didn’t fair nearly as well against good teams as the Panthers did. I’m going to take the points here and roll with Pitt. Pittsburgh +3

Bottero: Both teams are 6-6, but Mississippi’s losses have all come against bowl teams – Texas, Alabama, Texas A&M, Georgia, Vanderbilt, and LSU. Bo Wallace’s health is a major concern, but it sounds like he will be good to go. If he can run coach Freeze’s spread offense effectively, the team should make short work of Pittsburgh. Ole Miss -3

Papa: Ole Miss should dominate this game in the trenches. They are among the best in the nation in the sacks and tackles for loss departments and Pitt gives those up in bunches. I’m not going waste any more time choosing a side because I’m sure both of these teams really don’t care about being in this bowl game. With that in mind, I’m picking Ole Miss based solely on the SEC’s dominance this year—the points don’t scare me. Ole Miss -3

*** Bowl – Arkansas State vs. Kent State

  • Consensus Line: Arkansas State -4, total 61
  • Public Action: 65% on Kent State, 73% on the over

Pizzola: At first glance, this game looks like it will fly over the total, but when I dug a little deeper I found good reason to back the under. Arkansas State is the favorite here but there’s a good chance that they’ll be flat for this one after losing their head coach for the second straight season. Statistically, their passing offense matches up very well against a weak Kent State pass defense, but don’t forget that the Golden Flashes have forced 23 interceptions and generated 32 sacks this season. Kent State’s defense gives up a lot of yardage but they’re also capable of stalling drives with big plays. Meanwhile, the Golden Flashes are incapable of picking up yardage through the air, so a lot of time will be ticking off the clock as they try to employ their running game. This one will be lower scoring than you think. Under 61

Webster: What a season for the Kent State Golden Flashes. They won 11 games and went perfect in MAC conference play only to lose out to Northern Illinois in the MAC title game. Still, that was good enough to get the Golden Flashes into their first bowl game since the 1972 Tangerine Bowl. How did Kent State do it this season? With a great tandem of running backs in Dri Archer and Trayion Durham who combined to average 200 yards rushing per game. The duo also scored 29 of the Golden Flashes 35 touchdown this year. Arkansas State’s defense hasn’t exactly set the world on fire so I’m all over the Golden Flashes. Kent State +4

Bottero: Arkansas State faced a similar situation a year ago, going into the Bowl with an interim head coach, and they lost that game by 18 points to Northern Illinois. Darrell Hazell accepted the job at Purdue, but he will stay on the sideline for one final game with the Golden Flashes. Kent State running back Dri Archer has accounted for 1,891 yards from scrimmage and 22 total touchdowns this season. As Webster mentioned, this will be the first bowl game since 1972 for the Golden Flashes, so they should bring a little extra motivation to the field. Kent State +4

Papa: Honestly, I think this is one of those games where Vegas and ESPN conspired to give football degenerates a chance to chase their losses after the first weekend of the NFL playoffs. I don’t like this game simply because neither team has a head coach in place which could result in a myriad of penalties and chaotic game play. One more day before the big one, so save your units and enjoy the plethora of Danica Patrick and Jillian Micheals commercials. For the sake of making a pick, I’ll take the over. Over 61


The final edition of our Bowl previews will be posted on the morning of Monday, January 7th. It will include all of our selections for the BCS National Championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama.

Until then, good luck!