Following a 3-2 record in the first edition of the bowl games, I am feeling alright heading into this second edition of the bowl game picks. The wins: Buffalo (-7), Washington (-3.5), Louisiana Tech (+6). The losses: Utah State (-6.5), SMU (-3.5). The wins were all never in doubt and I pretty much just felt like I got let down in the other two games. Utah State started very slow and found themselves down big early and had to try and dig themselves out of a hole and just could not do it. I was admittedly just totally off in the FAU game, the Owls came out hot and didn’t slow down and ended up winning 52-28 in a great performance for them. Just a reminder, but these picks will be from December 28th through the rest of the bowl season. Lot of great bowl games left, so let’s dig right into it.
Camping World Holiday Bowl: Notre Dame (-3.5) vs. Iowa State
In my opinion, Notre Dame is a really good team. They are one of 5 teams in the top 15 in the country in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The other four are Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, and Oregon. While Iowa State isn’t a bad team by any means, I don’t think they’re a top 10-15 team like Notre Dame is, but closer to being a top 30-35 team statistically. I think ND wins this game by at least a touchdown, in a 34-24 type game where both offenses start out hot and ND is able to get a couple more stops in the second half to pull away.
The Pick: Notre Dame (-3.5)
Cotton Bowl: Penn State (-7) vs. Memphis
This is all about the motivation factor here in my opinion. Who is going to be more fired up: the team that is playing in their biggest bowl game ever or the team who started out 8-0 and limped to the finish line by finishing up 2-2? Both teams lost really good coaches already this off-season with Mike Norvell taking the Florida State job and Penn State’s Ricky Rahne taking the Old Dominion head coaching job, so I’m going to say those are roughly a wash. I just don’t think Penn State will be motivated to play in this game and they looked very, very beatable in their regular season finale against Rutgers. Look for Memphis to cover and maybe even win this game outright if PSU doesn’t show up ready for a fight.
The Pick: Memphis (+7)
Peach Bowl: Over/Under 75.5 Oklahoma and LSU
This one seems almost too easy; I’m taking the over. I think these two teams combine for 80+ points in this game with both teams having very efficient, explosive offenses and leaky defenses. I really can’t envision a scenario in which this is an under so I’m taking the over all the way.
The Pick: Over 75.5
Fiesta Bowl: Clemson (-2) vs. Ohio State
More of a gut feeling than anything on this pick to be honest. I think Clemson is the best team in the country this year and that would mean they win this game by at least a field goal so I will take it all day long.
The Pick: Clemson (-2)
Outback Bowl: Auburn (-7) vs. Minnesota
Nothing against PJ Fleck, but I think they are just going to be too overmatched on the lines of scrimmage to compete with this Auburn team for four quarters. Auburn’s defensive line will now allow the Gophers much running room and they can get after the passer as well. I am a little scared of taking Bo Nix as more than a touchdown favorite, but he has looked better recently and I think he will continue to progress in time for this bowl game and put on a good performance to end the season on and give Auburn something to look forward to for next season.
The Pick: Auburn (-7)
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin (-2.5) vs. Oregon
I was impressed by the performances of both of these teams over Championship weekend but a little more so with Oregon’s dominating win over Utah compared to Wisconsin’s second half collapse against the Buckeyes. With what I saw Oregon’s offensive line do to Utah’s excellent defensive line, I am confident they can do the same against a pretty stingy Badger front seven. When the Ducks can control the line of scrimmage like that, it will only open things up for Justin Herbert and that Oregon offense even more, which will make them difficult to stop. I think Oregon wins a close one here and with a 2.5 point spread, I really like Oregon to cover this one and win outright as well.
The Pick: Oregon (+2.5)
- Notre Dame (-3.5)
- Penn State (-7)
- Over 75.5 Oklahoma and LSU
- Clemson (-2)
- Auburn (-7)
- Oregon (+2.5)