College football games of the week: Best bowls for the holiday weekend
I hope everyone is having a terrific holiday! It’s the time for fun, excess and hanging out and, let me tell you, I am doing all of those things. And I am doing great on my picks! I didn’t give Washington enough credit for their efforts, but a I still got the game right. We have a ton of games coming up so let’s jump right in!
Friday, December 28
Ohio Bobcats (8-4/4-4) vs. Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (8-4/6-2): 1 p.m. on ESPN
Remember in the middle of October when Ohio was a BCS buster candidate? Seems like forever and a day ago, doesn’t it? They lost to Miami (OH) and then dropped their last three games of the season, including a beat down by Kent State, 28-6. I can’t imagine they are excited about going to Shreveport. I can’t imagine many of them even know where Shreveport is. Monroe, on the other hand, is excited about playing a bowl close to home and that will show — all over Ohio’s head. Warhawks 38, Ohio 28.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-3/5-2) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (6-6/4-4): 4:30 p.m. on ESPN
Rutgers was on their way to the BCS, but a 27-6 loss to Pitt was followed by a devastating loss to Louisville in the season finale and now they are playing in this poorly named bowl game. Where is this game? All of the Russell commercials are in fields in the Midwest. I imagine Florida (after checking on the Internet, I was right!) so both teams should enjoy the weather. I think the Hokies, who struggled all season and won their last two games to get to go bowling, are more excited about this than Rutgers, who lost their way into this game. That will show on the field. Hokies 24, Scarlet Knights 20.
CAR CARE BOWL
Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6/2-6) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5/4-5): 8 p.m. on ESPN
Texas Tech has momentum and energy with new coach Kliff Kingsbury and Minnesota has… What do they have? A .500 record? Dozens of fans making plans to get to Houston for this game? Yay? This is over quickly as Tech is looking to impress their new coach and Minnesota is looking for the exit. Red Raiders 40, Minnesota 20.
Saturday, December 29
ARMED FORCES BOWL
Rice Owls (6-6/4-4) vs. Air Force Falcons (6-6/5-3): 10:45 a.m. on ESPN
This is former coach, David Bailiff. He’s my guy so I’d be picking the Owls even if I shouldn’t be, but that isn’t the case. Rice is decent and can move the ball and they will move the ball on this Air Force defense. The problem with playing the service academies is they run the option and that’s nearly impossible to prepare for because you can’t duplicate something a week in practice that the other team runs every day with their best athletes. Even still, I like Rice’s ability to score. And I love David Bailiff. Rice 31, Air Force 28.
West Virginia Mountaineers (7-5/4-5) vs. Syracuse Orangemen (7-5/5-2): 2:15 p.m. on ESPN
No way do Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey (Austin and Smith are seniors, Bailey declared for the NFL Draft) go out losing to their former Big East conference mates. I think WVA is going to run them right out of Yankee Stadium with their NASCAR tempo and the odds makers are wrong and this one gets out of hand. Couch Fires 38, Cuse 21.
Navy Midshipmen (8-4) vs. Arizona State Sun Devils (7-5/5-4): 3 p.m. on ESPN2
Again, hard to stop the service academy option, but Todd Wright and Arizona State will. They are excited to be in the post-season and excited to win No. 8. I like Navy to keep this close, but the Sun Devils win this one by harassing the Middie’s QB into some fumbles and some terrible passes when it’s 3rd and long. Still, expect to see the Navy fullback with two touchdowns and 110 yards on five carries right up the middle. Fork 30, Navy 24.
No. 23 Texas Longhorns (8-4/5-4) vs. No. 13 Oregon State Beavers (9-3/6-3): 5:45 p.m. on ESPN
What if mini-Ditka played the Lions all by himself? Horns 34, Beavers 31.
BUFFALO WILD WINGS BOWL
TCU Horned Frogs (7-5/4-5) vs. Michigan State Spartans (6-6/3-5): 9:15 p.m. on ESPN
I like Frogs a lot in this game. I think the TCU defense is going maul the 107th best scoring offense in the nation, and while Michigan State’s defense is legit top 10, I see athletic TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin making some plays with his feet to extend drives and the difference in this game will be special teams. I think TCU is better on specials than Michigan State and that will come up with a big return, or big blunder by Sparty, and set the table for the play that wins the game. And with these two defenses, this is the shortest bowl game of ever. TCU 21, Michigan State 17.
See you next week for more bowls! For more nonsense follow me on Twitter @TreyMcLean