LITTLE CAESARS BOWL
Western Michigan vs. Purdue
Line: Purdue -3
This is one of games you take a look at and think "there are too many bowls." If I was actually going to bet this game (which I probably won't) I'd probably just lean towards the conference strength and go Purdue. In the interest of "breaking it down" though, the one thing Western Michigan does well is throw the ball (close to 329 yards a game). Purdue is in the Top 3rd in NCAA in Pass Defense though. Both teams are pretty even in turnover ratio. Western is Even and Purdue is -2 for the season. But ultimately it is going to come back to conference strength. Western was 100th out of 121 in Total Yards allowed in the FBS and that was primarily against a MAC schedule. Purdue was around the middle of the pack defensively overall but at least it was against the Big Ten.
The Pick: Purdue -3
Louisville vs. NC State
Line: NC State -1.5
This is a very simplistic way of looking at this game but can I really bet on a team that lost to both participants in the Beef O' Brady's Bowl at home this year? The game is in North Carolina so NC State has the big geographical edge here. Both defenses are in the upper half of the FBS in yards allowed but NC State led all college football in INTs. I can't justify taking Louisville here.
I didn't know Belk was a department store.
The Pick: NC State -1.5
Toledo vs. Air Force
Line: Toledo -3
Can I really pick against Air Force in the Military Bowl? Toledo has trouble stopping the pass (113th out of 120) but Air Force doesn't pass (113th in total pass yards). Toledo is 28th in the country against the run and Air Force is a rushing attack. Home field advantage does go to Air Force with it being the Miliary Bowl and everything but I don't think they'll be able keep up offensively with Toledo.
The Pick: Toledo -3
BRIDGEPOINT EDUCATION HOLIDAY BOWL
California vs. Texas
I think this is a pretty even matchup on paper. Texas is coming in to the Bowl game losing 3 out of 4. Granted it was against pretty good competition but nevertheless. Since there isn't a lot to go on statistically in this game, I'm turning to geography and motivation. Geography favors Cal since the game is being playing in the state of California. This current group of Texas players either played in or were recruited during the back-to-back BCS Bowls in 2008 and 2009 with the latter year being for a National Title. I doubt these guys came to Texas to play in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. I'm going to happily take the points.
The Pick: California +4