If you are going to use a lyric from Grease 2 this has to be the time, right?
It's the start of Bowl Season. I'm going to do my picks in bunches so I can pick against the most accurate line. So here is my first set picks for the first day of bowls on 12/17.
GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL
Temple vs. Wyoming
Line: Temple -7
Temple is 7th in the nation in rushing yards per game. Wyoming is 6th WORST in the nation in rushing yards allowed. Temple is also 3rd in the nation in points allowed per game (13.8). Both teams finished the seaosn well. Temple with 5 straight wins and Wyoming winning 5 of their last 7 but losing to Boise and TCU.
Statistical analysis aside, it should be a pro Wyoming crowd. It's easier to bus fans 600 miles to a game than it is to get fans from 1900 miles away. Plus Wyoming played in this bowl two years ago. They are playing a freshman QB but there is probably some familiarity with this situation for a bunch of players on Wyoming. I'm sure Temple wants to make a good showing here after being the only bowl eligible team to not be invited to a bowl last year (despite having the same 8 win record).
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Earlier in the week I was leaning heavily towards Wyoming. While it doesn't look like I made much of a case for Wyoming, it really wouldn't surprise me to see them win this game. My ultimate deciding factor was that while Wyoming is a good football team, they don't excel at any one part of the game. Temple on the other hand, can run the ball and play D at higher level than Wyoming can.
The Pick: Temple -7
FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Ohio vs. Utah State
Line: Utah State -1.5
Ohio was so close to playing in the prestigious GoDaddy.com Bowl but they blew a 20 point half time lead to lose the MAC Championship. I don't play MAC football so I don't pretend to know if every player in the MAC has a "GoDaddy.com Bowl or Bust" mentality? Did Ohio punter Paul Hershey just say what the whole Ohio team was thinking?
I'm going to go ahead and say yes. Forget about what bowl Ohio and Northern Illinois ended up going to. Winning a MAC Championship is the thing that means something to the players. And having to play on the first day of bowl season means that Ohio is only playing these games 15 days apart. I'm banking on Ohio still having a hangover from that game. Utah State on the other hand was sitting at 2-5 heading in to November before rattling off 5 in a row. I'm guessing Utah State is happier to be there than Ohio. Couple that with Boise being only 4 hours from Logan, Utah and I know who I'm going with.
The Pick: Utah State -1.5
R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL
San Diego State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Line: San Diego State -4.5
I'm having a tough time with this one because geograpically and motivationally Louisiana-Layayette should be my pick. They are playing in their home state and this is the first bowl in 41 years. They should be fired up.
But I'm actually leaning towards Sand Diego State. They won 4 of 5 heading in to their bowl (with their loss being to Boise State) and they will have the best player in the game in Ronnie Hillman. Louisiana-Lafayette on the other hand is going in to the bowl on a two game skid. These teams are trending in opposite directions.
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The Pick: San Diego State -4.5