Friday, January 6, 2012

College Bowl Picks - Last 4 Bowls

So I sit at 13-17-1 after 31 of the 35 bowl games. It's my final drive to salvage a .500 Bowl season.

Kansas State vs. Arkansas
Line: Arkansas -8

We are back to the non-BCS Bowls which means I like taking points. Granted, on paper this is probably the most interesting non-BCS bowl with two teams from power conferences.

The one stat that jumps off the page at me is that Kansas State is +13 in turnover margin while Arkansas is even. That is an important stat but I my big concerns are that if Kansas falls behind that they don't have the fire power to come back. On top of that, Kansas State is one of the 20 worst teams in college football in passing yards per game which is what Arkansas does very well. Despite all that though. I still like the points. 8 is lot.

The Pick: Kansas State +8

SMU vs. Pittsburgh
Line: Pittsburgh -3.5

I was actually a little surprised to see Pitt favored by this much (if even favored at all). Pitt lost Ray Graham and did manage to go 2-2 without him. The rushing yards from Pitt were still there but the RBs who took his place average over a full yard less per carry. SMU throws the ball well (277.8 yards a game, 23rd in FBS).

From a personal stand point I can't Pitt. I don't think they should have been in this bowl. Western Kentucky got snubbed in favor of Pitt missing out on their first bowl game in school history. I'm not a Hilltopper fan but it's a shame when a team is going to lose 12 seniors, we're 7-1 in their conference and won 7 of their last 8 with their loss being at LSU. It's probably due to them being in the Big East and the fact they won the same bowl last year and over 40,000 were reported in attendance. On another interesting note, SMU is one of the teams replacing Pitt in the Big East shortly so it'd be a nice kick in the ass to have Pitt lose.

The Pick: SMU +3.5 BOWL
Arkansas State vs. Northern Illinois
Line: Arkansas State -1.5

Northern Illinois can put up points. Thanks to the MAC getting run on ESPN during midweek games, I've seen more of Chandler Harnish and Co. than someone living in New York probably should. Normally I love teams in bowl games that can run. Northern Illinois gains 248.6 yards a game on the ground (8th in FBS) while also hanging in the middle of the pack in passing yards. And it's rare to have a QB like Chandler Harnish who has a 26 to 5 touchdown to interception ratio and also rush for close to 1400 yards. All that being said, I like Arkansas State in this game. Yes, Northern Illinois could put up 38 points a game but they also allowed 31 per contest. Arkansas State is capable of putting up points as well (around 33 a game) but they allowed less than 20 points and was 16th in FBS in rush yards per game allowed. When both teams have dynamic offenses and one team has a good defense, I lean towards the team that has the chance to get the most stops.

The Pick: Arkansas State -1.5

Alabama vs. LSU
Line: Alabama -1

Despite this being the biggest game, I have probably the least to say about it. I expect this game to go roughly the same way as the first one. A low scoring affair that comes down to field goals. Some times in sports I get the feeling things are supposed to happen. This year I feel that Alabama is supposed to win this game. There has to be a change in the BCS system and one of the catalysts of change for that would be an unsatisfying solution as to who the national champion should be. Even if Alabama wins this game by a field goal, it was a neutral site and LSU beat them at home. Oklahoma State won their BCS Bowl game, don't they deserve some consideration. If LSU wins this game than the BCS can present their champion with no controversy. I believe the rematch is happening to throw a wrench into the works.

The Pick: Alabama -1

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