Tag Archives: Oregon

Beating Vegas: Bowl Locks, Part 1

The College Bowl Season is an exciting finale to the year for college football enthusiast.  Lets keep that part in mind: “for the enthusiast.”  Motivation becomes a factor for some teams that fell short of the playoff or had higher expectations at the start of the year.  Some teams take their opponents to lightly while other programs look at the bowl game as an opportunity to make a name for themselves.  The tricky part about Bowl Season is to not go and place a bet on every line.  You still need to be picky about how you side with – and throughout this bowl season, Beating Vegas will continue to provide you insight on how to get the edge.

(These are locks from games played between Dec. 16th to the 20th)

Camellia Bowl (played in Montgomery, Alabama) on December 16th

Arkansas State (-3.5) vs. Middle Tennessee, total 57

Arkansas State was mentioned in an early Beating Vegas article this season and it was mostly due to expectations set for quarterback Justice Hansen.  The senior took a big step forward in his final season completing 63.7% of his passes and throwing for 3600 yards and 34 touchdowns.  Hansen is a quarterback that has learned how to go through his progressions and it shows as he has three wide outs with over 600 yards receiving; and all through the depth chart you can see receptions by just about everyone.   The Arkansas State Red Wolves don’t run the ball much but when they do, it’s a modest 4.1 yards a carry.  That doesn’t bode well for Middle Tennessee State who actually stop the run decently but have struggled against the pass all year.  The Blue Raiders secondary has only put together four interceptions on the season.  The line is pretty dangerous but expect it to climb to about 5 by kickoff.  Middle Tennessee will be a better team than Arkansas State next season, but for all that matters, Arkansas State wins this by double digits.

The Pick: Arkansas State -3.5

Boca Raton Bowl (played in Boca Raton, Florida) on Dec. 19th

Akron +17 vs Florida Atlantic, total 61.5

This is a true-home-game for the Florida Atlantic Owls, but that is not the only reason they are a huge favorite in this game.  The Owls are riding a nine game winning streak and they’ve done it by riding the shoulders of running back Devin Singletary, who is a top five back in the nation, but you’ve never heard of him.  Singletary has run for 29 touchdowns and 1859 yards this season and he must be thinking “lunch-time” when he sees an Akron defense that is allowing five yards a carry.  Singletary and the Owls have a “smash average advantage” five and half yards a rush.  Akron is just a “nice story” this year.  They fought hard and got some close victories but were pretty much handled by better competition.  Florida Atlantic and head coach Lane Kiffin will be looking to bring a huge victory to the home crowd and breeze through this Akron team by maybe four touchdowns.

The Pick: Florida Atlantic -17

Las Vegas Bowl (played in. . .come on man) On Dec. 16th

Oregon -5 vs Boise State, total 63

Oregon lost coach Willie Taggart to Florida State (I still don’t get why Jimbo Fisher left the Florida State job for Texas A&M, but that’s neither here nor there at the moment) which leaves Mario Cristobal in as head coach.  Cristobal will have no issue on the sidelines, because he was the offensive coordinator under Taggart.  The players wanted Cristobal so there should be no feelings of abandonment by the team.  Cristobal’s one run as a head coach was at Florida International where he posted a 8-14 record in his final 22 games (Wikipedia).  He hasn’t been a head-coach since 2012 and now he has to be mindful of a bunch of young men who may be in Las Vegas for the first time in their lives.  The biggest question mark for Oregon comes in the form of running back Royce Freeman.  Freeman is their stud-senior back who has racked up over 1400 yards on the ground at a clip of 6 yards a carry.  Freeman practiced this week, but there is already talk of him maybe sitting out to prepare for the NFL draft.  Knowing that this is even a thought might have Freeman not trying to over-extend himself in this game. . . Starting quarterback Justin Herbert is back under center and although the pundits will say it’s a “different offense under Herbert” – they aren’t lying – but at the same time aren’t telling the whole story:  Freeman is the main cog to this offense.  Boise State on the other hand has their key players ready to roll and no coaching change on their sidelines.  Boise has a tough run defense, and in the Western Atlantic Conference, that says a lot. Boise State is holding the opposition to 3.5 yards a rush and holding offenses under a 60% completion percentage.  The Boise staff and players won’t be overcome by the Las Vegas mystique because they come here just about every other season to play UNLV.   Expect Oregon to jump out in front early, but Boise makes things happen in the second half.

The Pick: Boise State +5

I’ll see you guys next week with more LOCKS for this Bowl Season!

Good Luck and Wager Wisely

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Oregon’s Gettin’ Corny

Buffalo +16.5 at Army

Last week Buffalo lost to Minnesota in what was probably the most boring game of the week, with a final score of 17-7.  The Bulls just could not push forward against Minnesota in the trenches and it showed. Army is one of those one dimensional teams who’s one dimension is legit, but after getting punched in the mouth a few times last week, Buffalo should be up to the challenge.  The Bulls have legit talent on their defense such as middle linebacker Khalil Hodge and safety Ryan Williamson.  Last week Buffalo didn’t know what to expect from the Gophers quarterback, and it was too late to realize they should’ve just stacked eight-in-the-box.  This week they know Army will toss the ball maybe 4 times all game and they have the athletes to go up against this triple-option attack.  Last season Buffalo won this match-up against Army at home by 3 points, so the +16.5 looks beyond fishy.   I love salmon myself.

The Pick: Buffalo +16.5

 

 

Nebraska +14 at Oregon

Early in the season, Vegas likes to put lines up to fool the public because there really isn’t much to go on but the optics.  Oregon went out of the real college football world to beat up on FCS opponent Southern Utah to the ring of 77-21.  “Vanilla-Optics” folks see this as a return of the dominant Oregon teams we’ve been used to seeing in recent memory.  Keeping that in mind, Nebraska went out and had a high scoring nail-biter against the FBS bred  Arkansas State.   Seems like a “bad-win” for those that don’t know Arkansas State but this a team that won 8 games last year and is used to testing themselves early in the season (last year lost to Auburn in week two).  On paper Nebraska is just plain bigger on the offensive side of the ball when compared to Oregon defensive front and Nebraska’s 3-4 defensive scheme enhances the play of their talented linebackers Weber and Young – but the way to beat Oregon (and it always has been the way to beat Oregon) is by attacking them up the middle.  Nebraska nose-tackle Mick Stoltenberg is a beast in the making and should put pressure on the Ducks early.  Even if the Ducks score early and quick, the Cornhuskers will wear down and frustrate Oregon for the length of this game.  14 is just way too many points.

The Pick: Nebraska +14

Hawaii +23.5 at UCLA

Josh Rosen might’ve had the game we’ve all been waiting for him to have last week as the young man’s confidence matched his play.  Rosen led UCLA to a remarkable fourth quarter comeback against Texas A&M where he threw 4 touchdown passes to beat A&M 45-44.  Sure, we at “Beating Vegas” took the “L” against the spread but we like UCLA this year and it’s because of games like these. . .Hawaii has been busy this season with already 2 games (and with that 2 wins) under their belts.  Sure the wins come against UMass and Western Carolina but hey – you play the games that are on your schedule.  This week though, UCLA’s defense will prove to be too much – more so the UCLA secondary.  UCLA’s defensive front should have their way with Hawaii’s offensive line as well.  Rosen will continue to ride high after this win as well.

The Pick: UCLA -23.5

Four Game Teaser of the Week (ALL NFL): Rams +8; Cardinals +10.5, Chargers +15.5 and the over in the Titans/Raiders game at 38.5

Only If You Must: Sometimes you pick games because of  a “feeling.”  This week N’Western as a road favorite over Duke just seems like it’ll happen.  27-20 final score.  N’western has been recruiting great athletes the last few years and are the better coached team. Just do it: N’western -3.

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: NCAA Team Win Totals

It’s almost that time of year.

Okay let’s be honest, as soon as Vegas puts out their over/under for team win totals, you know that the time has come for football season.  Here are some teams that Beating Vegas just can’t avoid putting something on before the seasons kicks off.  We did extremely well last year so be smart and follow along.

Alabama Crimson Tide : 11 Wins

When factoring the total over/unders for a team you first look at the “easy” wins.  For as great as Bama is, and I’m truly not taking anything away from them, they do schedule some cupcakes.  Considering the SEC isn’t what it once was, that is disappointing.  Wins against Colorado State, Mercer and Fresno State should be an absolute “no contest.”  Vanderbilt (who we’ll get to later) will be a doormat in the SEC, Ole Miss is falling apart and Tennessee – well they are what they are: A team that just isn’t good enough to beat Bama.  The rest of the schedule is intriguing. Remember what I said about cupcakes?  Forget about that already – the Crimson Tide open the season in outer conference play against Florida State.  This is a monster game in week one because both of these teams are considered playoff-worthy and this game could determine their fates early.  Bama opens up as a 7 point favorite but they lost a lot of talent on that defense. Not saying they won’t be good, but not as dominant as last year.  Arkansas gets to play Bama after the Tide have games against Ole Miss and at Texas A&M and this offensive line might be able to push back on Bama more than they’re used to.  The games against LSU and Auburn are too close to call and this year it might be just too much for Bama to go nearly perfect. 11 is just a hard number. . . even for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide this year.

The Pick: Under

Auburn Tigers: 8.5 Wins

Last year this Auburn team went 8-5, including a season opener where they lost to eventual National Champs Clemson, and losses to Alabama and Oklahoma to finish off the season (teams that finished #2 and #5 respectively).  The Auburn Tigers are expected to go with Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham at QB, and if there is anything to say about Baylor QB’s it’s that they are usually athletic and are use to throwing the ball a lot. In Auburn’s system though, he’ll be asked to make reads that aren’t foreign to him and have a two-headed monster at running back this year with Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson.  Losing only three games with a squad that has eight returning starters on both side of the ball seems too easy.  They WILL go on the road and beat Clemson this year and after that the only two games that should pose a threat to them is their road game against LSU, and the season ending Iron Bowl, which they host this year against the Crimson Tide.

The Pick: Over

Boston College Eagles: 4 Wins

Boston College is a team I usually look at a lot during the season. Not because the team is exciting or moves me emotionally but because they are typically coached well defensively and are boring on offense.  So games tend to go under.  Last year though, this defense saw the emergence of the ACC as possibly being the best conference in college football (we can argue which is the best at a later time, folks) they got lit up Louisville, Florida State and Virginia Tech.  Give the Eagles credit though – they schedule themselves against all division one schools, no cup cakes, so to speak – with that being said no game is easy when you’re below average.  They can beat UConn (which is on a neutral site) and Central Michigan – maybe.

The Pick: Under

Wisconsin Badgers: 10.5 Wins

I was just speaking highly of how the ACC might be the best conference in college football, but the Big 10 may have something to say about that.  While the rest of the world shakes in their boots over an Urban Meyer coached Ohio State team, marvels at the insanity of Jim Harbaugh at Michigan or how the masses seemingly fell in love with Penn State again because of James Franklin’s renaissance in Happy Valley – Wisconsin goes under the radar.  But, why?  Wisconsin lost three games last year – all by 7 to the three teams mentioned. This year their schedule is a joke by all standards. Before playing Michigan at home November 18th, their toughest challenges are road games against BYU and Nebraska.  The only game they might lose is Michigan or if they’re caught sleep-walking, their end of the year road trip to Minnesota.  Either way, they’ll keep it interesting until the season wraps up.

The Pick: Over

Vanderbilt Commodores: 6 Wins

Vegas has Vandy at 6 wins.  Honestly, I just can’t see it.  Some folks saw the improvement the offense made late last season as something that will continue into this season, but I don’t.  The offensive line is probably the worse in the SEC and they have a middle of the defense that will force their safety Ryan White to leave his average-at-best corner backs in one on one coverage.  In a game of spades, Vanderbilt is the annoying partner that says “Four and two possibles,” — count those possibles as losses.

The Pick: Under

Oregon Ducks: 8 Wins

Oregon ranked 117th in total defense last year and are now in the midst of going back to a 3-4 scheme (gathered that info from Lindy’s Sports).  Eight is a very tall number for a team that finished with four wins last year.  Vegas is betting on the public that is still in love with the gimmick offense that gets dressed in new garb every week.  Tough conference roads games against Stanford, UCLA and Washington will make it tough for them and home games against Nebraska, Washington State and California won’t be much welcomed at all.  Much like Vandy, I see the Ducks sliding right underneath their magic number, but it doesn’t matter if they miss 8 wins by 1 or 6 games, as long as it stays under (which it will) that’s all that matters.

The Pick: Under

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

 

Beating Vegas: Outsmart the Wise

Last week, the hot-shots at Vegas had some tricky lines but over here at Beating Vegas, we netted another winning week.  The NFL has left many scratching their heads as last year’s powerhouses like the Cardinals and the Panthers are struggling left and right, while teams like the Rams and the Vikings are proving to be the cream of the crop.  The hard-work will be accomplished here as we continue to give you winners against the spread though so keep checking for this column weekly and visit mybookie.ag so you can beat the NCAA and NFL odds. . .

Washington Redskins +3.5 at Baltimore Ravens

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The Baltimore Ravens finally played an above average team and lost their first game this season and the Washington Redskins became a .500 team with a “little” help from the referees.  In the NFL it doesn’t matter how you get your wins, but for our purposes, how you win is just as/and sometimes more important than the actual win. The Ravens have been fluttering around the league looking a notch below mediocre and coming out with victories.  Credit that to coach Harbaugh (no, the other Harbaugh. . .the one who’s actually won something in his career. . .) but as stated last week, the Ravens best weapon on offense is their kicker Justin Tucker.  Sure they should something last week with running back Terrence West, but that was more of a fault to the Raiders who couldn’t stop anything that was attacking the left side of their defense.  Joe Flacco has been inconsistent this season and the Ravens best option at wideout is the seventy-five year old veteran Steve Smith, who this week will be matched up against the Redskins’ Josh Norman (popcorn, anyone?).  The Redskins go as far as Kirk Cousins’ own mediocrity will take them.  Offensively they seemed to put it together last week – albeit it was against the Browns, but this might be the kind of game that gets Cousins back on track.  The Redskins have speed and talent at the skill positions and should easily spread the Ravens thin.  The Ravens win or lose games by single digits and the Skins always have the “talent” on both sides of the ball – it’s their execution that comes into question.  Take the talent.

The Pick: Redskins +3.5

Chicago Bears +5 at Indianapolis Colts

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This is quite possibly the most disgusting game of the week. . . eh, maybe even the year.  The Bears have been showing no signs of turning fortunes around this season and getting their first win against a Detroit team that’s been a perennial loser for two decades is nothing to celebrate.  The Colts just lost to a Jaguars team that is one of the hardest to figure out – and it seems now that Andrew Luck’s frustrations are coming to a boil.  The Colts have the worst roster in the NFL today but Andrew Luck and Frank Gore are doing all they can to keep it together – by themselves.  The Bears are so bad as a franchise they’re actually considering leaving Brian Hoyer in at quarterback even if Jay Cutler is cleared to play.  I guess the Bears haven’t seen the story of Brian Hoyer being a starting quarterback in the NFL yet. . . most of us have seen it twice, two thumbs – wayyyy down.  So why would we bother watching this trash on a Sunday?  Easy.  Gore can run through the Bears front line and Luck can air it out against one of the most trash-bag secondaries in the league.  The Colts will struggle against Bears rookie running back Jordan Howard, and the Chuck Pagano coached defense of the Colts stinks.

The Pick: The Over 47.5

Syracuse +3 at Wake Forest

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Each of these teams will struggle trying to get to six wins this season and that’s mostly because there is a gauntlet of talented teams in the ACC.  Unfortunately for Wake Forest and Syracuse they are not included in that gauntlet.  Defensively Wake Forest crushes Syracuse – if you look at the numbers, that is.  Wake allows 20 ppg compared to Syracuse’s 37 – but Syracuse has played the likes of Louisville, South Florida and Notre Dame; Wake has played Delaware, Tulane and Indiana. . . Wake’s rush defense is impressive only allowing 3.3 yards a run.  That’s nice and all, and would mean something – but Syracuse doesn’t run the ball.  Syracuse has a spread offense that averages 370 passing yards a game and completes 31 passes a game – this is tops in the ACC, a conference that has Clemson, Louisville and UNC.  This is bad news for Wake Forest who’s pass defense has allowed the fourth most passing yards in the conference and allows opponents to complete passes at about a 57% rate.  One of college football’s best kept secrets is quarterback Eric Dungey of Syracuse – he’ll have his way against Wake.

The Pick: Syracuse +3

Michigan -27.5 at Rutgers

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Michigan has hit the “finally” mark this season.  Last week they “finally” played a worthy opponent and this week they “finally” play an away game.  Lucky for Michigan their first away game is against one of the worst teams in division one football, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers.  Rutgers ranks 268th in passing offense and 225th in total yards per game. Defensively they are dead last in the Big Ten Conference allowing 32 points a game.  Pretty impressive to be dead last in that category considering it means you have to play worse defense than Illinois, Purdue and Penn State.  Michigan has already won by more than 30 points on three separate occasions this season against teams that are bottom feeders like Rutgers.  Add to the fact that Michigan’s rival Ohio State just lit up Rutgers 58-0 last week – coach Jim Harbaugh and his boys will look to outdo their rivals by giving Rutgers a beat down for the ages.

The Pick: Michigan -27.5

Washington -8.5 at Oregon

The fact that Oregon is apparently going to sport some cool “Webbed Feet” jerseys this week, should be enough to make anyone watch this game.  From a football stand-point though, Washington, after stomping out Stanford last week, is looking to put a stranglehold on the Pac-12.  Washington hasn’t beating Oregon in over a decade and the cards should line up for them this year.  They have the number one offense (45 PPG) and defense (12 PPG) in the Pac-12 but let us look at this in depth. . . three of the offenses they’ve played were Idaho, Rutgers and Portland State – not exactly the kind of heavyweights selection committees faun over. . . Last week’s huge win over Stamford had the Cardinal missing three offensive linemen, and two starters in their secondary – add to the fact that the Stanford Cardinal have no real answer at quarterback – safe to say it was a good time to catch them.  The only time Washington faced a real offense was against Arizona, where they came away with the win, 35-28.  . . College football pundits have been talking about the decline of Oregon, but one thing you cannot deny is that they can still score points (40ppg) and rack up over 500 yards a game.  Oregon lost last week to a Washington State team that will give anyone fits, and before that lost by three points in back to back weeks to Nebraska and Colorado.  Not saying Washington will lose this match up, but Oregon is going to come out with something to prove in what could be a “let-down” type of game for Washington.

The Pick: Oregon +8.5

Four Game Teaser of the Week: Colorado/USC Over 48.5; Michigan -15.5; Notre Dame +13 and Toledo -5.

 

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

College Bowl Game Predictions, Pt. 2

Liberty Bowl – West Virginia Mountaineers vs Texas A&M Aggies

Texas A&M made all of us scratch our heads this year.  A year removed from “Johnny Football” we all thought a new sun had risen in Texas with quarterback Kenny Hill.  After Hill found himself benched they turned to Kyle Allen and after starting out 5-0 they finished 7-5.  West Virginia is a good team who was dealt a tough hand with their schedule.  Quarterback Clint Trickett is questionable, and no disrespect to his fantastic season but his back up Skyler Howard looked tremendous against (albeit) Iowa State.  Texas A&M is pass happy and going against a very good pass defense.  The pick here is West Virginia -3.

Russell Athletic Bowl – Clemson Tigers vs Oklahoma Sooners

I kind of thought I was the only one who knew Russell Athletic was still around. Good for them they have their own bowl game.  It’s amazing they’ve stood the test of time with athletic apparel companies like Nike and Under Armour clearly holding weight in not just college athletics but all areas of sporting.  Oh, this game?  Both of these teams disappoint their fan bases every year – never take the favorite when it comes to Clemson or Oklahoma.  The pick here is Clemson +3 (but I might just take the over at 54).

Texas Bowl – Texas Longhorns vs Arkansas Razorbacks 

It was an up and down season for Texas’ first year head coach Charlie Strong, but that was expected.  Making any bowl game was a success to be honest and a win in the national spot light in their home state can be huge for recruiting.  Arkansas is a team who’s offensive line is massive.  They can control games at their own pace and although losing to Missouri was tough, this is a program on the rise.  The pick here: Texas +6.

Music City Fiesta Bowl – Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs LSU Tigers

This game has the potential to be very long and sloppy.  Coach Brian Kelly of Notre Dame was visibly frustrated towards the end of the season with the play of his defense and the carelessness of his quarterback Everett Golson.  LSU has a good running game and doesn’t try throwing the ball at all because they flat out can’t.  The pick here is REALLY the under at 52.5

Belk Bowl – Louisville Cardinals vs Georgia Bulldogs

Once again Georgia coach Mark Richt proved that he can recruit and make his team look good on paper – but he can’t win when it matters.  On the other side of things Bobby Petrino proved that it doesn’t matter the character of the man, he can flat out coach a winner.  No reason why Georgia should be a -7 favorite against a pretty well balanced Louisville team.  The pick here is Louisville +7.

Foster Farms San Francisco Bowl – Maryland Terrapins vs Stanford Cardinal

This game is interesting because the Terps think they’re on a program on the come-up, when in truth they are pretty terrible and Stanford is a team that has looked disinterested in playing football for most of this season.  Stanford will squeak by in one that – on paper – should be a walk in the park.  The pick here is Maryland +14.

Chick-Fil_A Peach Bowl – Ole Miss Rebels vs TCU Horned Frogs 

In what should be one of the more exciting match ups of this bowl season.  Ole Miss took a shot to the gut after losing to LSU and Auburn and TCU took the massive head shot after getting bumped from  the college football playoffs.  Both teams are coached well and will play up to the level of it’s competition.  As good as TCU’s offense is, this is an Ole Miss defense that has the speed to keep up.  Both quarterbacks, TCU’s Trevor Boykin and Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace will have to be careful with the football in what will be one of the most watched bowl games of the year.  The pick here is Ole Miss +3.

Bo+Wallace+Mississippi+v+Texas+yye48UrPhTVl

Fiesta Bowl – Boise State Broncos vs Arizona Wildcats

Arizona really wet the bed against Oregon in the Pac 12 Championship game.  Linebacker Scooby Wright is one of those players who is everywhere all the time, and has helped make this Wildcats defense tougher.  Boise though can score at will it seems and is back to their home away from home the Fiesta Bowl.  The pick here is Boise State +3.5.

Orange Bowl – Georgia Tech Yellowjackets vs Mississippi State Bulldogs

What’s the record for the number of teams called “the bulldogs” in bowl games?  Because this year, there’s been a bunch.  This game is for those that love smash mouth football.  The over/under in total pass attempts should be around 20 combined by both teams.  Even when Mississippi was ranked #1 they weren’t blowing people out by 50.  The pick here is Georgia Tech +7.

Outback Bowl – Wisconsin Badgers vs Auburn Tigers

Wisconsin is still licking their wounds after being thoroughly embarrassed by Ohio State in the Big 10 championship game.  That game made us forget how amazing Melvin Gordon ran the ball this year.  Auburn has failed to cover in six of their last seven games and Vegas has the spread shrinking more and more. The pick here is Auburn -6.5.

Melvin+Gordon+Minnesota+v+Wisconsin+yrkAA1XKStPl

Cotton Bowl – Michigan State Spartans vs Baylor Bears

The hope here is that neither team comes Arlington, Texas in “let down” mode.  Regardless, this will be the game that shows how the committee was correct in keeping out the Baylor Bears and how Michigan State is one of the most balanced teams in college football today.  The pick here is Michigan State +3.

Citrus Bowl – Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Missouri Tigers 

Missouri has proved that the jump from Big 12 to SEC was nothing for this program but they ultimately can’t wear the SEC crown. . . yet.  Minnesota is coming into this one as a considerable underdog for a team that was ranked nationally late in the season.  “Respect” for the Gophers and “disappointment” for the Tigers will play the biggest roles in this game.  The pick here is Minnesota +5.

Armed Forces Bowl – Pittsburgh Panthers vs Houston Cougars

Nobody knows how the Panthers beat Miami after for the most part having a pretty non-eventful season, but running back James Connor is going to touch the ball about 30 times in this game and help wear down a Cougars team that isn’t like the ones we’ve seen in recent history.  The pick here is Pittsburgh -3.

Taxslayer Bowl – Iowa Hawkeyes vs Tennessee Volunteers 

Nobody expected coach Butch Jones to have a 10 win season at Tennessee but 6-6 is a disappointment so having the chance to finish above .500 will keep them engaged for all four quarters.  The Hawkeyes bring a very experienced bunch to the table, most who will be playing their last game here.  The pick here is: Tennessee -3.

Alamo Bowl – UCLA Bruins vs Kansas State Wildcats

This will be the last time for UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley to try to impress on a big stage.  As he enters the draft this year he brings along his 29 total touchdowns but all in all a disappointing season for the Bruins.  The Bruins are capable of beating good teams, and Kansas State is very well balanced team.  Wideout Tyler Lockett of Kansas State will certainly get his against a UCLA defense who’s secondary has been shown out of position time and time again.  The pick here is Kansas State (Vegas currently has this game as a “pick ’em.”

Cactus Bowl – Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Washington Huskies

Who knows where Oklahoma State pulled that win against Oklahoma from to end the season.  It was the sharpest they’ve looked all season but it took them to play their hated rival to do it.  Washington “ain’t got no beef” with the Cowboys but they do bring to the table a very good defense to keep this game close for a while.  The pick here is Oklahoma State +5.5.

Birmingham Bowl – East Carolina Pirates vs Florida Gators

Watching the Gators this year was straight torture.  Yes they have a good defense but they can’t score at all.  Ever.  They’ll get a couple of stops against this Pirate offense, but won’t be able to contain them for four quarters.  Field position will be key for the Pirates.  The pick here is East Carolina +7.

Go Daddy.Com Bowl – Toledo Rockets vs Arkansas State Red Wolves

The best part of any GoDaddy.Com bowl is seeing the numerous adds that feature Danica Patrick all dolled up and looking adorable with other dolled up and adorable females who are appealing to the eye.  I won’t even pretend as if I know anything about Toledo and Arkansas State.  The pick here is the over at 67.

Rose Bowl (Playoff Semifinal) – Florida State Seminoles vs Oregon Ducks

Last year’s Heisman trophy winning quarterback verses this year’s Heisman trophy quarterback.  This can be the game that separates the gap between Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariotta when it comes to the upcoming pro draft.  Florida State has been living off second half comebacks this season but try giving Oregon a 14 or 21 point lead and coming back. . .  This game ends the reigning champs undefeated streak.  The pick here is Oregon -9.5.

SEC+Football+Championship+Florida+v+Alabama+UkUBcn5kn07l

Sugar Bowl (Playoff Semifinal) – Ohio State Buckeyes vs Alabama Crimson Tide

The best two coaches in the last 10 years of college football square off as it’s Urban Meyer against Nick Saban.  Nick Saban kept his cool throughout the season and has found himself ranked number one in the final polls.  Ohio State is one of the few teams that can match up with Alabama both physically and athletically – Urban Meyer may coach in the Big 10 conference, but he’s been recruiting SEC talented players.  Having a third string quarterback against a Nick Saban run defense is a tall task to over-come.  Whoever wins this game, ultimately becomes the National Champion because these two teams are just better than the teams in the Rose Bowl.  The pick here is Ohio State +9.5.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio