We are back today with our second collection of bowl picks.
Baylor's Nick Florence and UCLA's Brett Hundley will square off in the Holiday Bowl
I was 2-0 straight-up and 1-1 against-the-spread with last Saturday’s bowl wins by Arizona (thanks for the comeback) and Utah State.
For the year, I am now 244-89 SU and 163-166-4 ATS.
In Big Ten games, so far this year I am 77-20 straight-up and 48-41 ATS.
Today, we will focus our attention on the next nine bowl games that will take us up through the middle of next week. I will be back next Thursday with the third set of picks.
Here are my picks for the next nine bowl games:
* Poinsettia Bowl (At San Diego): San Diego State (9-3) vs. BYU (7-5, -3 1/2), Tonight, 8 p.m. (ESPN) – These former conference rivals square off at The Murph (or whatever they call it these days). BYU leads the all-time series 27-7-1. BYU won their last five meetings (including the last one in 2010, 24-21) as well as 14 of the last 16. BYU could go with Riley Nelson (rib injury) or James Lark at quarterback. SDSU follows 1,300-yard rusher Adam Muema, although BYU is stout against the run. I will take the Aztecs playing at home. After all, San Diego State won its last seven games and a share of the Mountain West title. San Diego State 24-21
* Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl (At St. Petersburg, Fla.): Ball State (9-3) vs. UCF (9-4, -7 1/2), Friday, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Ball State won six in a row down the stretch. UCF lost two of its last three games with both losses to Tulsa, including an OT loss in the Conference USA title game (33-27). The Cardinals' only defeats were against Clemson, Kent State and Northern Illinois. This ought to be one heck of a game. Can QB Keith Wenning (ankle) answer the bell for Ball State? Central Florida 30-26
* New Orleans Bowl: East Carolina (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (7-4, -4 1/2), Saturday, Noon (ESPN) – There will be plenty of seats available in the cavernous – and we do mean cavernous – Mercedez Benz Superdome. Here are some stats: ECU has lost three straight bowl games and did not have a win over an FBS team with a winning record. ULL QB Terrance Broadway, who accounted for over 3,000 yards total offense and 24 TDs, could have a field day against the Pirates porous pass defense. Louisiana Lafayette 37-28
* Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State (10-2, -5 1/2) vs. Washington (7-5), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Boise State finished 19th in the final BCS standings, coming up a few spots shy of qualifying for a spot. These two teams will meet in the 2013 season opener at renovated Husky Stadium. They have met once before with U-Dub winning in Seattle in 2007 (24-10). On the plus side, Washington did have wins over then-No. 8 Stanford (17-13) and then-No. 7 Oregon State (20-17) this year. But they also blew a big lead in their Apple Cup loss to Washington State (31-28). Boise has had at least one win over a BCS conference opponent every year since 2007. But they haven’t done that yet this year and could be looking at a three-loss season for the first time since 2007. Or maybe not. Boise State in a fun one 31-24
* Hawaii Bowl (At Honolulu): SMU (6-6) vs. Fresno State (9-3, -12 1/2), Monday, 8 p.m. (ESPN) – Wrap those last-minute gifts and enjoy some beautiful sights from Hawaii. Fresno QB Derek Carr will be looking to put on a show and the Bulldogs will be after their first 10-win season since 2001 (11-3). SMU had to beat Tulsa in its season finale (35-27) just to qualify for a postseason spot. Fresno State 41-23
* Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (At Detroit): Central Michigan (6-6) vs. Western Kentucky (7-5, -5 1/2), Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) – CMU needed to win its last three just to become bowl-eligible and “host” the Little Caesars Bowl in Detroit. The Hilltoppers have lost coach Willie Taggart, now at South Florida. Interim coach Lance Guidry will guide them here before Bobby Petrino takes over after the bowl. WKU RB Antonio Andrews was sixth in the nation in rushing with 1,609 yards. This is the Hilltoppers’ first-ever bowl appearance. Central is back in this game after playing in it for three straight years from 2006-08, going 1-2 in that stretch. Central Michigan 25-22
* Military Bowl (At Washington): Bowling Green (8-4) vs. San Jose State (10-2, -7 1/2), Dec. 27, 3 p.m. (ESPN) – They dust off old RFK Stadium for this one. San Jose State went from 1-12 in 2010 to 10-2 this year, sending coach Mike MacIntyre on to Colorado in the process. SJSU’s losses were to Stanford (20-17) and Utah State (49-27). The Spartans won their last six games. BG played a tough schedule with losses at Florida (27-14) and at Virginia Tech (37-0). The Falcons also lost to Toledo and Kent State in league play. BG must keep up with SJSU QB David Fales, third nationally in passing efficiency with 31 TDs and nine interceptions. BG hasn’t beaten a ranked team since 2008 (win over Pitt). SJSU, ranked 24th, hasn’t finished a season in the AP poll … ever. Bowling Green 24-21
* Belk Bowl (At Charlotte, N.C.): Duke (6-6) vs. Cincinnati (9-3, -7 1/2), Dec. 27, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Cincinnati lost coach Butch Jones to Tennessee. Interim coach Steve Stripling will lead UC here before Tommy Tuberville takes over in January. UC is going for its fifth 10-win season in six years. Duke opened 6-2 before four straight losses to ACC brand names Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami (Fla.). Those four losses came by an average of over 25 points. Duke is in a bowl game for the first time since 1994. That was also the last time the Blue Devils had a winning record. QB Brendan Kay took over for UC in November and led the Bearcats to four wins in their last five games to get a share of the Big East title for the fourth time in five years. Duke has not won a bowl game since the 1961 Cotton Bowl (a 7-6 win over Arkansas). Cincinnati 37-22
* Holiday Bowl (At San Diego): Baylor (7-5) vs. UCLA (9-4, pick’em), Dec. 27, 9:45 p.m. (ESPN) -- Over the years, the Holiday Bowl has been known for its shootouts. That could be the case again with Baylor (averaging 44.1 ppg) against UCLA (35.1 ppg). UCLA comes in off back-to-back losses to Stanford (35-17 and 27-24 in the Pac-12 title game). Baylor scored 41 or more points nine times and won four of its last five games. UCLA QB Brett Hundley will go against a Baylor defense ranked 118th in pass defense. But Baylor QB Nick Florence threw for 4,121 yards this year. WR Terrance Williams caught 95 balls for 12 touchdowns for the Bears. They are going to light up the scoreboard. Look for this game to end around 2 a.m. Eastern time. UCLA is going for 10 wins for first-year coach Jim Mora Jr. UCLA pulls it out 47-44
We will be back next Thursday with the third batch of bowl picks.