The bowl season gets under way Saturday with the first two of 35 games over a 24-day period.
Arizona QB Matt Scott
Today, I share my picks for these first two games. I will be back next Wednesday or Thursday with picks on the next six games through Dec. 26.
In Week 14, I ended up 9-5 straight-up and 5-9 against-the-spread. I then correctly picked Navy’s win over Army, but missed that game ATS.
For the year, I am now 242-89 SU and 162-165-4 ATS. (I’m three games under .500 heading into the bowl season.)
In Big Ten games, so far this year I am 77-20 straight-up and 48-41 ATS.
Here are my picks for the first two bowl games on Saturday:
* New Mexico Bowl (At Albuquerque): Nevada (7-5) vs. Arizona (7-5, -9 1/2), 1 p.m. (ESPN) – Nevada is in a bowl game for the eighth straight year, while Arizona reached a bowl in coach Rich Rodriguez’s first year in Tucson. Arizona comes in off a loss to rival Arizona State (41-34). Nevada opened 6-1 before dropping four of its last five games. But three of those were by a touchdown or less, including the season-ending loss to Boise State (27-21). Arizona boasts a 3,000-yard passer in Matt Scott and the nation’s top rusher in Ka’Deem Carey (146.4 yards per game). But Nevada RB Stefphon Jefferson is second at 141.9 ypg. Amazingly, this is only the fourth-ever meeting between these border rivals (series is knotted at 1-1-1) and the first since 1941. Should be a nice shootout. Arizona 37-30
* Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (At Boise, Idaho): Toledo (9-3) vs. Utah State (10-2, -10), 4:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Toledo is in a bowl for the third straight year. First-year coach Matt Campbell is already getting some looks for bigger jobs. Utah State will go down as the final WAC champion. It’s USU’s first outright conference title since 1936. The Aggies’ two losses were narrow losses at Big Ten champion Wisconsin (16-14) and at BYU (6-3). Toledo lost two of its last three games to fall out of contention for the MAC West title. Austin Danton figures to fill in for QB Terrance Owens (ankle) for Toledo. QB Chuckie Keeton (14th nationally in passing efficiency) leads Utah State. Utah State 33-27
We will be back next Wednesday or Thursday with the second batch of bowl picks.