In the first batch of bowl picks, I was 4-2 straight-up and 3-3 against-the-spread.
Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III leads Baylor to Alamo Bowl vs. Washington
So, for the year I am now 259-74 straight-up and 173-144-4 against-the-spread.
OK, here we go with the second group of bowl game picks through next Friday. We will be back next Friday with the next batch.
* Hawaii Bowl (At Honolulu): Nevada (7-5) vs. Southern Mississippi (11-2, -8 1/2), Saturday, 8 p.m. (ESPN) – Larry Fedora will coach his final game at Southern Miss before heading on to North Carolina. This is a match-up of two top-15 offenses, so points should be scored early and often. USM QB Austin Davis threw for 3,331 yards and 28 TDs. Can the Golden Eagles follow up their upset of Houston with a bowl win here? Southern Miss 41-24
* Independence Bowl (At Shreveport, La.): North Carolina (7-5) vs. Missouri (7-5, -5 1/2), Monday, 4 p.m. (ESPN) – UNC dropped four of its last six games in limping to the finish. Missouri won its last three games and four of its last five. UNC can post a fourth straight eight-win season with a win. Mizzou is led by dynamic run/pass QB James Franklin. Mizzou is 2-0 all-time vs. UNC. Make it 3-0. Missouri 31-23
* Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (At Detroit): Western Michigan (7-5) vs. Purdue (6-6, -2 1/2), Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2) – Purdue needed a win over rival Indiana at the end of the season to qualify for its first bowl bid in four years. The Boilers must deal with Western QB Alex Carder, who led the MAC at 312 yards per game and 28 TDs. Western scored 44 or more points in six of their games. Purdue is 8-7 all-time in bowl games, but has only won two of its last eight bowl appearances. This could go either way. Western dropped games to Michigan and Illinois this season. Purdue 33-27 in a good one
* Belk Bowl (At Charlotte, N.C.): North Carolina State (7-5, -1 1/2) vs. Louisville (7-5), Tuesday, 8 p.m. (ESPN) – This game matches two teams that got off to slow starts, but each won their last two games to assure themselves of postseason play. Louisville actually tied for the Big East championship, although West Virginia won the three-way tiebreaker. N.C. State boasts a win over ACC champion Clemson. I like the Wolfpack and QB Mike Glennon in this one. N.C. State 31-25
* Military Bowl (At Washington): Air Force (7-5) vs. Toledo (8-4, -3), Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Toledo will be without head coach Tim Beckman, who has moved on to Illinois as its new head coach. Offensive coordinator Matt Campbell will coach UT in the bowl. His UT offense averaged 42.3 points this season, best in the MAC and eighth nationally. They averaged better than 200 yards a game in both rushing and passing. Air Force averages 320.3 yards rushing (second nationally) and 34.3 points per game. Can the Rockets – who gave up 60 points to Northern Illinois and 63 to Western Michigan – stop the Falcons’ running game? Should be a shootout. Toledo 44-38
* Holiday Bowl (At San Diego): Texas (7-5, -3) vs. California (7-5), Wednesday, 8 p.m. (ESPN) – Cal won three of its last four games, while Texas was 1-3 down the stretch. Can Cal RB Isi Sofele establish the run against a decent UT run defense? Neither team really excelled against the best teams on their schedule, so it’s hard to get an edge either way. I’m not sure why but I will take California 24-21
* Champs Sports Bowl (At Orlando, Fla.): Florida State (8-4, -3) vs. Notre Dame (8-4), Thursday, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Florida State leads the all-time series 4-2. They haven’t played since 2003, when FSU took a 37-0 win in South Bend. They met in the 1996 Orange Bowl with FSU winning 31-26. Neither team lived up to expectations this year. ND won four of its last five, losing at the end at Stanford (28-14). FSU won five of its last six games. ND coach Brian Kelly says Tommy Rees will start at QB, but Andrew Hendrix will also play. I think this will be one heck of a game. And, again, I’m not sure why I’m going this way but the Irish get it done. Notre Dame 27-25
* Alamo Bowl (At San Antonio): Baylor (9-3, -9 1/2) vs. Washington (7-5), Thursday, 9 p.m. (ESPN) – Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III leads the Bears on the 160-mile trek to San Antonio to face Washington. Neither team excelled defensively – UDub allowed 33 points a game, while Baylor allowed 35. Baylor won its last five games, while Washington was 1-3 down the stretch. Baylor can reach 10 wins for just the second time in school history. Baylor is also in a bowl for the second year in a row for the first time since 1991-92. Steve Sarkisian has led Washington back quickly from some really dark days, though. Baylor 38-24
* Armed Forces Bowl (At Dallas): Tulsa (8-4) vs. BYU (9-3, -1 1/2), Friday, Noon (ESPN) – Tulsa opened the year 1-3, before reeling off seven straight wins. A loss at the end to Houston (48-16) left the Golden Hurricane at 8-4. All four of Tulsa’s losses came to teams ranked in the top 10 on game day (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Boise State and Houston). BYU embraced independent status and had a nice nine-win season. That included wins over Ole Miss and Oregon State and a one-point loss at Texas (17-16). This is a good game. Tulsa 31-26
* Pinstripe Bowl (At Bronx, N.Y.): Rutgers (8-4, -1 1/2) vs. Iowa State (6-6), Friday, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Rutgers boasts prolific WR Mohamed Sanu, who set the Big East record with 109 catches. Rutgers is back at Yankee Stadium after beating Army there in November (27-12). Iowa State dropped its last two games at Oklahoma and at Kansas State after upsetting then-No. 2 Oklahoma State (37-31). Rutgers had its three-game winning streak snapped with a season-ending loss to Connecticut (40-22). By the way, Iowa State defeated UConn 24-20 in September. The question is will two feet of snow fall on the Bronx before this year’s game (like last year)? Rutgers 24-20
* Music City Bowl (At Nashville, Tenn.): Mississippi State (6-6, -6 1/2) vs. Wake Forest (6-6), Friday, 6:40 p.m. (ESPN) – Teams from Mississippi and North Carolina will meet in the middle in Tennessee. Wake was 1-4 down the stretch, while Mississippi State snapped a two-game losing streak (to top-10 teams Arkansas and Alabama) by blasting rival Ole Miss 31-3 in its finale. Mississippi State has won four straight bowl games and is 9-6 all-time in bowl action. Wake is back in a bowl for the first time since 2008. How do you pick this game? Wake beat N.C. State and Florida State. Mississippi State's best win? WAC champion Louisiana Tech, I guess. Wake Forest 29-24
* Insight Bowl (At Tempe, Ariz.): Oklahoma (9-3, -14) vs. Iowa (7-5), Friday, 10 p.m. (ESPN) – Oklahoma was the preseason No. 1 team in both major polls. But the Sooners fell out of national title game contention with a home loss to Texas Tech (41-38). OU also dropped games at Baylor (45-38) and at rival Oklahoma State (44-10). Iowa will be without suspended 1,000-yard rusher Marcus Coker and that hurts. OU coach Bob Stoops is an Iowa alum. Iowa is back in the Insight for the second year in a row after beating Missouri there last year. The Hawkeyes have won three straight bowl games. Oklahoma won the only previous meeting with Iowa in 1979 (21-6). On paper, you’d think Oklahoma should roll. But something tells me Iowa hangs tight here. Oklahoma 35-28
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