It’s bowl week 2 and I’m 2-4. Great. It’s not the best start ever, but every streak has to start somewhere, right? I didn’t think I’d already have to write the “bear with me” intro already, but here we are. We’re also counting down to Insight Bowl Armageddon on New Year’s Eve.
Motor City Bowl (Detroit, MI)
Purdue (7-5) at Central Michigan (7-5) (+8)
Before I went home for the holidays and didn’t get to listen to the joy that is Indianapolis sports radio anymore, I heard a guy call in and mention how he’d heard that Bobby Knight is thinking about retiring after this season. He said Knight is frustrated with the Texas Tech program and has basically lost the passion for coaching he has had his whole career, so he’s retiring and moving somewhere he can be as far away from basketball as possible…(pause)…so he’s moving to West Lafayette. ZING.
Anyway, Purdue is heading into their disappointing bowl after losing un-gloriously to IU a few weeks ago. They’ve even already played Central Michigan once this season. Nice out of conference scheduling there guys. Who are you, Indiana? The point is that a 7-5 record isn’t exactly thrilling to the Purdue faithful and Joe Tiller is somewhat on the hot seat as a consequence. The program has been decent but has remained obscure, which doesn’t mesh with Boiler-fan’s delusions of grandeur. How about you guys pick a sport you want to be good at, that gives your school a sports identity, and move the heck on?
Pick: Central Michigan
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl (San Diego, CA)
(11) Arizona State (10-2) at (19) Texas (9-3) (-2.5)
I hate this game. The Holiday Bowl is the best bowl to make if your team isn’t in a BCS game. But that’s not why I hate that game. I hate it because either team I pick will probably end up making me feel like an idiot. I wouldn’t trust either team to wash my car if there was a point spread for that, let alone pick one to cover or beat 2.5 points in this game. They’re two of the flakiest good teams ever. So, to paraphrase the Joker, who(m) do I trust?
The Sun Devils have a nasty habit of getting down early in games and coming back on their opponent. This usually means a shoot out and a close finish if they’re playing a good team. Texas is good, but they have a nasty habit of not playing well until the fourth quarter. Basically, there’s a good chance no one will score until after halftime in this game. And, while Texas is favored, Arizona State has just as good a chance in this one, hence the paltry 2.5 points ASU is getting despite a mediocre defense. Who(m) do I trust?
Champs Sports Bowl (Orlando, FL)
(14) Boston College (10-3) at Michigan State (7-5) (+3.5)
Michigan State has had a bunch of players get suspended for this game. I don’t know for what because I don’t care. If suspensions aren’t on the Florida State level, it’s just not interesting anymore. The only real significance the suspensions have is to make the already out-gunned Spartans even more out-gunned.
BC is a team full of seniors that finished on a lame note in their last season. They’re probably disappointed in the back of their minds and might have a letdown against Michigan State. Not. There’s too much talent on one side of the field in this game. Mark Dantonio has done a nice job in East Lansing, but it’s just year one and they’re playing one of the teams that was in line for the National Title game at one point. BC is just too good for Sparty, no matter how many 300 references the fans make. Remember, those guys lost too.
Pick: Boston College
Emerald Bowl (San Francisco, CA)
Maryland (6-6) at Oregon State (8-4) (-5)
Oh, Mike Riley, you are a gambler’s worst nightmare. Your team always lets its opponents back into games at the end. Whether it’s OSU, the San Diego Chargers, or OSU again, it’s the same routine over and over. In their wins against Cal and Oregon, you knew the whole time that the game would end close. Mike Riley teams don’t put teams away well.
Which leads me to the very mediocre Maryland Terrapins. Despite the Beavers having a quarterback problem (they don’t have a good one), they still should handle Maryland pretty easily. This is why I can’t pick Oregon State. Maryland isn’t very good, but I simply don’t trust Mike Riley teams. I’ve been too badly scarred by his time in San Diego. This pick just hurts because Maryland really isn’t good, but it’s so easy to see them sticking around in this game for no particular reason.