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College Bowl Pick 'Em

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College football fans have had a lot of free time on their hands as they wait for the bowl season to begin. They’ve had two weeks worth of free time, to be exact.

So how have you spent those two weeks? Did you lose your ass on the NFL, NHL, NBA or a combination of all three? Perhaps you polished off that DVD box set of “Matlock” you got for your birthday. Or maybe you’ve been spending time with your family because they’re better than any reality show on MTV?

What did I do during this lull in the action? I prepared to put a little money on the bowls, that’s what I do! And I do just that by playing in a bowl pick ‘em.

Many of you that work in an office loaded with football fans already know what I’m talking about. If you’re familiar with this setup, don’t fret as it’s fairly simple: there are 35 bowl games on the slate and all you need to do is pick the winners.

There is one catch to picking the winners. You must place a point value to each of your selections. That means your “lock of the century” will be getting 35 points, while the coin flip of the group will get just one point. The rest of the list comes down to whatever floats your boat.

So now you know how this all works. It’s time to unveil the list that I’ll be using for this year’s bowl games.

College Bowl Pick 'Em Straight Up
Point Value Bowl Game Matchup My Pick
35 Sugar Bowl Ohio State vs. Arkansas Ohio State Buckeyes
34 Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma vs. Connecticut Oklahoma Sooners
33 Gator Bowl Michigan vs. Mississippi State Mississippi State Bulldogs
32 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Boston College vs. Nevada Nevada Wolf Pack
31 Las Vegas Bowl Utah vs. Boise State Boise State Broncos
30 Humanitarian Bowl Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State Fresno State Bulldogs
29 New Mexico Bowl BYU vs. UTEP BYU Cougars
28 Capital One Bowl Michigan State vs. Alabama Alabama Crimson Tide
27 Insight Bowl Iowa vs. Missouri Missouri Tigers
26 Alamo Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Arizona Oklahoma State Cowboys
25 BCS National Championship Auburn vs. Oregon Oregon Ducks
24 Military Bowl Maryland vs. East Carolina Maryland Terrapins
23 Armed Forces Bowl Army vs. SMU SMU Mustangs
22 Independence Bowl Air Force vs. Georgia Tech Air Force Falcons
21 BBVA Compass Bowl Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky Pittsburgh Panthers
20 Holiday Bowl Nebraska vs. Washington Nebraska Cornhuskers
19 Music City Bowl North Carolina vs. Tennessee North Carolina Tar Heels
18 Sun Bowl Notre Dame vs. Miami Notre Dame Fighting Irish
17 Outback Bowl Penn State vs. Florida Penn State Nittany Lions
16 Cotton Bowl Texas A&M vs. LSU LSU Tigers
15 Meineke Car Care Bowl South Florida vs. Clemson South Florida Bulls
14 Liberty Bowl Georgia vs. Central Florida Central Florida Knights
13 Chik-fil-A Bowl Florida State vs. South Carolina South Carolina Gamecocks
12 Rose Bowl TCU vs. Wisconsin TCU Horned Frogs
11 Orange Bowl Stanford vs. Virginia Tech Stanford Cardinal
10 New Orleans Bowl Ohio vs. Troy Ohio Bobcats
9 GoDaddy.com Bowl Miami (OH) vs. Middle Tennessee State Miami Redhawks
8 Little Caesars Bowl FIU vs. Toledo FIU Golden Panthers
7 Hawaii Bowl Hawaii vs. Tulsa Hawaii Warriors
6 Beef O'Brady's Bowl Southern Miss vs. Louisville Southern Miss Golden Eagles
5 Pinstripe Bowl Kansas State vs. Syracuse Syracuse Orange
4 Texas Bowl Illinois vs. Baylor Baylor Bears
3 Poinsettia Bowl Navy vs. San Diego State San Diego State
2 Champs Sports Bowl N.C. State vs. West Virginia N.C. State Wolfpack
1 TicketCity Bowl Northwestern vs. Texas Tech Northwestern Wildcats

My biggest play on the board is Ohio State beating the Razorbacks in the Sugar Bowl. Nobody needs to remind me about the Buckeyes and their issues in playing SEC teams in bowl games seeing as most of those hillbilly zealots will point it out. This is Arkansas’ first trip to a BCS bowl, but Bobby Petrino’s second (took Louisville to the 2007 Orange Bowl). Ryan Mallett is already familiar with Bucks’ defense in his days playing at Michigan. Well, that’s kind of true since he completed 1-of-3 passes in a 14-3 loss in ‘07. The Buckeyes have been extremely good on offense and defense to close out the season. Plus, Ohio State has plenty of BCS experience to go along with a need to beat an SEC school on this platform. This is the time for the Scarlet and Gray to win against the “best” conference in America.
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I fully admit that I’m a fan of the Big Ten and like them to do well. Yet you won’t find them get too much love from me in this list. Out of the eight teams coming from that league in bowl games, only three of them are getting love from me. The Nittany Lions are a good risk at 17 points to drop Florida in Urban Meyer’s final game as head coach at the Outback Bowl.

I’m using my one-pointer on Northwestern against Texas Tech in the newly minted TicketCity Bowl. I like the Wildcats to win the game, but I’ve been screwed by Pat Fitzgerald’s crew on more than one occasion. Having said that, I still think they can upend a Red Raiders team that has not been all that consistent in Tommy Tuberville’s first year.

The Big XII is the exact opposite of the Big Ten in my eyes this bowl season as I’ve taken five of their teams to win out of eight chances. A lot of the meetings just look like easy wins, the biggest being Oklahoma getting UConn in the Fiesta Bowl. But Missouri is the next closest team in the list since they’re getting the Hawkeyes without some big players on offense. Plus, Nebraska is getting a lousy Washington side in the Holiday Bowl. Those games look like great spots to pick up points in your office pool.

You can reach Judd Hall via e-mail at judd@vegasinsider.com

  
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