While most publications take Christmas off to spend some quality time with family, DCIAB will do no such thing! You can say that we can do this because two-thirds of us either don’t really celebrate Christmas or actively celebrate not celebrating Christmas, but I say it’s because we are better than everyone else.
It’s the second installment of our three-week coverage of bowl season, and the games this time around are certainly much better than last week’s meager slate. While this is a friendly competition, as we go down to the wire in the last couple weeks, things could get a bit chippy. I’m studying the BYU-Memphis post-game tape just in case I need to pull some moves to protect myself. So again, in case you missed us last week, here’s how this works from here on out:
We’ll pick our standard five games this week and then we’ll do all six major bowl games next week, with the column going up Monday to give you a couple days before the Peach and Orange Bowls kick on New Year’s Eve. Each bowl pick counts the same as the regular season standings and we’ll crown a champ after the New Year’s Day games. If there is a tie, the tiebreaker will be bowl record.
In a hilarious set of games that we managed to pick with mostly straight faces last week:
- Louisiana-Lafayette (+1) rolled a Nevada team that might as well have not stepped off the plane in New Orleans
- Utah (-3) flattened a Colorado State team that would have been an underdog even if its coach hadn’t left for Florida weeks before the game
- Air Force (-1.5) completed a miraculous turnaround with a 38-24 win over Western Michigan, polishing off a 10-win season after finishing 3-9 in 2013
- Memphis (-1.5) pulled off a thrilling double-overtime victory over BYU in Miami that will be remembered for being a thrilling contest between two sneaky-good football teams and for no other reasons at all
- Marshall (-10) stomped Northern Illinois and likely sealed its distinction as the best college football team outside of the Power 5 conferences this year (although Boise State may have something to say about that in the Fiesta Bowl)
After a very good collective week for the three of us, here are the standings:
And the splits:
|We All Agree||18-25|
It was a sparse week for the peanut gallery, as Bob and I dropped the ball in Facebook promotion. We’ll do a better job this week. As a reminder, if you want to make sure you don’t miss a post in the future, you can subscribe by email on the top right of this page for just four installments of $89.99. However, if you act now, we’ll waive all four installments and allow to subscribe ABSOLUTELY FREE. Happy Holidays! Anyway, here’s the peanut gallery:
|Winning Percentage||Season Record||Bowl Record|
Here are this week’s games. As usual, all lines come from Pinnacle and game times are eastern. The rankings come from the College Football Playoff Rankings. Illinois and Miami are both in action this week, so you get to waste time thinking about Matt’s and my shitty football teams again! Congratulations! As a matter of principle, I refuse to call bowls by their corporate sponsor name, so the final game on this list may appear to have a confusing name, but it is the original name of the bowl before money ate it.
Friday, December 26:
Heart of Dallas Bowl; Dallas, Texas
Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech (-6), 1, ESPN
Congratulations on making a bowl game for the first time in a few years, Illinois! Your reward is…a no-win situation against a Conference USA team! If Illinois wins, everyone will say, “That’s exactly what they should have done, they were playing a Conference USA team.” If they lose, everyone will point and laugh. Enjoy your stay in Dallas, Illini!
Saturday, December 27:
Sun Bowl; El Paso, Texas
#15 Arizona State (-7.5) vs. Duke, 2, CBS
Pretty good matchup for the Sun Bowl—at least on paper—between two solid teams near the top of their respective conferences. How good is Duke really, though? We’ll find out.
Independence Bowl; Shreveport, Louisiana
Miami (-3.5) vs. South Carolina, 3:30, ABC
Can’t think of a better place to spend Christmas than Shreveport, Louisiana. I bet people are just snatching up tickets for this one.
Holiday Bowl; San Diego, California
Nebraska vs. #24 USC (-7), 8, ESPN
The storyline for this game will likely center around how Nebraska plays without Bo Pelini, but USC is a solid team poised to make some noise in 2015. We’ll see if that starts in San Diego.
Monday, December 29:
Tangerine Bowl; Orlando, Florida
Oklahoma (-3) vs. #17 Clemson, 5:45, ESPN
I’ll definitely be skipping this one to avoid triggering my PTSD from watching Miami’s evisceration at the hands of Louisville in last year’s edition of this game. Onto the picks.
Harry: Louisiana Tech is certainly a decent team, but I think this line is a bit high. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bulldogs covered this spread, but I definitely don’t trust them to do it. Can’t wait until I get to hate myself for picking Illinois for one last time this year. Illinois +6
Matt: Recently, I’m realizing that it’s somewhat unwise to pick against teams hailing from the better conference in bowl games, even if advanced statistics indicate the other team’s superiority. This is one such case that scares me, as the statistically formidable Bulldogs rank ahead of Illinois in every category. Add that to my nervous feeling that Illinois was extremely lucky to win more than three games this year, and we could have a recipe for disaster. Still, six is a lot of points and I’ll nervously take the Illini to at least cover. Illinois +6
Bob: I’m the guy who actually celebrates Christmas here, and I’m scribing this up post-church, pre-dinner, so I apologize if I’m a little light on the analysis this week. I agree with what these guys said. I generally like to pick the power conference teams (i.e. Utah over Colorado State), and I am not too impressed Louisiana Tech’s results. Illinois +6
Harry: I’ve thought of Duke as incredibly fortunate to have such a cupcake schedule this season and extremely overrated all year long. The Blue Devils confirmed my doubts with bad home losses to Virginia Tech and North Carolina in the final three weeks of the season. In one of my most confident picks that I’ve made all season, I’ll happily take the Sun Devils in a line that’s at least three points too low. ASU -7.5
Matt: Arizona State finished the season with several consecutive excellent performances, while Duke did just about the exact opposite. Ride with the Devils. Arizona State -7.5
Bob: Although F/+ pegs these teams as approximately even, I concur with the above statements. Duke has successfully handled the bad teams while struggling with better opponents, and Arizona State is arguably their best opponent of the season. Arizona State -7.5
Harry: This is a tough one because it’s a game that Miami really should win easily, especially now that Carolina’s leading receiver Shaq Rolland left the team before the bowl game to declare for the NFL draft. That said, Miami dropped games to Virginia and Pittsburgh in embarrassing fashion at the end of the year because of what looked like apathy. Despite the happy faces they’ve put on for the media, I can’t imagine that the UM players are too happy to be spending Christmas in freaking Shreveport either. I’ll take Miami because this should be a fairly easy victory on paper, but if apathy sets in again, the ‘Canes could easily flop again. Miami -3.5
Matt: This one comes down to whether or not Miami tries in my opinion, which Harry mentioned above. If they bring a Florida State-like effort to this game, they’ll win. If they slack and try to play SC like UVA/PITT, they’ll lose. I’m betting they’ve given up on this season and the ‘Cocks are able to pull out with a victory. South Carolina +3.5
Bob: I completely agree with Matt. South Carolina legitimately sucked this season, which worries me a little bit, but it’s tough for me to drop more than a field goal with a Miami team that botched games against Virginia and Pittsburgh in its two most recent games. South Carolina +3.5
Harry: After the decisive thumping that Colorado State took without its head coach, I’m not about to step off the Betting Against Teams That Just Lost Their Head Coaches bandwagon, especially with an underrated USC team laying just a touchdown. USC -7
Matt: Betting Against Teams That Just Lost Their Head Coaches bandwagon. USC -7
Bob: I’m not on that bandwagon usually, but the Pelini loss looks especially brutal to the players (but you can argue THE PLAYERS ARE WINNING THIS FOR BO and that stuff, which makes the whole argument senseless). I also just think USC has been the better team this year. It’s a lot of points to give up, but I am okay with it. Southern California -7
Harry: Unfortunately for Clemson, Deshaun Watson will not be available in this game. Did anyone watch Clemson without him this season? I don’t care how disappointing Oklahoma was; I can’t believe the line is this low. Oklahoma -3
Matt: As bad as Clemson’s offense was this year without Deshaun Watson, they sport one of the top ten defenses in the country. They’ll hang in there and manage to cover or even win in a boring, low-scoring affair. Clemson +3
Bob: When only getting three points, I think it’s foolish to expect to “manage a cover” without winning. I think it’s fair to pick them to win given how tough their defense has been fantastic this year (#1 in F/+). This is a tough pick, but I just can’t take a Cole Stoudt-led team against a quality opponent. Oklahoma -3