Welcome back to Don’t Call It A Picks Competition, our weekly column where Matt, Bob and Harry pick five college football games against the spread and make appalling jokes at pretty much everyone’s expense. As always, you’re invited to pick with us in the comment section and we’ll post the standings each week.
This week, we begin our bowl coverage. This week, we pick the five top games between Tuesday and Saturday. We plan on doing something next week, but we are also three 20-year-olds on vacation, so who knows?
Bowls are weird. This year, 82 of the 127 full FBS members will play in bowl games. I did not quite realize what having 41 bowls feels like until it took me the entire first week and a half of winter break to pick all the games on ESPN’s Bowl Mania, which of course is sponsored by Capital One. The absurd plethora of bowls leads us to the existential consideration of our time: What is a bowl? An exhibition game? The biggest game of the season? An excuse for an extra month of sanctioned practice? A business ploy? A sandwich?
[ED Harry: Before we move on, I hope you’ll allow me a brief aside. For a couple of years leading up to the 2015 season, DCIAPC was an outlet for me to—how should I put this—make a bunch of people incredibly angry and even create some tense moments at extended family gatherings. (Yes, this actually happened.) This year, I feel like I got away from that. I wasn’t nearly as bombastic as I’ve been; come to think of it, I really wasn’t an asshole at all.
This bowl season, I promise to change. I promise my takes with be hotter than your mom, who I will resume having sex with on a regular basis. I promise to throw caution to the wind, like it is a student assistant filming football practice at Notre Dame University. I promise to treat political correctness like history treats the Jews. I’m back, folks. Buckle in.]
Championship Saturday recap:
- Houston (-6.5) held off a weird Temple team that outgained the Cougars, clinching the top ranking among Group of 5 teams and a Peach Bowl matchup with Florida State.
- Florida (+17) eeked out a cover against a clearly superior Alabama squad.
- Stanford (-4.5) relatively smoothly held off USC for the second time this season.
- Iowa (+3.5) covered but could not come through with a win over Michigan State in the grittiest game you’ll ever see.
- Clemson (-5.5) survived a threatening North Carolina team and clinched the only undefeated regular season in the FBS.
The standings will come down to the bowls. As friend of the blog Drew Price says, “should be good.”
And the peanut gallery. Lots of similar picks this week. AK takes the top spot in a controversial fashion: He did not pick the Houston-Temple game. However, he would still have passed Drew. Bobby also takes over Creed despite not making picks. The legality of these moves is currently facing investigation.
|Winning Percentage||Season Record||Last Week|
TO THE MATCHUPS
A couple rules I’m implementing here: 1) Sponsors will be omitted because fuck that. 2) We’re using central time because fuck eastern time. [ED Harry: As a resident of the eastern time zone for the majority of the year, this blatant micro-aggression against my people only goes to prove that DCIAB is not a SAFE SPACE for my kind. It’s 2015, man. Check your privilege. #ConcernedDCIAB1950]
Boca Raton Bowl: #24 Temple (-2.5) vs. Toledo, Tuesday 6 CT, ESPN
A nice matchup between two of the top Group of 5 teams in Harry’s dad’s backyard.
Bob: One of these teams is in the S&P+ top 25, and it’s not Temple. Toledo’s results impress me a bit more, and their success (big advantage on standard downs, rushing-oriented) seems more sustainable. This should be a good game, and the spread is essentially a toss-up. I like Toledo just a tad more. Toledo +2.5
Harry: One of these teams is marginally better and the other team is Temple. That said, Temple actually has their head coach for this one, unlike our beloved #MACtion unit. I’ll take Temple, especially when you toss in that I don’t have to lay more than a field goal and that the Owls have home field advantage because they’re LITERALLY playing in a stadium built for Owls (the usage of “literally” there is correct if you follow my joke, and if you don’t then you need to brush up on your Conference USA knowledge). This is unrelated, but Bernie Sanders is a socialist and if you’re considering voting for him, you should move a country that probably can’t afford to take you in due to its disastrous economic policy. Temple -2.5
I took this photo yesterday from the beautiful hotel I’m staying at on vacation. Do you think I feel like giving one single iota of a crap about a game between Temple and Toledo? Or any of these other games, for that matter? Temple -2.5 (That was by far the douchiest thing I’ve ever written on this blog or anywhere.)
Poinsettia Bowl: Boise State (-8) vs. Northern Illinois, Wednesday 3:30 CT, ESPN
Boise State, which failed to live up to heavy expectations this year, enters the ring for some solid weekday #MACtion.
Bob: By my quick look, Boise State is 0-3 against teams above .500 this year, with another rough loss to 6-6 Utah State in there. It’s one notable win was in week one and against a team that finished 6-6. Northern Illinois has a similar look, but has an impressive win over Toledo and a competitive game with Ohio State on its resume. There’s just not enough evidence to show Boise State is much better than Northern Illinois. Northern Illinois +8
Harry: Granted, this is my gut talking, and I just ate Thai food so Lord knows my gut is not an especially reliable source right now, but I feel like Boise State is definitely much better than Northern Illinois. Also, Jurassic Park is SIGNIFICANTLY cooler than Star Wars and arguably more revolutionary to the movie industry. Fight me. Boise State -8
Matt: Everything Harry said in that comment is completely incorrect. I bet he didn’t even eat Thai food just before writing it. FRAUDULENT. Jon and Kate +8
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Washington (-8.5) vs. Southern Mississippi, Saturday 1:20 CT (CUBS!), ESPN
Fresh off a tough loss to Western Kentucky in the C-USA Championship, Brett Favre’s alma mater takes on a Washington team that appears better than its 6-6 record.
Bob: Washington, despite its 6-6 record, ranks 20th in S&P+ and 27th in FEI. Southern Mississippi is much worse in each. Washington has actually been pretty good this year, with its record mostly the victim of a schedule full of tough teams. On the other hand, Southern Miss navigated a cupcake C-USA schedule, with a nice win over Louisiana Tech surrounded by losses to any not-awful team they played, including Nebraska. The huge spread and the defensively oriented Huskies put me on the fence, but Washington averaged 48.5 points in its last two games. I’ll take them to cover. Washington -8.5
Harry: Sorry Bob, but I’m not sure if Nebraska qualifies as a not-awful team, considering they literally made a bowl game because they got good grades under Bo Pelini. This is just the another classic example of the MORAL DECAY of America in 2015. First, we allow a Muslim born in Kenya to become our president. Then, we allow gay people to destroy the sanctity of an American institution that straight people have upheld for decades by failing to actually maintain it more than half of the time. BUT WORST OF ALL, WE ALLOW 5-7 TEAMS TO GO TO BOWL GAMES?! This shit has gone too far. It’s time to Make America Great Again by electing a bigoted Republican who received the most media coverage of any public figure in 2015. And you know exactly who I’m talking about: CAITLYN JENNER 2016!
While we’re on the topic of white people being persecuted in America in 2015, I’ll just come out and say what reasonable people are thinking but are afraid to say: There’s no such thing as white privilege. If you disagree with me, I’ll use my trust fund to get the best lawyer in town to sue you for everything you have. That said, I agree with the rest of Bob’s analysis. Washington -8.5
Matt: Bob is the smartest of all of us and you should listen to the things that he says. Washington has been pretty #HOT of late, so they’ll be taking a lot of #MOMENTUM into this one. I’ll take the far more talented team to ease to victory. Washington -8.5
Sun Bowl: Miami vs. Washington State (-2.5), Saturday 1 CT, CBS
Two enigmatic teams remind us of the annual tough questions: Why does CBS only hold one bowl game? Why is it this one?
Bob: Both teams had up-and-down 8-4 seasons, and it’s tough to discern a strong difference between the two. Washington State’s results, including road wins at Oregon and UCLA and close losses to Stanford and Cal, look better to me, and I generally have a better feeling about them performing in a bowl game. Washington State -2.5
Harry: Call me a homer and an idiot (you’d be correct about at least the latter), but this is a good matchup for Miami. Washington State relies almost exclusively on moving the ball through the air, and while the Canes feature a much-maligned rushing defense, the defensive backfield is actually a strong suit. Add on that Miami’s weakness on the other side of the ball—the offensive line—will be going against one of the softer fronts it has faced this season and you have what should be a Miami victory in a fairly high scoring game. I’m surprised UM is the underdog here, and I’ll happily take the points.
Okay, back to where I hijack this column to make cringe-worthy political takes. I’ve now lampooned libs and right-wing nut jobs. Where do my true allegiances stand? Who should actually feel pissed off and who should be laughing along? The clear answer: anyone even remotely offended by my jokes either way. If you seriously care, what some random jamoke on the internet who has no actual authority on anything has to say, that’s a you problem and it seems to be an epidemic in today’s culture. Sorry, what were we talking about? Miami +2.5
Matt: Harry has completely gone off the rails. Speaking of rails, I’m going to take the team whose most recent head coach spent the second half of every game going through apparent cocaine sweats (is that a thing?) because his team’s double-digit deficit left him scrambling for an eight-ball to snort. How’s that for a segue? Now that I too am off the rails, here is my pick: Miami +2.5
Foster Farms Bowl: UCLA (-6.5) vs. Nebraska, Saturday 8:15 CT, ESPN
Nebraska, at 5-7, the DCIAB Goat, the team that voluntarily downgraded its head coach, versus Harry’s favorite quarterback. [ED Harry: How dare you assume that I love Josh Rosen simply because he is a Jew excelling in football. This is almost as egregious as the time I was racially profiled at Chipotle when the server simply assumed I wanted chicken in my burrito bowl without even asking. [[ED Matt: Wait hold on, that happened to me too.]] That said, both you and that Chipotle employee were correct in your assumptions. Gotta support members of the tribe and enjoy lean protein in the form of delicious Chipotle grilled chicken. Also that Chipotle story didn’t even happen to me; it happened to Matt but I got to WordPress editor for this column before he did so I’m claiming it. [[ED Matt: Oh God damnit.]] Wow this turned into the War and Peace of EDs. Now back to your regularly scheduled, marginally over-.500 football picks.]
Bob: I suspect Nebraska’s numbers are hugely boosted by its win over Michigan State led by a one-armed Connor Cook, not to mention the botched call that game them the win. Ultimately, Nebraska is a 5-7 team facing a solid (we think?) UCLA squad. I’m fine giving up less than a touchdown here. UCLA -6.5
Harry: This line is a joke and I will happily treat it as such. Also, the Romans killed Jesus, so please stop blaming us for it. PARLAY BET: Israel over Palestine -210 AND UCLA -6.5
Matt: Yarmulke. UCLA -6.5
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