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College Hotline - Pac-12 football: Picks for the bowl season

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Dec 17, 2015.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    With the bowl season comes a chance for redemption for the Pac-12, which didn’t quite live up to advanced billing during the regular season.

    It wasn’t the best conference in the nation; the South wasn’t close to the best division; it got left out of the College Football Playoff; it didn’t even produce a second participant in the New Year’s Six bowls.

    Redemption time arrives Saturday, but the road is fraught with peril — courtesy of the oddsmakers and betting public.

    The conference produced more bowl teams than ever before (10), but consider the breakdown:

    It’s the heavy favorite in two games, the slight-to-solid favorite in six games, and a toss-up in two more.

    In no instance is the Pac-12 an underdog — the room for an upside surprise is pretty close to non-existent.

    Basically, the league would need to go 10-0 (maybe 9-1) to end the bowl season on a rip-roaring note relative to expectations.

    Last week: 0-1
    Season: 40-39-3
    Five-star special: 7-6

    All picks against the spread.
    Lines taken from vegasinsiders.com (opening lines used)

    ARIZONA (minus-11.5) vs. NEW MEXICO (Dec. 19, New Mexico Bowl): A road game for the Wildcats against an opponent that finished strong and is better than its reputation. The line is down to 9: Still too high. Pick: New Mexico.

    UTAH (minus-3) vs. Brigham Young (Dec. 19, Las Vegas Bowl): The lean here is BYU, only because I’d always rather take than give points in this rivalry. Over/under for total personal foul penalties: 5.5. Pick: BYU.

    WASHINGTON STATE (minus-1.5) vs. MIAMI (Dec. 26, Sun Bowl): Luke Falk is expected to play, so we expect to see the same WSU team that beat UCLA and took Stanford to the wire. And that team is better than Miami. Much better. Pick: Washington State.

    WASHINGTON (minus-8.5) vs. SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (Heart of Dallas, Dec. 26): Southern Miss scored at will on the likes of Louisiana Tech, Old Dominion and Rice. They haven’t seen a defense like UW’s all season. Pick: Washington.

    UCLA (minus-6.5) vs. NEBRASKA (Foster Farms Bowl, Dec. 26): The Bruins showed well in bowl games in 2013-14 and are the superior team here. But I can’t help thinking the beat down by USC will have a carryover effect — and that we’ll see a clunker in the clucker. Pick: Nebraska.

    CAL (minus-6.5) vs. AIR FORCE (Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 29): Expecting a super-charged performance by the Bears (first bowl in four years) and a sharp game from Jared Goff (in his Cal farewell?). But here’s why it will be tight all the way: The Falcons have more experience defending the spread passing game than the Bears do defending the triple option. Pick: Air Force.

    USC (minus-3) vs. WISCONSIN (Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30): Would love to find something compelling about this matchup — the Holiday has been one of my favorites since BYU beat SMU 46-45 — but not having much success. I do wonder about the perception of Clay Helton if the Trojans pull a no-show, which is entirely possible with the post-Pac-12 title game letdown and a return trip to San Diego. Pick: Wisconsin.

    STANFORD (minus-6.5) vs. IOWA (Rose Bowl, Jan. 1): Not expecting Stanford to roll over the Hawkeyes the way it did most Pac-12 foes — Iowa’s defense is very good — but I wonder about the other matchup: Do the Hawkeyes have enough punch to score the 17 or 20 points they’ll need to keep it close? Pick: Stanford.

    OREGON (pick) vs. TCU (Alamo Bowl, Jan. 2): The over/under opened at 74 and has climbed to 78 … Seventy. Eight. Love it. Also: Not nearly enough with both quarterbacks healthy. Pick: Oregon.

    ARIZONA STATE (pick) vs. WEST VIRGINIA (Cactus Bowl, Jan. 2): After a disappointing end to a disappointing season, the Sun Devils ought to be super excited to play a bowl game in their hometown. Or not. Pick: West Virginia.

    STRAIGHT-UP WINNERS: New Mexico, BYU, Washington State, Washington, UCLA, Cal, Wisconsin, Stanford, Oregon and West Virginia.

    FIVE-STAR SPECIAL: New Mexico. The best of several good choices. Motivated team at home with 11.5 points? Yes, please.


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    by Jon Wilner
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