I was worried about bowl season, given my picks' history of failure and disappointment. A quick 4-2 start has changed all of that for the time being. I'm not ready to declare Donald Trump Full Overconfidence Mode just yet, but that may change if this set of picks is successful. Here are another six games, taking you all the way to Christmas. Miami's game with Washington State is just four days away.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
AKRON +7 vs Utah State - 330pm
I'm relying on Akron's talented defense to keep this game close. The guy to watch is MAC defensive player of the year Jatavis Brown. The Zips will make things difficult for Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton in his final college game. Akron won four straight games to finish the season. Utah State lost three of four down the stretch and looked inconsistent all year, partially due to key injuries on offense. Don't be surprised if Akron loses by a field goal or even pulls the outright upset. In Terry Bowden I trust....
Boca Raton Bowl
TEMPLE -2.5 vs Toledo - 7pm
Temple will benefit from the continuity of still having their head coach Matt Rhule. Toledo lost Matt Campbell and multiple assistants to Iowa State. OC Jason Candle has taken over the program going forward. Both teams can score but I'm picking Temple because the Owls have the better defense, allowing just 19 points a game this season. LB Tyler Matakevich is a star and just won the Nagurski and Bednarik Awards as the nation's best defensive player. Temple RB Jahad Thomas is better than most RB's Toledo has seen in the MAC this season. The Owls' senior class is motivated to finish as the best team in program history and a win Tuesday night will cement that accomplishment.
BOISE STATE -8 vs Northern Illinois - 430pm
Northern Illinois gets QB Ryan Graham back, but without Drew Hare who was injured late in the season, the Huskies offense isn't the same. Boise State had a disappointing season to their standards, but the Broncos still should be able to control the line of scrimmage in this matchup. RB Jeremy McNichols had 18 rushing touchdowns this season and should add to that total Wednesday afternoon. BSU QB Brett Rypien has shown steady improvement and will play well in his first bowl game. Boise State pulls away in the second half and wins by two touchdowns.
BOWLING GREEN -7.5 vs Georgia Southern - 8pm
Bowling Green will be coached by DC Brian Ward, with head coach Dino Babers gone to Syracuse. Georgia Southern will be led by assistant head coach Dell McGee, with Willie Fritz off to Tulane. This game will be another opportunity for QB Matt Johnson and the Falcons' offense to impress. BGSU has major talent at every skill position, led by RB Travis Greene, and WR's Roger Lewis and Gehrig Dieter. This is the first ever bowl game for Georgia Southern. The Eagles rely almost exclusively on running the option. Bowling Green will be ready after getting a few extra weeks to prepare to defend it. The Falcons win by three scores.
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
WESTERN MICHIGAN -4.5 vs Middle Tennessee - 12pm
For people who think there are too many bowls, I would encourage you to watch this game. Both teams bring exciting offenses and are thrilled to be spending the holidays in the Bahamas. This should be a high-scoring affair. I have a lot of respect for WMU coach P.J. Fleck and love the energy he brings to his team. MTSU is led by head coach Rick Stockstill and his son Brent is the starting QB, looking to finish strong after an impressive freshman season. The team with the ball last will likely win and I'm relying on the leadership of WMU QB Zach Terrell. He'll find his two star WR's (Corey Davis and Daniel Braverman) early and often.
CINCINNATI +1.5 vs San Diego State - 8pm
Gunner Kiel can't play for Cincinnati, but as the Canes found out earlier this year, backup QB Hayden Moore has the talent to lead the Bearcats to wins. San Diego State finished 10-3 this season and is riding a nine game winning streak. I expected the Aztecs to be favored by more than a point or two. It's clear that the Mountain West isn't getting a lot of respect from "the boys in the desert" as Brent Musberger calls them. SDSU RB Donnel Pumphrey is one of the most underrated players in the nation and I've enjoyed watching him as I struggled to stay awake at 1am this season. He'll put up good numbers, but the Aztecs won't be able to keep pace with Cincy's offense. The Bearcats win a close one.