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Sun Bowl Aftermath - Time to Move On

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I'm trying my best not to dwell on Miami's loss to Washington State. It's time to move on. I share more bowl picks and analyze a few coaching decisions.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

"You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could've, would've happened...or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move on." - Tupac Shakur

Miami's 20-14 loss to Washington State was so frustrating that I had the urge to go on a Miko Grimes style rant. In the aftermath of the game, I was tempted to write lengthy paragraphs on Miami's missed opportunities: Two touchdowns called back due to unnecessary penalties, a red zone fumble, a dropped touchdown that became an interception, and the unspeakable Joe Yearby interception that sealed Miami's fate. I badly wanted the Canes to end a bowl drought that will now stretch to 10 years, but it's time to move on. Miami fans are excited about the future and eager to hear about new members of Mark Richt's staff. The coaching changes help minimize the impact of the Sun Bowl loss. Brighter days are ahead and I look forward to watching a better team in 2016.

After reaching one of my goals this season by winning 55% of my picks, I now have to set my sights higher. Going forward, I want to try to become untouchable as Bill Belichick. I want to make out-of-consensus picks and be praised even when they backfire. In yesterday's loss to the Jets, Belichick wanted to kick off after winning the toss, a decision that would've caused a firestorm for nearly every other coach. When it didn't work, he simply said "I thought it was the best thing to do." The media has given him a complete pass and many are now agreeing with his thought process. This got me thinking about the ultimate test of Belichick's stature. To do this, we have to analyze possibly the worst decision in the history of coaching. Let's say the Patriots are playing in a snowstorm, down 20-14, in the final minutes of a game, with a 1st down inside the opponent's 30 yard line. Let's say their starting RB has never thrown a pass in a real game before, let alone in weather he has zero experience with. Let's say the RB, and for arguments sake we'll call him Joe Yearby, catches the toss and throws a halfback pass that falls 15 yards short of his target, resulting in a game-ending and season-ending interception. I'm still willing to bet that the media would say things like: "Great call by Belichick, Yearby has to make a better throw," but I guess we'll never know.

Today

RICHT PICK

Military Bowl
PITTSBURGH +3 vs Navy - 230pm

Navy's QB Keenan Reynolds has set numerous records in his career and will be playing in his final collegiate game. He leads a crisp triple-option offense, but is facing a tough challenge against Pitt, led by one of the best defensive minds in football Pat Narduzzi. Despite giving up several long runs, Pitt was able to beat Georgia Tech by a field goal earlier this season. Narduzzi's group will be formidable given that experience and the extra weeks of preparation leading up today's game. Pitt has played in close games all season and I expect the Panthers to pull out another one on a field goal. WR Tyler Boyd and RB Qadree Ollison will shine this afternoon.

Quick Lane Bowl
MINNESOTA -4 vs Central Michigan - 5pm

5-7 teams are 2-0 so far this bowl season. Minnesota will extend that winning streak later today. Central Michigan QB Cooper Rush is talented, but the Gophers should be able to limit his ability to create big plays in the passing game. The Chips kept things interesting, but lost to all three Power 5 opponents they played this season (OKST, Syracuse, & Michigan State). Minnesota is better than the 5-7 record indicates and will play with confidence knowing that Tracy Claeys is now officially their head coach of the future.

Tuesday


Armed Forces Bowl
CALIFORNIA -7 vs Air Force - 2pm

After an up and down season, Cal QB Jared Goff has another chance to impress NFL scouts and prove he deserves to be drafted early. Playing in the Mountain West, Air Force hasn't faced a QB with Goff's talent. The Falcons have done good things defensively this season, but Cal has the advantage at the skill positions and will have enough success in the air to pull away in the second half.

RICHT PICK

Russell Athletic Bowl
NORTH CAROLINA -3 vs Baylor - 530pm

Baylor has been decimated by injuries this season. Shock Linwood and Corey Coleman are both out for this game, as well as QB's Seth Russell and Jarrett Stidham. Baylor's offense won't be the same and will struggle to keep pace with UNC's explosive attack led by QB Marquise Williams. RB Elijah Hood will have another big game as the Tar Heels win by a touchdown or more.

Home Loans Arizona Bowl
COLORADO STATE -3 vs Nevada - 730pm

What a strange matchup for a bowl - two teams from the same conference. The Mountain West is furious, but it still might be an exciting game. CSU WR Rashad Higgins has an NFL future and will make a few big plays tomorrow night. Nevada has a strong running game, but comes in at 6-6 with little momentum. Colorado State won four straight to finish the season and will do just enough to win by a touchdown.

Texas Bowl
LSU -7 vs Texas Tech - 9pm

Texas Tech will have no answer for LSU RB Leonard Fournette. The Red Raiders have one of the worst defenses in the nation. LSU will control the line of scrimmage and win convincingly to cap off a strange season with Les Miles still at the helm.