Now that’s more like it.
An 8-6-1 slate of picks last week improved my overall mark to 13-14-1 for the bowl game season against the spread. Arkansas imploding and winning by 2 hurt, as did Syracuse getting a late touchdown to spoil another spread, but that’s gonna happen any time you pick that many games at once.
And now, on with this week’s picks...
Duke’s Mayo Bowl
Maryland vs. NC STATE (-2)
The Wolfpack are a little bit tougher on the defensive side of the ball, so I think they’ll win a close game in the mid-twenties and lay this (barely).
Pittsburgh vs. UCLA (-8.5)
UCLA has its players playing, while Pitt is missing key guys, including Kedon Slovis, who’s hit the transfer portal. Bruins by double digits.
South Carolina vs. NOTRE DAME (-3.5)
The Irish grind down the Gamecocks with their physical running game, something Clemson and Tennessee failed to do in November.
Wyoming vs. OHIO (-2.5)
Like Pitt, Wyoming will be missing some key performers, especially on offense, so I’ll go with the more equipped team here in Ohio.
CLEMSON (-6) vs. Tennessee
Unfortunately for Tennessee (and their fans, including this alum), Dabo Swinney finally realized Cade Klubnik is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY better that D.J. Uiagalelei. Like...way, way, WAY...way, way better. I hoped Swinney would stay stubborn and loyal to DJ, but unfortunately that run ended early in the ACC Championship Game, when he went to Klubnik and Clemson rolled. Tennessee is missing far too many pieces due to the Draft, injuries, etc. and won’t be able to pull off what would be a culmination to an amazing season.
Kansas State vs. ALABAMA (-6.5)
When I did my picks in a straight up contest earlier this month, I picked K State because I figured there was no way Bryce Young would play. Welp, he is, and so is star LB Will Anderson, so Bama is loaded and will look to show the committee they messed up by not putting them in the playoff (even though they didn’t deserve to be there by their resume).
Music City Bowl
Iowa vs. Kentucky; UNDER 31 points
No Will Levis for Kentucky vs. whatever this mess of an Iowa offense is. YUCK. I’m not picking a winner against the spread in this one-legged butt-kicking contest of a football game. First one to ten wins.
TCU vs. MICHIGAN (-7.5)
I’ve never really believed in TCU after watching some of their close shaves this year, and I think Michigan physically dominates this game and wins by double digits.
Ohio State vs. GEORGIA (-6.5)
How Georgia is favored by less than Michigan is over TCU is insane. Bulldogs are the best team in the country by a comfy margin and blast the Buckeyes in Atlanta.
MISSISSIPPI STATE (-1.5) vs. Illinois
I also picked Illinois in my picks contest earlier this month...but that was before tragedy struck. The Bulldogs will play inspired football and find a way to win in Tampa on Monday. RIP, Coach Leach. We all miss you.
Tulane vs. USC (-2)
I’d normally pick Tulane in a matchup between a fired up G5 team against a Power Five team coming off a deflating loss. And USC will be without Jordan Addison and a couple of other key players. However, it sounds like Caleb Williams will play through his hamstring injury, and that’s enough for me.
PURDUE (+14.5) vs. LSU
Man, that’s a lot of points to lay in a game like this. I know Purdue will be without starting QB Aidan O’Connell, who opted out, but LSU will be without star WR Kayshon Boutte as well, who’s opting out and entering the NFL draft. Two touchdowns and a hook for Purdue...yea, I’ll take that here.
UTAH (-2) vs. Penn State
Man, the Utes are a plucky bunch, aren’t they? They’re tough, full of fight, and just fun to watch. Cameron Rising will be tough for the talented Nittany Lions defense to stop, and the Utes win a close and exciting Rose Bowl where each team gets into the low-to-mid-30s.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.