It’s only a few days until we ring in the New Year, which means it’s also time for the BCS bowls. Last year featured a pretty good lineup of games, but this season leaves a whole lot to be desired as evidenced by the touchdown-or-more point spreads with the exception of the Rose Bowl. Regardless, here are my BCS bowl picks against the spread:
(1) Rose Bowl: Michigan (+1) over USC – As an Illinois fan whose continuous dream is to one day be able to spend New Year’s Day in Pasadena to watch the Orange and Blue compete, it’s going to be strange to see a Rose Bowl where both participants are utterly disappointed to be there with USC blowing a chance to be in the national championship game on the last day of the regular season and Michigan feeling jipped by the BCS system. The Wolverines have a bit more of a chip on their shoulders and the defense is simply stifling, so I’m giving Michigan the edge in what will probably be the closest of any of the BCS matchups.
(2) Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma (-7) over Boise State – The Smurf Turf won’t be in place at the Pink Taco, nor will it be able to stop the return of Adrian Peterson. With the Rose Bowl and a couple of intriguing Big Ten vs. SEC contests with Penn State – Tennessee in the Outback Bowl and Wisconsin – Arkansas in the Capital One Bowl already occurring earlier in the day, I can’t think of a less enticing capper to New Year’s Day.
(3) Orange Bowl: Wake Forest (+10) over Louisville – The over/under on the number of minutes into this game where I’ll be wishing for that Oklahoma – Boise State matchup: 12. I foresee Louisville prevailing in terms of the final score, but this spread is way too large for a subpar defense that played a Big East schedule. Take the points here.
(4) Sugar Bowl: LSU (-9) over Notre Dame – The Tigers are playing a virtual home game in the Superdome with a charged up fanbase celebrating the Sugar Bowl’s return to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina disaster. Meanwhile, the Irish continue to be perpetually overrated despite failing in every single true challenge they’ve faced over the past two seasons (USC twice, Ohio State in last year’s Fiesta Bowl, Michigan this year). Give the points here.
(5) BCS National Championship Game: Florida (+7) over Ohio State – Ohio State is winning this game, but I’m wary of the 7-point spread here considering that the Buckeyes only beat Michigan by 3 (granted, that game wasn’t as close as the final score) with a huge home field advantage in Columbus. (Sidenote: While the Florida basketball team ended up pounding Greg Oden and Ohio State in Gainesville last Saturday, we could very well end up with the national championship games in both football and basketball this year featuring the same 2 schools, not the mention the fact that the Gators could end up holding both championships at the same time if they prevail in Glendale. The 2001 Illini exacta of appearances in the Elite Eight and Sugar Bowl seems like eons ago.) The Ohio State defense is going to bend enough against Chris Leak and company where the game is going to be closer than what the prognosticators are saying right now. However, I’m as big of a believer in Troy Smith as anyone, so the Buckeyes are going to pull it out even though they won’t win it for the gamblers out there.
Enjoy the bowl games along with, in the NFL’s infinite wisdom, a prime time New Year’s Eve game between the Bears and Packers, which combined with the regular host of yahoos in downtown Chicago on that evening makes sleeping in the Primate House at the Lincoln Park Zoo a more appealing and certainly safer alternative. That being said, if you need to get rid of your tickets, feel free to call me up.
Happy New Year everyone!
(Image from MovieGoods.com)