ESPN Streak for the Cash Picks and Analysis-January 1

Can the Northern Illinois Huskies pull out a stunner to start the year in the Discover Orange Bowl behind quarterback Jordan Lynch? That’s just one of the picks on the board in ESPN’s Streak for the Cash. Photo by Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Happy New Streak for the Cash Year! Check out the year that was in Streak for the Cash in a great top ten of the memorable moments from the year over at ESPN (Click here for post). As we start the new year, there’s 15 picks on the board with options from the EPL, College Bowl games all day long, and some basketball from the college and pro ranks tonight. Here’s how I’m starting my streakin’ new year:

1/1 Streak Picks

7:45- West Bromwich Win: We start with the EPL this year as West Brom hosts Fulham. Fulham is struggling going just 1-3-6 in their last 10. West Brom has won two of their last three and are 7-1-2 at home on the season. They’re dealing with some injuries, but I think West Brom catches Fulham at a good time and that the Baggies can get a win at home. Confidence Meter: (out of 10)

November 17, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Northwestern Wildcats running back Venric Mark (5) runs the ball against Michigan State Spartans cornerback Johnny Adams (5) during 1st quarter of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

12:05- Northwestern Wildcats:  In today’s early bowls the pick I like better is the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl. No points to be given here, so I’ll take the Northwestern Wildcats straight up to knock of Mississippi State. The Wildcats are two-point favorites, but MSU has a much better recent history in bowls. MSU have won their last five bowl appearances while Northwestern hasn’t had a bowl victory since 1949. Both teams have dominated the turnover battle this year and play solid, disciplined football. The difference in the game will be the running game of Northwestern as they lean heavily on Venric Mark and a solid rush defense against possibly-limited Bulldogs quarterback Tyler Russell. Mississippi State has lost four of their last five, and Northwestern closed the seasons with nice wins over Michigan State and Illinois after forcing Michigan to overtime. Confidence Meter: 4

1:00- South Carolina Gamecocks: The Outback Bowl in Tampa features the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Michigan Wolverines in a Big Ten-SEC matchup. Michigan’s offense is a big unknown with Denard Robinson’s injured elbow forcing him to play running back at the end of the year with Devin Gardner getting the starts at quarterback. It’s been reported that Gardner will start and Robinson will “complement” him. Michigan won’t be the only team with rotating quarterbacks as coach Steve Spurrier has said the Connor Shaw will start and Dylan Thompson will also see some action. The key to this game though will be the defenses, and since I like the Gamecocks defense and special teams better I feel pretty confident in going with South Carolina. Confidence Meter: 7

Dec 29, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of the helmets of the Wisconsin Badgers (left) and Stanford Cardinal at the 2013 Rose Bowl media day at the L.A. Hotel Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

5:05- Wisconsin win or lose by single digits: Stanford and Wisconsin meet in the Rose Bowl Game. Stanford has some serious momentum after beating Oregon, UCLA (twice), and Oregon State to close the season all of who were ranked at the time they faced off. Wisconsin had no momentum dropping three of four before heading to the Big 10 Championship game and absolutely dismantling the Nebraska Cornhuskers 70-31. The Badgers will be without Bret Bielema who took the job at Arkansas, and will instead by coached by athletic director (and former coach) Barry Alvarez. While both teams feature star running backs in Montee Ball for Wisconsin and Stepfan Taylor for Stanford, the difference in this game will be the quarterbacks and the defense. Both defenses are among the best in the country and both have stopped some potent attacks finishing in the top 20 nationally in most categories. Wisconsin has four losses on the season but there were all by seven points or less. Stanford has also played it’s share of close games with nine of their 13 games decidec by single-digits. I think Stanford wins, but I don’t think it’s a blowout. To me this feels like a field goal or overtime game in the Granddaddy of them all. Confidence Meter: 7

8:35- Any Other Result: This pick is Northern Illinois plus 15 against Florida State. Florida Stat’s defense has been among the nation’s best all season but the Seminoles as a team have been inconsistent. Northern Illinois was a one-point loss in the season-opener from a perfect season and Jordan Lynch should be enough to keep them close. This game means more to them as a BCS-crasher, and like we saw with Boise State a few years ago there is potential for an upset in the Orange Bowl. I do think FSU gets the win but I also think it’s a very close game. Confidence Meter: 4

Topics: Bowl Picks, College Football Picks, EPL Picks, Free Sports Picks, Streak For The Cash Picks

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