Oct 26, 2013; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown waves to the crowd after the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

December 30th-31st Bowl Predictions Against The Spread


Oct 26, 2013; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown waves to the crowd after the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports


This is the third in a series of my bowl predictions.  Things are going to be awfully crazy until the end of the year, so I am just doing these when I have the chance.  Ideally I would wait until Sunday to put these up, but I know that I wont be able to make it happen then, so you all get it a few days early.  Here are the bowl predictions for this weekend:


Now here are the ones for Monday and Tuesday!



Middle Tennessee State vs. Navy(-6.5):


Middle Tennessee State(8-4, 6-2)

Wins:  Western Carolina(45-24), Memphis(17-15), at Florida Atlantic(42-35 OT), Marshall(51-49), at UAB(24-21), Florida International(48-0), at Southern Mississippi(42-21), UTEP(48-17)

Losses:  at North Carolina(20-40), at BYU(10-37), East Carolina(17-24), at North Texas(7-34)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  1-4

Record vs. The Spread:  5-7

The Blue Raiders’ only win of note is the two point home win over CUSA runner-up Marshall.  They were able to hang with East Carolina, but were handled easily in their other three losses. 



Wins:  at Indiana(41-35), Delaware(51-7), Air Force(28-10), Pittsburgh(24-21), Hawaii(42-28), South Alabama(42-14), at San Jose State(58-52 3OT), vs Army at Philadelphia(34-7)

Losses:  at Western Kentucky(7-19), at Duke(7-35), at Toledo(44-45 2OT), at Notre Dame(34-38)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  1-2

Record vs. The Spread:  9-3

Navy owns one of the best against the spread records you will see.  Which usually means that they might even be a little underestimated.  The loss to WKU looks kind of bad, but the win over Pitt is better than anything MTSU did.  They nearly took out Notre Dame as well.


PREDICTION:  Neither team really has an impressive resume one way or the other.  Navy has the better win, but only played three teams that made bowl games.  MTSU played five.  I could argue that fact that San Jose State and South Alabama both finished .500 or better.  I guess you can say that Navy is the more tested team, but not by a whole lot.  The location of this game doesn’t really help either team.  I’m going with Navy, I guess…..





Mississippi(-3.5) vs Georgia Tech:


Mississippi(7-5, 3-5)

Wins:  at Vanderbilt(39-35), Southeast Missouri State(31-13), at Texas(44-23), LSU(27-24), Idaho(59-14), Arkansas(34-24), Troy(51-21)

Losses:  at Alabama(0-25), at Auburn(22-30), Texas A&M(38-41), Missouri(10-24), at Mississippi State(10-17 OT)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  3-5

Record vs. The Spread:  6-6

The Rebels had A&M on the ropes before a fourth quarter letdown.  They also played Auburn close, and had several chances to win the Egg Bowl in regulation.  The wins at Texas and at Vanderbilt look nice.  None of their losses are really bad ones, though you could argue that they should have beaten A&M and Mississippi State.  Still, there is no shame in losing to a rival on the road.  Overall, this was a solid season for the Rebels, even though they think they should have done a little better.


Georgia Tech(7-5, 5-3)

Wins:  Elon(70-0), at Duke(38-14), North Carolina(28-20), Syracuse(56-0), at Virginia(35-25), Pittsburgh(21-10), Alabama A&M(66-7)

Losses:  Virginia Tech(10-17), at Miami(FL)(30-45), at BYU(20-38), at Clemson(31-55), Georgia(34-41 2OT)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  4-5

Record vs. The Spread:  5-7

The first thing that stands out to me about the Yellow Jackets is the presence of two 1-AA teams on the schedule.  To me, there is no excuse for that.  That aside, they did play nine bowl teams.  A main reason for this was the strength of the ACC at the top and middle of the conference.   The only non-bowl foe they had in conference was Virginia, who beat a BYU team that beat Georgia Tech.  So I guess that makes up for the two cupcakes on their schedule…….or at least helps overshadow them.


PREDICTION:  Ole Miss took down Big 12(10) heavyweight Texas and SEC heavyweight LSU.  That’s enough for me to take them over just about anyone, including the Yellow Jackets.  Give me the Rebs.





(10)Oregon(-13.5) vs. Texas


Oregon(10-2, 7-2)

Wins:  Nicholls State(66-3), at Virginia(59-10), Tennessee(59-14), California(55-16), at Colorado(57-16), at Washington(45-24), Washington State(62-38), UCLA(42-14), Utah(44-21), Oregon State(36-35)

Losses:  at Stanford(20-26), at Arizona(16-42)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  4-2

Record vs. The Spread:  7-5

Oregon was blowing out everyone up until Stanford stopped them in their tracks.  They put forth a great comeback attempt against the Cardinal, but couldn’t get it done.  The Arizona game was the only one where Oregon was really outplayed.  Well, that and the first half of the Stanford game.  Still, the Ducks come into bowl season averaging almost 41 points a game in a very good conference. Yeah, their OOC schedule was nothing special, but you can say that for most teams.  The fact remains that the Ducks played nine games against possibly the second best conference.  That has to count for something.


Texas(8-4, 7-2)

Wins:  New Mexico State(56-7), Kansas State(31-21), at Iowa State(31-30), vs. Oklahoma at Dallas(36-20), at TCU(30-7), Kansas(35-13), at West Virginia(47-40 OT), Texas Tech(41-16)

Losses:  at BYU(21-40), Mississippi(23-44), Oklahoma State(13-38), at Baylor(10-30)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  3-4

Record vs. The Spread:  6-6

Texas turned their season around after the firing of Manny Diaz as the defensive coordinator.  Still, they let a below average West Virginia team take them to overtime, and got blown away by Oklahoma State at home.  The Texas boosters decided that an 8-4 season was the last straw, and Mack Brown “resigned”.  Don’t kid yourselves, folks.  Mack was forced out, but this was the worst kept secret in the college game this year.  Everyone knew that Mack was gone as soon as DeLoss Dodds resigned as the athletic director in October.  No one wanted to believe it.


PREDICTION:  On paper, Oregon should blow them out.  They have the better team on both sides of the ball, but this is where the intangibles come into play.  Oregon is on the record as saying a Rose Bowl would be a disappointment.  What will the Alamo be then?  Can they possibly be up for this game?  Add to the fact that this game is an hour from the Texas campus, and this is Mack Brown’s last game as the head coach of Texas, and you have a recipe for an upset.  I can’t believe the spread is still this high.  Oh, and another thing you can add to this:  Oregon has a history that is less than stellar in bowl games in the last decade or so.  I have to go with Texas here.  They might even spring the upset.  You know they want to send Mack out in style!





(14)Arizona State(-13.5) vs. Texas Tech:


Arizona State(10-3, 8-2)

Wins:  Sacramento State(55-0), Wisconsin(32-30), USC(62-41), Colorado(54-13), Washington(53-24), at Washington State(55-21), at Utah(20-19), Oregon State(30-17), at UCLA(38-33), Arizona(58-21)

Losses:  at Stanford(28-42), vs. Notre Dame at Jerry World(34-37), Stanford(14-38)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  7-3

Record vs. The Spread:  7-6

Arizona State was one of the hottest teams around before running into Stanford again in the Pac 12 Championship.  In fact, ASU was the trendy pick to beat Stanford since they hosted the rematch.  Well, the Sun Devils ended up losing worse than they did in Palo Alto in September.  Still, the seven wins agianst bowl teams in very impressive.  Ten of their 12 opponents are going to bowls, and one of the ones that isn’t beat Stanford.   That is a pretty tough schedule!


Texas Tech(7-5, 4-5)

Wins:  at SMU(41-23), Stephen F Austin(61-13), TCU(20-10), Texas State(33-7), at Kansas(54-16), Iowa State(42-35), at West Virginia(37-27)

Losses:  at Oklahoma(30-38), Oklahoma State(34-52), Kansas State(26-49), vs Baylor at Jerry World(34-63), at Texas(16-41)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  0-5

Record vs. The Spread:  5-7

TT rattled off seven straight wins before losing five straight conference games.  Their schedule was heavily backloaded.  As a consequence, the wins that looked big early on no longer seem like a big deal since none of them are even bowl eligible.  Still, Kliff Kingsbury seems to be doing a very good job in Lubbock, and this team will only get better.  Probably not before the bowl game though…..


PREDICTION:  This one reeks of a blowout.  The Red Raiders haven’t won since October 19th.  Arizona State played very well down the stretch with the exception of the Stanford game, including blowouts of a solid Washington team and arch rival Arizona.  In fact, Texas Tech hasn’t played a close game since the Oklahoma game the last weekend in October.  The line on this might even be too low.  Take it while you can, folks!  It is climbing, and is as high as 14.5 in places right now.  Give me Arizona State.





Arizona(-7.5) vs. Boston College


Arizona(7-5, 4-5)

Wins:  Northern Arizona(35-0), at UNLV(58-13), UTSA(38-13), Utah(35-24), at Colorado(44-20), at California(33-28), Oregon(42-16)

Losses:  at Washington(13-31), at USC(31-38), UCLA(26-31), Washington State(17-24), at Arizona State(21-58)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  2-5

Record vs. The Spread:  5-7

The Oregon win really came from nowhere considering the Wildcats struggled against a poor Cal team, and lost close ones to UCLA, USC, and Washington State.  The win in Vegas looked better and better as the season went on, but they got bludgeoned by rival Arizona State to end the season.  That is never a good thing.


Boston College(7-5, 4-4)

Wins:  Villanova(24-14), Wake Forest(24-10), Army(48-27), Virginia Tech(34-27), at New Mexico State(48-34), North Carolina State(38-21), at Maryland(29-26)

Losses:  at USC(7-35), Florida State(34-48), at Clemson(14-24), at North Carolina(10-34), at Syracuse(31-34)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  2-5

Record vs. The Spread:  7-5

The win over Virginia Tech really announced to the ACC that the Eagles were no longer doormats.  They were one of the few teams to hang with Florida State and Clemson.  The USC and UNC games were the only ones in which they weren’t within striking distance the whole time.


PREDICTION:  Arizona’s blowout of Oregon is still heavily influencing this line.  I prefer to take a look at the bigger picture, and that picture is that Boston College hung around with two very good teams.  Arizona beat one and got clobbered by another.   What does this mean?  I’m thinking that I won’t take Arizona by more than a touchdown.  They are capable of covering it, but I am taking the safe play with a more consistent Boston College team.  Give me the Eagles.





 Virginia Tech vs. (17)UCLA(-6.5):


Virginia Tech(8-4, 5-3)

Wins:  Western Carolina(45-3), at East Carolina(15-10), Marshall(29-21 3OT), at Georgia Tech(17-10), North Carolina(27-17), Pittsburgh(19-9), at Miami(FL)(42-24), at Virginia(16-6)

Losses:  vs. Alabama at Atlanta, GA(10-35), Duke(10-13), at Boston College(27-34), Maryland(24-27 OT)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  6-4

Record vs. The Spread:  4-8

The poor spread record is indicative of the struggles that the Tech offense had this year.  They were unable to move the ball, even on teams that they should have.  The defense was solid for the whole season, with the only hiccup being giving up 34 to Boston College.  There is no shame in giving up 35 to the defending national champs.  They played so many bowl teams because of the overall strength of the ACC this year.  The two teams that didn’t make a bowl are a 1-AA school, and a school that beat BYU.  Not too shabby!  Overall, this is a step in the right direction for the Hokies, but they need to find some offense from somewhere.


UCLA(9-3, 6-3)

Wins:  Nevada(58-20), at Nebraska(41-21), New Mexico State(59-13), at Utah(34-27), California(37-10), Colorado(45-23), at Arizona(31-26), Washington(41-31), at USC(35-14)

Losses:  at Stanford(10-24), at Oregon(14-42), Arizona State(33-38)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  4-3

Record vs. The Spread:  8-4

The good spread record means they did what they were supposed to against teams that they were supposed to.  They had the weaker division in the Pac-12, and it shows with only seven games against bowl teams.  The 2013 Bruins will be known as the team that rallied from 18 points down at Nebraska to win by 20, and the team that kept Ed Orgeron from getting the USC job. 


PREDICTION:  Virginia Tech’s defense could be difficult for UCLA to handle, much like Stanford was.  That said, I don’t think that the Hokie D is quite up to Stanford’s level, and I am positive that the offense isn’t.  The Bruins have the kind of speed that the Hokies missed this year in the ACC when they didn’t have to play Clemson or Florida State.  They will have all sorts of trouble containing Hundley and the slew of LBs/RBs that UCLA throws at them.  Give me UCLA.





Rice vs. Mississippi State(-7.5)


Rice(10-3, 8-1)

Wins:  Kansas(23-14), Florida Atlantic(18-14), at Tulsa(30-27 OT), at UTSA(27-21), at New Mexico State(45-19), UTEP(45-7), Louisiana Tech(52-14), at UAB(37-34 OT), Tulane(17-13), Marshall(41-24)

Losses:  at Texas A&M(31-52), at Houston(26-31), at North Texas(16-28)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  2-3

Record vs. The Spread:  8-5

No one gave Rice a chance against Marshall.  All three of their losses were on the road against Bowl bound teams.  That is the good.  The bad?  Two bad teams in Tulsa and UAB taking them to overtime.  Slim wins over below average Kansas and FAU squads.  Rice played very well down the stretch, and only lost once after September 21st (on Halloween at North Texas).  Rice won their first outright conference title since they won the 1957 Southwest Conference championship.


Mississippi State(6-6, 3-5)

Wins:  Alcorn State(51-7), Troy(62-7), Bowling Green(21-20), Kentucky(28-22), at Arkansas(24-17 OT), Mississippi(17-10 OT)

Losses:  vs Oklahoma State at Houston(3-21), at Auburn(20-24), LSU(26-59), at South Carolina(16-34), at Texas A&M(41-51), Alabama(7-20)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  2-6

Record vs. The Spread:  7-5

The Bulldogs needed two overtime thrillers to close the season to be bowl eligible.  They hung with a good Auburn team on the road, and hung with a very good Alabama team at home.  Also, they had Texas A&M reeling before finally falling by ten.  This is a team that can put up points against subpar defenses ,and can shut down average offenses.   That may be all they need…..


PREDICTION:  Rice had a fantastic season, but they draw a tough SEC foe in the bowl game.  The Owls are a one-dimensional offense, so if they get behind, they are doomed.  The passing offense has been stagnant most of the season.  I dont really like the half, but Mississippi State is the safe bet here in spite of it.  If you look at the only common opponent, Rice got blasted by A&M, while MSU stayed with them the whole game, and actually led for some of it.   Give me the Bulldogs.





(24)Duke vs. (21)Texas A&M(-11.5)


Duke(10-3, 6-3)

Wins:  North Carolina Central(45-0), at Memphis(28-14), Troy(38-31), Navy(35-7), at Virginia(35-22), at Virginia Tech(13-10), North Carolina State(38-20), Miami(FL)(48-30), at Wake Forest(28-21), at North Carolina(27-25)

Losses:  Georgia Tech(14-38), Pittsburgh(55-58), vs Florida State at Charlotte(7-45)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  4-3

Record vs, The Spread:  10-3

Duke caught a lot of people off guard this year, as evident by the great record against the spread.  People started to take notice of the Blue Devils when they blew out Navy.  They really took Duke seriously after they knocked off Virginia Tech and Miami.  Yes, I was one of the ones that didn’t give them a chance against Florida State, but I was also in the minority in picking them to win at North Carolina for their school record tenth win.  No matter what happens in the bowl, Duke had what is likely their best football season.  Now they just have to watch out for poachers trying to pick off David Cutcliffe…..


Texas A&M(8-4, 4-4)

Wins:  Rice(52-31), Sam Houston State(65-28), SMU(42-13), at Arkansas(45-33), at Mississippi(41-38), Vanderbilt(56-24), UTEP(57-7), Mississippi State(51-41)

Losses:  Alabama(42-49), Auburn(41-45), at LSU(10-34), at Missouri(21-28)

Record vs. Bowl Teams:  4-4

Record vs. The Spread:  5-7

The Aggies might have the worst defense of any bowl team.  They gave up 33 to a struggling Arkansas offense, 28 to 1-AA Sam Houston State, and 79 combined to the Mississippi schools.  A&M’s D gave up an average of 31 points per game.  And yes, I know the SEC was an offensive gold mine this year, but how come the LSU and Alambama defensive stats look this bad?  Add to that the fact that Johnny Manziel too often throws into double and triple coverage trying to make plays, and you can count on another two extra possessions or so for the other team.  That means the defense is on the field a little more, and that is what the Aggies need to avoid.


PREDICTION:  A&M is the trendy pick to blow out the Blue Devils, especially as inept as Florida State made them look in the ACC Championship.  I get it, I really do, but this logic is flawed.  Florida State has an elite defense.  Definitely in the top ten.  A&M isn’t even in the top 50.  Don’t get me wrong, Duke is by no means a defensive stalwart either, but I think the Blue Devils will be able to get their yards and points in this game.  I don’t expect a blowout.  I think Duke keeps it around ten or so.  Give me the Blue Devils, but I don’t really think the Aggies get threatened either.



I will have the previews for the New Years Day games up on either Monday or Tuesday, whenever the invasion of the in-laws is over.

Tags: Bowl Pick Against The Spread Bowl Predictions Picks Against The Spread

comments powered by Disqus