The end of the football season is usually a depressing time…but this year, I can’t say I’m too upset. My Arizona Wildcats lost their final seven games, my NFL picks have been dreadful, and my fantasy football teams…well, that’s another story.
Sure I’m excited about my favorite NFL team, the Packers and their playoff chances. But the most exciting thing for me come mid-to-late December every year is the college bowl games.
I don’t care that they’re exhibition games and I don’t care which players play and which don’t. When your school wins a bowl game and ends their season with a victory, it’s a pretty damn joyous experience.
I’m bringing back the ‘Expert Picks’ for one last go at picking the 15 most significant games of the 41 played.
Thanks to Daily Blender Super Fan Gregg ‘Downtown’ Brown for joining. JB, Bear Down Steve, Producer Wes, and me for the final picks of 2019!
College Bowl Game Expert Picks
*JB isn’t one to pick scores in bowl games except the championship.
In lieu of bold predictions, here’s a quick thought from me on each of the 15 games we’re picking:
Las Vegas Bowl: I don’t care that it’s Chris Peterson’s last game at Washington, I believe his former school, Boise State is the better coached team and will be motivated to finish 13-1 and knock off another Power 5 opponent.
Holiday Bowl: This is a game Clay Helton must win in order to appease the angry USC boosters and not be on an even hotter seat to start 2020. The Trojans open with Alabama next season in Arlington which likely won’t produce a good result. Plus, if memory serves me correctly, Iowa teams under Kirk Ferentz don’t do well in bowl games west of the Mississippi.
Cheez-It Bowl: Should be a fun shootout between a great passing team and a great rushing team. A true toss-up and while I’ve usually learned to fade Mike Leach in bowl games, I have a hard time seeing WSU end up with a losing record (6-7).
Cotton Bowl: If Penn State is motivated, they should blow the doors off of a Mike Norvell-less Memphis team in the first New Year’s Six bowl game of the season.
Peach Bowl: There are rumors at the time of this writing about Oklahoma suspensions in advance of the bowl game. Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray both lost their Final Four bowl games the last two seasons…I’d be stunned if Jalen Hurts had a different result. If LSU isn’t looking ahead, they should score at will and blow out OU.
Fiesta Bowl: Who knows what to make of Clemson as they haven’t played anyone of substance all season. Ohio State might be the more talented team but it’s so hard to pick against Dabo Swinney in a big game. The only shocking result in this game would be a one-sided blowout by either side.
Redbox Bowl: Cal essentially is playing a home game against an Illinois team who isn’t all that great and is happy to have made it this far. I believe the Bears will make a statement led by their stingy defense.
Orange Bowl: What a dumb rule that an ACC team MUST occupy one slot in this game; Virginia most certainly does not belong here. The Gators should dominate throughout even if they aren’t entirely motivated.
Sun Bowl: It seems like all of the notable playmakers are sitting out in this one…so it comes down to which team will be more motivated. I expect Herm Edwards to have his guys ready to play against an FSU team that’s been in disarray for much of the season.
Alamo Bowl: Fascinating matchup between a team that should’ve been in the CFB Playoff (Utah) and a team that underachieved badly throughout the season (Texas). If the Utes show up, they should win handily. But will the motivation be there? For that reason, I think this game will be closer than most think…
Citrus Bowl: Saban vs. Harbaugh is must see TV! I know a bunch of players will sit out on both sides and this game also has motivation questions for the Crimson Tide. Alabama wins and covers but I’d be very surprised if it was a major blowout.
Outback Bowl: Fascinating matchup but I still don’t believe that Minnesota is as good as its top-20 ranking. Auburn, if they care, should roll and shut down the Gophers offense.
Rose Bowl: While the offenses get the credit with these two teams, both defenses are really good. Look for a lower-scoring game won by the team with the vastly better QB and more talent on both sides of the ball.
Sugar Bowl: The big question is – does Georgia want to be in this game or will they lay an egg like they did against Texas last year? If so, Baylor will in outright. If not, the Dawgs may rout the Bears.
National Championship Game: I have a hard time seeing LSU beating Clemson or Ohio State. It will be fun to likely see two matchups of undefeateds in the postseason…but the Fiesta Bowl winner will be more battle tested and likely brings with it the best defense the Tigers will have seen all season. In this case, I’ll say Clemson repeats as National Champions.
Week 16 NFL Picks
Last Week: 10-6 Straight Up (SU), 5-11 Against the Spread (ATS)
Overall: 133-90-1 SU, 107-117 ATS
(Picks against the spread in parentheses; HOME TEAMS IN CAPS)
Houston Texans 30, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 24 (ATS: Texans -3.5)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 21, Buffalo Bills 16 (ATS: Bills +6.5)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 23, Los Angeles Rams 17 (ATS: Rams +6.5)
ATLANTA FALCONS 32, Jacksonville Jaguars 20 (ATS: Falcons -7.5)
Baltimore Ravens 33, CLEVELAND BROWNS 17 (ATS: Ravens -10.5)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 24, Carolina Panthers 16 (ATS: Colts -6.5)
MIAMI DOLPHINS 27, Cincinnati Bengals 21 (ATS: Dolphins -1.5)
NEW YORK JETS 21, Pittsburgh Steelers 17 (ATS: Jets +2.5)
New Orleans Saints 27, TENNESSEE TITANS 22 (ATS: Saints -3.5)
WASHINGTON REDSKINS 24, New York Giants 20 (ATS: Redskins -2.5)
DENVER BRONCOS 23, Detroit Lions 10 (ATS: Broncos -6.5)
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS 30, Oakland Raiders 20 (ATS: Chargers -6.5)
Dallas Cowboys 27, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 23 (ATS: Cowboys -2.5)
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 26, Arizona Cardinals 17 (ATS: Cardinals +9.5)
Kansas City Chiefs 24, CHICAGO BEARS 16 (ATS: Chiefs -4.5)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS 27, Green Bay Packers 17 (ATS: Vikings -4.5)
Week 16 Betting Locks
(Last Week’s Result, Season Record in Parentheses)
Favorite (LOSS, 5-10): Broncos -6.5 vs. Lions
Underdog (LOSS, 7-8): Rams +6.5 at 49ers
Bet the Over (LOSS 5-9-1): Falcons / Jaguars Over 45.5
Bet the Under (LOSS, 6-9): Panthers / Colts Under 46
Week 16 Fantasy Football Guidance
(15+ PPR fantasy points from a non top-10 player)
Last Week: 2-1
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick (Dolphins)
RB: Miles Sanders (Eagles)
WR: Courtland Sutton (Broncos)
(12 or less PPR fantasy points from a top-15 player)
Last Week: 2-1
QB: Jimmy Garoppolo (49ers)
RB: Aaron Jones (Vikings)
WR: Robert Woods (Rams)