clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rocky Top Locks Bowl Edition - Part 1 of 3

In which your resident pickers go head-to-head for bowl supremacy and serve as open threads for the bowl games.

Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports

As you saw from the last "locks" recap of the regular season, I_S took the regular season title by a comfortable margin after finishing the last two weeks out on a 9-2-1 tear.  But as we did last season, we're treating bowl season as a separate competition and starting over with a clean slate.


Yeah, you read that right. Every single game. Here's how we're doing this: every game, each of us is either playing the line, the over/under, or a (even money) prop bet.

We're breaking this out into three posts because a single post with 38 bowl picks would be ginormous and unruly.  Here's how we're breaking it out:

  • Part 1: All games up to and including December 26th (13 games)
  • Part 2: The remaining games in the year 2014 (14 games)
  • Part 3: All games in the year 2015, not including the championship game (11 games)

We haven't decided what to do about the national championship game.  We could either update part 3 to include it, or do a separate post wrapping up the results, including our picks for the final game, and using that as a championship game thread.  We'll figure out a game plan and lay it out in our part 3 post.

A Humble Request

Join in the fun by putting your own picks in the comments.  It's more fun when everybody plays.

The Games In Question:

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Nevada vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
New Orleans
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Dec. 20
11 a.m.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Utah State vs. UTEP
Albuquerque, N.M.
University Stadium
Dec. 20
2:20 p.m.
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
Utah vs. Colorado State
Las Vegas
Sam Boyd Stadium
Dec. 20
3:30 p.m.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Western Michigan vs. Air Force
Boise, Idaho
Albertsons Stadium
Dec. 20
5:45 p.m.
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
South Alabama vs. Bowling Green
Montgomery, Ala.
Cramton Bowl
Dec. 20
9:15 p.m.
Miami Beach Bowl
BYU vs. Memphis
Marlins Park
Dec. 22
2 p.m.
Boca Raton Bowl
Marshall vs. Northern Illinois
Boca Raton, Fla.
FAU Stadium
Dec. 23
6 p.m.
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Navy vs. San Diego State
San Diego
Qualcomm Stadium
Dec. 23
9:30 p.m.
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky
Nassau, Bahamas
Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium
Dec. 24
Hawai'i Bowl
Fresno State vs. Rice
Aloha Stadium
Dec. 24
8 p.m.
Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl
Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech
Cotton Bowl
Dec. 26
1 p.m.
Quick Lane Bowl
Rutgers vs. North Carolina
Ford Field
Dec. 26
4:30 p.m.
Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl
NC State vs. UCF
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tropicana Field
Dec. 26
8 p.m.

And, now, finally...the picks:

I_S' "Milos Does Win SOME Tournaments" Picks

Nevada -1 over ULL. Yeah, Hud has won three straight New Orleans Bowls, and ULL has home field advantage. But Nevada is better, and they should be excited to be back in a bowl after a rough year last season.

Utah State -10 over UTEP. This is a huge mismatch. If the Aggies show up at all (which they might not after losing their last game 50-19), they roll.

Utah -3 over Colorado State. I have no idea how Utah's mental state is after falling to 8-4 after a 6-1 start, but they didn't make a bowl at all last year, so this represents improvement, and Colorado State is without a coach.

Western Michigan PK over Air Force. I love picking against option teams in bowl games, because time to prepare negates the option's biggest advantage. I was planning to fade every MAC team in their bowl games, but one of them playing Air Force makes it tough. This is one where you just throw up your hands and pick a side.

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! -2.5 over Bowling Green. See "fading the MAC." The MAC is atrocious this year.

Memphis -2 over BYU. I am really impressed with Justin Fuente.

Marshall-10 over  Northern Illinois:  Please again refer to the discussion of the MAC, and additionally note that Marshall can score and score and score some more.

San Diego State -2.5 over Navy. They beat Air Force. Why not Navy?

Western Kentucky -3 over Central Michigan. Fading the MAC still.

Rice -2 over Fresno State. Seriously I have no idea at this point.

Illinois +6 over Louisiana Tech. All of these favorites offend my sensibilities. I don't have much faith in Illinois being good, but they did play some surprisingly tough games this season, and they'll be motivated. I think they hang in and battle.

UNC -3 over Rutgers. My only reason for this pick is that I picked Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl two years ago and actually sat through the whole fourth quarter and OT of that game.

NC State +2 over UCF. I could pick anything in this game and have equally little reason for it.

KidB's "Free Money (for real this time)" Picks

Nevada-1 over UL-Lafayette:  I believe this line is as close as it is because of a perceived HFA factor for ULL.  But, come on man, there are going to be about 827 people at the game, and that's counting the band.  So I'm leaning on the trusty "which team is better at football" approach and going with Nevada.

Utah State-10 over UTEP:  Utah State is on their third QB and they keep rolling and covering.  Ten points is a large spread for a bowl game, and I think the second largest of this bowl season, but that's warranted because UTEP is bad at football.  UTEP is always always bad at football.

Utah-3 over Colorado State:  Colorado State is a solid team and they were a covering machine this year, but they just lost their coach and my homeboy Kyle Wittingham usually steps up his game in bowl games (I actually don't know if that's entirely true, but they did beat a Bama team in 2008 that they had absolutely no business beating, so he at least has the ability to step up his bowl game game).  Also, Utah was solid this year, picking up some very nice wins against much better competition than that faced by CSU.  Power Conferences 4 Life!

Western Michigan PK over Air Force:  This one was basically a coin flip for me, and the tie was broken because P.J. Fleck is my homeboy and I don't ride with him because I row with him.  Check out the patch on his arm.  How you gonna fade that guy?

South Alabama-2.5 over Bowling Green:  I was going to fade every single MAC team, but then I decided to go ahead and row with PJ Fleck, so now I'm just fading the rest of the MAC teams.  The MAC was the aftermath of a garbage collection truck colliding head-on on the interstate with a live-poultry delivery truck.  Think about that scene for a minute.  That was the MAC.

Memphis-2 over BYU: Justin Fuente won't be a hipster coaching pick for long, and a bowl win will help him become mainstream.

Marshall-10 over  Northern Illinois:  See discussion of MAC two entries above, and additionally note that Marshall can score and score and score some more.  All the cool kids are fading the MAC.  You're not cool UNLESS you fade the MAC.

Navy+3 over San Diego State:   I'm not terribly confident in this one, but since I already faded one service academy I'll show my patriotism with this pick.

Western Kentucky-3 over Central Michigan:  Western Kentucky can score, and Central Michigan is in the MAC.

Rice-2 over Fresno State: "Man, I just can't concentrate at work today because I'm so amped up about this Rice versus Fresno State bowl game," said no one, ever.

Illinois+6 over Louisiana Tech:  For the B1G, it has come to this.  Six point dogs against a team from the C-USA.  You're still my hero Jim Dulaney.

North Carolina-3 over Rutgers:  I haven't seen either of these teams play this year, but I think UNC has better uniforms so I'm going with them.  Actually, my decision here was based purely on my wanting to get the UNC cheerleader in the main picture, and to at least have an excuse for doing so.

NC State+2 over UCF:  I'm strongly considering flipping my pick to UCF even as I type this.

Chris's "Bread AND Circuses" Picks

ULL (+1) v. Nevada - I know next to nothing about either team, but it seems like ULL has the best unit (rush defense), so sure, let's roll with that.

Utah State (-10) v. UTEP - in the regular season, this is precisely the kind of pick I'd lose; get the obvious, big favorite, only to win the game by 7. However, this is the bowl season and I'm not beaten down yet, plus you want Tennessee's schedule to be as strong as possible.

Utah (-3) v. Colorado State - The combination of Utah being sneakily decent and Colorado State being down one head coach (but flush with cash) are enough to drive me toward Utah, and I'll just overlook Utah not being great on the road and the potential pissed-off-ness of the Rams.

Western Michigan (PK) v. Air Force -

and also

South Alabama (-2.5) v. Bowling Green - the MAC wasn't good this year (NIU excepted, along with the weirdly frisky WMU), so as long as South Alabama doesn't get shut down by the Alabama BOD before this game, I feel okay about this.

Memphis (-2) v. BYU - Originally had the under, figured Memphis could easily win by 3-7 in a low-scoring game, realized at that point my odds are safer with a cover instead. These are the lessons you learn during bowl season.

Northern Illinois (+10) v. Marshall - NIU isn't bad, and Marshall's kind of casually slid back towards the pack. Marshall wins, but they don't cover.

San Diego State (-3) v. Navy - backing the "don't back the option team when their opponent gets lots of time to prepare for them" option here, even though it's kind of a home game for both teams.

Western Kentucky (-3) v. Central Michigan - the MAC is terrible. WKU is hilarious.

Rice (-2) v. Fresno State - I seem to be fading the MWC pretty hard. Hope that's a good idea!

Louisiana Tech v. Illinois UNDER 58 - Louisiana Tech doesn't have much of an offense, and Illinois is terrible, but the line of LaTech -6 feels pretty close to right. So: I'll play the under and count on teams being terrible.

North Carolina (-3) v. Rutgers - I have no clue how UNC became bowl eligible, other than I assume they figured out how to make their offense be better than their horrendous defense. I know literally nothing about Rutgers, having actively avoided any game they were in this year. I at least won't feel stupid if I miss this.


...yeah, pretty much exactly like that.

Your turn.  Go!