College Football Bowl Pick-em guide

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Who to pick this year in your college football pool? No fear – here’s your guide to who will win this year in the college football bowls.

Some people think they know who will win. I don’t. But, I have a system to select which teams are more likely to win than others, and following this system has done better for me than worse.

Guiding Principles:

  1. Bet on the home team – the home team generally has a 2.5-3 point advantage. I believe Vegas underweights this advantage during bowl season
  2. If the coach is gone, bet against the team
  3. For Big Conference vs. Sisters of the Poor, bet against the sisters
  4. If I watched the team simply implode over the year (i.e. I have no confidence in them), pick against them
  5. Pick teams that had better records in 2010, as a signal of more-likely-to-win-teams
  6. Flip a Coin (based on conference)

Home teams:

Date Bowl Team Line
12/17 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Utah State -1.5
12/17 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Louisiana-Lafayette +4.5
12/20 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl FIU -4
1/9 Allstate BCS National Championship Game LSU -1
12/29 Champs Sports Bowl Florida Sate -3
12/31 Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas Texas A&M -10.5
12/31 AutoZone Liberty Bowl Vanderbilt -2.5
1/2 TicketCity Bowl Houston -5.5
12/27 Belk Bowl NC State -2.5


How can Alabama be favored in the national championship game? It doesn’t make any sense. LSU beat Alabama on the road already, and now they have a home game. While Saban made 2 tactical errors with Marquis Maze (throwing the football, and punt return) that he won’t repeat, Les Miles shouldn’t have any problems with a 5-point swing in his favor by being at home.

Teams playing against Absent Coaches:

12/24 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Nevada +6.5
12/26 AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl Missouri -5
12/28 Military Bowl Air Force +3
12/22 MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Boise State -13.5
1/2 Gator Bowl Florida -2
1/7 BBVA Compass Bowl SMU +3.5
1/8 Bowl Northern Illinois +1.5


Nevada is playing against Southern Miss, whose Larry Fedora is long gone. Missouri is playing North Carolina, who is on the other side of the Larry Fedora move, and Air Force is facing Tim Beckman-less Toledo. I don’t like picking against Ohio State. However, there is no way I can pick any of these teams.

Big Conference Picks:

12/27 Little Caeasars Pizza Bowl Purdue -2.5
12/31 Hyundai Sun Bowl Georgia Tech -3.5


Poor Little Sisters of the Poor (Western Michigan and Utah State). They never had a chance.

Pick against the implosion-prone teams:

12/28 Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl California +3
12/29 Valero Alamo Bowl Baylor -9.5
12/31 Chick-fil-A Bowl Auburn -1.5


This is un-scientific. But I watched Texas, Washington, and Virginia stink all year. They made no progress (albeit Virginia looked so horrible last year, maybe they actually did make progress). Either way, they deserve to lose this game.

Toss ups, but picking the team that had the better record last year:

12/21 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl TCU -10.5
12/17 New Mexico Bowl Temple -7
12/30 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Tulsa +2.5
12/30 New Era Pinstripe Bowl Iowa State +2.5
12/30 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl Mississippi State -7
12/30 Insight Bowl Oklahoma -13.5
12/31 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Illinois -2.5


‘nuf said. No clear winner in these games, but picking the winner purely on last years performance.

Toss ups, but picking pro-Big Ten and Pac-12, and anti SEC:

1/2 Outback Bowl Michigan State +3.5
1/2 Capital One Bowl Nebraska +2
1/2 Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio Wisconsin +6
1/2 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Stanford +3.5
1/3 Allstate Sugar Bowl Michigan -3
1/4 Discover Orange Bowl West Virginia +3.5
1/6 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic Kansas State +8


Don’t have a great rationale, but picking for the Big Ten and Pac-12, and against the SEC and ACC. We’ll see if these pan out.

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