Welcome to the First Annual Almost Varsity Sports Bowl Pick ‘Em Preview!!!
While our loyal listeners, subscribers, readers, followers, friends and family made money off our giant brains this year, the rest of you missed out. But guess what?!!?! Here’s your chance to make that money right back. This article will address every bowl game with a confidence selection and a spread pick (with unit rating – if recommended).
We are absolutely full of bowl knowledge and plan on going 41-1 (Can’t expect to be perfect, right?)
Follow along with the picks below and click for the updated AVS Bowl Record
December 17, 2016
New Mexico vs Texas San-Antonio
This is FAR from from a great game to start off the bowl year, but that’s usually what we get. New Mexico, running the triple option, has the best rushing attack in the nation. However, UTSA does a great job playing as an underdog here. The Road Runners are still relatively new to the bowl process, arriving in 1A only a few years ago. This game is a HUGE deal for the program and the team already has an avid following. Even though this game is being played in NM, don’t be surprised to see many UTSA fans. I think New Mexico will control the clock enough to squeeze out a close win.
Confidence Pick: New Mexico (6 points)
Spread Pick: UTSA (+7.5) – 1 Units
Result: New Mexico 23 / UTSA 20
Houston vs San Diego State
We love SDSU with Donnell Pumphrey playing literally in his family’s backyard, Las Vegas. But, the hire of Major Applewhite is HUGE for this Houston team. A full month of rest for our boy Greg Ward Jr to heal is big. The freshman, All-American DT, Ed Oliver, will clog up the running lanes for the Aztecs. We’ve all seen the fact that SDSU cannot throw the ball downfield which means the Houston defense will stack the box. The Aztecs defense is good but Greg Ward Jr’s legs will be the difference and he will be able to exploit this Aztecs defense for a couple of big plays
Confidence Pick: Houston (29)
Spread Pick: Houston (-3.5) – 4 Units
Result: Houston 10 / SDST 34
Appalachian State vs Toledo
Both of these teams have very good rushing attacks, with Appalachian State being slightly better on the ground. The difference here is Logan Woodside, the Toledo QB. Woodside will top 4,000 passing yards, and probably reach 45 touchdowns in this game. The App State defense is solid and has the edge over Toledo. If Toledo can get a few defensive stops here, I think the Rockets offense will be a little too much for the Mountaineers to handle
Confidence Pick: Toledo (19)
Spread Pick: Toledo (pick em) – 2 Units
Result: App St 31 Toledo 28
Central Florida vs Arkansas State
UCF comes in and gets a bowl game in their backyard. Arkansas State will most likely not have too many fans making the trip to Orlando for this one. UCF was able to keep games against Temple and Houston close. I think the more battle tested Golden Knights will look to make a statement as other Floridian schools make impact coaching hires around them.
Confidence Pick: UCF (26)
Spread Pick: UCF (-5.5) – lean
Result: ARK ST 31 / UCF 10
Southern Mississippi vs Louisiana-Lafayette
I could not be happier to back the Ragin-Cajuns in the New Orleans bowl. The Ragin-Cajuns are 4-0 in the New Orleans bowl and, after a one year layoff, are back to get back on the right track. Fans always show up for this bowl game. The Cajuns have covered four straight games while the Golden Eagles have lost five of seven and enter on a 1-7 ATS skid. RB Elijah McGuire will make an impact for Louisiana-Lafayette here and they will not only keep it close, but win outright in front of a “home” crowd.
Confidence Pick: Louisiana Lafayette (14)
Spread Pick: Louisiana Lafayette (+5.5) – 3 Units
Result: Southern 28 / Lafayette 21
December 19, 2016
Central Michigan vs Tulsa
I love Tulsa to win this game; hence the large confidence wager. I even like them to cover the 11.5 point spread. Central Michigan stumbles into the bowl game losing 4 of 5 while Tulsa comes running into the bowl game winning 5 of 6. With the 8th ranked rushing offense in the nation, expect the Tulsa offense to slash through the Chippewas defense for a few big plays. The 11th ranked scoring offense of Tulsa will be able to put up too many points for the Chips who have packed it in on the season
Confidence Pick: Tulsa (39)
Spread Pick: Tulsa (-11.5) – 2 Units
Result: Tulsa 55 / CMU 10
December 20, 2016
Memphis vs Western Kentucky
The Boca Raton Bowl is set to be the highest scoring game of the bowl season. This will easily be one of the most fun games to watch. Two high octane offenses that rank in the top 20 in scoring and passing YPG. Western Kentucky comes is as a 5 point favorite looking to outscore the Tigers. During bowl season I love to look into the motivation of teams. In this game, the Hilltoppers have little to no motivation. Jeff Brohm is departing for Purdue and WKU loses his offensive minded gameplan with the move. Memphis will easily put points up and will get a few key stops. Expect WR Anthony Miller to come up with a few key catches to lead the Memphis attack
Confidence Pick: Memphis (18)
Spread Pick: Memphis (+5.5) – 2 Units / Over 79.5 – 2.5 Units
Result: Memphis 31 / WKU 51
December 21, 2016
BYU vs Wyoming
Strength vs strength in this Poinsettia Bowl matchup. Wyoming’s 37th ranked rushing attack goes up against the 8th ranked rushing defense in the nation. I expect BYU to be too much for Wyoming, but the talented Wyoming rushing attack, and the hype around the school making a bowl game at all, will allow Wyoming to keep it close enough.
Confidence Pick: BYU (27)
Spread Pick: Wyoming (+9) – lean
Result: Wyoming 21 / BYU 24
December 22, 2016
Idaho vs Colorado State
Colorado State comes in firing on all cylinders. Wins against conference foes, San Diego State and Wyoming, give me a tremendous amount of confidence in this team here. Idaho hasn’t made a bowl game since 2009 so the team will be heavily vested in the preparation for this game. The Vandals just don’t have the offense to keep up or the defense to stop the Rams attack. Look for CSU QB Nick Stevens to create offense with his arm and legs in an Idaho route here.
Confidence Pick: Colorado State (40)
Spread Pick: Colorado State (-13.5) – lean
Result: Idaho 60 / Colorado 51
December 23, 2016
Eastern Michigan vs Old Dominion
ODU is the public side here, which does scares me. However, the Monarchs, whom started their CFB program in 2007, have never been to a bowl game. Expect ODU to come out in what will be a truly inspiring performance from a team that doesn’t turn the ball over.
Confidence Pick: Old Dominion (28)
Spread Pick: Old Dominion (-4) – 1 unit
Result: Old Dominion 24 / EMU 20
Louisiana Tech vs Navy
The Midshipmen will be without their starting QB and RB in this matchup against Louisiana Tech. With a shot to the Navy offensive attack, it can’t be nearly as potent as it has been this season. The Louisiana Tech offense will sling the ball around the yard and the Navy secondary can’t quite keep up. Expect lots of points here.
Confidence Pick: Louisiana Tech (23)
Spread Pick: Louisiana Tech (-5) – 1.5 Units / Over 67 – 1 Unit / Team Total o37.5 La Tech – 3 Units
Result: LA Tech 48 / Navy 45
Ohio vs Troy
Troy practically gets a home game in this matchup in Alabama. Ohio fans will not be traveling to Mobile, Alabama for the Dollar General Bowl. After watching closely as Troy stayed with the Clemson Tigers, I became extremely impressed with this team. The offense is not anything spectacular, but you can expect this defense to hold the Bobcats offense and create some turnovers to pull out a win.
Confidence Pick: Troy (20)
Spread Pick: Troy (-3.5) – 1 Unit
Result: Troy 28 / Ohio 23
December 24, 2016
Hawai’i vs Middle Tennessee
We have waited until the last possible hour to update this pick for everyone. Brent Stockstill IS playing for Middle Tennessee State. However, there is nothing in regards to how good he actually is feeling. MTSU is the better team with a MUCH better QB. However, there are two real questions in the game here. How healthy is Brent Stockstill? How focused is MTSU while “vacationing” in Hawaii? I still think MTSU pulls out the win. I am taking a chance and saying Brent wouldn’t be playing unless he was fully ready to go. For up date changes, remember to check the twitter!!!
Confidence Pick: Middle Tennessee State (36)
Spread Pick: Middle Tennessee State (-7) – 1.5 Units
Result: Hawaii 52 / MTSU 35
December 26, 2016
Miami (OH) vs Mississippi State
This is simple. Miami (OH) doesn’t have the horses to stick with an SEC team that is on the upswing. MSU is playing for next year and look much better than they did at the beginning of the season. Dual-threat QB, Nick Fitzgerald, is turning into a top SEC QB and he’ll be fun to watch during this game.
Confidence Pick: Mississippi State (42)
Spread Pick: Mississippi State (-14) – 1.5 Units
Result: Mississippi St 17 / Miami 16
Maryland vs Boston College
This is going to be a boring game to watch. BC doesn’t have the defense that we thought it did, but Maryland doesn’t have the offense to exploit it. This game could honestly go either way so we’re just going to lean towards a side here.
Confidence Pick: Maryland (16)
Spread Pick: Under 43.5 – lean
Result: Maryland 36 / BC 30
NC State vs Vanderbilt
I love the way Vandy has played towards the end of the year. The defense is firing on all cylinders. Vanderbilt beat Ole Miss and Tennessee to end the season just to get into a bowl game. NC State became unraveled after missing a last second field goal to upset Clemson. The Wolfpack hobbled through the rest of the season and pulled it together to get up for a game against their rival. The motivation will be a factor in two teams going the opposite direction. Look for Vanderbilt to pull the outright upset on the back of their defense. I expect a low scoring game here as well.
Confidence Pick: Vanderbilt (15)
Spread Pick: Vanderbilt (+5) – 1.5 Units / Under 45.5 – 2 Units
Result: NC State 41 / Vandy 17
December 27, 2016
Army vs North Texas
Looking for a big upset here. North Texas is basically getting a home game in Texas. How many Army fans are traveling for this bowl game? Army had its season culminate against Navy. That was the super bowl for the Black Knights. After finishing 2-5 against D-1 opponents, do the Black Knights deserve to be favored by 11 over anyone? Look for North Texas to get the lift to cover the spread here.
Confidence Pick: North Texas (2)
Spread Pick: North Texas (+11) – 1 unit
Result: Army 38 / North Texas 31 (OT)
Temple vs Wake Forest
Looking for another upset today? Here it is. Temple has lost head coach Matt Rhule and this game means basically nothing for this Owls team. Temple is a better team. But are they 12 points better? Is there motivation to play for a coach out the door? My guess is no. On the flip side…. Wake Forest has played above expectations this year. I can only see this team being hyped up to try and silence the “Wakey-leaks” talks. Look for Wake to be close throughout the game and have a shot to pull an upset here.
Confidence Pick: Wake Forest (4)
Spread Pick: Wake Forest (+11) – 2 Units
Result: Wake Forest 34 / Temple 26
Minnesota vs Washington State
Minnesota is a mess. The school is currently going after students for a sexual assault scandal. Players boycotted practice and threatened to boycott the game itself. Does anyone in Minnesota care about this game with such large off-field problems surrounding the team? Meanwhile, for Wazzou, QB Luke Falk leads a high flying passing attack out on to the field. Falk is playing for draft stock here. Look for a lot of points as coach Mike Leach gets another opportunity to showcase his offensive mind on national TV.
Confidence Pick: Washington State (35)
Spread Pick: Washington State (-9.5) – 3.5 Units
Result: Minny 17 / WSU 12
Boise State vs Baylor
Couldn’t be more excited about watching a group of five team than right here. Boise State is THE team in the group of five that will thrive when placed on the big stage. This team LOVES playing up to its competition and will take any opportunity to notch another Power 5 program win. Jeremy McNichols just declared for the NFL draft and this will only help this offense. With Brett Rypien under center, and a RB looking to boost his draft stock, I expect the offense to have no problem moving the ball against a team that checked out 5 games ago. Baylor was able to muster up a close game against WVU to end the season, but don’t expect that to carry over. Shock Linwood isn’t playing and the team doesnt care. The coaching staff is out the door and the players see this program tanking over the next few years. Can’t stress the difference in paths these teams are headed down. I have no problem laying the touchdown as I see Boise State running away with this one. This is one of my favorite games of the bowl season.
Confidence Pick: Boise State (37)
Spread Pick: Boise State (-7) – 5 units
Result: Boise St 12 / Baylor 31
December 28, 2016
Pittsburgh vs Northwestern
Confidence Pick: Pittsburgh (33)
Spread Pick: Pittsburgh (-4) – 1 unit
Result: Northwestern 31 / Pittsburgh 24
West Virginia vs Miami
Confidence Pick: Miami (13)
Spread Pick: Miami (-3) – 1 unit
Result: Miami 31 / UWV 14
Indiana vs Utah
Confidence Pick: Utah (34)
Spread Pick: Utah (-6) – 1 unit
Result: Utah 26 / Indiana 24
Texas A&M vs Kansas State
Confidence Pick: Kansas State (11)
Spread Pick: K State +3 1 unit
Result: Kansas St 33 / Texas A&M 24
December 29, 2016
South Florida vs South Carolina
South Carolina has shown that this team still cares a ton. In what was supposed to be a very ‘down’ year for this program, the team far surpassed expectations and made it into a bowl game. I think they will come fully prepared and ready to go. USF ex-coach, Willie Taggart, is a phenomenal coach and he has packed up his bags for Oregon. Can USF get up for this bowl game? We are going out on a very weak limb and picking the outright upset here.
Confidence Pick: South Carolina (1)
Spread Pick: South Carolina (+11) – 1 Unit
Result: USF 46 / SC 39
Arkansas vs Virginia Tech
We’ve thought Arkansas was overrated for the last three years. I’m not getting off that train now. Jerrod Evans will pick apart this Arkansas defense and Justin Fuente will show that this Virginia Tech program will continue to be a force in the ACC for the next few years.
Confidence Pick: Virginia Tech (22)
Spread Pick: Virginia Tech (-7) – 1 Unit
Result: VT 35 / Arkansas 24
Oklahoma State vs Colorado
Colorado is one of the feel good stories of the year. To go from a 4-9 team to 10-2 and playing in the Pac-12 title game is a huge jump for this program. Expect Colorado to control the tempo here and run the ball down the Cowboys’ throats. Colorado has only given up more than 28 points 3 times this year. The defense will make a big play or two and be able to quell that high flying OSU passing attack lef by Mason Rudolph.
Confidence Pick: Colorado (21)
Spread Pick: Colorado (-2.5) – 1 Unit
Result: Colorado 8 / OK State 38
December 30, 2016
Georgia vs TCU
This game couldn’t be more of a toss up for me. Stay far away here.
Confidence Pick: Georgia (10)
Spread Pick: Georgia (+3) – lean
Result: Georgia 31 / TCU 23
Stanford vs North Carolina
I liked North Carolina before the Christian McCaffery news. I like them more now. McCaffery is the whole offense for the Cardinal. The rest of the offense doesn’t impress me. On the UNC side, there’s an offense FULL of weapons. Ryan Switzer is one of my favorite players in college football and is easily the most underrated CFB talent in the nation. The guys is explosive whenever he has the ball in his hands. TJ Logan is another stud on the UNC offense who will take over with Elijah Hood out. The UNC RB has 600 yards this year. It won’t be a huge dropoff without Hood. After hearing about the best weapons, we can’t forget about Mitch Trubisky. This UNC QB has the ability to be a top QB in the NFL draft this year. This is a last chance to showcase his talents if he’s headed for the NFL.
Confidence Pick: North Carolina (7)
Spread Pick: UNC (+3) – 3 Units
Result: Stanford 25 / UNC 23
Nebraska vs Tennessee
We were all over the Vols earlier in the bowl season at -3, but this line has ballooned out to 10 prior to kickoff. This is just too much to lay here on the Vols. I do think Nebraska is going to lose, but I’m a little nervous laying 10 with the favorite. Look for Josh Dobbs on offense and the Vols defense to make a few big plays to seal a win here.
Confidence Pick: Tennessee (31)
Spread Pick: Tennessee (-10) – 1 unit
Result: Tennessee 38 / Nebraska 24
South Alabama vs Air Force
I love Air Force to win this game, but am very scared with the large spread. South Alabama has been a team of ups and downs this year. Wins against Mississippi State and San Diego State highlight the record, while a loss to the Warhawks drags it down.
Confidence Pick: Air Force (38)
Spread Pick: South Alabama (+13) – lean
Results: Air Force 45 / South Alabama 21
Michigan vs Florida State
I couldnt love Florida State more in this game. Everyone is all over Michigan and I will be zagging the other way. Michigan doesn’t care about this bowl game. Florida State does. Jabril Peppers won his awards and is looking forward to the NFL. Florida State is chock FULL of young talent (we will have them as a natty contender next year), and they are all out to prove they belong. Dalvin Cook is an absolute stud in the backfield and is a weapon that Michigan hasn’t seen all year. Deandre Francois is an up and comer under center and the defense only got better as it began to gel from the beginning of the season. I expect FSU to win this outright as Speight and this boring offense struggle to move the ball.
Confidence Pick: Florida State (9)
Spread Pick: Florida State (+7) – 5 Units
Result: FSU 33 / Michigan 32
December 31, 2016
LSU vs Louisville
Confidence Pick: LSU (24)
Spread Pick: LSU (-3) – 3 Units
Georgia Tech vs Kentucky
Confidence Pick: Georgia Tech (32)
Spread Pick: Georgia Tech (-3) – lean
Washington vs Alabama
Confidence Pick: Alabama (25)
Spread Pick: New Article Posted
Ohio State vs Clemson
Confidence Pick: Clemson (12)
Spread Pick: New Article Posted
January 2, 2017
Florida vs Iowa
Two bad offenses. Two great defenses. I’ll be avoiding a side, but gladly taking the under
Confidence Pick: Florida (30)
Spread Pick: Under 40.5 – 3 Units
Western Michigan vs Wisconsin
I like WMU a lot. You have a team that couldn’t be more excited to be in this game and a team that has flopped towards the end of the season. Expect to see PJ Fleck dial up all the tricks in the playbook. We are also leaning on Western Michigan moneyline.
Confidence Pick: Western Michigan (3)
Spread Pick: Western Mich (+8) – 1 Unit
USC vs Penn State
These two teams ended the season playing some of the best football in the nation. Sam Darnold is playing great since taking over the reigns of this Trojans offense. JuJu Smith-Schester will make two big plays today against this Penn State secondary. As you can see from our picks thus far, the Big Ten is overrated. I like USC to come out firing and Penn State to be a little dejected after getting “left” out of the CFP.
Confidence Pick: USC (17)
Spread Pick: USC (-7) – 1.5 Units
Auburn vs Oklahoma
This game is a pretty mystifying one. What Auburn team will show up? Does Oklahoma care about this game at all? I side with Oklahoma in the confidence pool, but I’ll be leaning towards a total play. I see Auburn trying to slow down this game with their run game and try to keep Baker Mayfield off the field as much as possible.
Confidence Pick: Oklahoma (8)
Spread Pick: Under 67 – 1 Unit
January 9, 2017
Confidence Pick: Clemson (5)
@notsolittlejohn love the layout of the bowl preview article and excited to follow along to bowl season. However, I disagree on one thing: Appalachian State will win today. Keep the winners (and the tide) rolling AVS. Good work!