Dec. 30, 2016
"The Stack" 12-29-16
The Stack is back on this Thursday and among the things we will not be discussing at length in today’s blog is Buccaneers running back David Martin getting suspended for four games for taking PEDs though he is making it sound like it is for a substance abuse issue and he is going to check himself in to rehab. Nor will we be talking about Oregon’s last second three-pointer to beat #2 UCLA 89-87 last night. Watch out for the Ducks! That is a good win and this team is starting to come together nicely. I like Oregon a lot. Let’s find out what is in “the stack” for today, Thursday, December 29th:
College bowl games
In case you haven’t noticed, my picks absolutely stink. So whatever I tell you, pick take the opposing team and go with close to the confident point level I’m giving you. Yesterday was atrocious once again going 1-3. Thank you Utah for not losing to Indiana though you tried your best. We’ll pick games for today, Friday and Saturday ahead of the College Football Playoff and other bowl games. We’ll pick Monday’s bowl games on Monday, but let’s get right to the picks for the rest of the bowl games.
South Florida vs. South Carolina (Birmingham Bowl) 2 PM ET ESPN
It’s a battle of the “Souths” in this one. I will be keeping a close eye on South Florida. With their head coach leaving, will they not care so much about this bowl game? It appears that other teams like Houston and Temple didn’t play well when their head coach left for another job. Western Kentucky was different. This will change how I pick teams next year for bowl season. You have to beat South Carolina. They just don’t have that much talent.
Pick & confidence points: South Florida (USF), low-to-mid 30s (30-34)
Arkansas vs. Virginia Tech (Belk Bowl) 5:30 PM ET ESPN
I’m a Hokie fan. So you know where my heart is with this pick. I’ve seen Arkansas play really good however at times this season, but will they be up for this bowl game? VT will. Jerod Evans will make a few more plays and the Hokies will prevail…I think. I hope.
Pick & confidence points: Virginia Tech, mid 20s (23-26)
Oklahoma State vs. Colorado (Valero Alamo Bowl) 9 PM ET ESPN
This game is essentially a toss-up. Colorado has been a big surprise this season. They play pretty good defense. Oklahoma State has a good offense and quarterback Mason Rudolph is coming back next season. Colorado has not been to a bowl game since 2007. They are going to be excited. This is not a game I would put a lot of confidence points on.
Pick & confidence points: Oklahoma State, single points (4-8)
Georgia vs. TCU (AutoZone Liberty Bowl) 12 PM ET ESPN
This is a bowl game featuring two disappointing teams and programs this season. What happened to TCU? Georgia has a young quarterback (Nick Easton) and a good running game. I think they will figure out a way to win a close on in Memphis.
Pick & confidence points: Georgia, low double-digit points (10-12)
Stanford vs. UNC (Hyundai Sun Bowl) 2 PM ET CBS
No Christian McCaffrey in this game. That is going to make this game a little more unwatchable. But, hey you get to see possibly the first quarterback in next year’s NFL draft in Mitch Trubisky right? Right?! Yuck, no thank you. Should be a good game though. I’ll take Stanford, but my confidence in them is not nearly as high as it used to be.
Pick & confidence points: Stanford, low to mid 20s (20-23)
Nebraska vs. Tennessee (Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl) 3:30 PM ET ESPN
Tennessee has been a huge disappointment this year too while Nebraska has been one of the more pleasant surprises. Not sure why I would take Tennessee, but I haven’t been a believer in Nebraska this year so why not give them one more chance to prove me wrong? This should be another close, but very entertaining game.
Pick & confidence points: Tennessee, low single digits (2-6)
South Alabama vs. Air Force (Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl) 5:30 PM ET Campus Insiders
I have no idea what in the hell Campus Insiders is. My educated guess would tell me it is a college sports station of some sort, but I had never heard of it before so good luck trying to find this game. USA! USA! That could be chanted for both teams. I’m taking the team that didn’t beat Mississippi State this year….big.
Pick & confidence points: Air Force, high 30s (37-39)
Michigan vs. Florida State (Capital One Orange Bowl) 8 PM ET ESPN
Michigan is stinging off of that loss to Ohio State, but you better be watch out for Jim Harbaugh and company. Running back Dalvin Cook is sensational for Florida State, but Michigan’s defense will be up to the task. I think they win a very good game, one that there will be fewer points than people expect. I say that though with not much confidence.
Pick & confidence points: Michigan, low-teens (13-15)
LSU vs. Louisville (Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl) 11 AM ET ABC
No Leonard Fournette in this one. Ed Orgeron is now officially the head coach at LSU so they don’t have to worry about the offseason or next season and what will change. Their offense though isn’t that good. Louisville’s is with Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson. But LSU’s defense is pretty good in their own right. Battle of strengths right here. I keep saying this bowl games will be good and I genuinely believe (OK hope) they will be good and competitive. This one will be.
Pick & confidence points: Louisville, low-to-mid teens (14-17)
Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky (TaxSlayer Bowl) 11 AM ET ESPN
What a surprise Kentucky has been this year, a pleasant surprise that is. Good for them. They have a lot to happy about with this season. Georgia Tech has also surprised plenty of people this year including myself. That triple option is difficult to stop. Kentucky is about to find that out.
Pick & confidence points: Georgia Tech, low double-digit points (10-12)
#4 Washington vs. #1 Alabama (College Football Playoff, Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl) 3 PM ET ESPN
Washington got into the College Football Playoff discussion and the playoff a year earlier than I thought they would. That is a credit to head coach Chris Peterson and the job he has done in getting this program to where it is today. Jake Browning is a fun young quarterback to watch, but he is going to find out fast just how good this Alabama defense is. The Tide will be rolling in this one.
Pick & confidence points: Alabama, low 40s (40-42)
#3 Ohio State vs. #2 Clemson (College Football Playoff, Play Station Fiesta Bowl) 7 PM ET ESPN
Clemson has not been the sharpest team this season, but they have been waiting for the College Football Playoff to begin. They want another shot at Alabama. It never seems wise to pick against Urban Meyer. We saw that a couple of years ago when Ohio State won the national championship after beating Alabama and Oregon. But Deshaun Watson is a better quarterback than J.T. Barrett and I like Clemson in what could be the best bowl game to date this season.
Pick & confidence points: Clemson, low teens (13-15)
Coming up Friday: Week 17 NFL picks and predictions
Check out this week’s “The Sports Block” podcast here.