Purdue vs. LSU -14.5 (Citrus Bowl)
the pick: LSU -14.5
My flesh: Purdue starting quarterback for the sixth year Aidan O’Connell The Citrus Bowl opt-out pushed that line into the past Double digits earlier this month, along with the announcement by LSU signal caller Jayden Daniels that he would play in the Tigers’ final game. Toss in the fact that Purdue has a new coaching staff and a bowl game was the last item on the agenda this month for the Boilermakers and that looks like a possible rout in Orlando.
Oklahoma vs Florida State -9.5 (Cheez-It Bowl)
the pickFlorida: -9.5
My flesh: The streak continues to swell as the game approaches kickoff, a testament to the level of respect the crowd has for Seminole Mike Norvell, who won five straight games to finish the regular season. Oklahoma’s defense has struggled mightily at times this season facing above-average quarterbacks, and Jordan Travis fits that moniker. Florida State should use this Orlando as a catapult of sorts for bigger and better things in 2023.
Washington vs. Texas -3.5 (Alamo Bowl)
the pickWashington: +3.5
My fleshI loved Washington at +6 when I opened this game and I still love the Huskies getting 3.5 points in San Antonio. This is a 10-win team that finished the campaign with six straight wins. In fact, you could make the argument that the Huskies are the best team in the Pac-12, even with Utah starring in the league title game. We’ll get an early look at the 2023 Heisman nominee here in Michael Penix for the Huskies. Texas would play without two of its top playmakers, including Bijan Robinson, who dropped out.
South Carolina vs. Notre Dame -2.5 (Gator Bowl)
the pick: South Carolina +2.5
My flesh: It feels like the right choice, going with a team that finished the regular season with back-to-back victories over top-10 competition for the first time in program history. Early departures out of the gate this month temporarily missed a crucial recruiting cycle for the Gamecocks, who have signed a top-20 class, including a program-record 14 four-star additions. Will this be Spencer Rattler’s last game in South Carolina? Rattler, along with WR1 Juice Wells, is expected to announce its intentions for 2023 when this ends.
Tulane vs. USC -1.5 (Cotton Bowl)
the pick: USC -1.5
My flesh: I’m not saving USC after blowout loss to Utah in the Pac-12 Final. This could be an official play later this month if the streak stays the way it is now. I think both teams will be motivated, so you don’t have to worry about that. Tulane will be able to move the football against the Trojans, but I also don’t think the Green Wave will be able to stop USC’s offense. This should be fun in AT&T’s ballpark.
Penn State vs. Utah -2.5 (Rose Bowl)
the pickPenn State: +2.5
My flesh: With Utes opting out aplenty, this one is Nittany Lions lean all the way. Penn State was one of the most consistent teams in the country all year, and only two teams lost in the playoffs. Can Utah call on some of the momentum it gained in the second half from beating USC last time? It’s hard to say. Being in this game last season helps, but Penn State has the advantage on the ground in what I think is going to be a very physical thing to do under the Pasadena sun.
Kansas State vs. Alabama -6.5 (Sugar Bowl)
the pick: Alabama -6.5
My flesh: That Alabama field goal streak has gone almost to a touchdown since Crimson Tide stars Will Anderson Jr. and Bryce Young announced they would be playing in the final game. And with that, I reverse course and take Alabama for cover, knowing the Tide is excited in this game against the Big 12 champions. Kansas State should be able to match the opponent’s physical fitness, but these rosters can’t compare in terms of talent when both teams are playing a full squad.
Tennessee vs. Clemson -5.5 (Orange Bowl)
the pick: Tennessee +5.5
My flesh: I wrote two weeks ago that I was surprised The line was about to go down In favor of Clemson and now, it’s back a bit to 5.5. This shows a lot of respect for the Tigers and Cade Klubnik, who will be making his first career start at quarterback. Meanwhile, Tennessee will play its first game without mastermind caller Alex Golish and nowhere near a full lineup. This could be one of those games that are heavy on the motivation factor and the Vols had plenty of reasons to prepare for this season given what happened during award season.
TCU vs. Michigan -7.5 (CFB Playoff, Fiesta Bowl)
the pick: Michigan -7.5
My flesh: There are not enough points here to take the horned frogs. Michigan is on a mission and playing football is not conducive to an upset win for TCU unless Sonny Dykes shows up and is able to hold his own and be strong in the line of scrimmage with the Wolverines. Duggan will have to hold TCU in this one to make things interesting in the fourth quarter, but the most likely scenario is that Michigan rushes to get a 300+ and goes into the final.
Ohio State vs. Georgia -6.5 (Football Playoff, Peach Bowl)
the pick: Georgia -6.5
My flesh: This is one of my best plays of the bowl season, so I’m going to put it this way, time to hammer Georgia before that streak goes downhill. I think the Bulldogs are the more physical team and I’m not sure if Ohio State will ever be able to match that strength at the line of scrimmage. The only way the Buckeyes will cover in this game and possibly move on to the final game is if CJ Stroud puts in a stellar performance against an elite defense. I don’t see that happening. Like most playoff games, this one won’t be particularly close.
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