A few years ago I used to do these bowl game picks, and two years in a row I ended up picking the bowl game winners with over 70% accuracy. I liked the idea that this level of accuracy was based on expertise, and not luck which is much more likely. Not wanting to jinx it I haven’t done it since. (In fact, somehow those blog posts didn’t even make the cut for the pages that got migrated to the new blog.)
But I’ve received feedback that it was a regular feature that long-time readers have missed, so here we go again, with bowl game picks for the 2017 NCAA bowl game season.
For those who aren’t familiar or who have forgotten, let me remind you of some of the rules and guidelines:
- I reserve the right to not submit a pick for every bowl game. I submit picks for games that matter to me, or where I want to submit a pick, or if I think my reasoning will be funny, or for whatever other reason.
- I always pick the SEC over any other conference (for some definition of “always”).
- I always pick the Big-12 over any other conference except the SEC (for some definition of “always”).
- You always pick against Ohio State and USC since they are the most overrated schools in the NCAA, and therefore most likely to be outmatched in their bowl game and therefore most likely to lose (for every definition of “always”).
- Never, ever pick against Nick Saban.
- North Dakota Culinary & Drama College always wins the Toilet Bowl.
With that in mind, here are my picks for the 2017 NCAA FBS Bowl Games.
Las Vegas Bowl - Oregon vs Boise State
ESPN Pick Oregon
My Pick Boise State
In a game of overrated vs underrated, I say go with the underdog.
Heart of Dallas Bowl - West Virginia vs Utah
ESPN Pick Utah
My Pick Utah
New rule - never pick against Kyle Whittingham (10-1 in bowl games). This rule precedes the Nick Saban rule; see 2009 Sugar Bowl).
Texas Bowl - Texas vs Missouri
ESPN Pick Missouri
My Pick Texas
I realize this breaks the SEC rule, but Missouri is kind of a poser SEC team so the rule doesn’t apply here. Plus, it’s a home game for Texas, pretty much, and Missouri hasn’t beaten anyone good all year. Texas beat Iowa State at least.
Military Bowl - Virginia vs Navy
ESPN Pick Navy
My Pick Virginia
Bronco Mendenhall wins the bowl game to further rub salt into the wound of BYU’s horrible season.
Camping World Bowl - Virginia Tech vs Oklahoma State
ESPN Pick Oklahoma State
My Pick Oklahoma State
Always pick the Big-12.
Valero Alamo Bowl - Stanford vs TCU
ESPN Pick Stanford
My Pick TCU
Always pick the Big-12.
Holiday Bowl - Washington State vs Michigan State
ESPN Pick Washington State
My Pick Washington State
There isn’t really a rule about the Big-10 and and PAC-12. I guess to compare the two we could at least say this: At least the PAC-12 knows how to count how many schools are actually in the conference.
Belk Bowl - Wake Forest vs Texas A&M
ESPN Pick Wake Forest
My Pick Wake Forest
The ATMs just agreed to spend $75 million over 10 years on a head coach whose primary talent is helping players get away with stuff. They are still reeling at the absurdity of what the’ve just done.
Sun Bowl - NC State vs Arizona State
ESPN Pick NC State
My Pick NC State
I just can’t even with the Sun Bowl. It is just so wrong that the best commentary team in all of football - not just college football, ALL of football - gets stuck trying to make us care about the Sun Bowl. The world is broken.
Arizona Bowl - Utah State vs New Mexico State
ESPN Pick Utah State
My Pick Utah State
Personal rule - never, ever pick against your alma mater. It is better to lose a pick than to pick against your alma mater and end up wrong.
Cotton Bowl - USC vs Ohio State
ESPN Pick Ohio State
My Pick USC
Lest we find out exactly how overrated these teams are, they’ve been pitted against each other in the Cotton Bowl. This way we will always think they both deserved to be in the playoffs this year, somehow. (Hint: They do not deserve to be in the playoffs this year.) At any rate, my preference would be that they both lose, somehow, but I don’t see how that can happen. So I will pick the team whose fans are the least annoying.
TaxSlayer Bowl - Louisville vs Mississippi State
ESPN Pick Louisville
My Pick Louisville
Always pick the SEC. Unless the SEC doesn’t have their starting QB and the other team has Lamar Jackson.
Liberty Bowl - Iowa State vs Memphis
ESPN Pick Memphis
My Pick Memphis
You should pencil this one in. Memphis’s offense is lots of fun to watch, unless you are an Iowa State fan.
Fiesta Bowl - Washington vs Penn State
ESPN Pick Washington
My Pick Penn State
I think Penn State gets riled up enough to pull this one off. Either way, I probably ought to figure out a way to go to this one, it should be a blast.
Orange Bowl - Wisconsin vs Miami
ESPN Pick Wisconsin
My Pick Miami
Wisconsin lost to Ohio State, and we all know how overrated they are. Miami’s most recent loss was to the defending champion. This game is in Florida. Plus Wisconsin deserves to lose after letting Ohio State win the Big-10.
Outback Bowl - Michigan vs South Carolina
ESPN Pick Michigan
My Pick Michigan
Don’t pick against the SEC, unless Will Muschamp is the head coach of the SEC team, and I can’t stand the guy.
Peach Bowl - UCF vs Auburn
ESPN Pick Auburn
My Pick Auburn
A top-rated offense against a top-rated defense, this one should be interesting. Never pick against the SEC though.
Citrus Bowl - Notre Dame vs LSU
ESPN Pick LSU
My Pick LSU
Les Miles is gone, so I can pick LSU again. Never pick against the SEC.
Rose Bowl - Georgia vs Oklahoma
ESPN Pick Oklahoma
My Pick Oklahoma
I know, never pick against the SEC, unless the other team has the Heisman Trophy winner. Georgia has a great defense, but I don’t know if they can stop Baker Mayfield. I may regret this one though.
Sugar Bowl - Clemson vs Alabama
ESPN Pick Clemson
My Pick Alabama
As hard as the previous pick was, it’s nothing compared to this one which matches up not only two excellent teams but two of my favorite teams. But I go back to the Nick Saban rule. Give that guy 6 weeks to prepare, and he’s tough to beat.
National Championship - Alabama vs Oklahoma
ESPN Pick Clemson
My Pick Alabama
Oddly, ESPN picked a team that is not even playing in the game to win this one. I think Alabama wins. But who knows? Those are four really awesome teams in the championship, and certainly the best in the country (that’s right Ohio State fans). Pretty tough to pick a winner.
Toilet Bowl - UTEP vs ND C&D
Oddly, ESPN didn’t offer a pick for this annual matchup between the worst team in college football and North Dakota Culinary and Drama College in the frozen tundras of North Dakota (some conspiracy theorists assert that their stadium is actually in the coldest reaches of Manitoba, although these claims are unfounded). Their loss, I guess, I just get one extra pick. It seems like ND C&D always wins this one.