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Confidence Picks - January Non-BCS Bowls
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 13, 2011


Who's going to win each bowl game? According to the CFN Confidence Picks (picks with 1 for the least confident selection and 35 for the most confident).



2011-2012 Bowls

Confidence Picks 
 





 


Here are the picks from the CFN writers, along with Clucko the Chicken. Put down two feed dishes, one representing one team and one representing another and whichever dish the chicken goes to first is the team that's going to win. You'll do just as well. (Really, the pick is a coin flip. Don't laugh; Clucko won a 2000 Bowl Pool among 24 entrants.) 

Here's the drill for the bowls. Everyone makes their picks, and then assigns a number from most to least confident both against the spread and straight up. A 35 means most confident with the pick, 1 is least confident - Clucko's confidence picks were taken out of a hat to represent the element of random chance. The number next to the final pick is an overall confidence score of the picks added up. For example, for Temple picked to beat Wyoming, it's 10+4+1-27-29+26-31+30 = 14. The higher the number, the more confident the overall pick.

* means pick to win, but not cover the spread.

Confidence Picks With Comments
Just the confidence picks | BCS Bowls | Non-BCS January Bowls
Dec. 30 & 31 Bowls | Late December Bowls | Pre-Christmas Bowls

TicketCity Bowl
January 2, 2012 Dallas, TX, 12:00 pm ESPNU
Houston -5.5 vs. Penn State  O/U: 57.5
Fiu Rich Matt Russ Barrett Terry Phil Clucko PICK
UH (4) PS (5) PS (15) UH (11) UH (33) PS (5) PS (25) PS (28) PS (30)

E-mail Pete Fiutak
#CFBnews & #ColFootballNews

Penn State has no interest whatsoever in playing in this bowl. The team will say and do all the right things - not the norm for anyone associated with Penn State - but its heart is in a big Florida bowl. Houston and Case Keenum will come out roaring.

By Richard Cirminiello 
For the first time all year, record-setting Houston QB Case Keenum will be facing a grown-up defense. The TicketCity Bowl will be an intriguing study in contrasts.

By Matt Zemek
Now this is a fascinating – and complete – contrast in styles. Such matchups are fun to watch in any sport. Houston and Penn State are 180 degrees different.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
Case Keenum wanted - and probably deserved - more.

By Russ Mitchell
There's Houston. Wow...Penn State. I mean, Va Tech gets the Sugar and Houston gets the candy man's old school. Well, look at it this way - the entire sporting world will be pulling for you to put up 10 touchdown passes in this game.

By Terry Johnson
This intriguing matchup pits Houston’s high-octane offense (599 yards per game) against the nations 10th best defense in Penn State.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
Can you say defense versus offense? Which team was the biggest fluke all year?

Capital One Bowl
January 2, 2012  Orlando, FL, 1:00 pm ESPN
Nebraska vs. South Carolina -1  O/U: 48 
Fiu Rich Matt Russ Barrett Terry Phil Clucko PICK
NE (9) SC (20) SC (29) SC (22) SC (23) SC (24) SC (35) NE (25) SC (119)

E-mail Pete Fiutak
#CFBnews & #ColFootballNews

South Carolina has the better team and the defense is loaded to shut down the Nebraska two-man attack, but the Gamecocks defy all reason and logic in bowl games under Steve Spurrier, losing four of the last five and needing everything in the bag to beat Houston. No way, no how does Bo Pelini's team come in soft after getting drilled by Washington in last year's Holiday Bowl.

By Richard Cirminiello 
It’ll take more than one dimension, namely the Huskers’ ground game, to solve the assertive Gamecocks D.

By Matt Zemek
This is one of the worst Cap One Bowl matchups I can remember. Nebraska’s defense will determine this game’s outcome – it will either smother the undermanned Gamecocks or allow Connor Shaw to run wild.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
Two disappointed fan bases looking for some momentum. Connor Shaw was awesome against Clemson, so expect him to torch the Nebraska defense.

By Russ Mitchell
The Blackshirt run defense is ranked 66th in the nation. We hope that's embarrassing for Pelini. Still, the Huskers have only lost three times: on the road to both Whisky and Michigan, and something about a Northwestern team in Lincoln. But he'll have to do it without his brother Carl, who accepted the HC job at FIU this week.

By Terry Johnson
How will Nebraska’s Rex Burkhead and Taylor Martinez match up against a Gamecock defense that ranks fourth in total defense, and allows only 3.7 yards per carry?

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
Welcome to the Big Ten Nebraska where you get to play a top ten SEC team in a non-BCS game.

TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl
January 2, 2011 Jacksonville, FL, 1:00 pm ESPN2
Ohio State vs. Florida -2  O/U: 44
Fiu Rich Matt Russ Barrett Terry Phil Clucko PICK
OS (31) OS (26) OS (17) OS (17) FL (7) FL (15) OS (13) FL (35) OS (47)

E-mail Pete Fiutak
#CFBnews & #ColFootballNews 

A 44 over/under? How about the first one to score wins? If Florida finally does anything offensively, Chuck Weis should be fired from Kansas immediately.
 
By Richard Cirminiello 
Buckeyes unknowingly hired the best advanced scout on the planet for their Gator Bowl opponent. Ohio State QB Braxton Miller could lay the groundwork in Jacksonville for a breakout sophomore year.

By Matt Zemek
Craig James is announcing this game between Urban Meyer’s new team and Will Muschamp’s team. It’s just an uncomfortable situation no matter how you choose to look at it.  

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
Something about Urban Meyer. But seriously, Florida’s offense is atrocious, so expect them to experiment a lot in this game.

By Russ Mitchell
Now how's THAT for symmetry. Urban Meyer will not coach in the game, but it provides a lot of writers with a lot of excuses to fill newspaper space. Two very average programs this year getting a sweet NYD bowl when more deserving teams (that can't travel) play in places like the Motor City.

By Terry Johnson
Urban Meyer’s former team faces Urban Meyer’s new team. With that said, the defenses will dominate in this game, as both offenses have struggled all season long.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
This might be one of the more intriguing game regardless of the stakes. It’s 2007 all over again minus the talent, with Urban Meyer as the centerpiece. Will he, or won’t he show?

Outback Bowl
January 2, 2012 Tampa, FL, 1:00 pm ABC
Michigan State vs. Georgia -3.5  O/U: 52
Fiu Rich Matt Russ Barrett Terry Phil Clucko PICK
MS (17) MS (19) MS (16) MS (23) GA (32) MS (12) GA (10) GA (4) MS (31)

E-mail Pete Fiutak
#CFBnews & #ColFootballNews

This is a win the Big Ten has to have. After last year's wipeout against Alabama, the veteran Spartans will show up and expose a Georgia team that waltzed through a soft schedule to get to the SEC title game. This is an angry MSU squad after being passed over by Michigan for a BCS game.

By Richard Cirminiello 
Battle of the runner-ups. One of a handful of huge games for the Big Ten, which has something to prove this postseason.

By Matt Zemek
Fun, fun, fun – that’s what this game will be. Aaron Murray and Kirk Cousins are going to sling the pigskin all over the ballyard and light up the scoreboard.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
These two teams played well down the stretch, but lost their respective conference championship games. Consider this a stepping stone for copious amounts of offseason hype.

By Russ Mitchell
Georgia got exposed by LSU at the SECCG. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, MSU lacks the running strength of the Tigers. But they have a a defense to rival the boys from the Bayou...MSU's pass efficiency defense is ranked tenth in the nation, run defense is twelfth, and total defense is fifth... Both teams had a soft second half, and both were whipped by their conference champion. Whichever teams comes out hungriest wins.

By Terry Johnson
Expect a defensive struggle in this game, as both Georgia (third) and Michigan State (fifth) rank in the top five nationally in total defense.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
Okay Sparty, are you for real or not. Beat a very good Georgia team and we’ll all finally believe.


AT&T Cotton Bowl  
January 6, 2012  Arlington, TX, 8:00 pm FOX
Kansas State vs. Arkansas -7  O/U: 64
Fiu Rich Matt Russ Barrett Terry Phil Clucko PICK
AR (20) AR* (32) AR (22) AR* (26) AR (30) KS (6) AR* (4) KS (2) AR (2)

E-mail Pete Fiutak
#CFBnews & #ColFootballNews

Kansas State is about to get obliterated. Arkansas will have more than a month to figure out how to stop Collin Klein from running.
 
By Richard Cirminiello 
Offense, offense, offense. In terms of pure entertainment, this could wind up being the most fun bowl pairing of this winter’s 35-game slate.

By Matt Zemek
Once again, the jamboree at JerryWorld is one of the very best non-BCS bowl matchups. The contrast in styles is delicious, and the quality of coaches is considerable. This will be a football connoisseur’s delight in suburban Dallas.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
Arkansas finished No. 6 in the country, but out of the BCS thanks to LSU and Alabama. Disappointing, no doubt, but a trip to Jerry World isn’t a bad consolation.

By Russ Mitchell
Arkansas ended the season ranked #6 in the BCS (too high). If Kansas State and Snyder are patent, I think they've got this one sewn up.

By Terry Johnson
Kansas State-Arkansas game might be the best non-BCS game of 2011. Although QB’s Collin Klein and Tyler Wilson play the position much differently, each should have no trouble keeping the chains moving.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
This is a BCS worthy match up and one that will go along way towards the comparison of whether Oklahoma State should have gotten a shake at the title game or not. Big Twelve vs. SEC with common opponents.
 

BBVA Compass Bank Bowl
January 7, 2012, Birmingham, AL, 1:00 pm ESPN
SMU vs. Pitt -5.5  O/U: 48.5
Fiu Rich Matt Russ Barrett Terry Phil Clucko PICK
SM (6) PI (30) PT (23) PT (31) PT (10) PT(16) PI (24) SM (26) PT (80)

E-mail Pete Fiutak
#CFBnews & #ColFootballNews

It's a great running back matchup between Zach Line and Ray Graham - oh, wait. It's not, and the two offenses aren't anything special. June Jones isn't at Arizona State, and that might make all the difference in an upset performance. The team might have stunk down the stretch, but it'll move the ball on a mediocre Pitt defense.

By Richard Cirminiello 
June Jones desperately needs to use his 15 practices and bowl game to get his Mustangs back on track following a disappointing final two months of the season.

By Matt Zemek
Where have you gone, Dan Marino and Eric Dickerson? The 1983 Cotton Bowl turns its lonely eyes to you.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
June Jones is apparently a hot commodity. Will he be coaching the Mustangs in this one?

By Russ Mitchell
If a football game happens in a forest, and no one is there to watch it, does it count? Ask whoever is playing in the BBVA Compass Bank Bowl.

By Terry Johnson
Will SMU be able to protect QB JJ McDermott against a Pittsburgh defense that averages 3 QB sacks per game?

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
Where is the splash that June Jones was supposed to make? He did at least make SMU competitive and in bowl consideration, but he’ll have his hands full against Pitt.

GoDaddy.com Bowl   
January 8, 2012   Mobile, AL 9:00 pm ESPN
Arkansas State -1.5 vs. Northern Illinois  O/U: 62 
Fiu Rich Matt Russ Barrett Terry Phil Clucko PICK
NI (18) NI (34) NI (24) NI (15) AS (11) NI (19) NI (3) AS (8) NI (94)

E-mail Pete Fiutak
#CFBnews & #ColFootballNews

This is a terrific matchup between two conference champions. Dave Doeren is still the head coach in DeKalb, and Hugh Freeze is the new head man at Ole Miss. That'll be the difference in a very, very good game. 

By Richard Cirminiello 
Chandler Harnish vs. Ryan Aplin will exceed expectations as far as quarterback battles go.

By Matt Zemek
Northern Illinois faced an interim coach situation in its 2010 bowl game and won. Now the Huskies will face an opponent going through the same process.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
The Huskies finished off its first conference title in 43 years, and complete its dream season in style.

By Terry Johnson
NIU’s Chandler Harnish and Arkansas State’s Ryan Aplin might not be household names, but they will be by the time this game is over. Both Harnish (8th) and Aplin (10th) rank in the top ten in total offense, and can beat opposing defenses with their arm and their legs.  

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
And this game is on January 8th why? It’s the Sun Belt champion vs the MAC champion and the scoreboard operator might want to grab some snacks and get the potty break out of the way early.