Oregon St (-2.5) vs BYU
BYU is ranked higher, but Oregon St is the better team. When the lower ranked team is a favorite, it’s easy to lay the points and forget it, but I’d expect BYU to have a slight edge playing in Vegas, since it’s a situation they’re very used to, so this is really more like a tossup
Oregon St 28, BYU 27
Cal (-3.5) vs Utah
Right now, I’d consider Utah to be painfully overrated, as they’re ranked 23rd despite three losses and zero wins of note. Cal is the better team, and with all of the “will they actually show up” talk after their atrocious showing in Seattle, I expect that they will show up, and if they do, there’s little reason to believe that Utah can hang with them.
Cal 38, Utah 28
USC (-9) vs Boston College
Doesn’t nine points seem kind of high? Yes, USC is a better team… but really, are they that much better? There have been a handful of games where they’ve looked the part, but by and large it just hasn’t been there. Maybe some extra practice time is what they need to put it together, but I’m just not buying it. It’s going to take an entire offseason and a new recruiting class (and possibly more) before the pieces get put back together. BC isn’t a great team, but they’re decent, and have what it takes to beat USC’s “C” game. The Trojans will do better than that, but not by a whole lot, and it’ll be a tough win for them.
USC 27, BC 21
UCLA (-4.5) vs Temple
Temple simply isn’t very good. Moreover, unlike a tested UCLA, Temple has basically played no one, other than Penn St (who destroyed them); if they haven’t had the easiest schedule in the country, they’re damn close. On the other hand, it’s UCLA on the road, and in the cold to boot. In other words…
UCLA 24, Temple 21
Arizona (-2) vs Nebraska
Considering that Nebraska is ranked but Arizona is the favorite, this ought to be an easy pick (seriously, the pollsters are almost never smarter than the books about this sort of thing). However, in this case I’m hesitant. Arizona has had serious issues on the road this year, and they’ll be playing in a stadium that will likely swing towards the other team, given how well Nebraska always travels. Also, the pollsters might actually have it right this year. Yes, Nebraska is only half a football team, but that half is fantastic, and I’m guessing it’s enough for them to spring the upset.
Nebraska 17, Arizona 14
Wyoming vs Fresno (-10.5)
Fresno 31, Wyoming 28
I forget how many years in a row that underdogs have won bowl games involving Fresno, but I think it’s around a decade. I think the mismatch is a touch too much for the streak to continue another year, but it definitely wouldn’t surprise me, and it won’t go down without a fight.
UCF vs Rutgers (-2.5)
UCF 28, Rutgers 27
This is about a tossup, and when in doubt for a bowl game, pick the underdog (you’ll be reading this a LOT).
Middle Tenn St vs Southern Miss (-3.5)
USM 34, MTSU 31
I’m not quite sure what Southern Miss did to deserve being more than a field goal favorite, but they are a slightly better team, so they’ll probably barely pull out this tossup.
SMU vs Nevada (-15)
Nevada 35, SMU 17
15 points is definitely a lot, but Nevada is still a fairly good team, and they should be a bit more used to the Boise weather than SMU, which is a nice edge to have.
Marshall vs Ohio (-2.5)
Marshall 28, Ohio 24
Ohio gets to play a bit closer to home, but Marshall may actually be the better team, despite a worse record, since Ohio’s schedule was really bad. Once again, when in doubt, pick the underdog.
UNC vs Pitt (-2.5)
Pitt 21, UNC 20
I like this game. Both teams are good, neither is close to great. Playing in North Carolina is a very slight edge for the Heels, but the big question is whether Pitt’s late cold streak (barely beat Notre Dame, then lost two straight) continues, or whether the extra prep time sparks a turnaround. I’m guessing that they play better, which means that they should win, but I like this one to go right down to the wire.
Kentucky vs Clemson (-7)
Clemson 28, Kentucky 24
Kentucky seems like one of the most underrated teams in the country, and while Clemson is still better, a full touchdown is a lot to lay against Kentucky.
Texas A&M vs Georgia (-7)
Texas A&M 31, Georgia 28
Two of the more inconsistent teams in the country line up against each other, which means that it’ll probably be a double-digit win. The question is, though, who wins? Lacking a particularly compelling reason to believe in Georgia (yes, they won at Tech; no, I don’t think it’s representative), I’m going with the upset.
Wisconsin vs Miami (-3)
Wisconsin 31, Miami 27
This should be a fun game between two decent teams. Miami is the better team, but I wonder how much focus they’ll bring into this game when they’re ranked substantially higher and it’s not much of a glory bowl. And if Miami doesn’t bring it to this game, Wisconsin is definitely good enough to pull off the upset.
Idaho vs Bowling Green (-2)
Idaho 35, Bowling Green 31
I’m not sure there’s any real difference between these two teams. Idaho gets back to a bowl game after a long hiatus and doesn’t have to travel far, and that’s enough of a tiebreaker for me.
Regular Season Record:
Pac-10: 54-21 SU, 29-39-3 ATS
National: 26-17 SU, 20-22-1 ATS
Bad Lines: 40-32-1
Mr Pac-10's 2009 Blog
Questions, comments or suggestions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org