Bowl Picks (Against the Spread)

These are in order from my most confident pick to least confident.  Lines are based on the current consensus spreads according to the Five Dimes online sportsbook.

Iowa State (+3.5) vs. Washington State- Fri. Dec. 28 (9:00)
Mississippi State (-6.5) vs.Iowa- Tues. Jan. 1 (12:00)
Stanford (-6.5) vs. Pittsburgh- Mon. Dec. 31 (2:00)
Oregon (-3.0) vs. Michigan State- Mon. Dec. 31 (3:00)
Memphis (-5.0) vs. Wake Forest- Sat. Dec. 22 (12:00)
Boise State (-3.0) vs. Boston College- Wed. Dec. 26 (1:30)
Troy (+2.5) vs. Buffalo- Sat. Dec. 22 (7:00)
Georgia Southern (-1.0) vs. Eastern Michigan- Sat. Dec. 15 (5:30)
Nevada (+1.0) vs. Arkansas State- Sat. Dec. 29 (1:15)
Northwestern (+7.0) vs. Utah- Mon. Dec. 31 (7:00)

Last Week’s Record: 4-6, Overall Season Record: 72-68

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Bowl Game Upsets to Watch Out For

These are in order from least shocking to most shocking according to the current consensus lines on vegasinsider.com:

Nevada (+1.0) vs. Arkansas State- Dec. 29 (1:15)
Troy (+2.5) vs. Buffalo- Dec. 22 (7:00)
Iowa State (+3.5) vs. Washington State- Dec. 28 (9:00)
Tulane (+3.5) vs. UL-Lafayette- Dec. 15 (2:30)
Wisconsin (+4.0) vs. Miami-FL- Dec. 27 (5:15)
Baylor (+4.0) vs. Vanderbilt- Dec. 27 (9:00)
UCF (+7.5) vs. LSU- Jan. 1 (1:00)

Last week’s Upset Pick of the Week: Fresno State (+2.5) over Boise State

Brad’s 2018 Bowl Intrigue Rankings

Some bowl games produce fascinating matchups.  Others produce complete duds.  Here is my subjective ranking of most intriguing bowl games for the 2018 season.

1 Jan. 1 Fiesta UCF (12-0) vs. LSU (9-3) 1:00 ESPN
2 Dec. 22 Birmingham Wake Forest (6-6) vs. Memphis (8-5) 12:00 ESPN
3 Jan. 1 Citrus Kentucky (9-3) vs. Penn State (9-3) 1:00 ABC
4 Dec. 29 Orange Oklahoma (12-1) vs. Alabama (13-0) 8:00 ESPN
5 Dec. 29 Cotton Notre Dame (12-0) vs. Clemson (13-0) 4:00 ESPN
6 Jan. 1 Rose Washington (10-3) vs. Ohio State (12-1) 5:00 ESPN
7 Dec. 29 Belk Virginia (7-5) vs. South Carolina (7-5) 12:00 ABC
8 Dec. 28 Alamo Iowa State (8-4) vs. Washington State (10-2) 9:00 ESPN
9 Dec. 22 Armed Forces Army (9-2) vs. Houston (8-4) 3:30 ESPN
10 Dec. 15 New Orleans Middle Tennessee (8-5) vs. Appalachian State (10-2) 9:00 ESPN
11 Dec. 15 Las Vegas Arizona State (7-5) vs. Fresno State (11-2) 3:30 ABC
12 Dec. 31 Red Box (San Francisco) Oregon (8-4) vs. Michigan State (7-5) 3:00 FOX
13 Dec. 15 Camellia (Montgomery) Georgia Southern (9-3) vs. Eastern Michigan (7-5) 5:30 ESPN
14 Dec. 15 Cure (Orlando) UL-Lafayette (7-6) vs. Tulane (6-6) 2:30 CBSS
15 Dec. 22 Dollar General (Mobile) Troy (9-3) vs. Buffalo (10-3) 7:00 ESPN
16 Dec. 31 Liberty Oklahoma State (6-6) vs. Missouri (8-4) 3:45 ESPN
17 Dec. 18 Boca Raton Northern Illinois (8-5) vs. UAB (10-3) 7:00 ESPN
18 Dec. 28 Camping World Syracuse (9-3) vs. West Virginia (8-3) 5:15 ESPN
19 Dec. 26 First Responder (Dallas) Boston College (7-5) vs. Boise State (10-3) 1:30 ESPN
20 Dec. 26 Cheez-It (Phoenix) California (7-5) vs. TCU (6-6) 9:00 ESPN
21 Dec. 31 Holiday Utah (9-4) vs. Northwestern (8-5) 7:00 FS1
22 Dec. 26 Quick Lane (Detroit) Minnesota (6-6) vs. Georgia Tech (7-5) 5:15 ESPN
23 Dec. 27 Texas Baylor (6-6) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6) 9:00 ESPN
24 Dec. 31 Gator NC State (9-3) vs. Texas A & M (8-4) 7:30 ESPN
25 Dec. 28 Music City Purdue (6-6) vs. Auburn (7-5) 1:30 ESPN
26 Dec. 22 Hawaii Louisiana Tech (7-5) vs. Hawaii (8-5) 10:30 ESPN
27 Dec. 21 Famous Idaho Potato Western Michigan (7-5) vs. Brigham Young (6-6) 4:00 ESPN
28 Dec. 27 Independence Duke (7-5) vs. Temple (8-4) 1:30 ESPN
29 Dec. 31 Sun Stanford (8-4) vs. Pittsburgh (7-6) 2:00 CBS
30 Dec. 31 Military Virginia Tech (6-6) vs. Cincinnati (10-2) 12:00 ESPN
31 Dec. 21 Bahamas FIU (8-4) vs. Toledo (7-5) 12:30 ESPN
32 Jan. 1 Sugar Texas (9-4) vs. Georgia (11-2) 8:45 ESPN
33 Dec. 19 Frisco Ohio (8-4) vs. San Diego State (7-5) 8:00 ESPN
34 Dec. 29 Peach Florida (9-3) vs. Michigan (10-2) 12:00 ESPN
35 Dec. 20 Gasparilla (Tampa) Marshall (8-4) vs. South Florida (7-5) 8:00 ESPN
36 Dec. 27 Pinstripe Miami-FL (7-5) vs. Wisconsin (7-5) 5:15 ESPN
37 Dec. 29 Arizona Arkansas State (8-4) vs. Nevada (7-5) 1:15 CBSS
38 Jan. 1 Outback Iowa (8-4) vs. Mississippi State (8-4) 12:00 ESPN 2
39 Dec. 15 New Mexico North Texas (9-3) vs. Utah State (10-2) 2:00 ESPN

Brad’s 17th Annual Mock 16-Team College Football Playoff

For the 17th straight season, I have created a mock college football playoff bracket based my proposed college football playoff system.  I know that a four-team playoff has emerged, but I still think we can do a lot better.  You will see below that 16 is clearly the magic number for the ideal college football playoff, as I will present to you the most comprehensive college football playoff proposal you will see anywhere.  Anyone that would like to see this playoff in an excel bracket format then just let me know, and I’ll send you a copy.

The Field: Clemson (ACC  Champ),  Ohio State (Big 10 Champ), Oklahoma (Big 12 Champ), Washington (Pac-12 Champ), Alabama (SEC Champ), UCF (AAC Champ), Fresno State (MWC Champ), UAB (C-USA Champ), Northern Illinois (MAC Champ), Appalachian State (Sun Belt Champ), Notre Dame (at-large, # 3 in Playoff Rankings), Georgia (at-large, # 5 in Playoff Rankings), Michigan (at-large, # 7 in Playoff Rankings), Florida (at-large, # 10 in Playoff Rankings), LSU (at-large, # 11 in Playoff Rankings), Penn State (at-large, # 12 in Playoff Rankings)

South Regional

(1) Alabama vs. (4) UAB, Saturday December 15th- 12:00 (ABC), Mobile, AL

(2) UCF vs. (3) Washington, Friday December 14th- 8:00 (ESPN), San Antonio, TX

Winners play Saturday December 22nd at 4:00 in Atlanta, GA (ESPN)

West Regional

(1) Oklahoma vs. (4) Fresno State, Saturday December 15th- 8:00 (ESPN), Houston, TX

(2) Georgia vs. (3) Penn State, Thursday December 13th- 8:00 (ESPN), Tampa, FL

Winners play Saturday December 22nd at 8:00 in Glendale, AZ (ESPN)

East Regional

(1) Clemson vs. (4) Appalachian State, Saturday December 15th- 12:00 (ESPN), Annapolis, MD

(2) Michigan vs. (3) Florida, Saturday December 15th- 4:00 (ABC), Las Vegas, NV

Winners play Saturday December 22nd at 12:00 in Orlando, FL (ESPN)

Midwest Regional

(1) Notre Dame vs. (4) Northern Illinois, Saturday December 15th- 4:00 (ESPN), Memphis, TN

(2) Ohio State vs. (3) LSU, Saturday December 15th- 8:00 (ABC), Albuquerque, NM

Winners play Saturday December 22nd at 4:00 in Arlington, TX (ABC)

Final Four/Championship

East Champ vs. Midwest Champ, Saturday December 29th- 4:00 (ESPN), New Orleans, LA

South Champ vs. West Champ, Saturday December 29th- 8:00 (ESPN), Pasadena, CA

Championship Game, Monday Jan 7th- 8:00 (ESPN), Miami, FL

Basic Format:

  • 16 teams (10 conference championships and 6 at-larges chosen by the top 6 in the Playoff Rankings, which can be chosen exactly as it is now with a committee of 12/13.)
  • 4 regions (teams seeded 1-4 based on committee)
  • Bowl sites will become tourney sites.  See further explanation below.
  • Selection Sunday will be held the day after conference championship day and the first game will be played two weeks after that or one week depending on how late regular season ends.
  • A couple of special stipulations are that two teams from the same conference can’t play in the same region, and each conference is limited to four total playoff teams.
  • Teams can’t play on their home field except in semifinals or finals.

Scheduling:

  • I’ve even drafted a mock game schedule that takes into consideration both the interests of the viewers and  television providers.  I’m going to assume that ABC/ESPN buy the rights to playoff coverage, since they have already purchased future New Year’s Six coverage rights.
  • Week 1 (First Round):  Game 1: Thursday 8:00- second best game of the week (ESPN);  Game 2: Friday 8:00- worst game of the week (ESPN); Games 3 and 4: Saturday 12:00- two non-west region games (ABC/ESPN split); Games 5 and 6: Saturday 3:30- two games of any type (ABC/ESPN split); Games 7 and 8: Saturday 8:00- game of the week is on ABC; ESPN has other game.
  • Week 2 (Elite 8): Game 1: Saturday 12:00- Third biggest game of the week but can’t be midwest/west regional final (ESPN); Game 2: Saturday 3:30- Worst game of the week (ESPN); Game 3: Saturday 3:30- Second biggest game of the week (ABC); Game 4: Saturday 8:00- Featured game of the week (ABC).
  • Week 3 (Final Four): Game 1: Saturday 3:30- Second biggest game of the week (ESPN); Game 2: Saturday 8:00- Featured game of the week (ESPN).
  • Week 4 (Championship Game): Saturday 8:00 (ESPN)

Playoff Sites:

  • Lower-tier bowl sites will become first round sites on a rotational basis.   
  •  2018: Tampa, FL; Annapolis, MD; Memphis, TN; Mobile, AL; San Antonio, TX; Houston, TX; Albuquerque, NM; Las Vegas, NV; 2019: Jacksonville, FL; New York, NY; Shreveport, LA; Birmingham, AL; Fort Worth, TX; Frisco, TX; San Francisco, CA; Honolulu, HI.  2020: Charlotte, NC; Detroit, MI; Nashville, TN; Montgomery, AL; El Paso, TX; Dallas, TX; Boise, ID; San Diego, CA.
  •  The bowl sites of Arlington, TX (Cotton), Orlando, FL (Citrus), Glendale, AZ (Fiesta), and Atlanta, GA (Peach) will be annual elite 8 sites.
  • The Final Four/Championship games will be held in Pasadena, New Orleans, and Miami.  The championship game will rotate between the 3 sites, and the two final four games will be played in the non-championship cities.
  • Other notes: (1) New bowl sites coming into existence must replace old ones.  (2) The first-round sites that are off of the playoff rotation will still hold bowl games.  More explanation on that to follow.

Remaining Bowl Games:

  • This is the time where things get tricky, as I try to accommodate the rest of the bowl eligible teams who do not make the 16-team playoff.
  • There will be 19 bowl games held at all the first-round sites who are off  of the playoff rotation and the three bowl-only sites of: Nassau, Bahamas, Tucson, AZ, and Boca Raton, FL.
  • The names of the bowls will remain the same.
  • The tie-ins for the bowls will try to replicate those for the current bowl games with the obvious omission of all tie-ins of conference champions.  Also, the number of bowl teams from each conference may fluctuate depending on how many teams it sends to the playoff in a particular season.
  • Overall, in this system there will be 54 1-A postseason teams (16 in playoff, 38 in bowls), which is much more reasonable than the current number of 78.  Honestly, by taking out some of the garbage teams who currently squeak into bowl games, I think this system will actually make the bowl games more meaningful and watchable.
  • Here would be this year’s bowl schedule based on these principles:
Date Bowl Teams Time
Dec. 18 Camellia (Montgomery) Oklahoma State (6-6) vs. Missouri (8-4) 3:00 ESPN
Dec. 18 Boca Raton Syracuse (9-3) vs. West Virginia (8-3) 7:00 ESPN
Dec. 19 Frisco California (7-5) vs. TCU (6-6) 8:00 ESPN
Dec. 21 Bahamas Baylor (6-6) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6) 12:30 ESPN
Dec. 21 Famous Idaho Potato Iowa State (8-4) vs. Washington State (10-2) 4:00 ESPN
Dec. 21 Birmingham Wake Forest (6-6) vs. Memphis (8-5) 8:00 ESPN
Dec. 24 Armed Forces Army (9-2) vs. Iowa (8-4) 3:30 ESPN
Dec. 24 Hawaii Virginia Tech (6-6) vs. Utah State (10-2) 8:00 ESPN
Dec. 26 First Responder (Dallas) Boston College (7-5) vs. Boise State (10-3) 1:30 ESPN
Dec. 26 Quick Lane (Detroit) Minnesota (6-6) vs. Georgia Tech (7-5) 5:15 ESPN
Dec. 27 Independence Duke (7-5) vs. Mississippi State (8-4) 1:30 ESPN
Dec. 27 Pinstripe Miami-FL (7-5) vs. Wisconsin (7-5) 5:15 ESPN
Dec. 28 Music City Purdue (6-6) vs. Auburn (7-5) 8:00 ESPN
Dec. 29 Belk Virginia (7-5) vs. South Carolina (7-5) 12:00 ABC
Dec. 29 Arizona Arizona State (7-5) vs. Fresno State (11-2) 1:15 CBSS
Jan. 1 Sun Stanford (8-4) vs. Pittsburgh (7-6) 2:00 CBS
Jan. 1 Red Box (San Francisco) Oregon (8-4) vs. Michigan State (7-5) 3:00 FOX
Jan. 1 Holiday Utah (9-4) vs. Northwestern (8-5) 7:00 FS1
Jan. 1 Gator NC State (9-3) vs. Texas A & M (8-4) 7:30 ESPN

Brad’s 24th Annual College Football Bowl Projections (Updated)

Made a few changes to last week’s edition based on the championship weekend results.  Feel free to comment or debate.

Date Bowl Teams Time Channel
15-Dec New Mexico Louisiana Tech Nevada 2:00 ESPN
15-Dec Cure Tulane UL-Lafayette 2:30 CBSS
15-Dec Las Vegas Fresno State California 3:30 ABC
15-Dec Camellia Ohio Georgia Southern 5:30 ESPN
15-Dec New Orleans Middle Tennessee Appalachian State 9:00 ESPN
18-Dec Boca Raton South Florida FIU 7:00 ESPN
19-Dec Frisco Southern Miss Western Michigan 8:00 ESPN
20-Dec Gasparilla Bowl Cincinnati Duke 8:00 ESPN
21-Dec Bahamas Marshall Toledo 12:30 ESPN
21-Dec Famous Idaho Potato Northern Illinois Utah State 4:00 ESPN
22-Dec Birmingham Memphis Wake Forest 12:00 ESPN
22-Dec Armed Forces Boise State Houston 3:30 ESPN
22-Dec Dollar General Buffalo Troy 7:00 ESPN
22-Dec Hawaii UAB Hawaii 10:30 ESPN
26-Dec First Responder (Dallas) Brigham Young North Texas 1:30 ESPN
26-Dec Quick Lane Virginia Purdue 5:15 ESPN
26-Dec Cheez-It (Cactus) Baylor Arizona State 9:00 ESPN
27-Dec Independence Miami-FL Army 1:30 ESPN
27-Dec Pinstripe Boston College Wisconsin 5:15 ESPN
27-Dec Texas TCU Auburn 9:00 ESPN
28-Dec Music City NC State Mississippi State 1:30 ESPN
28-Dec Camping World Syracuse Iowa State 5:15 ESPN
28-Dec Arizona Arkansas State San Diego State 5:30 CBSS
28-Dec Alamo Texas Washington State 9:00 ESPN
29-Dec Peach Florida UCF 12:00 ESPN
29-Dec Belk Pittsburgh Vanderbilt 12:00 ABC
29-Dec Orange Clemson Notre Dame 4 or 8 ESPN
29-Dec Cotton Alabama Oklahoma 4 or 8 ESPN
31-Dec Military Temple Virginia Tech 12:00 ESPN
31-Dec Sun Georgia Tech Utah 2:00 CBS
31-Dec Redbox (San Francisco) Minnesota Stanford 3:00 FOX
31-Dec Liberty Oklahoma State Missouri 3:45 ESPN
31-Dec Holiday Iowa Oregon 7:00 FS1
31-Dec Gator Michigan State South Carolina 7:30 ESPN
1-Jan Outback Penn State Kentucky 12:00 ESPN 2
1-Jan Citrus Northwestern Texas A & M 1:00 ABC
1-Jan Fiesta LSU Michigan 1:00 ESPN
1-Jan Rose Washington Ohio State 5:00 ESPN
1-Jan Sugar West Virginia Georgia 8:30 ESPN