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FEATURE PICKS ARCHIVES
Week: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Bowls             Year: 2007  2008  2009  2010  2011

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Each week, Mike Mitchell examines the computer's picks and selects those which he believes have the best chance of being correct. Lines in parenthesis are the opening lines as reported at docsports.com. Later lines are used in the event of a "pick 'em" opening. The Congrove Computer Rankings' pick is shown outside the parenthesis. The HOME TEAM is in CAPS. An explanation of how the computer's SU and ATS wins and losses are scored can be found at Weekly Picks Help.


EASY PICKINS:
The computer likes the favorite with room to spare.
2011 Regular Season: 90-26 SU (.776), 63-53 ATS (.543)
2012 Regular Season: 94-27 SU (.777), 67-54 ATS (.554)
Bowls: 3-3 SU (.500), 3-3 ATS (.500)
PAST RECORDS

Wednesday, December 26
Western Kentucky (-6) by 9.37 over Central Michigan (Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl) - Even without head coach Willie Taggart, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers should enjoy their first bowl trip. Defensive coordinator Lance Guidry will lead WKU against Central Michigan and then make room for ex-Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino to step in. Neither team was impressive in the regular season, though each defeated a BCS AQ school as Central Michigan topped Iowa and Western Kentucky squeaked past Kentucky. The Hilltoppers also handed Arkansas State its only loss. The Chippewas didn't win a single game against a team that finished with more than 4 wins.
Central Michigan won 24-21. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Thursday, December 27
Baylor (-1) by 7.78 over UCLA (Holiday Bowl) - UCLA ranks 93rd in pass defense while Baylor ranks 3rd in passing offense. The Bruins rank 26th in rushing offense while the Bears rank 91st in rushing defense. This could be a high-scoring game if UCLA can keep up because Baylor ranks 117th in scoring defense, but Baylor's 5th-ranked scoring offense should be able to take more than 1-point victory.
Baylor won 49-26. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Friday, December 28
Virginia Tech (-1) by 2.18 over Rutgers (Russell Athletic Bowl) - Rutgers lost its last two to blow capturing an outright Big East title. In fact, the Scarlet Knights went 2-3 down the stretch after a 7-0 start. The Hokies had an uncharacteristically lousy year and still managed to win their last two games to qualify for their 20th straight postseason with a little momentum. Virginia Tech also has a below-average record in bowl games while Rutgers has won 5 straight to tie for the longest such current streak in the nation. But, these teams are fairly equal on defense and Virginia Tech - believe it or not - has the edge on offense. Besides, the Hokies have already lost to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh this year and I don't see them going 0-3 against the Big East.
Virginia Tech 13-10 in OT. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Saturday, December 29
West Virginia (-3.5) by 11.01 over Syracuse (Pinstripe Bowl) - West Virginia faces a team from the Big East conference which it just left last year. The Orange took the last two meetings after WVU had captured 8 straight. Both teams come in at 7-5 after Syracuse won its last 3 games to become eligible. West Virginia won its last two to end a 5-game losing streak after starting 5-0. The bottom line here is that West Virginia brings the nation's 8th-ranked offense to face the 51st-ranked defense.
Syracuse won 38-14. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

TCU (-1) by 2.30 over Michigan State (Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl) - Each team had 4 wins over bowl teams. Each team went 1-1 in overtime games. TCU went 7-5 in a conference that sent 9 of its 10 members to bowl games. Michigan State went 6-6 in a conference that would have sent 9 of its 12 members to bowl games had Ohio State and Penn State not been on NCAA probation. The problem for Michigan State is that it has practically no offense while TCU has at least shown it can produce points in spurts. Michigan State has the 4th-ranked overall defense but TCU ranks 18th on "D" in a league that boasts 5 of the top 12 offensive teams.
Michigan State won 17-16. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Monday, December 31
Vanderbilt (-5) by 7.16 over N.C. State (Music City Bowl) - It's not in Vandy's home stadium but it is in its hometown. The Commodores also bring a 6-game winning streak to the party while N.C. State went just 2-3 down the stretch and fired head coach Tom O'Brien when it was all said and done. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible will serve as interim head coach and then hand the reins to Dave Doeren who left Northern Illinois after leading the Huskies to an Orange Bowl berth.
Vanderbilt won 38-24. The computer won SU, won ATS.


HOLD YOUR HORSES:
The computer likes the favorite, but by fewer points than the oddsmakers.
2011 Regular Season: 67-19 SU (.779), 40-46 ATS (.465)
2012 Regular Season: 52-17 SU (.754), 42-27 ATS (.609)
Bowls: 4-2 SU (.667), 3-3 ATS (.500)
PAST RECORDS

Saturday, December 15
Utah State (-7.5) by 6.65 over Toledo (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl) - The 10-2 Aggies meet the 9-3 Rockets in Boise. Utah State returns to the scene of a heartbreaking loss. The Aggies led last year's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl throughout, but fell 24-23 to Ohio on quarterback Tyler Tettleton's 1-yard with 13 seconds left in the game. Utah State fell to 1-5 in bowl games with the loss as the Aggies were looking for their first postseason win since 1993. Toledo won last season's Military Bowl 42-41 when Air Force fumbled the ball out-of-bounds on an attempted 2-point conversion off a fake kick with 52 seconds left. MAC teams are 7-15 in bowl games over the last 5 seasons, but were 4-1 last year. WAC teams are 6-15 over the last 5 seasons, including 0-3 last year.
Utah State won 41-15. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Saturday, December 29
Arizona State (-14.5) by 11.64 over Navy (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl) - Navy's 6th-ranked rushing offense goes against Arizona State's 77th-ranked run defense.
Arizona State won 62-28. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Monday, December 31
USC (-10.5) by 7.93 over Georgia Tech (Sun Bowl) - The ACC Coastal champions (by default ) limp in with a 6-7 record and a special waiver from the NCAA that basically said that their ACC conferences championship game loss to Florida State wouldn't count since they weren't supposed to be there anyway. And there is actually merit to that argument since Georgia Tech would have been eligible at 6-6 and wouldn't have had to play FSU if Miami had not opted to sit out the postseason. USC limps in at 7-5 after being among the preseason favorites to win the national title. Georgia Tech ranks 4th in rushing offense and 10th in time of possession while USC ranks 64th on defense. The biggest problem for the Yellow Jackets is that they own the second-longest current bowl losing streak at 7 games (Northwestern, 9).
Georgia Tech won 21-7. The computer lost SU, won ATS.

Tuesday, January 1
Stanford (-6.5) by 1.52 over Wisconsin (Rose Bowl) - I wouldn't be surprised to see Wisconsin win the game outright. I expect interim head coach Barry Alvarez to bring a team that looked more like the one that whipped Nebraska in the Big Ten title game than the one that struggled to three overtime losses in a four-game stretch. Alvarez is stepping in after Brett Bielema shocked the Badger Nation when he bolted for Arkansas.
Stanford won 20-14. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Florida State (-14) by 8.69 over Northern Illinois (Orange Bowl) - Dave Doeren left for N.C. State after he coached NIU to a 12-1 record, a MAC title, and the conference's first-ever berth in a BCS bowl game. Offensive line coach Rod Carey was named the new head coach. QB Jordan Lynch set an FBS record for most yards rushing in a season by a QB with 1,771, eclipsing Denard Robinson who had 1,702 with Michigan in 2010. Lynch had 19 rushing touchdowns and also leads the nation in total offense yards with 4,733. As a passer, he completed 62.9% of his passes for 24 TD's with just 5 INT's.
Florida State won 31-10. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Wednesday, January 2
Florida (-15) by 10.96 over Louisville (Sugar Bowl) - Florida ranks 104th in total offense while Louisville ranks 25th in total defense. The Gators rank 4th in total defense while the Cardinals rank 47th in total offense. Louisville head coach Charlie Strong is, of course, a former Gator defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. The Cardinals' losses came in back-to-back weeks in November at Syracuse and at home to UConn. Both were inexplicable, but the 'Ville managed to rebound against Rutgers to clinch the AQ BCS bid. Florida's only loss came to Georgia in Jacksonville.
Louisville won 33-23. The computer lost SU, won ATS.


UPSETS:
The computer likes the underdog as the outright winner. I don't select the games in this category. Instead, we list every upset projected by the computer.
2011 Regular Season: 24-37 SU (.393), 29-32 ATS (.475)
2012 Regular Season: 36-50 SU (.419), 42-44 ATS (.488)
Bowls: 2-3 SU (.400), 2-3 ATS (.400)
PAST RECORDS

Thursday, December 27
Bowling Green by 0.002 over San Jose State (-7.5) (Military Bowl) - You read it right - the computer margin on this game is two thousandths of a point. Bowling Green would have been favored by almost 10 points at the beginning of the year, but San Jose State has picked up 10.13 power points since the preseason while the Falcons have added just 0.30. The momentum trend sides slightly with the Spartans. BGSU (8-4) closed with wins in 7 of its last 8 games and allowed a total of 54 points in the 7 victories. SJSU (10-2) rides in on a 6-game winning streak, but without head coach Mike MacIntyre who is off to Colorado. Defensive coordinator Kent Baer is handling the head coaching responsibilities for the bowl game.
San Jose State won 29-20. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Saturday, December 29
Texas by 5.03 over Oregon State (-1) (Alamo Bowl) - Texas would have been a nearly 3-touchdown favorite in week 1, but has lost 2.97 power points during the season. The Beavers have picked up 13.49 power points. The Longhorns (8-4) came in just under the computer's projection of a 9-3 season while Mike Riley's bunch reversed the computer's expected 3-9 season. But Oregon State was just 3-3 after a 6-0 start while Texas stubbed its toes in its last two games. Hard to claim either one really has momentum.
Texas won 31-27. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Monday, December 31
Clemson by 1.13 over LSU (-3) (Chick-fil-A Bowl) - The computer picks the Tigers to win - oh yeah, the Clemson Tigers. Both teams head to Atlanta with 10-2 records after the computer picked the Clemson Tigers to go 8-4 and the LSU Tigers to go 9-3. The LSU Tigers would have been a nearly 2-point favorite in the preseason.
Clemson won 25-24. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Friday, January 4
Oklahoma by 2.83 over Texas A&M (-3) (Cotton Bowl) - Oklahoma was the computer's preseason pick to win the national championship, but the Sooners finished 10-2 and behind Kansas State in the Big 12 with losses to the Wildcats and Notre Dame. The Aggies were picked to go just 7-5 in their inaugural year in the SEC but, after losing home games to LSU and Florida by a total of 8 points, they made a huge splash by knocking off Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The Aggies made another big splash when redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy, but offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury won't coach in this game after he was hired to be the new head coach at his alma mater, Texas Tech. The fact that the Sooners actually added 0.38 power points while falling short of the expected 12-0 season just goes to show that the two losses came against teams that simply out-performed preseason expectations. Oklahoma is tied with Penn State for the third most wins in bowl history with 27.
Texas A&M won 41-13. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Saturday, January 5
Pittsburgh by 4 over Mississippi (-2) (BBVA Compass Bowl) - Both teams qualified for the postseason by winning their final regular season game. In fact, Pitt beat Rutgers and USF in its last two games by a combined 54-9 to become bowl eligible while the Rebels snapped a 3-game losing streak by routing rival Mississippi State 41-24. Pitt would have been favored by around 11 in the preseason, but nonetheless has tacked on 6.07 power points. Ole Miss has added over 13 to its side of the ledger.
Mississippi won 38-17. The comnputer lost SU, lost ATS.



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