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2011 Bowls


FEATURE PICKS ARCHIVES
Week 1: 9/1-9/5
Week 2: 9/8-9/10
Week 3: 9/15-9/17
Week 4: 9/22-9/24
Week 5: 9/29-10/1
Week 6: 10/6-10/8
Week 7: 10/13-10/15
Week 8: 10/18-10/22
Week 9: 10/25-10/29
Week 10: 11/1-11/5
Week 11: 11/8-11/12
Week 12: 11/15-11/19
Week 13: 11/22-11/26
Week 14: 12/1-12/3
Week 15: 12/10-12/10
Week 16: Bowls
Past Season Archives: 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 |

EASY PICKINS:
The computer likes the favorite with room to spare.
2011 Regular Season: 90-26 SU (.776), 63-53 ATS (.543)
This Week: 5-3 SU (.625), 4-4 ATS (.500)
PAST RECORDS

Saturday, December 17th
Temple (-6) by 10.92 over Wyoming (New Mexico Bowl) - Temple would have been a 8.05-point preseason favorite in this matchup so the Owls have added nearly 3 extra points to their cushion after factoring in the 2011 results of both teams. The computer was 8-3 ATS with Temple games this season and 7-3 with contests involving the Cowboys.
Temple won 37-15. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Thursday, December 22nd
Boise State (-13.5) by 16.03 over Arizona State (MAACO Bowl Las Vegas) - The Sun Devils come in on a 4-game losing streak against a school and a head coach that's known for its big game preparation. The computer is 10-2 ATS with the Broncos this season and 11-1 SU. It's 6-5 ATS with Arizona State and 6-6 SU with the disappointing Sun Devils. The computer gives Boise State the second-highest projected margin of victory of any bowl game this season (Oklahoma gets the highest at 20.74 over Iowa).
Boise State won 56-24. The computer won, won ATS.

Monday, December 26th
Missouri (-3.5) by 13.25 over North Carolina (Independence Bowl) - Under difficult circumstances, Everett Withers led UNC to a 7-5 season and he can equal the record of Butch Davis in 2010 with an upset of Missouri. According to the Congrove Computer Rankings, North Carolina's record came against the nation's 57th-toughest schedule while Missouri also went 7-5 against the 15th-toughest slate. Those same rankings were 7-4 ATS with Tar Heel games and just 4-7 ATS with Tiger contests. Personally, I expect this game to be in the 4-7-point range in favor of Missouri.
Missouri won 41-24. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Tuesday, December 27th
Western Michigan (-1) by 3.11 over Purdue (Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl) - The computer was 6-5 ATS with Purdue and 7-4 with WMU. Past Big Ten-MAC matchups in this game have been close with Purdue downing Central Michigan 51-48 in a 2007 rematch game and Bowling Green edging Northwestern 28-24 in 2003.
Purdue won 37-32. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Wednesday, December 28th
Texas (-3) by 5.30 over California (Holiday Bowl) - Both schools finished the season with 7-5 records, not much above or below anyone's expectations. The computer was just 4-7 with Cal ATS while going 7-5 with Texas. Both schools missed the bowl season last year.
Texas won 21-10. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Monday, January 2nd
Ohio State (-1.5) by 2.28 over Florida (Gator Bowl) - The computer is 8-4 ATS with Ohio State and just 4-7 with Florida. The computer picked each of these teams to go 7-5 and they went 6-6 - not a bad forecasting job there. The Buckeyes are playing in Florida's backyard but the Gators' best home win all season was a 26-21 victory over Vanderbilt. Both schools rank in the bottom 20 on offense and top 24 on defense.
Florida won 24-17. The computer lost SU, lost ATS

Oklahoma State (-3.5) by 9.42 over Stanford (Fiesta Bowl) - The Cowboys would have been an 11.21-point preseason favorite by the computer. Stanford's point production fell off dramatically in its last four games as the Cardinal put up 38 on Oregon State, 31 vs. Oregon, 30 against Cal and only 28 on Notre Dame. Stanford scored less than 40 just once in its first 8 games.
Oklahoma State won 41-38 in OT. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Monday, January 9th
LSU (-1) by 4.16 over Alabama (BCS Championship) - Alabama-Oklahoma was the computer's preseason prediction for this game with Oklahoma winning the title. Injuries helped doom the Sooners, but the Tide is here and now the computer picks LSU to win. The computer was 9-2 ATS with the Tigers and 8-3 ATS with 'Bama.
Alabama won 21-0. The computer lost SU, lost 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)
This Week: 4-2 SU (.667), 3-3 ATS (.500)
PAST RECORDS

Wednesday, December 21st
TCU (-12.5) by 10.20 over Louisiana Tech (Poinsettia Bowl) - TCU would have maxed-out at 12.24 points as the favorite over Louisiana Tech at any point during the year. This is Louisiana Tech's 6th bowl appearance but just the third different bowl destination as it has played in 4 Independence Bowls and 1 Humanitarian Bowl. Three of Louisiana Tech's four losses were by a cumulative 9 points. TCU's two losses came by 7 in overtime against SMU and by 2 in the opener at Baylor.
TCU won 31-24. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Saturday, December 24th
Southern Miss (-5.5) by 1.97 over Nevada (Hawaii Bowl) - The computer was 8-3 ATS with the Golden Eagles and 6-6 with the Wolf Pack. Nevada was embarrassed in its last visit here in 2009, both by arrests and the 45-10 loss to SMU. Larry Fedora will be coaching his last game at USM. Fedora is just 1-2 in bowl games with the only win coming over Troy in overtime in 2008. Nevada snapped a 4-bowl losing streak with last season's 20-13 win over Boston College.
Southern Miss won 24-17. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Friday, December 30th
Rutgers (-2.5) by 0.66 over Iowa State (Pinstripe Bowl) - Even though Rutgers is almost a home team, and even though the computer has had Rutgers as a fractional favorite in this theoretical matchup since the preseason, I just don't see it. For what it's worth, Iowa State won by 4 at UConn and Rutgers lost by 18 at UConn. Additionally, Iowa State is the only team that defeated Oklahoma State (11-1) and the Cyclones nearly knocked off Kansas State (10-2). Rutgers faced one barely-ranked Top 25 team, West Virginia (9-3), and lost by 10.
Rutgers won 27-13. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Monday, January 2nd
Houston (-9) by 8.36 over Penn State (TicketCity Bowl) - Southern Miss' 31st-ranked defense shut down Houston in a 49-28 Conference USA championship game win at Houston. Penn State's 10th-ranked defense should have even more success in this game at Dallas' Cotton Bowl Stadium. The computer was 8-3 ATS with PSU and just 4-7 with the Cougars.
Houston won 30-14. The computer won SU, lost ATS.

Nebraska (-1) by 0.41 over South Carolina (Capital One Bowl) - The computer was above .500 ATS with both schools as it went 8-3 with the Gamecocks and 6-5 with the 'Huskers. Additionally, it was 11-1 SU with each of these teams. It's interesting to note that Big Ten teams have won 5 of the last 7 Capital One Bowls, while South Carolina hasn't won a bowl game since 2006 and is just 4-12 all-time in bowl games.
South Carolina won 30-13. The computer lost SU, won ATS.

Saturday, January 7th
Pittsburgh (-7) by 2.84 over SMU (BBVA Compass Bowl) - A strange dynamic exists between these teams. Last year, former SMU head coach Phil Bennett coached Pitt in this same bowl game against Kentucky. Now, the two teams are facing each other in this year's edition of the BBVA Compass Bowl. The computer is 8-3 ATS in 2011 with each of these teams.
SMU won 28-6. 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)
This Week: 4-2 SU (.667), 4-2 ATS (.667)
PAST RECORDS
Commentary to come on these games.

Friday, December 30th
Tulsa by 2.81 over BYU (-1.5) (Armed Forces Bowl) - The computer is 11-1 outright with Tulsa and 8-4 ATS. It's 10-2 SU with Brigham Young and just 5-6 ATS. BYU owns a 6-1 overall record against Tulsa but the Golden Hurricane won the last meeting 55-47 in 2007.
BYU won 24-21. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Saturday, December 31st
Utah by 2.32 over Georgia Tech (-3.5) (Sun Bowl) - Utah had a 9-bowl winning streak snapped with a 26-3 loss to Boise State in last season's MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. Georgia Tech has lost 6 straight bowl games. Utah ranks 7th nationally in rushing defense, which is the only offense Georgia Tech has.
Utah won 30-27 in OT, The computer won SU, won ATS.

Cincinnati by 3.92 over Vanderbilt (-2) (Liberty Bowl) - Jordan Rogers is the QB of Vandy and he is, of course, the younger brother of Green Bay QB Aaron Rogers. I'd be willing to take the Commodores for that reason alone. At this time writing, Cincinnati officials were sounding optimistic that their QB, Zach Collaros, could be ready to return to action for this game after breaking his ankle at West Virginia on November 12. The computer was well under .500 ATS with both teams this season, going just 2-9 with the Bearcats and 4-7 with the 'Dores.
Cincinnati won 31-24. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Monday, January 2nd
Michigan State by 4.32 over Georgia (-2) (Outback Bowl) - A lot of history tends to scream for an opposite result of what the computer has forecasted for this game - Michigan State can't win a bowl game in Florida and Georgia can't lose one. The Spartans have lost three straight bowl games in the Sunshine State while the 'Dawgs are 7-0 in Florida bowls since losing to Miami in the 1974 Tangerine game. Furthermore, the computer is a woeful 3-8 ATS on Michigan State games this year and just 5-6 on Georgia. However, the computer is 11-1 on outright picks with Michigan State and 10-2 with Georgia.
Michigan State won 33-30 in 3 OT's. The computer won SU, won ATS.

Wisconsin by 1.73 over Oregon (-6.5) (Rose Bowl) - Big Ten teams are 1-7 in their last 8 Rose Bowl appearances and Wisconsin was upset by TCU 21-19 in last year's game. The Ducks lost the 2010 game 26-17 to Ohio State. Oregon hasn't won a Rose Bowl since the 1917 season and has only appeared in it three times since then. The Badgers are 3-4 in Rose Bowls with last year's loss snapping a 3-game winning streak in the Granddaddy of them all.
Oregon won 45-38. The computer lost SU, lost ATS.

Sunday, January 8th
Northern Illinois by 0.66 over Arkansas State (-1) (GoDaddy.com Bowl) - The game would have matched two first-year head coaches, but Hugh Freeze has bolted Arkansas State for Ole Miss, leaving the Red Wolves to be led by offensive coordinator David Gunn. Both teams bring 10-win seasons to the game as the Sun Belt champions (ASU) went 10-2 and the MAC champs went 10-3. The computer was 5-6 ATS with both teams.
Northern Illinois won 38-20. The computer won SU, won ATS.