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December 19 - Going Bowling

I was reclining in my office chair engaged in a deep read of Monday morning NFL box scores when I
noticed Richie, our hobbledehoy office assistant round the corner and dart in my direction.  His left
hand as usual was moving just slightly quicker than his right and his standard, diabolic smirk was
pasted on his boyish face.   I quickly ducked behind a Drew Brees front page layout in hopes that he
would shuffle by without hitting me up for his usual stick up.  It was always his cousin’s little league
fundraiser, the neighbor’s bake sale or an occasional solicitation for his religion of the month.  Brees,
who shredded Kansas City defenders just one day before was no match for the indomitable Richie
this day.  Richie’s hairy arm came ripping through my paper as he shoved a sheet of paper in my
face.     

“Are you going to do the college bowl pool?” Richie stammered.

I couldn’t even get out a word before Richie jotted down my name and retrieved a crumpled five dollar
bill from my top drawer.  When asked of the winning prize Richie mentioned something about his
sister’s sweet-sixteen party fundraiser and assured me that a firm handshake would be in order if I
won.  I tried to recover from yet another desultory conversation with Richie and was feeling like I was
on the losing end of his chicanery. I tossed the sheet aside.   

Last week came and went with only files, coffee rings and paper clips thrown from nearby co-workers
piling up on my Bowl worksheet.  Naturally I procrastinated until one night before to get my picks in
order.  I researched and analyzed the games determined to outdo Richie’s picks all the while trying to
remain stolid.  I didn’t want anyone to know this was my first College Bowl pick em,’ but the truth was I
was excited.  Known as the most knowledgably sports aficionado in the office I wasn’t about to lose
my reputation.  

I began to get more of an idea of what this year’s games were going to possess with each pick.  
Something however began to stand out.  It may have been somewhere between my pick for the
Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl and the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl that I realized that
commercialism was finally getting way out of hand.  Back in the day it seemed much simpler.  That
was when the bowls actually had names that were normal like Peach and Sugar and not Brut Sun
and Meineke Car Care Bowl.  Call me old fashioned, but I’d prefer that when watching Navy and
Boston College this year not to be reminded of my car mechanic with a plumbers crack the size of the
grand canyon at every television time out.  

With that out of the way here are my winning picks for this year:

Dec. 19th  San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl - TCU vs. Northern Illinois
This should be a great match up with TCU’s fourth ranked rushing defense squaring up against
NCAA rushing leader Garrett Wolfe.  I do question the marketing campaign however.  Nationally I’m
sure not how sponsoring a bowl helps the local credit union given you generally have to live in the
county to be a member.  
Pick: TCU   - 11.5

Dec. 21st Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl - BYU vs. Oregon
Pick: Oregon + 3

Dec 22nd R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - Rice vs. Troy
Pick: Rice  - 4.5

Dec 23rd Papajohns.com Bowl - South Florida vs. East Carolina
I’m all for the Papa Johns Bowl but Papajohns.com?  I’ve seen people order movies, clothes and
even furniture online but not once seen anyone order a pizza.  
Pick:  South Florida  - 3.5  

Dec 23rd New Mexico Bowl - New Mexico vs. San Jose State
Finally a bowl that doesn’t need an innovative advertising plan.  New Mexico, fifth in the lowly Mountain
West Conference scored a home game against the explosive offense of San Jose State.  I like the
Spartans despite the road game.
Pick: San Jose State + 3.5  

Dec 23rd Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl - Tulsa vs. Utah
Tulsa has a great defense, but I’m a true believer that in order to sell helicopters its going to take a
little more than a Mountain West vs. Conference USA match up.  
Pick: Utah  - 1

Dec 24th Sheraton Hawaii Bowl - Arizona State vs. Hawaii
With one foot out the door, ASU coach Dirk Koetter will try and go out a winner.  Unfortunately he is
facing the nation’s most dangerous offense on their home turf.
Pick: Hawaii  -6.5

Dec 26th Gaylord Hotels Motor City Bowl - Middle Tennessee vs. Central Michigan
Pick: Central Michigan  - 9.5

Dec 27th Emerald Bowl - Florida State vs. UCLA
Pick: Florida State +4.5

Dec 28th Pacific Life Holiday Bowl - Cal vs. Texas A & M
Cal’s high flying offense anchored by Marshawn Lynch and Desean Jackson ride into San Diego to
face another high powered offense in Texas A&M.  Don’t rule out an over/under of 100 for this match
up.  Cal’s defense is rated 90th in the nation.
Pick: Cal  - 5

Dec 28th PetroSun Independence Bowl - Oklahoma State vs. Alabama
Pick: Oklahoma State -1

Dec 28th Texas Bowl - Rutgers vs. Kansas State
Pick:  Rutgers  -7

Dec 29th Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl - Kentucky vs. Clemson
Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson and favorite target Keenan Burton may make this game close
but Clemson’s solid defense should prevail.
Pick: Kentucky +9.5

Dec 29th Brut Sun Bowl - Oregon State vs. Missouri
Pick: Oregon State  - 3.5

Dec 29th AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Houston vs. South Carolina
Pick South Carolina  - 6.5

Dec 29th Insight Bowl - Texas Tech vs. Minnesota
Pick: Texas Tech  - 7.5

Dec 29th Champs Sports Bowl - Purdue vs. Maryland
Pick: Maryland  (even)

Dec 30th Meineke Car Bowl - Navy vs. Boston College
Pick: Navy +6

Dec 30th Chick-fil-A Bowl - Virginia Tech vs. Georgia
Pick: Virginia Tech  - 2.5

Dec 30th Alamo Bowl - Texas vs. Iowa
Iowa’s season went downhill quick but they can salvage it with a win against Longhorn quarterback
Colt McCoy who is still nursing a pinched nerve.
Pick: Iowa +11.5

Dec 31st  MPC Computers Bowl - Miami vs. Nevada
Miami has had a season filled with more ups and downs than the first seven seasons of Beverly Hills
90210.  Miami dropped out of the rankings for the first time since 1999, fired their head coach, were
involved in the worst sideline clearing brawl in the modern era and lost their senior defensive
lineman Bryan Pata who was shot and killed.  Recently fired coach Larry Coker will coach the
Hurricanes one last time.  This will either be a disaster or the most emotional game of the bowl
season.
Pick: Miami  - 3.5

Jan 1st Outback Bowl - Tennessee vs. Penn State
Pick: Penn State +4.5

Jan 1st AT&T Cotton Bowl - Auburn vs. Nebraska
Pick: Auburn -3.5

Jan 1st Toyota Gator Bowl - West Virginia vs. Georgia Tech
Pat White and Steve Slaton of West Virginia bring their electrifying rushing attack to face the nations
11th best run defense.  This should be a good match up if Georgia Tech can contain the run.  If they
can’t, look for a blowout.
Pick: West Virginia -7.5

Jan 1st Capital One Bowl Arkansas vs. Wisconsin
Pick: Arkansas  - 1.5

Jan 1st Rose Bowl USC vs. Michigan
This high scoring affair should be one of the most exciting games of the bowl season.
Pick: Michigan +1

Jan 1st Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Boise State vs. Oklahoma
Pick Boise State +8

Jan 2nd FedEx Orange Bowl Louisville vs. Wake Forest
The 2nd ranked offense in the nation led by quarterback Brian Brohm should be able to do enough to
win against this very good Wake Forest defense.
Pick: Louisville -10

Jan 3rd Allstate Sugar Bowl Notre Dame vs. LSU
Playing practically in their own backyard, LSU’s 2nd ranked defense and quarterback JaMarcus
Russell will bring home a victory against Quinn and the Irish.
Pick: LSU -9

Jan 8th Tostitos BCS Championship Game Florida vs. Ohio State
This is for all the marbles.  This should be an exciting game, but Ohio State will be too much for
Urban Meyer’s Gators.  
Pick: Ohio State -7.5

These picks may all go down is a blistering ball of flame but as long as I can finish on top of Richie
than all my pride will be saved.  And if I don’t, I’ll be the better man and accept defeat.  However that
will only come after I unplug his mouse, keyboard, and monitor and hide a pair of old, smelly gym
shoes in his desk drawer, then accuse him of cheating.