Bowl Predictions, Day 12

Yesterday’s record against the point spread: 3-2.
Bowl season record against the point spread: 14-13.

2006 record against the point spread: 14-18.
2007 record against the point spread: 13-19. (Apparently, the Diner really struggles with bowl season)

A couple of thoughts after the New Year’s Day games regarding college football: First, I really don’t like having 5 games on January 1 and then 6 more before a national champion is crowned. I realize it’s been this way for a while, that change is inevitable, and money makes this happen. I guess I’m a purist on this one, though. If you’re NOT going to have a playoff, then this schedule of bowl games seems weird. You can have the national championship game on Jan. 2 if you like to set it apart…but everybody else should be finished on New Year’s Day.

Speaking of not having a playoff (and, yes, here’s where the 2004 Auburn Tigers come up again) and you’ve already got your BCS national championship game participant lined up (no matter how unfair the system is), I can’t stand it when Brent Musburger and the Rose Bowl announcers start talking about how U.S.C. should be considered for the Associated Press vote and that they should “look at U.S.C.’s record & conference and evaluate them on the entire body of work” and maybe split this year’s national championship.

Well, that happened in 2003 to LSU when USC got a share of that one…but then when Auburn made that very claim after their undefeated SEC season in 2004, all we heard was that wasn’t fair to a team who’d been ranked #1 all season & didn’t lose. I guess the big name schools get what they want. Oh, yeah…and if Utah beats Alabama tomorrow, I’d be all for splitting the national championship and giving the only unbeaten team in the land part of it (and we know that if Utah were BYU, they’d get that very consideration). ABC, you only highlight the obvious: This system is horribly flawed.

Anyway, on to today’s games:

Cotton Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss (+4). On paper, it seems like a Tech rout. They have the superstars Harrell and Crabtree as well as a ton of talent at the skill positions. Granted, on defense, they’re a little suspect, but they’ve been playing in the Big 12 south division, so that’s understandable. To Big 12 teams, the Cotton Bowl has a lot of meaning and Tech fans will travel to Dallas en masse. When you think of Ole Miss, all you think of it them beating Florida at Florida by one point. But, the folks in Vegas only think that Tech is about a field goal better. They must know something I don’t. Diner Prediction: Texas Tech 34, Ole Miss 21.

Autozone Liberty Bowl: East Carolina vs. Kentucky (+3). East Carolina was able to come out on top against the high-powered Tulsa offense in the Conference USA championship game. I don’t think the Wildcats are as tough on offense as Tulsa. The iffy thing is the Pirate defense. They held West Virginia to 3, but give up lots of points to lesser teams. I think this one will be close, with the most tested team coming out on top in the end. Diner Prediction: Kentucky 24, East Carolina 21.

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Utah (+10). The folks in Alabama have been crowing about how ‘Bama’s Back, even though they didn’t win a championship of any kind. There’s also been a bit of turmoil in the Crimson Tide camp this week with Andre Smith allegedly having dealings with an agent. Meanwhile, Utah was busy this season, beating Michigan, BYU, TCU, Oregon State and Air Force. No question that Alabama’s better and rolled through a tough SEC schedule and it’ll be like a home game (Tide fans LOVE New Orleans and view it as their yearly reward) they haven’t had in 16 years. Utah will put up a fight, but it won’t be enough. Diner Prediction: Alabama 31, Utah 24.

That puts us down to four games left!