Fellow ‘Cats fans, bored Northwestern students on winter break and degenerate gamblers alike: welcome to bowl season. Most people regard mid-late December as holiday season, but to Matt and me, this is the finest part of the season from the greatest sport, college football. Follow along as we continue our quest to help you make money and take down the big bad wolf that is Las Vegas.
Avery Zimmerman: 16-12
Matt Albert: 15-13
We’re back on track after a perfect playoff, thanks to Nick Saban’s decision to kneel the game out on the Oklahoma six-yard-line. The homestretch of bowl season is upon us, with only 11 games left to go. Six of those come on New Year’s Eve, four will be on the first, and then there is the national championship. For now, let’s evaluate the final session of college football in 2018.
Cincinnati (-6) vs. Virginia Tech: Military Bowl
Avery: Cincinnati — I’m wary of the fact that Cincinnati has not faced good competition all year, and the one solid team it did face, UCF, demolished the Bearcats. That being said, Cincinnati comes into this game with a much more positive perspective than Va. Tech does. After entering the season in the top 25, the Hokies have dropped to a meaningless bowl against a group of five team. They should have no interest in this game, and because of that, I’ll roll with the Bearcats.
Matt: Cincinnati — Personally, I’m a little disheartened that there are ZERO of the United States Military Academies in the Military Bowl. With that said, this game will be domination from the first whistle. VT barely stumbled their way into a bowl game while Cincinnati has had a very successful season — and the players to back it up. Bearcat running back Michael Warren will continue his incredible season and lead them to their 11th victory of the season.
Stanford (-4.5) vs. Pittsburgh: Sun Bowl
Avery: Stanford — While it has fallen to ranked opponents this year, the Cardinal has taken advantage of weaker competition. Pitt has had a nice year, even qualifying for the ACC championship in a similar manner to Northwestern, but it hasn’t given me reason to believe it has significantly improved since getting walloped by Miami and Clemson a month ago. Despite not having its most prolific offensive talent, Stanford handles the Panthers.
Matt: Stanford — The most important fact to know about this game is that Stanford standout quarterback Bryce Love is not playing to prepare for the NFL draft. While Pitt was a division champion, they had a very easy division and still lost two games in it. I still think that Stanford should win and cover the spread, winning the game by 10+ points.
Oregon (-2) vs. Michigan State : Redbox Bowl
Avery: Oregon — Justin Herbert vs. Brian Lewerke, simple enough. Herbert is a future first-round NFL pick, while Lewerke has regressed to a significant extent during his fourth year in the program. It’s hard to put faith in the Spartans after the year they just had, but Mark Dantonio gives me reason to believe the Ducks won’t pull away. Oregon wins a close one.
Matt: Oregon — After seeing Michigan State play, I have a few questions about their talent level. Oregon, however, has Justin Herbert. Spartan cornerback Justin Layne is out and Herbert will torch their damaged secondary. Take the Ducks.
Missouri (-9) vs. Oklahoma State: Liberty Bowl
Avery: Missouri — While Oklahoma State flaunts one of the most explosive offenses in the country, it also has one of the most horrific defenses. I’ve no reason to believe that Ok. St. will be able to stop Drew Lock and Missouri, even if it can put points on the board. The Tigers cruise in a high-scoring affair.
Matt: Missouri — I would absolutely take the over in this game, there will be two powerful offenses going at it. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is projected to be the first quarterback selected in the draft and should perform well against a Big 12 defense. Missouri has faced two top 15 offenses in Alabama and Georgia and I expect them to be able to hold their own. I’m taking the Tigers.
Utah (-7.5) vs. Northwestern: Holiday Bowl
Avery: Northwestern — Go ‘Cats.
Matt: Northwestern — If the Missouri-Oklahoma State game would be a lock for the over, this game is the lock for the under. In the words of our President, “at seven it’s marginal right?!” Just kidding, I have no doubt that Northwestern will cover the spread, take the ‘Cats ATS and moneyline. Thorson has a dominant performance.
Texas A&M (-7) vs. NC State: Gator Bowl
Avery: NC State — This should be a good under the radar game. NC State has a well-rounded team that is led by one of the best passers in the country in Ryan Finley. The Wolfpack are in the top 40 in both offensive and defensive S&P+, so while Jimbo Fisher has a really talented Aggie team at his disposal, it won’t be able to cover the seven.
Matt: Texas A&M — Texas A&M will blow out NC State in the Gator Bowl. Take the Aggies. Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley will have to play out of his mind to win this game and honestly just will not do that.