I am writing this before the CFP games so if I got everything wrong, I am dearly sorry.
These previews are now being written and released at all different times with all of the games going on so it’s hard to keep track of where the YTD numbers are at any given second. However, as of writing this I am very happy with the Bowl SZN and YTD numbers. They will obviously be updated at the end of this preview before the National Championship Game.
ReliaQuest Bowl- Mississippi State (-1.5) vs. Illinois o/u 46
First of all, RIP to a true legend of college football in The Pirate, Mike Leach. There is no hyperbole in saying that he is one of the 10 most influential college football coaches of the 21st century. What he did with the air raid reflects everything we see in college football and the NFL today.
I will try to give my take purely from a football perspective, but there is no doubt that it is hard to imagine what has been going on mentally for the Mississippi State players. They undoubtedly want to play hard in honor of Coach Leach and a couple of guys who originally opted out of this game opted back in because they want to honor Leach by playing.
However, it is also easy to believe that these guys’ heads have been scrambled and worried about things much bigger than football. So from a mental angle, we really won’t know if these guys are ready to play a football game until they hit the field.
From a football perspective, I did like this matchup for Illinois. I bet this game before Coach Leach passed so that was purely from a matchup perspective. The air raid offense usually struggles after a long time off because there is such a need for constant reps to keep it sharp. Illinois is also built defensively to stop the air raid offense. I think Illinois will be able to run the ball even without Chase Brown and defend enough to win the game. No matter what happens though, I will be swinging my sword all game.
Pick: 1.5u Illinois -1.5
Cotton Bowl- Tulane (+2) vs. USC o/u 62.5
We get to bet on Tulane one last time! This team is awesome. They have virtually no opt-outs and they very much belong on this field. Tyjae Spears will be able to run for 1,000 yards against this USC defense that is truly hopeless against the pass. I think this game will be a shootout as every USC game is but I think Tulane has the better defense, especially against the pass.
Caleb Williams is a dude for playing in this meaningless game, but at the same time, don’t be surprised if he isn’t doing the crazy Superman Caleb Williams plays that got USC so close to a CFP spot. He is not going to be limping around diving for first downs like he was against Utah. If he gets any kind of banged up it’s very possible he will exit the game.
I think Tulane will be the much more motivated team here and actually has the players to exploit what USC can’t do well, which is defend the run. Roll Wave.
Pick: 2u Tulane +2.5
Citrus Bowl- LSU (-14.5) vs. Purdue o/u 56
I bet this game before the major LSU line movement (before AOC opted out). Without Aidan O’Connell, I think this Purdue offense will have a tough time. LSU has two options at QB that are both capable of balling out. This offense just threw for 500 yards against Georgia’s #1 defense so I think they should be successful here. I would try to get a 14 if possible but if not, still lay it with LSU. I think this thing gets away from the Boilers.
Pick: 1u LSU -10.5
Rose Bowl- Penn State (+2.5) vs. Utah o/u 52.5
Just like Tulane, we get to bet another one of our favorites one last time here. We bet Utah as dogs in the Rose Bowl last season and they covered despite CJ Stroud throwing for 573 yards and 6 TDs. Cam Rising always comes up clutch for us and I think he will again here.
Sean Clifford is just flat-out not a guy. There is no reason to trust Penn State here. They played two competent teams all year in Michigan and Ohio State and got DEMOLISHED by both of them. They beat everyone else but on their day Utah is much closer to Michigan and OSU than they are to Maryland and Auburn or whatever Penn State touts as their best wins.
Pick: 1.5u Utah -2.5
That’s it until the National Championship! Let’s have a great end to the season.