Yesterday's picks were pretty rough, with losing badly on Air Force, North Carolina, and Colorado State. Thankfully LSU was able to add one victory to the bowl record.
Bowl season ATS: 7-7 (6-6 National, 1-1 B1G)
Season ATS: 101-97-3 (46-45-2 National, 55-52-1 B1G)
Birmingham Bowl: Auburn (-4) v. Memphis - Wednesday 12:00 p.m. - ESPN
Both Auburn and Memphis come into this contest with a bit of coaching turnover. South Carolina for some reason thought it was a good idea to hire Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. I can see why, as Muschamp guided Auburn to the 90th best defense in the country this year. Gotta strike while the iron is hot!
Memphis may have lost Justin Fuente to Virginia Tech, but at least they still have quarterback Paxton Lynch for at least one more game. Lynch seems likely to declare for the NFL Draft after throwing for 3,670 yards and 28 touchdowns. Everything seems poised for Lynch piling it on the soft Auburn defense and giving Memphis a second win this season over an SEC school.
Memphis 41 Auburn 27
Belk Bowl: North Carolina State v. Mississippi State (-6.5) - Wednesday 3:30 p.m. - ESPN
BELK! BELK! BELK! A highlight of the bowl season on Twitter is always the Belk Bowl just because BELK! N.C. State gets the advantage of getting to only have to travel to Charlotte, but I'm not convinced that'll lead them to victory. The Wolfpack played quite a soft non-conference schedule, beating titans of industry Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion, and South Alabama. Once they hit the ACC they only were able to beat Wake Forest, Boston College, and Syracuse.
Mississippi State didn't schedule much tougher out of conference, but they certainly were tested in the SEC West. At least the Bulldogs have Dak Prescott, or they wouldn't have sniffed eight wins. Not only did Prescott throw for 3,413 yards and 25 touchdowns, but he was also the leading rusher for Mississippi State, racking up 541 yards on the ground. I feel like Dan Mullen will get one more big performance out of Prescott.
Mississippi State 31 North Carolina State 20
Music City Bowl: Texas A&M v. Louisville (-4.5) - Wednesday 7:00 p.m. - ESPN
Been a bit since I checked, but have any other quarterbacks from Texas A&M transferred in the last week? First, Kyle Allen announced he was leaving. Then Kyler Murray transferred to Oklahoma, leaving the bowl game start to JUCO transfer Jake Hubenak. The Aggie offense has sputtered lately, scoring 10 points or less in three of their last six games. Unacceptable when Texas A&M has weapons like Christian Kirk.
While Texas A&M has struggled lately, Louisville is playing their best football of the season. The Cardinals have won five of their last six games. Lamar Jackson has emerged as the starting quarterback for Louisville, with the freshman being dangerous on the ground, leading the Cardinals with 734 yards rushing on the year. I get the feeling like Texas A&M might sleepwalk through this game, while Louisville could be looking to continue their hot streak to end the year.
Louisville 27 Texas A&M 17
Holiday Bowl: #25 USC (-3.5) v. Wisconsin - Wednesday 10:30 p.m. - ESPN
USC will be looking for their second straight win in the Holiday Bowl, but heading into the season their expectations were much higher. After a crazy start to the season, the Trojans settled down and won five of their last seven. Ronald Jones II broke Charles White's USC freshman record with 940 yards, as Clay Helton switched to a more run-oriented attack.
This was also a strange year for Wisconsin, as the Badgers excelled more through the air. This will likely be the first year since 2004 in which the Badgers didn't have a 1,000 yard rusher. Wisconsin also has a very stingy defense, which allowed just 13.1 points per game, which was best in the country. Even with that, I think the USC attack with Cody Kessler and JuJu Smith-Schuster is just a little too dynamic for Wisconsin to contain.
USC 30 Wisconsin 21
Outback Bowl: #13 Northwestern v. #23 Tennessee (-9) - Friday 12:00 p.m. - ESPN2
What a season it has been for Northwestern. The Wildcats are 10-2, with their only losses coming to Michigan and Iowa. I'm not sure how Northwestern won 10 games with Clayton Thorson at quarterback, but they did somehow. Pat Fitzgerald's team won tight games late, with their last four wins coming by 10 points or less. During that span the most Northwestern scored was 24 points.
After a shaky early start to the year Tennessee settled down and won their last five games. Jalen Hurd has been as good as advertised, rushing for 11 touchdowns and 1,258 yards. This just feels like too many points to be laying to a good Northwestern defense. It'll be ugly, but somehow the Wildcats will keep it within a touchdown.
Tennessee 24 Northwestern 20
Outback Bowl: #14 Michigan (-4.5) v. #19 Florida - Friday 1:00 p.m. - ABC
If you're a Michigan fan I'm not sure you could have expect a better start to the Jim Harbaugh era. The Wolverines will be looking to secure their 10th win of the season. Jake Rudock played well to end the season, with the main beneficiary being Jehu Chesson. It'll be interesting to see how much Jabrill Peppers plays on offense, after suffering a hand injury.
Florida's finish to the season was bad. Really bad. The Gators lost to Florida State and Alabama to close the season, and didn't score more than 24 points in their last five games. Maybe the couple weeks off will help to recharge some of the batteries of the Gators because they looked spent as they closed out the season. How come I feel like this ends up being a field goal game? The Florida defense keeps it close.
Michigan 20 Florida 17
Taxslayer Bowl: Penn State v. Georgia (-6.5) - Saturday 12:00 p.m. - ESPN
Do I really have to talk about this bowl? This is just going to be 60 minutes of sadness. Georgia doesn't have a coaching staff. Penn State doesn't have any offensive line. Can we get a running clock here? Like just make it 60 minutes of real time instead of 60 minutes of game time football field. I'll take the points in what is just going to be shenanigans.
Georgia 14 Penn State 13
Liberty Bowl: Kansas State v. Arkansas (-13) - Saturday 3:20 p.m. - ESPN
There's going to be so much blood here. I wonder if Bret Bielema will take it easy on Bill Snyder, since Bielema was Snyder's co-defensive coordinator in 2002 and 2003. Yeah right, that's not how Bielema rolls. Running back Alex Collins is just the third running back in SEC history with 1,000 yards rushing in each of his first three seasons. Brandon Allen has also been great this year, throwing 29 touchdown passes. Just getting to six wins was a huge accomplishment for this plain Kansas State team, asking them to stay within two scores here is just too much.
Arkansas 42 Kansas State 21
Alamo Bowl: #15 Oregon v. #11 TCU (-1) - Saturday 6:45 p.m. - ESPN
Now this game is going to be fun. Even without Josh Doctson playing, this game should have plenty of points. Vernon Adams Jr. going up against Trevone Boykin should be a very entertaining battle. The focus isn't all on the quarterbacks though, as Royce Freeman has rushed for 1,706 yards this season. Neither team really does much on defense, and I don't really need them to in this game. I like how Oregon finished the season so I'll take them in a coin flip here.
Oregon 45 TCU 42
Cactus Bowl: West Virginia (-1) v. Arizona State - Saturday 10:15 p.m. - ESPN
Just the intensity matchup between head coaches Dana Holgorsen and Todd Graham is reason to tune in here. Arizona State had lofty dreams heading into the season, but it didn't materialize as they slumped to a 6-6 record. The West Virginia offense hasn't quite been as explosive as in years past, and that might hurt them against the Sun Devils. I like the short line with an Arizona State team that may have underachieved, but gets to play close to home.
Arizona State 34 West Virginia 27