Joe’s Bowl Game Picks: Show Me The Money Edition (Games from Dec. 19 thru Dec. 24)

December 23, 2006

Games from Dec. 19 thru Dec. 24

Well, in this first round of picks, I am hanging in there with a respectable record of 5 and 2. Although were still in the money, I’m going to try extra hard to do better in the next installment of bowl game picks, that will cover all of the bowl games played from December 36th thru December 31st, which will be posted sometime late Christmas night. Merry Christmas sports fans.

Since the picks being made here are so far in advance of the games the odds are subject to change, so I will update these picks the night before the games and make changes if necessary.

All times are Eastern

Tue., Dec 19
8pm ESPN-2
Poinsettia Bowl
TCU vs. Northern Illinois

**TCU should easily cover the spread that is hovering around the 12 point mark.

Joe’s Pick= TCU @ -12

TCU pounded Northern Illinois tonight with a final score of 37 to 7. The Huskies had only five first downs and 60 yards of total offense, compared to 23 first downs and 456 yards for TCU.
Thu., Dec. 21
8pm ESPN
Las Vegas Bowl
Brigham Young vs. Oregon

**I’m looking for BYU to make this game their 10th straight win, and cover the 3.5 to 4 point spread.

Joe’s Pick= BYU @ -3

With a final score of 38 to 8, BYU snapped up its 10th consecutive win tonight with John Beck passing for 375 yards and two touchdowns, and Curtis Brown running for 120 yards and two TDs. Jonny Harline caught nine passes for 181 yards and Justin Robinson intercepted two passes for BYU.

Oregon on the other hand, well they lost their fourth in a row and was never close after BYU scored 17 points in the second quarter. The Ducks had just 120 yards of offense through three quarters and didn’t score until Brian Paysinger caught a 47-yard pass from Dennis Dixon with 10:27 left in the game. The Ducks added a two-point conversion, but that would be all the damage the Ducks could muster against the impressive Cougars
Fri., Dec.22
8pm ESPN
New Orleans Bowl
Rice vs. Troy

**I’m sticking with Rice and predicting that they will be able to cover the 4.5 point spread.

Joe’s Pick= Rice @ -5.5

Damn, Omar Haugabook threw four touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead Troy to its first bowl victory, 41-17 over Rice on Friday night in the New Orleans Bowl. Haugabook, completed 14 of 28 for 217 yards. He also picked up 92 of Troy’s 148 yards.

Rice’s Joel Armstrong, pressured all night, was intercepted five times and sacked four times. He completed 35 of 54 passes for 305 yards and a touchdown.

7 and 6 Rice, came into this bowl game riding high after their first winning season since 1993, and making its first bowl appearance since 1961. The Owl’s were looking for their first postseason victory since 1954. Rice was the odds on favorite team going into the game, but simply could not handle the mighty Trojans’ defense.
Sat., Dec. 23
1pm ESPN-2 Bowl
East Carolina vs. South Florida

**South Florida will win their first bowl game, and cover the 5.5 point spread as well.

Joe’s Pick= South Florida @ -5.5

South Florida received its first bowl victory, by coming into this game with a strong defense and even stronger game plan. Benjamin Williams rushed for two first-half touchdowns Saturday to help lead South Florida to a 24-7 victory over East Carolina in the inaugural Bowl.

The Bulls (9-4) played the final two quarters of a scoreless second half without quarterback Matt Grothe. The Big East freshman of the year was kicked in the right shin in the second quarter and returned only for the next and final series of the half, but the defense kept turning back East Carolina (7-6). The Bulls went 5-for-5 on fourth-down conversions on drives that resulted in 17 points.

Struggling to make a comeback, the Pirates drove inside the South Florida 30 five times in the second half only to fall short. Sacks, a missed field goal, a fumble and a failed fourth-and-goal pass doomed the threats. In all, South Florida racked up six sacks, including two after East Carolina set up first down from the 4-yard line on that late drive led by backup quarterback Rob Kass.
Sat., Dec. 23
4:30pm ESPN
New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico vs. San Jose State

**This is sure to be a tight, low scoring game that is well worth watching. The odds makers have New Mexico favored by 3.5 to 4 points, but I’m banking on San Jose State pulling out a win in this one and fattening up my wallet a bit in the process.

Joe’s Pick= San Jose State @ +3

Adam Tafralis threw three touchdown passes and San Jose State beat New Mexico 20-12 on Saturday in the inaugural New Mexico Bowl, extending the Lobos’ postseason drought to 45 years. New Mexico (6-7) hasn’t won a bowl game since it beat Western Michigan in the 1961 Aviation Bowl and is 0-5 since 1997.

For the Spartans (9-4), the win provided a final highlight in a season in which they won more games than they had in the three previous seasons. Tafralis, who was 11-of-18 for 209 yards, threw scoring passes of 36 and 24 yards to James Jones and 76 yards to John Broussard.

New Mexico’s only touchdown came with 15 seconds left in the game on a 15-yard pass from Chris Nelson to Marcus Smith. The rest of the Lobos’ scoring consisted of a 40-yard field goal by Kenny Byrd with 1:11 left in the second quarter and a safety when San Jose State punter Waylon Prather stepped out of the end zone with 1:08 left. Byrd’s field goal was his 25th straight from 40 yards or closer and the first made field goal by New Mexico in 10 bowl appearances. The Lobos’ offense had 377 total yards but was stagnant most of the day.
Sat., Dec. 23
8pm ESPN
Armed Forces Bowl
Tulsa vs. Utah

**This should be an easy victory for Utah, and with the points spread ranging between 2 to 2.5points, Utah will have no trouble covering.

Joe’s Pick= Utah @ -2.5

Brett Ratliff was 23-of-34 passing for 240 yards and was credited with a 10-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, though it was actually a designed catch-and-pitch. Brian Hernandez caught the ball near the line of scrimmage and pitched to Brent Casteel, who ran around the left end and leaped into the end zone. Sakoda kicked a 41-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to give Utah a 9-7 lead. The Utes put the game out of reach by scoring on their first two possessions after halftime, the second when they started at their own 1 after a punt.

Paul Smith scored on a pair of 1-yard keepers for Tulsa (8-5), which finished a once-promising season with its fourth loss in five games. Tulsa finished with only 254 total yards — 146 below its season average that was second-best in Conference USA. Better luck next year.

Sun., Dec. 24
8pm ESPN
Hawaii Bowl
Hawaii vs.
Arizona State

**Hawaii will win this game, but I think that the 8 points spread is too much for Hawaii to handle, so I’m taking Arizona State all the way to the bank.

Joe’s Pick= Arizona State @ +8

Arizona State was hanging tough until the third qurter when they started running out of gas. The Warriors rolled over the Sun Devils in the second half, winning with a final score of 41 to 24.

Hawaii (11-3) matched the school mark for most wins in a season, set in 1992 when the team went 11-2. The Sun Devils (7-6) concluded their disappointing season, unable to send coach Dirk Koetter out with a win. He coached his final game after being fired last month.

The Sun Devils appeared to be in control of the game, holding the nation’s No. 1 offense to just three points in the first half using time-consuming drives and an attacking defense. Brennan was intercepted by Josh Barrett and the quarterback was sacked three times in the half, but after some words of encouragement at halftime, the Warriors came out fighting, and managed to hang 38 points on the board in the second half of the game.


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