Joe’s Bowl Game Picks: Show Me The Money Edition (Games from Dec. 26 thru Dec. 31)

November 1, 2006
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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 Eastern.

Tue., Dec. 26
7:30 p.m. ESPN
Motor City Bowl
Central Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee

Joe’s Pick= Central Michigan @ -8
WINNER

Ontario Sneed scored twice early and Doug Kress returned an interception for a touchdown on the opening possession of the second half Tuesday night, helping the Chippewas beat Middle Tennessee State 31-14 in the Motor City Bowl.

Central Michigan (10-4) was led by interim coach Jeff Quinn, who was promoted three weeks ago when Brian Kelly was wooed away by the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Chippewas lost the 1994 Las Vegas and 1990 California Raisin Bowls.

The Blue Raiders (7-6) played in a Division I-A bowl for the first time in their eighth season at college football’s highest level.

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Wed., Dec. 27
8 p.m. ESPN
Emerald Bowl
UCLA vs. Florida State

Joe’s Pick= UCLA @ -3

Lorenzo Booker ran for 91 yards, caught five passes for 117 more and scored two touchdowns, leading the Seminoles to a 44-27 victory over UCLA on Wednesday night to put a happy ending on Bowden’s 30th straight winning season.

Patrick Cowan passed for 240 yards and Chris Markey ran for 144 for the inconsistent Bruins, who came in with a three-game winning streak, highlighted by a 13-9 victory over archrival USC 3½ weeks ago.

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Thu., Dec. 28
4:30 p.m. ESPN
Independence Bowl
Alabama vs. Oklahoma State

Joe’s Pick= Oklahoma State @ -2

WINNER

Jason Ricks kicked a 27-yard field goal with 8.9 seconds remaining after to give Oklahoma State a 34-31 victory over Alabama.The kick saved the Cowboys (7-6) from a fourth-quarter collapse and gave them both a winning record and their first bowl victory since 2002. Oklahoma State blew a 14-point lead, setting up the Crimson Tide for the tying touchdown with a fumbled kickoff return.

Alabama (6-7) was playing in its NCAA-record 54th bowl game and looking for its 31st bowl victory — another NCAA record — but for much of the night the Crimson Tide’s vaunted postseason history seemed a distant memory. Bama played flat until late in the fourth quarter.
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Thu., Dec. 28
8 p.m. ESPN
Holiday Bowl
California vs. Texas A&M

Joe’s Pick= Texas A&M @ +3.5

Two years after a BCS snub led to an uninspired trip to San Diego, the No. 21 Golden Bears dominated the No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies, winning 45 to 10 behind Marshawn Lynch, who ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns.

Cal (10-3) put an emphatic final touch to its second 10-win season in three years. The Golden Bears had lost to Arizona and Southern California in disheartening fashion before beating rival Stanford and then the Aggies (9-4).

Jorvorskie Lane, Texas A&M’s 274-pound tailback, wasn’t much of a factor after tying a 79-year-old school record with 19 rushing touchdowns this year. He was held to 36 yards and no touchdowns on seven carries.
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Thu., Dec. 28
8 p.m. NFL Network
Texas Bowl
Kansas State vs. Rutgers

Joe’s Pick= Rutgers @ -7.5

WINNER

Like a true Texas hero, Ray Rice donned a white cowboy hat after leading Rutgers to one more milestone victory. Rice ran for 170 yards and a touchdown, Tim Brown caught two TD passes and the 16th-ranked Scarlet Knights won a bowl game for the first time Thursday night, beating Kansas State 37-10 in the Texas Bowl.

The Wildcats’ only touchdown came on Yamon Figurs’ 76-yard punt return with 9:37 left in the second quarter. Kansas State (7-6) mustered only 85 yards after Frierson’s return of Freeman’s first interception put Rutgers up 24-10 just 33 seconds out of halftime. The Wildcats’ offense had only one more yard at halftime (77) than Figurs gained on his punt return.
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Fri., Dec. 29
1 p.m. ESPN
Music City Bowl
Kentucky vs. Clemson

Joe’s Pick= Clemson @ -10

Wildcat quarterback Andre Woodson made Kentucky a bowl winner for the first time in 22 years. Woodson threw for three touchdowns and 299 yards as the Wildcats surprised Clemson, and everyone else, with a 28-20 victory in the Music City Bowl on Friday.

The junior completed 20 of 28 passes to finish his breakout season with 31 touchdowns — more than five times his total from last year. He joins Couch, the former No. 1 NFL draft pick, as the only Wildcats to top the 30-touchdown mark in a season.

A large early deficit forced the Tigers, one of the country’s best rushing teams, into passing situations. Running backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller combined for just 77 yards, and Spiller fell short of the 86 he needed to make the tandem the first in school history with 1,000 rushing yards each.
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Fri., Dec. 29
2 p.m. CBS
Sun Bowl
Oregon State vs. Missouri

Joe’s Pick= Oregon @ -3

Oregon State coach Mike Riley was set to take his chances in overtime at the Sun Bowl. Then Missouri called timeout to have Joe Newton’s 14-yard touchdown catch with 22.1 seconds to go reviewed, believing he may have bobbled the ball. During that break, Riley decided to go for the win. Yvenson Bernard barely pushed into the end zone on the gutsy 2-point conversion run, giving the 24th-ranked Beavers a 39-38 victory over the Tigers on Friday. I hope you got to see this one; it’s just too bad that Oregon didn’t take the game into overtime and cover that points spread.
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Fri., Dec. 29
4:30 p.m. ESPN
Liberty Bowl
Houston vs. South Carolina

Joe’s Pick= South Carolina @ -5.5

WINNER

South Carolina and Houston put on a record-setting offensive show for the first 30 minutes of the Liberty Bowl. The Gamecocks provided the defense when it mattered most. Defensive end Jordin Lindsey came up with two turnovers for a defense that slowed down Houston in the second half, and South Carolina beat the Cougars 44-36 Friday for its first bowl victory under coach Steve Spurrier.

Quarterback Blake Mitchell tied a bowl record by throwing four touchdown passes, and Cory Boyd ran for two more TDs as the Gamecocks (8-5) finished Spurrier’s second season with their best record since going 9-3 in 2001.

Houston led 28-27 at the half, but South Carolina held the Cougars to 63 yards in the third quarter when the Gamecocks took control. They sacked Kolb three times, forced two turnovers and stopped the Cougars twice on fourth down in the fourth quarter.
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Fri., Dec. 29
7:30 p.m. ESPN
Insight Bowl
Texas Tech vs. Minnesota

Joe’s Pick= Texas Tech @ -7.5

The Red Raiders spotted Minnesota a 31-point, third-quarter lead, then rallied for a stunning 44-41 overtime victory in the Insight Bowl Friday night, the largest comeback in Division I-A bowl history, but failed to put enough points on the board to cover that 7.5 point spread.
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Fri., Dec. 29
8 p.m. ESPN
Champs Sports Bowl
Maryland vs. Purdue

Joe’s Pick= Purdue @ -1

To cap off a terrible day for the sports betters of the world, Maryland methodically and meticulously put away Purdue — and looked nothing like the team that ended the regular season with two lopsided losses.

The Terrapins (9-4) were able to keep Purdue’s offense, the NCAA’s 10th best at 425 yards per game, in check by blanketing its speedy wideouts, batting down several passes — and keeping the ball away from the Boilermakers.

The Boilermakers got their only touchdown just before halftime. Painter led them 71 yards in 1:25, hitting Greg Orton for a 12-yard touchdown. Orton and Dorien Bryant’s receptions accounted for all Purdue’s offense in the drive.
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Sat., Dec. 30
1 p.m.
Meineke Car Care Bowl
Boston College vs. Navy

Joe’s Pick= Boston College @ 7.5

Steve Aponavicius kicked a career-best 37-yard field goal on the final play and the 23rd-ranked Eagles beat the Midshipmen 25-24 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl to extend the nation’s current longest bowl-winning streak to seven.
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Sat., Dec. 30
4:30 p.m.
Alamo Bowl
Texas vs. Iowa

Joe’s Pick= Texas @ -9

Texas won its third straight bowl game and became the first team to win the Alamo Bowl after trailing at halftime. Colt McCoy, a redshirt freshman who replaced Vince Young turned in another gritty performance with two touchdown passes to rally the No. 18 Longhorns to a 26-24 victory Saturday over Iowa in the Alamo Bowl.
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Sat., Dec. 30
8 p.m.
Chick-Fil-A Bowl
Virginia Tech vs. Georgia

Joe’s Pick= Virginia Tech @ -3

After three straight wins over ranked opponents, including a 31-24 comeback upset of No. 14 Virginia Tech in Saturday night’s Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Virginia Tech gave up only 9.3 points per game while shutting out four opponents in the regular season, but Georgia scored 28 second-half points to rally from a 21-3 halftime deficit.
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Sun., Dec. 31
7:30 p.m.
MPC Computers Bowl
Nevada vs. Miami

Joe’s Pick= Miami @ 3.5

Kirby Freeman threw for 272 yards and two long TDs, ran for another score, and Chavez Grant made a diving interception with 18 seconds left in the Hurricanes’ 21-20 victory over Nevada in the MPC Computers Bowl on Sunday night, Coker’s final game at Miami.

Nevada had a first down at the Miami 36 in the final minute, but Grant’s pick sealed the win and got Coker the perfect sendoff that his players wanted.
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[tags]Motor City Bowl,Emerald Bowl,Independence Bowl,Holiday Bowl,Texas Bowl,Music City Bowl,Sun Bowl,Liberty Bowl,Insight Bowl,Champs Sports Bowl,Meineke Car Care Bowl,Alamo Bowl,Chick-Fil-A Bowl,MPC Computers Bowl[/tags]

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