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Saturday, 19 December 2015

College Football Bowl Games 2015 (December 19-24)

As with my NBA Picks in a month, I have figured that the picks from the Bowl Games seem to get lost in the mix of what is regularly a busy December.

Therefore I have decided to do the same as with the NBA Picks and that is split the Bowl Games into weekly threads with the first one covering the opening games through to Christmas Eve.

I will then have a thread which covers the games from Boxing Day through to December 30th, before a final thread which has the big New Year's Eve games, both College Football Semi Finals in the Play Offs, and the conclusion of Bowl season.

Finally I will have a one off post that covers my pick from the National Championship Game which is played in mid-January.

And one final thing, I clearly won't have picks from every Bowl Game because I don't always have a lean strong enough to make picks from every game. Hopefully finding the right picks will help end the season in a positive manner and end a successful season.

Saturday 19th December
The opening of Bowl season with five game set for Saturday before the NFL takes over on Sunday and the Bowl games continue from Monday through to Christmas Eve.

Utah Utes v BYU Cougars Pick: The first game I am looking at this Bowl season comes from the Las Vegas Bowl were the Holy War will be played between the BYU Cougars and the Utah Utes. This was a regular game up until a couple of seasons ago, but it has been three seasons since they last played and I can't say anything but this is going to be competitive as both teams look for the bragging rights.

Being in Vegas shouldn't be a distraction for two schools from Utah and I am not expecting that to be factor.

The rivalry will be a factor those as emotions have been high in the lead up to kick off and controlling that could prove to be the difference maker between these teams. The Cougars will also be desperate to give Bronco Mendenhall the perfect send off after the Head Coach announced he would be moving to Virginia as Head Coach for next season.

Utah have been waiting since 2010 and BYU have been waiting since 2011 for a double digit win season, but I am liking the underdog in this one. Why? The injuries suffered by Utah, particularly the loss Devontae Booker who has been the spark on the Offensive side of the ball. Britain Covey is the leading Receiver and could also be out so Travis Wilson could have a really difficult time moving the chains with consistency.

The Cougars have gotten plenty of pressure up front and Utah don't protect Wilson as well as they would like, while another factor is the way Utes collapsed down the stretch. Instead of playing on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day as they would have imagined, Utah return to Las Vegas for the third time in four years having gone 1-1 in the previous two Bowl games.

The Utes did win last season, but the rivalry and Offensive struggles may just mean BYU can keep this close. I do think it will be tough for BYU to run the ball, but the Utah Secondary has given up some big plays and Tanner Mangum has come in and played well at Quarter Back for the Cougars.

Of course you don't how someone will react to the pressure that comes with the Holy War, but Mangum has protected the ball well for the most part. That will be key against this ball-hawking Utes team, and one that can help BYU perhaps even win outright.

The underdog has gone 5-0 against the spread in the last five editions of the Holy War and I do like taking the points in this one.

Ohio State Bobcats v Appalachian State Mountaineers Pick: This is only the second edition of the Camellia Bowl, but the Appalachian State Mountaineers might not care so much as they play their first ever Bowl Game. It has been a very good season for the Mountaineers who finished with a 10-2 record and one of those losses was to the Clemson Tigers who are the Number 1 Seed in the National Championship Play Offs.

The Ohio State Bobcats finished 8-4 in the regular season and return to Bowl action having missed out last season. Their experience of dealing with the post-season is seen as an advantage for Frank Solich, and I don't blame him for looking for any positives.

That is because Solich may be forced to start his third string Quarter Back again in this game with his first two choices both still banged up. It might not matter against a very good Mountaineers Defense that play both the run and pass effectively and I think Ohio State will have a difficult time moving the chains with consistency in this one.

Of course that experience of playing Bowl Games might change that, but Appalachian State should be excited about playing their first Bowl Game and that is hard to ignore. The Mountaineers will be very motivated to put on a show, but I do think Ohio can balance that motivation out after being ignored to play in a Bowl despite finishing 6-6 last season.

The Bobcats Defensive unit have played the run better during their three game winning run to end the season, but Appalachian State's triple option has been very effective all year. Taylor Lamb has also shown he is a capable passer at Quarter Back and I think that balance proves to be a big difference between the teams.

It is a shame the spread has moved back up above the seven point mark, but I still like Appalachian State to get it done and win their first Bowl Game against an Ohio team that is just 2-6 in previous Bowl appearances. The Bobcats were blown out by East Carolina two seasons ago, but I think this will be closer although still a double digit win for Appalachian State.

MY PICKS: BYU Cougars + 2.5 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Appalachian State Mountaineers - 7.5 Points @ 2.00 Sky Bet (1 Unit)

December 19-24 Update: 0-2, - 2 Units

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