College Football 2012 Bowl Preview: Picking Against the Spread

BY J.P. SCOTT ON DECEMBER 12, 2012

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Bowl season is upon us, bringing with it a slate of meaningless, nonetheless entertaining football games that serve as the backdrop for our post-holiday meal and New Year’s Eve hangover naps.

If you’re going to watch, you might as well make it interesting and lay down some cash. That’s where I come in. I’ve taken the liberty of predicting every Bowl game of the season vs. the spread. Do what you will with the information I’ve provided, just know you’ll pay people good money for the same kind of service elsewhere. You get it right here at Know It All Football for free.

Without further ado, here are your 2012 Bowl predictions. These spreads are provided by Covers.com unless otherwise noted and are current as of December 12, 2012.

GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL: Arizona (-10) vs Nevada

Nevada almost took down Boise State during the final week. They never did get blown out and their only bad loss was in Week 2 against South Florida, a one-point decision. The Wolfpack could win this straight up. Take Nevada.

FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL: Utah State (-10) vs Toledo

Utah State scores a ton of points and only allows just over 15 a game. Utah State covers.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA: BYU (-2.5) vs San Diego State

BYU is inconsistent, with the highlight of their season being a close loss to Notre Dame. San Diego St. is riding a 7-game winning streak. I think the Aztecs win the game. Take San Diego State.

BEEF O’BRADY’S BOWL ST. PETERSBURG: Central Florida (-7) vs Ball State

Outside of their two close losses to C-USA Champ Tulsa, UCF’s only other losses were decent games with Ohio State and Mizzou. Ball State hasn’t shown me anything that says they are the same caliber.  Central Florida covers.

R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL: UL-Lafayette (-6) vs East Carolina

The Ragin Cajun’s performance against Florida was all I needed to know about them. They come to fight. ECU has been unimpressive, including a blowout loss to an average Navy team. UL-Lafayette covers.

MAACO BOWL LAS VEGAS: Boise State (-5) vs Washington

Outside of close losses to Michigan State and San Diego State, it was the same old Boise in 2012. As far as Washington, I can’t take a team that got lit up by Arizona seriously. Boise State covers.

SHERATON HAWAII BOWL: Fresno State (-12) vs Southern Methodist

Fresno played Oregon tough, lost to Tulsa by a point, and dropped a 20-10 decision to Boise State. Other than that, they were impressive all year.  Without an early season win over Stephen F. Austin, SMU isn’t bowl eligible. Fresno State covers with ease.

LITTLE CAESARS BOWL: Western Kentucky (-5) vs Central Michigan

Western Kentucky stumbled down the stretch and is the midst of a coaching change. Central Michigan has won three straight. I like the Chippewas to get it done here. Take Central Michigan.

MILITARY BOWL PRESENTED BY NORTHROP GRUMMAN:  San Jose State (-7) vs Bowling Green

Utah State and Stanford were the only teams to blemish San Jose State’s record. They were otherwise impressive. Bowling Green looks like an average mid-major at best. San Jose State covers.

BELK BOWL: Cincinnati (-7) vs Duke

Cincy had a respectable year but is now going through a coaching change. Duke has surprised many with their effort this year and is looking to make a statement with a bowl win. I like Duke to win this one outright.

BRIDGEPOINT EDUCATION HOLIDAY BOWL: UCLA vs BAYLOR (pick’em)

Few teams are as hot as Baylor is right now and they’ll face a UCLA squad who just missed a Rose Bowl berth by 3 points. I think Baylor will be more excited and thus more motivated to play in this one. Take Baylor.

ADVOCARE V100 INDEPENDENCE BOWL: UL-Monroe (-7) vs Ohio

The wheels fell off for Frank Solich and the Ohio Bobcats after they lost to Miami of Ohio. They had BCS-buster aspirations but seemed to mail it in after they were knocked out of contention. On the flip-side, UL_Monroe is a program on the rise coming off an impressive season. They’ll want to end it on a high note. UL-Monroe covers.

RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL: Virginia Tech (-2.5) vs Rutgers

Rutgers limps in on the shoulders of back-to back losses. Frank Beamer’s Hokies have won two in a row. I like Beamer with a month to prepare for one team. Virginia Tech covers.

MEINEKE CARE CAR BOWL OF TEXAS:  Texas Tech (-13) vs Minnesota

Minnesota has lost by more than 13 five times this season against lesser offenses than Texas Tech brings to the table. Texas Tech covers.

BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL: Air Force (-1) vs Rice

Air Force has one impressive win all season (Nevada) and not much else. Rice is riding a four-game winning streak. I like Rice to win straight up.

NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL: West Virginia (-4) vs Syracuse

Syracuse finished off their season by winning 3 straight and 5 of their last 6. West Virginia is arguably the most disappointing team in the land this year. Syracuse’s defense is just good enough to slow down Gino Smith and allow Ryan Nassib to win a shootout in this battle of NFL-caliber gunslingers. Take Syracuse.

KRAFT FIGHT HUNGER BOWL: Arizona State (-13.5, BetOnline.ag) vs Navy

Arizona State is the more talented football team and will win this game, but not by two touchdowns. Navy is too disciplined to get blown out by such an undisciplined squad. Take Navy.

VALERO ALAMO BOWL: Oregon State (-2) vs Texas

The first half of Oregon State’s season was a fluke. A month is too long to give a Mack Brown-coached team to prepare for a game in their home state. Texas wins outright.

BUFFALO WILD WINGS BOWL: Texas Christian (-2.5) vs Michigan State

This one will come down to coaching. The teams are close in terms of talent, but Gary Patterson is head and shoulders a better coach than Mark Dantonio. TCU covers.

FRANKLIN AMERICAN MORTGAGE MUSIC CITY: Vanderbilt (-6.5) vs N.C. State

Vandy is red-hot heading into this matchup in their backyard, having won six straight. N.C. State on the other hand isn’t in a bowl game without wins over South Alabama and The Citadel. Vanderbilt Covers.

HYUNDAI SUN BOWL: Southern Cal (-10, BetOnline.ag) vs Georgia Tech

I don’t know that USC cares to be here, while I think Georgia Tech is thrilled. Both will play that way, however, I think USC’s talent wins them the game. That said, they won’t cover. Take Georgia Tech.

AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL: Tulsa vs Iowa State (pick’em)

This is a rematch if an opening weekend battle than Iowa State won. Tulsa has been getting by with close wins all year. I think Iowa State repeats. Take the Cyclones.

CHICK-FIL-A BOWL: LSU (-3.5) vs Clemson

Clemson scored a ton of point all year with two exceptions: games against Auburn and South Carolina. The Tigers scored 41.6 points per game against non-SEC defenses and just over 21 a game against their SEC foes. LSU won’t allow that many and will run the ball all over a soft Clemson D. LSU covers.

TAXSLAYER.COM GATOR BOWL: Mississippi State (-2.5) vs Northwestern

Mississippi State got beat up pretty good by some physical teams during the second half of the year. Northwestern has played consistently solid football throughout. I’m not sure how much Mississippi State has left in them. Northwestern wins straight up.

HEART OF DALLAS BOWL: Oklahoma State (-16.5) vs Purdue

Thanks to a weak Big Ten Conference and a weaker non-conference schedule, Purdue earned themselves enough wins to go bowling. Their prize? A country whoopin’ at the hands of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Easy money. Cowboys cover.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL: Georgia (-10) vs Nebraska

Neither team wants to be here, but once the game starts, Georgia will quickly realize how easily they are able to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball against an overrated Nebraska team. Georgia covers in a snoozer.

OUTBACK BOWL: South Carolina (-5) vs Michigan

The only thing that will keep this game close is Michigan coach Brady Hoke. The Wolverines will be outmanned at every position. South Carolina wins and covers, but not by much.

ROSE BOWL GAME PRESENTED BY VIZIO: Stanford (-6.5) vs Wisconsin

Don’t be fooled by Wisconsin’s blowout win over Nebraska. As I already stated once, the Huskers were not as good as advertised. Stanford is and they have the personnel on defense to stop the Wisconsin run. Stanford covers.

DISCOVER ORANGE BOWL: Florida State (-12.5) vs Northern Illinois

Northern Illinois has no business being here and Florida State is about to show them why. Seminoles cover easily.

ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL: Florida (-13) vs Louisville

Louisville benefits by not going through a coaching change, getting a month with Charlie Strong to prepare for the Gators. The end result is a closer game than many think. Florida wins, but doesn’t cover.

TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL: Oregon (-9.5) vs Kansas State

The Big 12 may have been slightly overrated this year and K-State was the beneficiary. I don’t think they have the team speed to hang with an angry Oregon team. Ducks cover.

AT&T COTTON BOWL: Texas A&M (-4.5) vs Oklahoma

Rarely does a 10-2 season feel like a disappointment, but you get the feeling it does this season in Norman, OK. After dropping games to Kansas State and Notre Dame that no one saw coming, the folk in Oklahoma are wondering what happened and what might have been. Their consolation for missing out on a BCS Bowl is a trip to Dallas. The problem is, Johnny Football and the Aggies are there waiting for them, ready to make a statement heading into the 2013 season. The Aggie D will be too much in this one and the Heisman Trophy winner will win a barn-burner. Aggies cover.

BBVA COMPASS BOWL: Ole Miss (-3.5) vs Pitt

You could make a strong argument that Ole Miss had the nation’s toughest schedule. You can’t make that same argument for Pitt, and yet they finished with the same record. Rebels will and cover easily.

GODADDY.COM BOWL: Arkansas St. (-3.5) vs Kent State

In this battle of two fine mid-major programs that had great seasons, I have to lean with the odds-makers and take Arkansas State in a close one. Because I think they’ll win by more than a field goal, take the Red Wolves to cover.

BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Alabama (-10) vs Notre Dame

Everyone keeps talking about how dangerous it is to let Alabama Coach Nick Saban have over a month to prepare. Brian Kelly isn’t exactly a slouch in the postseason. I honestly think Notre Dame has the better defense and Alabama will have a more difficult time putting up points against the Irish than vice versa. Even if Alabama wins, no way they cover. Notre Dame, as much as millions of college football fans hate to hear it, is just too good. Take the Irish. I think they win the game.

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