Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 4:51 PM
Gotta tell 'ya the truth ... So far (through Tuesday's games, at least) this College Football Bowl season has been anything but packed with high drama.
In fact, through the first 18 bowl games of this holiday season, there have been only five tilts decided by a touchdown or less and a dozen games that sported twin-figure win margins including scores such as 50-3 (see Boca Raton Bowl), 51-10 (see Frisco Bowl), 41-6 (Bahamas Bowl) and 34-0 (Dollar General Bowl). Note that all three of Tuesday's bowl games were decided by double-digit margins with Utah, Duke and Kansas State winning by a composite total of 56 points (or nearly 19 points per game ... yikes!).
Maybe you could say that we're "due" for some thrilling/close games ahead as there's still plenty of Bowl Game action from here through early January.
Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have all the College Football Bowl Winners along with Sunday's NFL Week 17 card, so check with us here online or 1-800-323-4453 and cash in big on the gridiron this holiday season. Plus, get all the daily/nightly College Basketball action too!
COLLEGE BOWL BONANZA
On Thursday, Dec. 28th, it's ...
MILITARY BOWL - at Annapolis, MD
VIRGINIA (6-6) at NAVY (6-6) - 1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Good thing both of these teams didn't have to play any more games before bowl bids were announced: After all, they were heading downhill fast as Virginia has lost five of its last six games heading into this "road bowl" while Navy's on a three-game SU (straight-up) losing streak that, of course, includes the 14-13 snowy loss to archrival Army back on Dec. 9th. Key here is whether Navy's triple-option attack can get itself straightened away behind elusive QB Malcolm Perry who rushed for 250 yards on 30 carries in the one-point loss to Army. Virginia QB Kurt Benkert (3,062 yards passing with 25 TDs and 8 INTs) is a better-than-you-think passer who can get hot in a hurry ... just ask Miami. Right now, Navy's a 1.5-point betting fav here.
Spread Stats - Navy is a solid 36-24-1 ATS (against the spread) overall since the start of the 2013 campaign; Virginia is 9-3-1 ATS against non-league opponents the past four years.
CAMPING WORLD BOWL - at Orlando, FL
#22 VIRGINIA TECH (9-3) vs. #19 OKLAHOMA STATE (9-3) - 5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
There's plenty of parallels to make regarding these power conference clubs: Both entered the month of November with just one loss but both staggered through the calendar's penultimate month and so they're "settling" for this pre-New Year's Day bowl bash near Disneyworld. If Okie State - a 4.5-point betting favorite (it opened at - 6.5 points) - wishes to wash away November's blues than QB Mason Rudolph (4,553 yards passing with 35 TDs) must hook up for some deep balls with WRs James Washington and Marcell Ateman - they combined for nearly 2,500 receiving yards and 20 TDs in 2017 - while Virginia Tech's gotta make due without top target WR Cam Phillips (964 receiving yards and 7 TDs) who's out with a sports hernia.
Spread Stats - Oklahoma State skids into this bowl bash on a four-game pointspread losing streak; Virginia Tech is 6-3 spreadwise in its last nine away games.
ALAMO BOWL - At San Antonio, TX
#13 STANFORD (9-4) vs. #15 TCU (10-3) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Are we gonna have the same excitement that we had when TCU was last seen in the Alamo Bowl? Two years ago the Horned Frogs were down 31-0 at halftime against Oregon but made the mother-of-all-rallies en route to a 47-41 triple-OT win. Now, Gary Patterson's gang shoots for a third bowl win in the past four years behind senior QB Kenny Hill (2,838 yards passing with 21 TDs and 6 INTs) - but he's hardly the star-of-stars here as Stanford RB Bryce Love (1,973 yards rushing with 17 TDs and he's busted off 50-plus yards runs in 10 different games this year) was a Heisman Trophy finalist and the 27 days off between the Cardinal's Pac-12 title game loss to USC and this clash should have done wonders for a bum ankle.
Spread Stats - Stanford's covered six of its last eight bowl games dating back to 2009; TCU, meanwhile, is 6-4 versus the vig as betting favorites this season after having gone 4-13 ATS as chalk the two prior years.
HOLIDAY BOWL - at San Diego, CA
#16 MICHIGAN STATE (9-3) vs. #18 WASHINGTON STATE (9-3) - 9 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Let's see ... Last year Michigan State didn't even make it to the bowl season, thanks to a putrid 3-9 SU season while Washington State's 17-12 Holiday Bowl loss versus 8-point pup Minnesota proved to be a total embarrassment for Cougars' head coach Mike. Now, Leach and Company - starring QB Luke Falk (3,593 yards passing with 30 TDs) has a shot at Holiday Bowl redemption while Sparty has designs on winning its first bowl win since 2014. If Falk's stats are not eye-opening here, it might not be all because of M-State's defense - the Coogs waved bye-bye to a pair of veteran pass-catchers at regular-season's end (no WRs Tavares Martin nor Isaiah Johnson-Mack who combined for 130 receptions and 14 TDs). Michigan State is banking on RB LJ Scott (team-high 788 yards rushing) to pop some big gainers - Scott rushed for 194 yards at Minnesota and 147 yards versus Maryland this year.
Spread Stats - Michigan State has failed to cover seven of its last 10 games against non-Big 10 foes; Washington State is 23-13 ATS overall since the start of the 2015 campaign.
NFL WEEK 17 NOTEBOOK
Are there some NFL head coaches who are - most likely - "coaching for their lives" this Sunday?
We've been hearing that there could be as many as 10 vacancies following Sunday's action and gotta believe that Detroit's Jim Caldwell will get dunked if the Lions (8-7) happen to lose their home game against wounded Green Bay; Tampa Bay's Dirk Koetter is a likely goner, especially if the Bucs don't beat playoff-bound New Orleans; and Tennessee's Mike Mularkey (who blamed NFL officials for many of his team's woes this year) could well be axed if the Titans don't beat Jacksonville.
Heck, we already know there's gonna be new head coaches with the following teams: New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts and the Cincinnati Bengals ...
Finally, we'll beat the "holiday rush" and name our NFL award winners right here and right now
NFL MVP - Tom Brady, QB, New England.
2nd Place - Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams; 3rd Place - Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh;
COACH OF THE YEAR - Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
2nd Place - Mike Zimmer, Minnesota; 3rd Place - Doug Pederson, Philadelphia
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans
2nd Place - Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville; 3rd Place - T.J. Watt, LB, Pittsburgh
NOTE: More College Bowl coverage in the next Jim Sez.