It wasn’t a good week for me predicting games. After getting 7 of the first 10 bowl games right, I went 5-7 this past week. Among my most spectacular misses were my own Power 5 favorite Auburn, who won 63-14 despite my prediction of a loss, and not bothering to notice that West Virginia was playing without their starting QB, who skipped the bowl for his pro prep. I also thought Duke would lose again, and they scored 42 straight to demolish Temple. But all that was nothing compared to the chaos in Dallas. The First Responder Bowl got started OK, but before the first quarter was over, a lightning delay arose, and after 90 minutes, officials determined there was never going to be a window large enough to finish the game without more lightning delays, and the game was cancelled. It’s a no-contest, with no winner or loser declared.
I have often wondered if the concept of the lightning delay, with the goal of safety, isn’t a little too broad. This rule probably came about as a result of someone getting struck by lightning at a stadium and a rule was put in that might have over-compensated a bit. If a lightning strike is observed within 8 miles of a venue, all exposed areas must be evacuated, and there must be 30 minutes with no lightning in the 8-mile zone before activities can resume. I wonder if 8 miles is too many and if 30 minutes is too long. Would safety be compromised if it was a 5-mile radius and 15 minutes without a bolt? I’m not advocating or criticizing, just wondering out loud. Let’s see if I can do a better job picking games.
Belk Bowl (Charlotte): Virginia vs South Carolina – This should be well-attended, as SC is only 90 minutes away. UVa has faded badly at the end of the season. Another black eye for the ACC. Fightin’ Chickens 33, Virginia 24 
Peach Bowl (Atlanta): Florida vs Michigan – This is the Boring Bowl. This is the third meeting between these teams in 730 days. Shudda been Florida vs UCF and LSU-Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl. Michigan has been better under Jim Harbaugh but never as good as they were supposed to be. Their stud RB is skipping the game to do his pro prep. Given how badly they were torched in the Ohio State game, I think Dan Mullen will have no trouble building a game plan that will continue to exploit that weakness. Lizards 38, MEE-chigan 17 
Arizona Bowl (Tucson): Ar-Kansas State vs Nevada – I’m guessing this bowl was created to give the University of Arizona a postseason game, kinda like the Potato Bowl was created to give Boise State one. All I really know is that Nevada can score. They also live closer. I’ll go with that. The Other Wolf Pack 37, Ar-Kansas State 28 
Cotton Bowl (Arlington, TX): #3 Notre Dame vs #2 Clempson – I saw that these teams had 4 common opponents, and Clempson margin of victory was 12 points better than the Irish. I have noticed that ND has been able to rise to the occasion defensively. I expect them to put up a valiant effort, even if it will come up short. Clempson 23, Notre Dame 20 
Orange Bowl (Miami): #4 Oklahoma vs #1 ‘Bama – I’ve been reading that since the semis always produce one great game and one blowout, that this will be the former. I say it’s the latter. Again, I’m probably trying to buy a win (or loss), but I don’t see any way a Little 10 defense hangs with the big boys. The Evil Empire 48, Oklahoma 31 
December 31
Military Bowl (Annapolis, MD): Cincinnati vs Virginia Tech – Tech had to go trolling for a make-up game just to get bowl eligible. UC hung around the edge of the top 25 all year. I don’t expect this to be very close. Cincinnati 28, Va. Tech 13 
Sun Bowl (El Paso, TX): Pittsburgh vs Stanford – You fight your way to a division title to find Clempson waiting in the conference title game. You get destroyed, as about 100 other teams would. Your punishment is being sent to El Paso. Fortunately, they are better than Stanford, who has been very non-descript this year. Pitt 27, Stanford 24 
Redbox Bowl (Santa Clara, CA): Oregon vs Michigan State – Oregon lost their superstar coach a few years back, and the team faltered. They got a new hotshot coach, and he left after 1 year to get his butt kicked at Florida State. Now the latest Oregon coach is recruiting at a Nick Saban level. No kidding. And no way the barely-in-existence Spartan offense can hang with them. Ducks 43, Magic Johnson U 20 
Liberty Bowl (Memphis): Missouri vs Oklahoma State – The over/under on this game is 74.5. Not enough. Give me the over, and the SEC team. Mizzou 44, Mike Gundy U 41 
Holiday Bowl (San Diego): Utah vs Northwestern – On the other end of the spectrum, you have this potential snoozer. Utah 20, Mike Greenberg U 17 
Tax-Gator-Slayer Bowl (Jacksonville): NC State vs Texas A&M – So is this the TaxSlayer Bowl or is someone getting all nostalgic and calling it the Gator Bowl again? Either way, it should be quite entertaining and should have a good number of points. A&M 30, NCSU 27 
January 1
Outback Bowl (Tampa): Misipi State vs Iowa – How the sam hill did Iowa get to a January 1 bowl? They’re not nearly as good as Florida, Oregon, Michigan or even Missouri. The rest of the world will be asking that question at the end of this day as well. Jerry Clower U 33, I-away 10 
Citrus Bowl (Orlando): Penn State vs Kentucky – UK has had some great defensive moments – games against Florida and Missouri come to mind – but have wilted against powerful offenses. I’m not sure PSU is powerful, but they’re better than every team in the SEC East other than Georgia. They’ll get enough done for the win. Penn State 27, Briers 20 
Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, AZ): Central Florida vs LSU – Florida should be here, instead of in Atlanta playing Michigan again. Would have made for a lot of great Civil War jokes and references. Instead, they get LSU, a team with a much better defense who is likely to feast on the 2nd-string QB. It’s been fun while it lasted. LSU 26, UCF 10 
Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA): Ohio State vs Washington – OSU has its new coach, who has already had big recruiting wins. Domination over Michigan should continue, as it should over teams that have good reputations but inconsistency on the field. Fightin’ Nuts 34, Washington 17 
Sugar Bowl (New Orleans): Georgia vs Texas – This is a tasty one. Both have good offenses. Which defense makes a big play will probably decide it. I think Texas is still just a step short of running with The Big Dawgs. (See what I did there?) Big Ol’ Hairy Dawgs 31, Texas 28 
Last week’s record: 5-7

Season: 119-35