The buffet known as college football bowl season opens Saturday, December 16 as 40 bowls will take place before a champion is crowned on January 8 in Atlanta. Heavy has you covered whether you participate in one of the popular college football bowl pick’em leagues, or are looking for picks for individual games.
A word of caution before we get started. Predicting the outcomes of bowl games is one of the riskiest investments you can make, so enter at your own peril. There is more that goes into who wins a bowl game than simply picking the better team. Most bowl games will take place several weeks (a month in some cases) since the team’s last game. Here are a few questions to consider about each matchup. Which team will be the most motivated to play? Was there a coaching change, and if so, who is coaching the team in the bowl game? Will the top players be playing for each team, or are they sitting out the game with an eye on their NFL future? Does the bowl’s location give one team a home field advantage?
After these questions are answered, you can begin dissecting who the better team is in each bowl game. A couple analytical tools that can be helpful are SB Nation’s S&P+ computer picks as well as the OddsShark computer predictions. Given the volatile nature of bowls, I tend to place less emphasis on the analytical tools given there is not a way for the computers to factor in coaching changes and the general attitude of a team heading into bowl season. It is is still good to look at the tools as it shows what team is expected to win without the variables.
For the College Football Playoff matchups, I expect Oklahoma to continue their hot streak with a win over Georgia in Pasadena, while Alabama gets their revenge by defeating Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. The lack of versatility in Georgia’s offense hurts them in the Rose Bowl matchup. While Georgia’s defense is likely the best unit Oklahoma has faced, like most teams in the country, they will not have an answer for Baker Mayfield. In New Orleans, I like the experience Jalen Hurts brings to the table for Alabama, and I expect the Crimson Tide to have success running the ball against a stout Clemson defensive line.
Overall, I expect the Sooners to be hoisting the trophy at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium as Mayfield is the best quarterback in the country, and a banged up Alabama defense will not be enough to slow down the Heisman Trophy winner.
Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @JonDAdams with specific bowl game questions. This page will continue to be updated as news breaks on players who will miss their bowl games with injuries. Picks are listed in order of the most confident (41) to the least confident (1) pick straight up. The second column features the point spread courtesy of OddsShark, and my pick against the spread. The final column shows the team I am picking to win the game, regardless of odds.
Here’s a look at my predictions for every college football bowl game of the 2017-18 season.
College Football Bowl Predictions 2017-18
|41||Boca Raton: FAU -22.5 vs. Akron||FAU|
|40||Camping World: Oklahoma St. -4.5 vs. Virginia Tech||OSU|
|39||Outback: Michigan -7.5 vs. South Carolina||Michigan|
|38||Sun: NC State -7.5 vs. Arizona State||NC State|
|37||Armed Forces: San Diego St. -7 vs. Army||SDSU|
|36||Music City: Northwestern -7 vs. Kentucky||Northwestern|
|35||Alamo: TCU -2.5 vs. Stanford||TCU|
|34||TaxSlayer: Louisville -6.5 vs. Mississippi State||Louisville|
|33||Heart of Dallas: Utah -7 vs. West Virginia||Utah|
|32||Cactus: Kansas St. -2 vs. UCLA||Kansas St.|
|31||Las Vegas: Oregon -7 vs. Boise State||Boise St.|
|30||Orange: Wisconsin -6.5 vs. Miami||Miami|
|29||Cotton: Ohio State -7.5 vs. USC||Ohio St.|
|28||New Mexico: Colorado St. -5.5 vs. Marshall||CSU|
|27||New Orleans: Troy -7 vs. North Texas||Troy|
|26||Frisco: SMU -5 vs. Louisiana Tech||Louisiana Tech|
|25||Foster Farms: Arizona -3.5 vs. Purdue||Arizona|
|24||Sugar: Alabama -2.5 vs. Clemson||Bama|
|23||Rose: Georgia -2 vs. Oklahoma||Oklahoma|
|22||Birmingham: USF -2.5 VS. Texas Tech||USF|
|21||Liberty: Memphis -3.5 vs. Iowa St.||Memphis|
|20||Belk: Wake Forest -3 vs. Texas A&M||Wake Forest|
|19||Camellia: Arkansas St. -3.5 vs. MTU||Ark. St.|
|18||Cure: WKU -6 vs. Georgia St.||WKU|
|17||Pinstripe: Iowa -3 vs. Boston College||Iowa|
|16||Dollar General: Toledo -7.5 vs. App. St.||Toledo|
|15||Fiesta: Penn St. -2 vs. Washington||Penn St.|
|14||Hawaii: Houston -2.5 vs. Fresno St.||Houston|
|13||Citrus: LSU -3 vs. Notre Dame||Notre Dame|
|12||Texas: Missouri -3 vs. Texas||Texas|
|11||Celebration: N.C. A&T -8.5 vs. Grambling||Grambling|
|10||Gasparilla: Temple -7 vs. FIU||Temple|
|9||CFB Title: Alabama vs. Oklahoma||Oklahoma|
|8||Military: Virginia vs. Navy (pick ’em)||Navy|
|7||Arizona: Utah St. -4 vs. New Mexico St.||Utah St.|
|6||Holiday: Washington State -2.5 vs. Michigan State||WSU|
|5||Quick Lane: Duke -5.5 vs. Northern Illinois||NIU|
|4||Peach: Auburn -9.5 vs. UCF||UCF|
|3||Independence: FSU -16 vs. Southern Miss.||Southern Miss.|
|2||Potato: Central Michigan vs. Wyoming (pick ’em)||Wyoming|
|1||Bahamas: Ohio -7.5 vs. UAB||UAB|