Games one through five of the 40-game college football bowl season are in the books, with 12 games slated for today through Saturday.
So far, your picker is off to a 2-3 start. Maybe a little pre-Christmas luck will ratchet the record upwards a few levels.
Here we go …
Monday, Dec. 21
Miami Beach Bowl, 1:30 p.m. ESPN
South Florida (8-4) vs. Western Kentucky (11-2)
The Hilltoppers have an explosive offense, but will they have spent all their energy on South Beach already? I hope not … WESTERN KENTUCKY 38-16.
Tuesday, Dec. 22
Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise), 2:30 p.m. ESPN
AKRON (7-5) vs. UTAH STATE (6-6)
It is the Zips vs. the Aggies on the blue turf. As in many of the early games, the teams involved are just happy to be there, with little separating them as far as talent … AKRON 21-20.
Boca Raton Bowl (Boca Raton, Fl), 6 p.m. ESPN
TEMPLE (10-3) vs. TOLEDO (9-2)
If you have not heard of Owl linebacker Tyler Matakevich you soon will, as he will be someone’s stud in the NFL shortly … TEMPLE 27-13.
Wednesday, Dec. 23
Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego), 3:30 p.m. ESPN
BOISE STATE (8-4) vs. NORTHERN ILLINOIS (8-5)
Both schools have had much better teams in the past decade. Based solely on having friends who are alumni, I choose … NORTHERN ILLINOIS 34-24.
GoDaddy.Com Bowl (Mobile, Al), time n/a ESPN
Bowling Green (10-3) vs. Georgia Southern (8-4)
Mobile is underrated as a spot to visit. If you are nearby, check out battleship park, the dog tracks and all the good food. Enough about the city, the game will be all … GEORGIA SOUTHERN 37-17.
Thursday, Dec. 24
Bahamas Bowl (Nassau, Bahamas)
MIDDLE TENNESSEE (7-5) vs. WESTERN MICHIGAN (7-5), 11 a.m. ESPN
Finish 7-5 and you are set to Nassau? You have to love that! … WESTERN MICHIGAN 26-23.
Hawaii Bowl (Honolulu), 7 p.m. ESPN
Cincinnati (7-5) vs. San Diego State (10-3)
Christmas Eve in Honolulu? Not bad. This game tends to be a blowout, which is fine, because NOBODY is going to be watching … SDSU 11-10.
Saturday, Dec. 26
St. Petersburg Bowl (St. Petersburg, Fl), 10 a.m. ESPN
MARSHALL (9-3) vs. CONNECTICUT (6-6)
Speaking of nobody watching … MARSHALL 30-20.
Sun Bowl (El Paso, Tx), 1 p.m. CBS
Miami (8-4) vs. Washington State (8-4)
Why, I do not know, but I typically end up watching the Sun Bowl every year. Miami has one phony win, one lucky win and two wins over weaklings … WAZZOU 31-21.
Heart of Dallas Bowl, 1:20 p.m ESPN
SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (9-4) vs. WASHINGTON (6-6)
UW has definitely faced a tougher slate, but do they want to really be there? Motivation often matters in bowl games … SOUTHERN MISS 24-23.
Pinstripe Bowl (Bronx, NY), 2:30 p.m. ABC
DUKE (7-5) vs. INDIANA (6-6)
The Hoosiers are in a bowl for the first time since … since … well, since one heck of a long time ago. With that, and my brother having an MBA from Bloomington, I have to go with … INDIANA 38-30.
Independence Bowl (Shreveport, La), 4:45 p.m. ESPN
TULSA (6-6) vs. VIRGINIA TECH (6-6)
Think the Hokies will be a little jacked up to send coach Beamer out as a winner? … VA TECH 27-14.
Foster Farms Bowl (Santa Clara, Cal), 8:15 p.m. ESPN
UCLA (8-4) vs. NEBRASKA (5-7)
This is not what UCLA had in mind. And Nebraska, you fired a coach who was winning how many games a year? … UCLA 33-17.