Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Baylor vs. Air Force
Thursday, December 22nd 6:30 PM CT, ESPN
Baylor (6-6) kicks off this year’s slate of Big 12 bowl games, as they battle Air Force (9-3) in Fort Worth. Baylor’s season was certainly one that had its ups and had its downs, with the downs coming later in the season on three consecutive losses. Still, the Bears can capitalize on some momentum going into the offseason if they can cap off the year with a bowl victory. Air Force should prove to be a tough out for the Bears, as the Falcons pulled together an impressive season that saw only three losses by a combined total of 15 points. And while Colorado was pretty down this year, they smoked their lone Power 5 opponent by a score of 41-10. So Baylor cannot rest on its laurels as they face Air Force. Ideally, this game could be a good opportunity for Baylor’s Blake Shapen to continue to develop at quarterback and for the defense to figure some things out with the departure of defensive coordinator Ron Roberts. Given the proximity to Waco, this game should be pretty close to a home game for Baylor, too. The Bears are currently favored by six points.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Wisconsin
Tuesday, December 27th 9:15 PM CT, ESPN
Oklahoma State (7-5) is another team that has had plenty of ups and downs this season, ending their year by losing four of their last five games. The Cowboys have also lost quarterback Spencer Sanders, as he entered the transfer portal at the conclusion of the regular season. On the other side of the ball, Wisconsin (6-6) has been navigating its own turmoil as the Badgers fired their head coach midseason. Wisconsin has actually looked improved since that point, winning three of their last five and the two losses being fairly close. Wisconsin is currently a three point favorite, which seems reasonable, if not a little low, given how bad Oklahoma State looked this season without Sanders at quarterback.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Kansas vs. Arkansas
Wednesday, December 28th 4:30 PM CT, ESPN
Kansas (6-6) is in a bowl game! The Jayhawks have reached the postseason for the first time since 2008. They will face SEC foe Arkansas (6-6) in Memphis. The Razorbacks had a pretty miserable stretch of games to end their season, losing three of their last four including losses to Liberty, LSU, and Missouri. Their sole win was a pretty good one over Ole Miss. For Kansas, just making it to a bowl game under head coach Lance Leipold is a massive achievement. So anything extra, like a potential win, is just gravy on top. The question in this game will be if Jalon Daniels looks closer to his early season form, before an injury sidelined him all the way up until Kansas’s last two games. Arkansas is currently a three point favorite, which seems fair because this game is pretty much a toss up in my mind. I think I give a slight edge to Arkansas though.
TaxAct Texas Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss
Wednesday, December 28th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN
Texas Tech (7-5) is bowling in its first season under new head coach Joey McGuire. They take on Ole Miss (8-4) out of the SEC. The Red Raiders ended the season red hot to make it to a bowl game, winning their last three against Kansas, Iowa State, and Oklahoma. For Ole Miss, it’s a different story. The Rebels were undefeated on the season until they lost four of their last five games. So momentum is clearly in favor of Texas Tech in this game. Nevertheless, oddsmakers have Ole Miss as a 3.5 point favorite. I like Tech to win this one outright.
38-31 Texas Tech
Cheez-It Bowl: Oklahoma vs. #13 Florida State
Thursday, December 29th 4:30 PM CT, ESPN
Oklahoma (6-6) is certainly looking to build momentum after what was largely a faceplant of a first season for head coach Brent Venables. The Sooners barely earned bowl eligibility with a win over Oklahoma State, otherwise losing three of their last four games. They’re honestly facing a pretty uphill battle as they take on #13 Florida State (9-3), who ended the year on a five game winning streak. Other than a three game stretch of losses to Wake Forest, NC State, and Clemson, the Seminoles looked quite impressive on the year. Much more impressive than Oklahoma, at the very least. Florida State is favored by 7.5 points, but I see them winning by at least double digits.
35-20 Florida State
Valero Alamo Bowl: #20 Texas vs. #12 Washington
Thursday, December 29th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN
#20 Texas (8-4) had a pretty nice year two bounce back for head coach Steve Sarkisian, after missing a bowl game in his first year. The Longhorns ended the season by winning three of their last five games, including a two game winning streak against Kansas and Baylor. They head to San Antonio to take on a tough Pac 12 team in #12 Washington (10-2). The Huskies only two losses on the year came in a midseason, two game road stretch against UCLA and Arizona State. Other than that, the Huskies were highly impressive, including ending the regular season on a six game winning streak. That stretch included top 25 wins over Oregon and Oregon State. In my mind, this game is fairly evenly matched with an edge going to Washington. Which, surprises me then that the Huskies are a 4.5 point underdog. I like Washington to win this one.
Allstate Sugar Bowl: #9 Kansas State vs. #5 Alabama
Saturday, December 31st 11:00 AM CT, ESPN
#9 Kansas State (10-3) ripped a Big 12 title away from TCU, winning the championship game in overtime by a matter of inches. That earned them a spot in this NY6 bowl, where they will take on a formidable foe in #5 Alabama (10-2). The Wildcats hit a bit of turbulence early in their season with a loss to Tulane, and then midseason losses to TCU and Texas, but they turned it on down the stretch, winning their last four games. Much of that success came on the heels of quarterback Will Howard really establishing himself as a strong passing threat. For Alabama, there are still a lot of questions about which players are going to opt out of this bowl game. For example, quarterback Bryce Young is expected to be picked very early in the upcoming NFL Draft, so I would be surprised to seem him play. However, even with some players potentially opting out, Alabama is such a machine in terms of recruiting and producing talent that I’m not sure how much it matters. Alabama is a three point favorite. I think they probably win by closer to 10.
CFP Semifinal Vrbo Fiesta Bowl: #3 TCU vs. #2 Michigan
Saturday, December 31st 3:00 PM CT, ESPN
Even with a loss in the Big 12 Championship, #3 TCU (12-1) has secured a spot in the College Football Playoffs and will be facing Big 10 champion, #2 Michigan (13-0). The Wolverines had a very impressive regular season, winning all of their games and dismantling the likes of Ohio State and Penn State along the way. TCU has a marginally better offense than Michigan, but I think the big difference here will be the defense, where Michigan holds about a 12 points per game edge in that category. Plus, after having been spotless all year, the Horned Frogs have to pick themselves up off the mat after a highly dissatisfying loss to Kansas State. What will make or break this game offensively for the Horned Frogs will be the play of quarterback Max Duggan, who has been electric all season. He has to keep that up if TCU wants a chance to move on to the championship. Defensively, TCU gets a little help in that breakout running back star Blake Corum is done for the season. But they’ll still need to bottle up a potent rushing attack and shut down Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy. Michigan is favored by 7.5 points in this one. On paper, that sounds right. My hesitation is that TCU has had somewhat of a magical year where things tend to go just right for them. That was, until their loss in their last game. We’ll see if that was a sign of lucking running out.
FieldinOfDreams’ 2022 Pick ‘Em Record: 51-26