Bowl Picks, Part I: Every game counts ... except for these games

by | CBSSports.com College Football Insider
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Temple's win over Wyoming starts McMurphy with a loss in his bowl predictions. (AP)  
Temple's win over Wyoming starts McMurphy with a loss in his bowl predictions. (AP)  

Yes folks, it's finally that time of the year. No, not Todd Graham's annual press conference from yet another new college professing he's just landed his dream job.

It's bowl season.

That magical time of the year when 35 postseason games are played because, well, ESPN has no other programming during the next four weeks. Although, the four-letter network is in the developing stages of a Tim Tebow channel: Tebow all day, all night. What? They already have that? Never mind.

Back to the bowls where Every Game Counts! Well, not every game, but at least some of them.

And this year's bowl slate is as good as it gets: 13 of the 70 bowl teams are 6-6 and that doesn’t include UCLA, the first 6-7 team to go bowling.

The 13 6-6 bowl teams finished a combined 18 games under .500 in conference play and 11 bowl teams would not have been bowl eligible without registering a victory against an FCS school this fall. Even the College Basketball Invitational is embarrassed by this amount of mediocrity.

So I guess Every Game (Against an FCS Opponent) Counts. Adding more intrigue to this year's stellar bowl lineup is that 11 bowl teams feature head coaches that either left for another job or were fired.

More on bowl season
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Yes, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

Speaking of wonderful, I ended the regular season in my college football picks column with a profit of 1,650 Brett Bucks -- increasing the initial Brett Bucks bankroll from 5,000 to 6,650. That's a whopping 33 percent profit and I did it without the benefit of feasting on any FCS opponents.

A reminder: each pick, for entertainment purposes only, is for 50 Brett Bucks, except for the best bets, worth 100 Brett Bucks. Point spreads from Thursday's USA Today.

This is the first of four consecutive weeks of bowl picks, posted each Thursday. Happy holidays to everyone.

Temple vs. Wyoming, New Mexico Bowl, Saturday: As part of the bowl's festivities, Thursday is the bowl's annual Family Feud competition. Two days before kickoff, representatives from both teams compete in a Family Feud type contest. Okay, we'll play along. We surveyed 100 people and asked: "What does a bowl do to entertain the players when the bowl is located in the middle of New Mexico and there's nothing else to do?" Wyoming +7 is my best bet

(Update: Wyoming lost to Temple 37-15.)

San Diego State vs. UL Lafayette, New Orleans Bowl, Saturday: For the first time in the 11-year history of the game, a Louisiana team will be playing in the New Orleans Bowl. So that means the Superdome will look exactly like a Tulane home game -- except there will be actual people in the stands. UL Lafayette +5

(Update: UL Lafayette beat San Diego State 32-30)

FIU vs. Marshall, Beef O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, Tuesday: St. Petersburg was recently named "America's saddest city" by Men's Health magazine. I live in Florida and can vouch for St. Petersburg. The city may have the highest percentage of drivers who leave their turn signal on, the most restaurants in America that offer early bird dinner specials and the nation's worst baseball fans, but America's saddest city? Never. Marshall +3½

TCU vs. Louisiana Tech, Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego, Wednesday: Forget St. Petersburg, San Diego might soon be the nation's saddest city. Norv Turner is still coaching the Chargers and at the end of last month, almost two-thirds of San Diego's medical marijuana dispensaries had been closed. Actual game fact: this is one of only three bowl games this year that pits two conference champions against each other. What a concept! Kudos. Louisiana Tech +10½

"Cover Me": "Cover Me" has only one pick this week: a best bet on Utah State -1½ vs. Ohio, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, Saturday. (Update: Utah State lost to Ohio 24-23)

Lock of the Week: Trimax Umax 100 University Unattended Trailer Lock

Last week:

McMurphy's picks: 8-6

"Cover Me": 2-1

Regular season totals:

Bankroll: Up 1,650 for season; 6,650 balance

McMurphy: 144-120; +1100; (6-8 best bets)

"Cover Me":26-16; +550 (8-6 best bets)

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