Bowling for Bowls of Bowl Game Success (Bowler optional)
Gang, important update. We had several folks submit entries yesterday. That's cool, and way to embrace the early bird gets the worm.
That said, we left LSU-UCF off the original sheet. It has been updated and added to the five-point games below. Please use the below sheet.
For those asking how to submit, you can cut and paste. You do it on a separate sheet. You can be like my man Mark W., and be a spreadsheet ninja and do it that way. Up to you.
And thanks for TC for asking about the booty available for whichever Leach-inspired Pirate wins this puppy.
Of course there are prizes. Not like a Deal or No Deal case or anything, but it certainly qualifies under the Pop Greeson (RIP) "Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick" umbrella. (Side note: Pop also was the Southern spin doctor who coined the phrase "I'd rather be rich and healthy than poor and sick" and was prone to offer ""It doesn't take a Phi Kappa Beta to figure that out" as he tapped his index finger to his temple. Rest east Old Man. You are missed.)
As always, I and several 5-at-10 family members will play along as well (Although we doubt Pop will have sheet this year. If he did, well, the Ouija board would be in full effect and let's just say we'd be following those pick, rights?)
The rules are simple. Please submit your picks before Dec. 15. (That's a week from Saturday, Spy.) One entry per person. Feel free to share with friends and family. We are picking the games against the spreads listed below. If there's massive line movement between now and kickoff time, well, that's part of the charm of Bowling for Bowls of Bowl Game Success (Bowler optional).
Also, a correct pick gets those points; no lost points for incorrect picks. We will do all the bowl games so that everyone has at least some tangental interest in every game.
And since there is no hat required, let's remain casual and enjoy the process. (Copyright Nick Saban.)
One-point games (max of 6 points)
Autonation Cure Bowl: Tulane (-3.5) vs. Louisiana
New Mexico Bowl: Utah State (-9.5) vs. Texas State
Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State (-4.5) vs. Arizona State
Camellia Bowl: Georgia Southern (-1.5) vs. Eastern Michigan
New Orleans Bowl: App State (-7.5) vs. MTSU
Boca Raton Bowl: UAB (-1.5) vs. Northern Illinois
Two-point games (max of 14 points)
Frisco Bowl: San Diego State (-3.5) vs. Ohio
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl: Marshall (-1.5) vs. South Florida
Bahamas Bowl: FIU (-5.5) vs. Toledo
Idaho Potato Bowl: BYU (-11.5) vs. Western Michigan
Birmingham Bowl: Memphis (-4.5) vs. Wake Forest
Armed Forces Bowl: Army (-3.5) vs. Houston
Dollar General Bowl: Buffalo vs Troy, pick 'em
Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii (-1.5) vs. La. Tech
Three-point games (max of 21 points)
First Responder Bowl: Boise State (-3.5) vs. Boston College
Quick Lane Bowl: Georgia Tech (-4.5) vs. Minnesota
Cheez-It Bowl: California vs. TCU, pick 'em
Independence Bowl: Temple (-3.5) vs. Duke
Pinstripe Bowl: Miami (-3.5) vs. Wisconsin
Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl: Vandy (-3.5) vs. Baylor
Arizona Bowl: Arkansas State (-1.5) vs. Nevada
Four-point games (max of 28 points)
Camping World Bowl: West Virginia (-4.5) vs. Syracuse
Alamo Bowl: Washington State (-3.5) vs. Iowa State
Belk Bowl: South Carolina (-3.5) vs. Virginia
Military Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech, pick 'em
Sun Bowl: Stanford (-6.5) vs. Pittsburgh
Red Box Bowl: Oregon (-2.5) vs. Michigan State
Holiday Bowl: Utah (-6.5) vs. Northwestern
Five-point games (max of 45 points)
Music City Bowl: Auburn (-3.5) vs. Purdue
Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Michigan (-7.5) vs. Florida
Liberty Bowl: Missouri (-7.5) vs. Oklahoma State
Gator Bowl: Texas A&M (-4.5) vs. NC State
Outback Bowl: Mississippi State (-6.5) vs. Iowa
Citrus Bowl: Penn State (-6.5) vs. Kentucky
Rose Bowl: THE Ohio State (-6.5) vs. Washington
Fiesta Bowl: LSU (-7.5) vs. UCF
Sugar Bowl: Georgia (-10.5) vs. Texas
Eight-point games (max of 16 points)
Cotton Bowl: Clemson (-11.5) vs. Notre Dame
Orange Bowl: Alabama (-13.5) vs. Oklahoma
For a 10 point bonus: (Pick the winner of the national championship; no spreads, just the winner).
If we need a tie-breaker going into the title game, we'll come up with one.
Fab 4 picks and Grab Bag
OK, we are going to finish the regular season in style.
On the radio we call our weekly picks the Greeson Grab Bag, and this will truly be that. Buckle up, and while, for records sake, we are only counting the college football picks on the Fab 4 mark, we are going to incorporate more picks (a Grab Bag if you will) throughout the days of the 5-at-10. Deal? Deal.
Fab 4 (minus 3) pick:
We are on Army minus-6.5 over the Navy. It makes perfect sense, right? It's going to be a ground game between the teams that rank in total rushing yards per game nationally at No. 2 (Army at 303.0 per) and No. 3 (Navy at 288.5 per). But we all knew that right? (I can hear some of my fans lamenting to their screen right now: "It's not exactly breaking news that Army and Navy like to run the ball, Fat Face. What's next, you going to tell us that Georgia Tech likes to run it too." Well, first, yes, Tech did like to run it and the Jackets were No. 1 in rush yards per game. Secondly, that's Mr. Fat Face to you sir. Show some respect.) As for the inverse of that, well, Army is No. 12 in the country at stopping the run (106.5 rushing yards per) whereas Navy is a less-than-robust 89th nationally against the run (189.0 per game). Worse yet, Navy is 105th in the country allowing foes to gain 5.1 per attempt. Hmmmmm, edge Army. And here's one more sneaky edge here in a game that cries for sneaky edges: Army has not played since Nov. 17, a full extra week off to get healthy compared to Navy, which lost 29-28 to Tulane on Nov. 24.
Last week: 2-4 against the spread (33 percent).
This season: 52-38-2 against the spread (57.7 percent).
We will need a better bowl season to maintain our 60 percent run in recent years. 57.7 percent would be the second-worst season total behind Year 3 in which Clemson absolutely killed us. Stupid Clemson.
As for the Grab Bag, well, we will keep records per sport. We will tackle NFL regularly on Thursdays, and basketball of the pro and college variety on random days. We would like to count our starts at 1-0 — this week with picks of the Eagles minus-6 on Monday night football, the Warriors minus-10.5 at Atlanta, and over the holidays of Auburn +11 against Duke — but we somehow think that falls in an unfair, pickers and choosers type of deal.
So Grab Bag — NFL version today (all lines as of 9 a.m. from Vegas Insider):
Tennessee minus-5 over Jacksonville. We analyze the teams and the match-ups in college picks. As we should. Sure we use some maxims and postulates to espouse some sort of angle or edge as we hunt entertainment. In the NFL, when teams are universally similar with only an occasional edge, those differences and analytics become too often minuscule and too conveniently positioned to support one side or the other. That said, this is what we know: Tennessee is playing for a playoff spot, and if, at home, Marcus Mariotta can not put up more than a TD win over Cody Bleepin' Kessler, well, there you go. (Side note: It was quite gracious for Mr. and Mrs. Kessler to give Cody such an accurate middle name, dontcha' think?)
L.A. Rams minus-3 at Chicago. We'll buy the half, and the reasoning here is simple: Rams D > Bears O, even if Mitchell Trubisky returns Sunday night. Each team has a ton on the line, but we believe in the Rams more than Bears. Sometimes, that's enough.
New York Giants minus 2.5 over Washington. The Giants are better than their record. The Redskins, currently, are not as good as their considering the litany of inures that have befallen them. The Giants have won three of their last four and Washington is turning to Mark Sanchez. Or maybe it's Mark Malone. Or Marc Bulger. Who can keep those non-injured Washington QBs straight these days.
New Orleans-Tampa Bay under 57. Yep, you read that correctly. Forecast in Tampa for Sunday is 100 percent chance of rain with winds between 18 and 20 mph. Plus, we believe the Saints defense may want a little payback against a Bucs offense that put 48 on them in the opener. Giddy-up. Saints 24, Bucs 14 and everyone wants to go home ASAP.
Double standard again
Mel Tucker's leaving Georgia for Colorado.
This is not a surprise. Most folks thought this was happening.
And it's a good move for Tucker, who goes from being a DC to an HC, and that almost always multiples the coin. (Here's TFP all-around college football guru David Paschall's detailed account of Tucker, who made $1.5 million in 2018 as UGA's DC and signed a five-year deal for $14.75 million with the Buffs.)
This happens across the country every year. Tucker is headed to Colorado now and will not coach the Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl, according to Paschall's report.
Would he be coaching Georgia if the Bulldogs were playing for in the playoffs? We believe so. It happens every year at Alabama about this time, right? (And this year's no exception. In fact, here's another Paschall piece on that very thing since Mike Locksley is doing double duty as the Bama OC and the newly hired Maryland coach.)
But heading to Colorado to assemble a staff and get recruiting rolling and all the other things makes sense for a Tucker or any other coach starting his time running a program.
And we're universally OK with that.
So why are we upset at the players who make a similar business decision? (Here's the update list of the big-name players skipping bowls of all shapes and sizes.)
Players who skip bowls get berated about being a bad teammate because they forego are trying to get ready for their next career move. Players like Deandre Baker, the Georgia senior corner and projected first-round pick who has said he will play in the Sugar Bowl, get praised.
Why the double standard folks?
Yet another way the general public demands more of the 18-22 player playing for books and meals and an education than the grown-A men who are making hundred of thousands or millions of dollars in the same field.
This and that
— Normally we would have spent one of the big three spots on the magic that was LeBron last night. James dropped 20 of his 42 in the fourth quarter as the Lakers toppled the Spurs. And as much fun as I am sure he's having in LA-LA land, man, we get so much less time with LeBron these days. Sigh. Pardon me it's a little dusty in here right now. Excuse me. Where were we? Ah yes, the brilliance of LeBron. His Wednesday night efforts were awesome — he finished with 42 on 15-of-24 shooting with five boards and six assists and only two turnovers — and they capped a 4-0 homestead after a week when several one-named or initialed NBA stars last and present like Magic, Kobe and KD criticized him. His response was quite telling, as he told reported Wednesday "I can care less about the narrative about me," and while we think he meant to say "I could not care less" we have a tendency to believe he actually greatly cares about his narrative, which is understandable. Stewwie, your thoughts?
— OK, if these reports are true and that Auburn leadership and worse its boosters are not allowing Gus Malzahn to put together a multi-year offer for the OC he wants — yes, it's Hugh Freeze, but the denial is not about baggage as much as it's about multiple years on the contract — then it's way worse than any of us thought at the alma mater. If that's the case, then fire Gus and move forward because this is pig-headed leaderships that is guaranteed to alienate players, cause 2019 to be worse than 2018 and continue twerp the program as AU's two biggest rivals continue to ascend. No buyout is worth those opportunity costs friends. (And we will ask out accountant Alejandro if I used that term — 'opportunity costs' — correctly?)
— Nice addition for the Cardinals, who added Paul Goldschmidt. The former Arizona slugger has a really nice balance. Goldschmidt has 201 homers and 120 steals since the start of 2012. The only other MLB player to top the 200-120 levels in that time frame is some dude named Mike Trout.
— Wow, if you think Patrick Corbin at six years, $140 million is overpaid, then how about the deal Netflix gave "Friends" this week? With customers up in arms, Netflix agreed to pay $100 million for one more year of the campy TV show.
— In this one-on-one interview Urban Meyer says he's hoping to find something other than coaching to fall in love with. We noticed he did not mention finding a true love and we all know he could never develop a love for the truth.
— I am a subscriber to The Athletic. They have a slew of sports pros that whose work I enjoy. Here is the story on ranking the best uniforms in the MLB. (The Braves finished No. 9 on the list; as for No. 1, well, I wholeheartedly agree and let's say I would not 'Dodge' the conversation.)
— Been a rough debut year for Jason Witten as the lead analyst on Monday Night Football. Fair or unfair considering he now has all of like 12 games under his belt, the comments and the criticisms have been common and at times harsh. And that's without direct help from Witten, who Monday stepped into controversy by criticizing Washington signing Reuben Foster and declaring last Monday he had zero tolerance for domestic violence. That moved some to wonder about the dualing comments since Witten, who is a bigwig in the SCORE Foundation, a charity that leads several program to combat domestic violence, had said this about Greg Hardy signing with the Cowboys: "The guy works his tail off. Our job is to welcome him, show him the way we do things, and embrace him as a teammate, and he's done everything you want. He's a hard worker. Obviously he's a talented player. I think he's learned a lot from what he's gone through in the last year. He's had a good offseason." When confronted on Twitter about the perceived double-standard, Witten's response made a lot of sense. Here's Witten's Twitter response to Black Sports Online writer Robert Littal: "Thanks for your opinion, Robert. Privately, I let my opinion be known and agreed to disagree. That day after practice I chose not to be divisive. Prob went too far. On Monday with platform and no longer member of a team,I spoke my mind. Would love your support w/ SCORE Foundation." Well-played, Jason. Well-played indeed.
— Speaking of domestic violence and the NFL, here's a great response from Ezekiel Elliott, who was suspended for six games last year for allegations made by an ex-girlfriend that never resulted in chargers. Elliott's tip: "Just focus on your day to day life, making sure you're winning the next day." Well said sir. Side note: That the NFL has come out and fined and chastised Elliott for his Thanksgiving celebration in the Salvation Army kettle yet continues to remain silent about the Foster and the Kareem Hunt case is a typical ostrich defense from the Goodall-Led league office. Next comes the Rope-A-Dope in which Goodell will try to distract the narrative with some rule change — "We're looking at doing away with kickoffs" — so the focus comes off the domestic abusers.
— Speaking of Reuben Foster, his ex-girlfriend spoke to Good Morning America on Thursday. Here is the story.
— Speaking of excellent tips, try this one on for size. As Bob Corker walks into the sunset of his U.S. Senate career, here's his advice for newcomers to the Hill, via RollCall.com. ""My advice to any new senator is to become an expert in a couple of topics where people know that you know more than anyone else in the Senate about those topics." That's great professional advice regardless of if you run for office or are running an office, trying to do right or trying to write. Here's the story.
OK, wow, we had a lot to say today. Enjoy and make sure you use the right Bowl entry sheet.
Also, feel free to pony up a mailbag question.
As for today, Dec. 6, well, tomorrow is Pearl Harbor Day.
Today is National Microwave Oven Day. It's National Put on Your Own Shoes Day. It's Miner's Day, too.
On this day in 1877, the first edition of the Washington Post was published. On that same day, Thomas Edison recored himself reciting Mary Had a Little Lamb. We assume it was not the Andrew Dice Clay version.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is 24 today, and if they had the voting this morning, he, LeBron or maybe The Brow would be the MVP.
Johnny Football is 26 today, and if they the voting this morning, he would not be the MVP.
Let's do a Rushmore of 'Johnny' and be creative. Go and enjoy the day.