Wow ... what a difference a few days makes. Ron Musselman, who at the start of the week was 1-7 with his bowl picks has rolled off nine straight correct prognostications. Chuck Finder, also a 1-7 cellar dweller at week's start is just behind him going 8-1 so far this week, with Ray Fittipaldo and Paul Zeise falling behind. The standings to date:
- Musselman 10-7
- Finder 9-8
- Fittipaldo 8-9
- Zeise 7-10
Onward with the final picks for 2008!
Wednesday, Dec. 31
Armed Forces Bowl: Houston (7-5) vs. Air Force (8-4)
FITTIPALDO: I can't believe we're preserving the bowl system for games like these? I'm getting out the hat again...It's Houston!
ZEISE: Houston averaged about 31 points per game -- in their losses, which should tell you about how prolific their offense is. It should also tell you that defenses in Conference USA were putrid. All four of Air Forces losses, though, were to quality opponents -- OK we stretch that term a little bit to include Navy -- and Air Force did win the first meeting between these two teams.
MUSSELMAN: The Falcons won the regular-season meeting, 31-28. Aim High -- Air Force.
FINDER: The same as Navy in Washington, D.C., how could Air Force lose in something called the Armed Forces Bowl?
Sun Bowl: Oregon State (8-4) vs. Pittsburgh (9-3)
FITTIPALDO: I'd love to have been a fly on the wall when Dave Wannstedt called Joe Paterno for advice on how to beat the Beavers.
Wannstedt: Joe, do you have some tape I can borrow?
Paterno: Who is this?
Wannstedt: It's Dave, Dave Wannstedt.
Take Oregon State.
ZEISE: I cannot pick a winner in this game because I have to cover it, but I will predict this: the Panthers will NOT wear their old Script helmets and bright gold and blue uniforms like the last time they played in the Sun Bowl, making at least a few regular contributors to the Pitt Q&A very upset.
MUSSELMAN: At least Penn State didn’t get an unwanted rematch with the Beavers in the Rose Bowl. Take Pitt.
FINDER: The Panthers have a history here. Let's see, in a close game, Pitt rallies to victory … and Paul Hackett gets named head coach?
Music City Bowl: Vanderbilt (6-6) vs. Boston College (9-4)
FITTIPALDO: Yes, I can think of better things to do on New Year's Eve. I hope you can, too. I'll go with Boston College, but I won't even watch the highlights.
ZEISE: Boston College is the Rodney Dangerfield of the ACC - no matter what they do, they don't get any respect from the other 11 teams in the conference, all of who consider them nothing more than an annoyance and a long flight every other year or so. Vanderbilt finished strong -- by losing six of seven and hanging on for dear life against powerhouse Kentucky. Nope, there aren't too many teams in bowl games … Pick: Boston College.
MUSSELMAN: Eagles will tune out the Commodores in their hometown of Nashville. Boston College bops to victory.
FINDER: To show the Vandy boys a good time, bowl officials might have to take them outta town. Boston College piles up another victory for an ACC that somehow doesn't come off smelling so badly in the postseason.
Insight Bowl: Kansas (7-5) vs. Minnesota (7-5)
FITTIPALDO: Two programs that evoke images of great bowl games from the past. Ah heck, who am I kidding? You don't need to watch this game either. But if you do, you'll be watching Kansas score and score and score.
ZEISE: Minnesota at one point was considered a legitimate contender for the Big Ten title, which tells you all you need to know about how bad that conference was this year. Kansas scores points and plays in some exciting games and they finished with a win over a good Missouri team.
MUSSELMAN: Beefy Mark Mangino chews up Tim Brewster’s crew. Kansas wins.
FINDER: Yawn. Minnesota went from a one-victory team to a squad that got to a desert bowl game despite losing its final four regular-season games. It's excruciating for a Missouri man to type this, but Kansas wins.
Chick-fil-A Bowl: LSU (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (9-3)
FITTIPALDO: Paul Johnson is single-handedly bring the option back into vogue. Maybe he'll be the next coach at Nebraska. I'll go with Georgia Tech.
ZEISE: LSU is annually the most overrated team on the planet. The Tigers were last year -- when they had two losses, couldn't stop anybody, and needed to go for it on fourth down about 340 times to wins games down the stretch -- and they are again this year as they are not very good at all. Georgia Tech ran up and down the field against Georgia -- another one of those annually over rated SEC teams -- which tells me Les Miles will be wondering why he didn't go to Michigan by the end of the night.
MUSSELMAN: I’ve had my fil-A bowl games already and it’s not even New Year’s Day. Georgia Tech wins the "eat-mor-chik'n" bowl.
FINDER: So whom does new coach Paul Johnson thank for a bowl trip just blocks from the Atlanta campus known as The Flats? A better question for this game: If Troy can shred Les Miles' LSU defense, what damage will Georgia Tech wreak?