After getting their collective ears kicked in during the first week of college bowl action, the Radshirt Diaries ace handicappers caught fire over the weekend, pulling into a four-way dead heat and are threatening mediocrity. The standings:
- Ray Fittipaldo: 5-7
- Paul Zeise: 5-7
- Ron Musselman: 5-7
- Chuck Finder: 5-7
On with the picks for Monday's & Tuesday's games ...
Monday, Dec. 29
PapaJohns.com Bowl: Rutgers (7-5) vs. North Carolina State (6-6)
FITTIPALDO: Who would win in a fight, N.C. State grad Bill Cowher or Rutgers grad James Gandolfini? C'mon, you really wanted me to analzye the Scarlet Knights and Wolfpack on the football field? I'll take Cowher in the fight, but Rutgers in the bowl game.
ZEISE: There is no way to pick against Rutgers, they have six wins against I-A competition and a loss to Navy, but they are the greatest 7-win team ever and deserve to be in the BCS -- just ask their fans who have yet to figure out that this Johnny-come-lately program is a long way from relevant.
MUSSELMAN: The Scarlet Knights prefer pepperoni pizza. Rutgers dials up a win.
FINDER: A couple of teams on a tear, with NCSU winning four in a row and Rutgers six. But Rutgers is one of the scariest teams in America right now, and the Wolfpack finished last in the lousy ACC's Atlantic Division for a reason -- so Scarlet-hot Rutgers win.
Alamo Bowl: Northwestern (9-3) vs. Missouri (9-4)
FITTIPALDO: The Riverwalk and Alamo museum are great. This game is not. Take Missouri.
ZEISE: The good news for Missouri is that they aren't playing against one of those high-tech Big 12 offenses. I also think a few weeks off to regroup will do them some good. Northwestern was surprisingly good this year but that 9-3 is highly suspect when you consider four of those wins came against Southern Illinois, Duke, Syracuse and Ohio, not to mention the fact that the Big Ten stunk this year and they didn't even have to play Penn State.
MUSSELMAN: The Tigers will de-claw the ’Cats. Missouri is the pick.
FINDER: Forget the Alamo. Missouri will give up 30, but score 35.
Tuesday, Dec. 30
Humanitarian Bowl: Nevada (7-5) vs. Maryland (7-5)
FITTIPALDO: The humanitarian in me says don't watch this game. I'll go with Maryland because, well, I have no idea if Nevada is any good.
ZEISE: Three of Nevada's losses came against Boise State, Texas Tech and Missouri which proves that the Wolfpack lose to good teams. Fortunately for them, Maryland does not qualify as a good team. Go with Nevada
MUSSELMAN: The Terps have won three of their last four bowl games. Make it four of five for Maryland.
FINDER: Plenty of good seats remain. Like, tens of thousands. Nevada has some offense, but Maryland's wacky biorhythms say it's time the Terps win, after back-to-back losses.
Holiday Bowl: Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. Oregon (9-3)
FITTIPALDO: Finally, a game I might watch. I'll go with the Big 12 over the Pac-10. Oklahoma State is the winner.
ZEISE: This should be an exciting game, an offensive shoot-out and hopefully one that will end without either coach screaming "I'm a man, I'm 40...." Either way the difference between Oklahoma State and Oregon's identical record of 9-3 is this -- one was achieved in a strong conference, the other was achieved in the Pac 10.
MUSSELMAN: I can think of better ways to spend my holiday than watching this game. But I'll go with Oregon anyway.
FINDER: The Big O bowl, between two states that probably never knew the other existed. This game could be in the 50s, and pick Cowboys to ... uh, harvest Ducks every time. Oklahoma State wins.
Texas Bowl: Rice (9-3) vs. Western Michigan (9-3)
FITTIPALDO: Back to the bowls I have no interest in watching. Let's go with Western Michigan just for the heck of it.
ZEISE: Rice finished on a six-game winning streak, which is likely as much of a statement of the quality -- or lack there-of -- of their opponents down the stretch as it is a statement about anything the Owls did. Western Michigan had a chance to win the MAC West in the final week of the season but got whacked by Ball State, but they'll prevail in this one.
MUSSELMAN: The Owls could be flying high. They haven’t won 10 games in a season since 1949. Rice rolls like sushi.
FINDER: Rice, like South Florida, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech, get to stay home for their bowl. Man, that's got to hurt. This will be a throw-down between passing teams, but give the nod to Rice, who won six in a row and once scored 77 in a game this season.