An unscientific approach to playing Bowl Pick 'Em

Eric Francis

Bowl season gives us a unique opportunity to embrace our college football ignorance by picking winners of games we know little about. For instance, do you have a hot read on Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan? No one does, and that's the beauty of Bowl Pick 'Em. You're not supposed to know what you're doing; you're just supposed to take credit when your picks miraculously - through no wisdom of yours - come true.

OBNUG Bowl Pick 'Em is now accepting your wild guesses, and winner gets a free pair of shades (fancy ones, I promise) and a smug feeling of being a success in life.

I am not going to be the winner. Regardless, here are my Bowl Pick 'Em picks and strategies. May they inspire you, motivate you, or - as is my recommendation - give you a blueprint for picking opposite.

* - the following tables compare my picks with the Vegas favorite, the ESPN Bowl Mania favorite, and the team with the most wins

** - also, all games are listed in order of confidence points

Kevan Vegas ESPN Wins
Boise State v. Washington BSU BSU BSU BSU

The easiest part of Bowl Pick 'Em is picking Boise State to win and giving them the most confidence points I have. This was kind of hard that Hawaii Bowl year.

Kevan Vegas ESPN Wins
Wisconsin v. Stanford Stan Stan Stan Stan
Fresno v. SMU Fres Fres Fres Fres
Oregon v. Kansas State Ore Ore Ore Push
San Jose State v. Bowling Green SJSU SJSU SJSU SJSU
Nevada v. Arizona Ari Ari Ari Push
Notre Dame v. Alabama Ala Ala Ala Push
Toledo v. Utah State USU USU USU USU
Northern Illinois v. Florida State FSU FSU FSU NIU
Purdue vs. Oklahoma State OkSt OkSt OkSt OkSt
Texas A&M v. Oklahoma A&M A&M A&M Push
Louisville v. Florida Fla Fla Fla Fla
USC v. Georgia Tech USC USC USC USC
South Carolina v. Michigan SCar SCar SCar SCar
Georgia v. Nebraska Ga Ga Ga Ga
Navy v. Arizona State ASU n/a ASU Navy

After Boise State, I like to identify some matchups I am almost certain will be blowouts. Wisconsin-Stanford? Yes. SMU-anyone? Yes, especially now that Fresno is Pat Hill-free.

You'll also notice a trend where I tend to put too much weight into teams I am loosely familiar with. Hence, San Jose State and Utah State are in my "blowout" category - in a good way (my, how the WAC has changed).

Kevan Vegas ESPN Wins
Miss. State vs. Northwestern NW MissSt NW NW
Pitt v. Ole Miss Miss Miss Miss Push
Iowa State v. Tulsa Tulsa n/a Tulsa Tulsa
NC State v. Vanderbilt NCSt Vandy Vandy Vandy
TCU v. Michigan State TCU TCU TCU TCU

This batch of games I think will be very competitive because I don't know enough about any of the schools to think otherwise. My gut told me who to pick. My gut is about 50/50.

Kevan Vegas ESPN Wins
LSU v. Clemson LSU LSU LSU Push
Texas v. Oregon State OreSt OreSt OreSt OreSt
BYU v. San Diego St. BYU BYU SDSU SDSU
Baylor v. UCLA UCLA n/a UCLA UCLA
West Virginia v. Syracuse WVU WVU WVU Push

Here's another batch of close games, except with these I am just plain guessing. No help from my gut.

Kevan Vegas ESPN Wins
Rice v. Air Force AF AF AF Push
Minnesota v. Texas Tech TT TT TT TT
Rutgers v. Virginia Tech Rutg VaTech Rutg Rutg
Ohio v. Louisiana Monroe Ohio ULM ULM Push
Cincinnati v. Duke Cincy Cincy Cincy Cincy
Western Kentucky v. Central Michigan WKU WKU WKU WKU
East Carolina v. Louisiana-Lafayette UL-L UL-L UL-L Push
UCF v. Ball State Ball UCF UCF Push
Kent State v. Arkansas St. ArkSt ArkSt Kent Kent

And finally, the bottom section of games are matchups that I don't have any idea about whatsoever. At least in the above sections I recognized the teams or had seen them on TV once or twice. This group may as well be FCS teams given how little I know about them. Naturally, I will go 9-0 here and 0-26 everywhere else. Such is the nature of Bowl Pick 'Em.

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