PetroSun Independence Bowl, Shreveport, La., Dec. 28th
Louisiana Tech (7-5) vs. Northern Illinois (6-6)
ESPN's ad campaign: "Watch Northern Illinois. NFL star Michael Turner once went there." The game might get better ratings than Around the Horn, but it will not beat trick shot pool.
Pick: Louisiana Tech
PapaJohns.com Bowl, Birmingham, Ala., Dec. 29th
NC State (6-6) vs. Rutgers (7-5)
Papa Johns' slogan is "Better ingredients, Better Pizza." Unfortunately its bowl game could only get the 10th best ingredient in the ACC and the fourth best in the Big East. (I've made this joke before, but I'm going to keep making it until the game gives me a reason not to.)
Valero Alamo Bowl, San Antonio, TX, Dec. 29th
Northwestern (9-3) vs. Missouri (9-4)
Missouri's last trip to the Alamodome (the 2007 Big 12 championship game) ended with the No.1 Tigers losing, 62-21. I'm sure players will love returning to the stadium where they had their most crushing, painful, humiliating loss as high-profile athletes. Kudos to the Missouri athletic department for sending the team to San Antonio.
Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, Boise, ID, Dec. 30th
Nevada (7-5) vs. Maryland (7-5)
The Humanitarian Bowl is one of the few games which always picks an MVP from both teams. In 2004, Tulsa lost 52-10, which led to Cort Moffitt becoming the only punter to ever be named MVP of anything. Now that's humane.
Texas Bowl, Houston, TX, Dec. 30th
Western Michigan (9-3) vs. Rice (9-3)
Look at this photo of the game's two coaches. They're making the same face John McCain makes when he talks about Sarah Palin. The look on Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit's face says "Well, you were right, David. The Texas Bowl is a real game. I owe you a coke."
Pick: Western Michigan
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, San Diego, Calif., Dec. 30th
Oregon (9-3) vs. Oklahoma State (9-3)
One of the many festivities associated with the Holiday Bowl is the "Weiner Nationals" (also known as the U.S. National Dachshund Racing Championships.) I demand to know why this magnificent event is not televised. Giving more exposure to the Holiday Bowl weiner dog race has officially replaced creating a playoff system as my top college football concern.
Pick: Oklahoma State
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Fort Worth, TX, Dec. 31st
Air Force (8-4) vs. Houston (7-5)
When these two teams met back in September, Air Force won 31-28 despite not completing a pass. Clearly, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun is the right man to run the Oakland Raiders.
Pick: Air Force
Brut Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX, Dec. 31st
Oregon State (8-4) vs. Pittsburgh (9-3)
Pitt running back LeSean McCoy surprised many by saying he'll return for his junior year. The school needs to create a new advertising slogan around this. "Pitt: Better than Being in the NFL." Every ad will show a smiling McCoy eating Primanti Brothers sandwiches with two Pitt cheerleaders.
Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 31st
Vanderbilt (6-6) vs. Boston College (9-4)
Vanderbilt should hang the following banner in its stadium:
2008 SEC Standings
Pick: Boston College
Insight Bowl, Tempe, Ariz., Dec. 31st
Minnesota (7-5) vs. Kansas (7-5)
How could anybody in Minnesota focus on this game with the Al Franken-Norm Coleman senatorial race just years away from being resolved? WHO COULD WATCH FOOTBALL AT A TIME LIKE THIS?
Chick-fil-A Bowl, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 31st
LSU (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (9-3)
In hindsight, it might have been a bad idea for Les Miles to save his best motivational material for the SEC and BCS championship games.
Pick: Georgia Tech
Outback Bowl, Tampa, Fla., Jan. 1st
Iowa (8-4) vs. South Carolina (7-5)
Nothing says "Outback" like Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, Steve Spurrier is livid. He assumed the Gamecocks would play in a less prestigious bowl and he'd be on the golf course by Christmas.
Konica Minolta Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 1st
Clemson (7-5) vs. Nebraska (8-4)
A little known detail from the Rod Blagojevich FBI wiretaps: Blago was attempting to sell a berth in the Gator Bowl to the University of Illinois. Why he thought he had the power to secure a Gator Bowl spot is beyond me. They guy is more delusional than Texas fans who think they'll be co-national champions.
Capital One Bowl, Orlando, Fla., Jan. 1st
Michigan State (9-3) vs. Georgia (9-3)
It's been a disappointing year for Georgia, but the team can take comfort in next year's low expectations. Matthew Stafford must decide whose NFL career he wants to emulate. David Carr's, or Akili Smith's. I'm kidding, of course. Stafford will do fine in the NFL. Unless another team drafts every member of Florida's defense.
Rose Bowl presented by Citi, Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 1st
Penn State (11-1) vs. USC (11-1)
Another Rose Bowl for USC. Ho-hum. I think Pete Carroll has a mid-life crisis coming on. Where's the challenge in making the Rose Bowl when star recruits constantly appear on your doorstep and the Pac-10 can't muster one legitimate rival? Don't be surprised if you hear Carroll broke a leg drag racing his new Ferrari in South Central L.A.
FedEx Orange Bowl, Miami, Fla., Jan. 1st
Cincinnati (11-2) vs. Virginia Tech (9-4)
The Orange Bowl's current slogan is "Home of the ACC Champion." Great. A more enticing slogan would be "Once Every Four Years We're Not Contractually Obligated to Be the Home of the ACC Champion."
Cotton Bowl Classic, Dallas, TX, Jan. 2nd
Texas Tech (11-1) vs. Mississippi (8-4)
After Graham Harrell's snubbing, Mike Leach announced they should "quit giving" out the Heisman. I couldn't agree more. You give a guy the trophy and boom, 39 years later he's so in love with his memorabilia he tries stealing it at gunpoint from a Vegas hotel room.
Pick: Texas Tech
AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tenn., Jan. 2nd
East Carolina (9-4) vs. Kentucky (6-6)
It's the dreaded January 2nd bowl. For over a decade these bowls have callously forced players to be in bed by nine o'clock on New Year's Eve even though they don't have a game the next day. How many players must fall victim to the seductive Memphis nightlife, break curfew, and get suspended before there's change? By the way, no team won fewer SEC games than Kentucky. You know what that means? Bowl time!
Pick: East Carolina
Allstate Sugar Bowl, New Orleans, La., Jan. 2nd
Alabama (12-1) vs. Utah (12-0)
Utah has the hopes and dreams of all mid-majors riding on its shoulders. Fortunately, the team has a foolproof plan. It'll open the game by running 12 consecutive Statue of Liberty plays.
International Bowl, Toronto, Canada, Jan. 3rd
UConn (7-5) vs. Buffalo (8-5)
Not getting the Auburn job was a big letdown for Buffalo coach Turner Gill. On the other hand, if I could get the job offer of a lifetime, or have everybody know Charles Barkley thinks I'm awesome, I might choose the second one.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, Ariz., Jan. 5th
Ohio State (10-2) vs. Texas (11-1)
Here's the game-night itinerary for Fiesta Bowl executives:
5:30: Eat complimentary Tostitos
6:00: Write thank you notes to Colt McCoy's and Terrelle Pryor's moms
6:30: Eat more complimentary Tostitos
7:00: Call Orange Bowl executive to make fun of their inferior game
7:30: Write "Stink" under "Arizona Cardinals" insignia in fancy press box
8:00: Watch game from fancy press box while eating complimentary Tostitos
GMAC Bowl, Mobile, Ala., Jan 6th
Tulsa (10-3) vs. Ball State (12-1)
This bowl will have less defense than a Washington Wizards pickup game.
BCS National Championship Game, Miami, Fla., Jan 8th
Florida (12-1) vs. Oklahoma (12-1)
Oklahoma is No. 1 in all five computer polls. In those same polls, Florida is ranked second, third, fourth, fourth and fifth. Conversely, Florida is No. 1 in the Harris Poll and trails Oklahoma by a single point in the USA Today Poll. Why is this important? Because the BCS title game is shaping up as the ultimate showdown of man vs. machine. If Oklahoma wins in convincing fashion we might as well give up and surrender to the superior intelligence of our computer overlords. Personally, I think the machines are right.
Pick: Oklahoma 42, Florida 24
Questions, Comments, Hate Mail? Eric.Horow@Gmail.com.