Bowl Mania Round 1 Post-Mortem, Round 2 Picks

Hello again everybody...

As this will be my last post prior to Christmas, allow me to start off by wishing you all a Merry Christmas. Also Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Holidays in general. We're all-inclusive here at The Sports Take. So I don't want to leave anyone out!

Today I'm breaking down how we did in the first round of Bowl Mania here at The Sports Take. So I'll start with a quick Post-Mortem on the first 5 games of the college football bowl season. Then it's time for Round 2. There are 2 bowl games between now and Friday, so I'll bring you my picks and analysis as well as the picks from Hammer and Dark Star. So off we go!

"There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German author

This especially applies to drivers on snowy roads here in Minnesota. Oof.

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First up today, I break down Round 1 of Sports Take Bowl Mania. Due to the number of games involved, they won't be quite the same breakdowns as I did during the season. But you'll get the general idea!


EagleBank Bowl - Wake Forest -3 vs. Navy

ST Pick: Wake Forest -3
Hammer's Pick: Navy +3
Dark Star's Pick: Navy +3

Final Score: Wake Forest 29, Navy 19

I have to admit, when Navy went up 13-0 early in the 2nd quarter, I feared it might be a rough start to Bowl Mania. But Wake stormed back in the second half to grab a 3-point lead late in the 4th quarter. So I thought I was going to have to settle for a push, which as they say, is better than a shove. But it's still not the way I wanted to start the season.

But as fate would have it, the Midshipmen defense gift wrapped me a win when they allowed Wake RB Rich Belton to break loose for a 35-yard TD run with :54 remaining. Victory, sweet, sweet victory!

ST: 1-0
Hammer: 0-1
Dark Star: 0-1


New Mexico Bowl - Fresno State -3 vs. Colorado State

Sports Take Pick: Colorado State +3
Hammer's Pick: Fresno State -3
Dark Star's Pick: Colorado State +3

Final Score: Colorado State 40, Fresno State 35

Oh how we love it here at The Sports Take when an underdog we've picked wins outright! Again, I thought I was in trouble early on, as the Rams couldn't seem to stop Fresno's offense no matter how they tried.

But once again, my pick came storming back. CSU hit a Hail Mary at the end of the first half to pull within one at 21-20 (Fresno leading).

I don't know what Colorado State head coach Steve Fairchild said at halftime, but whatever it was, he should bottle it and break it out for every game next year. CSU physically dominated Fresno in the second half and pulled away late for the 40-35 victory.

Sports Take: 2-0 (34-0 here I come!)
Hammer: 0-2
Dark: 1-1


magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl - South Florida -12 vs. Memphis

Sports Take Pick: Memphis +12
Hammer's Pick: South Florida -12
Dark Star's Pick: Memphis +12

Final Score: South Florida 41, Memphis 14

Woops... So much for 34-0. I could make excuses like Memphis' QB got hurt early on and limped his way through most of the game. But the simple truth is that the Bulls just had way too much for the Tigers to handle.

Memphis hung with them for the first half, but got shut-out in the second half while South Florida ran away and hid.

What can I say? I got cute and got crushed. It was bound to happen.

Sports Take: 2-1
Hammer: 1-2
Dark: 1-2


Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl - Arizona -3 vs. BYU

Sports Take Pick: BYU +3
Hammer's Pick: BYU +3
Dark's Pick: Arizona -3

Final Score: Arizona 31, BYU 21

First of all, Arizona's Red monochrome uniforms should have disqualified them outright. I don't know who came up with this idea, but unless your team wears black, your jersey shouldn't be the same color as your pants. It's just wrong. And truthfully, even if it's black, it's really inadvisable.

But that not withstanding, this game can easily be labeled as "BYU's Cursed Kicker Game".

Cougar kicker Mitch Payne missed two field goals all year, but missed 3 of them in this game. Granted, BYU lost by 10, so 3 field goals wouldn't have won them the game, but it would covered the spread for me dammit!

Oh, and I should mention that Arizona QB Nick Tuitama threw for 325 yards and dominated offensively.

But three missed field goals?! Come on!

Sports Take: 2-2
Hammer: 1-3
Dark: 2-2


R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Troy -4.5 vs. Southern Mississippi

Sports Take Pick: S. Mississippi +4.5
Hammer's Pick: Troy -4.5
Dark Star's Pick: Troy -4.5

Final Score: Southern Mississippi 30, Troy 27 F-OT

Did I mention I love it when the dog wins outright?

I have to admit, I didn't get to watch this game. But I saw some highlights. And in the end it came down to a blocked field goal in overtime to clinch the win for the Golden Eagles.

Somewhere Brett Favre was smiling I'm sure!

Sports Take: 3-2
Hammer: 1-4
Dark Star: 2-3

So it was a solid start for The Sports Take. Sure 34-0 was taken away a little sooner than I'd have like, but I'm still solidly +.500. Right where I like it! Dark's only a game back, and I'm sure will give me all the competition I can handle. Rough start for the Hammer, but I have no doubt he'll make a run sooner than later.

And with that said, it's time for Round 2 of Sports Take Bowl Mania! Let's get to the picks:

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl - Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Tuesday, 12/23, 7pm CT (ESPN)

TCU -3 vs. Boise State

The Horned Frogs are 10-2 (7-1). The Broncos are 12-0 (8-0).

This game was also considered for "Most Ridiculous Bowl Title - 2008". But the game's so good, I gave it a pass.

In fact, this might be one of the best bowl games of the entire season. Certainly it belongs amongst the January 1 bowls in terms of competitiveness. Unfortunately it sort of got buried in the pre-Christmas bowls.

I had a helluva time making this pick. Momentum doesn't play a role. Boise went undefeated. TCU won 6 of their last 7 including thrashing Air Force in the season finale. There weren't any common opponents to compare. And their conferences were similar enough in quality that I can't even go there to find a winner.

The game basically breaks down to Boise's offense versus TCU's defense. Boise hasn't scored less than 40 pints in a game since October. But TCU hasn't given up more than 14 points since September!

So when you have two teams matched up like that, I have to go for the defense. I heard a pundit say today, "Defense wins championships, but points win games." So I'm taking TCU and hoping Boise doesn't run out to an early lead. If TCU keeps the score down early, I think they win it.

Sports Take Pick: TCU -3
Hammer's Pick: TCU -3
Dark Star's Pick: Boise State +3


Sheraton Hawaii Bowl - Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
Wednesday, 12/24, 7pm CT (ESPN)

Notre Dame -1.5 vs. Hawaii

The Fighting Irish are 6-6. The Warriors are 7-6 (5-3)

This game exists for two reasons. One, to guarantee that if Hawaii wins 6 games, they'll have a bowl to go to. Two, to guarantee they'll have an opponent, because who's going to turn down a trip to Hawaii for chrissakes?!

This is another tough one to pick. There's no question that Notre Dame struggled this year. There's also no question that they played a tougher schedule than Hawaii.

But there's that pesky loss to Syracuse that keeps bothering me. How in the hell do you lose to Syracuse, Irish fans?! You're going to have to explain that one to me before I can pick you here.

Momentum-wise, the Golden Domers lost 4 of their last 5 games. The Warriors won 3 out of their last 4.

All the evidence seems to be pushing me towards Hawaii. But the bettors like Notre Dame. The game opened at Hawaii -1.5 and has since moved to Notre Dame -1.5. That means a decent chunk of money has gone down on the Irish.

But I can't shake my gut feeling that Hawaii is the play here. So though it'll upset my father, I'm going with the Warriors.

Sports Take Pick: Hawaii +1.5
Hammer's Pick: Hawaii +1.5
Dark Star's Pick: Hawaii +1.5

So not a lot of separation's going to happen this week. Oh well. Lots more picks to come on Friday.

That's all for today. As I said, I'll be back with more Bowl Mania on Friday. Until then, keep safe and enjoy your holiday celebrations. Oh yeah, and thanks for reading!


  1. Yeah, you're right. Making picks AND speaking intelligently on all these games would be hard.

    That must be the reason I don't have a blog.

  2. I'm trying to figure out if that's a compliment, or an insult?