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December 2017


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Bowl season is in full swing. The football has been good(?), the stadiums have been practically empty, and the games have been meaningless.

If you’d rather watch college football than do literally anything else, these games are for you.

Let’s dive back in!

Florida State (-15) vs Southern Miss in the Independence Bowl: Florida State’s season officially comes to an end, months after it unofficially came to an end in the season opener against Alabama. Southern Miss gets to play David against FSU’s Goliath, except Goliath in this case has already lost six mostly one-sided fights. Speaking of which, did Goliath know that weapons were allowed? PECK’S PICK: FSU -15

Iowa (-3) vs Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College won five of its last six, including a throttling of the aforementioned Seminoles, while Iowa blew out Ohio State and very nearly beat both Penn State and Michigan State. This game seems like a toss-up and that’s reflected in the line, but I like the way the Eagles run the ball. PECK’S PICK: BOSTON COLLEGE +3
Arizona (-3) vs Purdue in the Foster Farms Bowl: When Rich Rodriguez has a quarterback who can run his offense effectively, he can make beautiful music. Khalil Tate’s numbers were unreal this season, and he’s reason enough to watch a game. PECK’S PICK: ARIZONA -3

Missouri (-1.5) vs Texas in the Texas Bowl: Missouri looked lifeless after the first month of the season, but pulled itself off the canvas and found a way to rack up eye-popping statistics as it tore through most of the SEC East down the stretch. Both teams will struggle on defense, and it should come down to whoever has the ball last. PECK’S PICK: MISSOURI -1.5

Navy (-1) vs Virginia in the Military Bowl: Navy is playing on its home field and Virginia isn’t too far away, so this game might actually have people in attendance. Navy’s tricky offense should be able to outscore Virginia, although UVA’s quarterback (the ridiculously named Kurt Benkert) could get hot and lead the Cavaliers to victory. PECK’S PICK: NAVY -1

Oklahoma State (-5) vs Virginia Tech in the Camping World Bowl: OSU features one of the best offenses in college football, but Virginia Tech’s defense is as salty as ever and the Hokies can score plenty of points, too. I’m picking VT, because I can’t stand Mike Gundy, a coach who routinely gets killed by his archrival every year and draws attention to himself by scolding reporters and sporting a silly haircut. PECK’S PICK: VT -5

TCU (-3) vs Stanford in the Alamo Bowl: Two perennially tough teams led by exemplary coaches will collide in San Antonio. TCU is very talented, but I don’t trust quarterback Kenny Hill against a disciplined defense (too many of his passes miss their mark by a wide margin) and it will be very difficult for TCU to stop hard-charging Stanford running back Bryce Love. PECK’S PICK STANFORD +3
Michigan State (-1.5) vs Washington State in the Holiday Bowl: When I’m torn, I tend to pick the team with the superior quarterback, and Luke Falk has been phenomenal throughout his career for the Huskies. PECK’S PICK: WASHINGTON STATE +1.5

Wake Forest (-3) vs Texas A&M in the Belk Bowl: A&M will be coached by substitute teacher Jeff Banks, and it’s understandable that its players will lack motivation before Jimbo Fisher’s regime officially begins. Wake Forest has been one of the surprises of the ACC, and could contend for the conference before Dave Clawson’s work is finished. PECK’S PICK: WAKE FOREST -3

NC State (-6.5) vs Arizona State in the Sun Bowl: Fired ASU coach Todd Graham will coach his team one final time in bowl season’s most awkward situation. NC State appears to be better, but maybe Graham’s presence will provide ample motivation for his team. PECK’S PICK: ARIZONA STATE +6.5

Northwestern (-7.5) vs Kentucky in the Music City Bowl: Northwestern won nine games??? PECK’S PICK: NORTHWESTERN -7.5

Utah State (-4) vs New Mexico State in the Arizona Bowl: Next! PECK’S PICK: UTAH STATE -4

Ohio State (-6) vs USC in the Cotton Bowl: Now THIS is a bowl game. A pair of talented teams who very narrowly missed out on the College Football Playoff collide. USC quarterback Sam Darnold has the ability to take a game over, but Ohio State’s superior ability on both sides of the ball should be enough to give them a victory in a close, high-scoring game. PECK’S PICK: OHIO STATE -6

Louisville (-6) vs Mississippi State in the TaxSlayer Bowl: If State had injured quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, this game would feature the best quarterback duel of any game on the board. Unfortunately, Fitzgerald injured his leg in the Ole Miss game (and then watched his coach head off to Gainesville). Lamar Jackson remains a sensation, so MSU will have to play its best game of the season to win without Fitzgerald. PECK’S PICK: LOUISVILLE -6

Memphis (-3.5) vs Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl: Iowa State stunned the Big 12 with victories over Oklahoma and TCU, but lost three of its last four and now faces an explosive Memphis offense playing on its home field. PECK’S PICK: MEMPHIS -3.5

Penn State (-4) vs Washington in the Fiesta Bowl: One of the best matchups on the board, these will be two trendy preseason picks for next season’s College Football Playoff. Washington features a balanced offensive attack and an experienced quarterback in Jake Browning, but Penn State’s Saquon Barkley was one of the nation’s best running backs and should be able to shoulder the load and carry his team to victory. PECK’S PICK: PENN STATE -4

Wisconsin (-6) vs Miami in the Orange Bowl: This is another fantastic matchup, as two more teams that narrowly missed the College Football Playoff will square off. If Miami’s opportunistic defense can force Wisconsin into uncharacteristic mistakes, the Hurricanes could find a way to give its hometown fans a victory, but I’ve got too many questions about their offense to pick them. PECK’S PICK: WISCONSIN -6

Michigan (-8) vs South Carolina in the Outback Bowl: These are two more teams who will be trendy picks in 2018, as Jake Bentley looks to take the next step and become the SEC’s top quarterback while Michigan’s roster looks loaded. I still don’t trust Michigan’s offense, so look for South Carolina to pull off the upset in a low-scoring affair. PECK’S PICK: S. CAROLINA +8

LSU (-3) vs Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl: The wheels came off Notre Dame’s offense in the final month of the season, and an aggressive LSU defense is a bad matchup for them. There are reasons to believe LSU will be better next year than they were this year, and a solid performance against the Irish will continue their positive momentum. PECK’S PICK: LSU -3

Georgia (-2) vs Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl: If Georgia’s defense keeps Oklahoma bottled up, the Bulldogs could find themselves playing for the national championship in front of a partisan crowd in Atlanta. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done because the Sooners can score points in bunches. The game will fall on the shoulders of OU quarterback Baker Mayfield, and I think he’ll make too many mistakes. PECK’S PICK: GEORGIA -2

Alabama (-3) vs Clemson in the Sugar Bowl: I swore off picking against Clemson earlier this season, but Nick Saban’s teams are lethal when he’s allowed extra time to prepare for an opponent. Alabama’s offensive line struggled in November and faces its toughest test of the season against a Clemson front seven loaded with future NFL players looking to chase down Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts. PECK’S PICK: CLEMSON +3

Auburn (-9.5) vs UCF in the Peach Bowl: This game features two wildly entertaining offenses. UCF has more to gain, as they look to finish an undefeated season; Auburn wants to build momentum for next year and gain a rare eleventh victory in a single season. AU has a big edge on defense, so they should be able to handle UCF if they play as well as they did throughout most of the season. PECK’S PICK: AUBURN -9.5

Come back next week for a recap of the Auburn/UCF game and a National Championship prediction! Enjoy the games!

Riley’s Ramblings: Ronald Acuna’s Position Has Opened And Strong Quarterbacks Face Off This Week

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Alex Anthopoulos made his first big move as the Braves General Manager on Sunday, as he sent outfielder Matt Kemp back to the Dodgers for Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir and Charlie Culberson. Since the Braves don’t need a first baseman, Gonzalez was designated for assignment immediately after the trade. Although Kemp was extremely productive for the Braves in 2017, hitting .276 with 19 homers, this is a good trade for Atlanta.


This is obviously a big storyline for the Dodgers to get the 2011 MVP runner-up and former face of the franchise back in Los Angeles, but for a Braves team that is in rebuilding, trading a star that is past his prime and approaching his mid-30’s is not a bad move. Kemp is a great player, but Atlanta now has two quality pitchers that will likely be traded at the deadline for prospects (both Kazmir and McCarthy will both become free agents following the 2018 season) and added some infield depth with a 28 year old Charlie Culberson with a bright future.


Many in Braves Country believe that this trade was made in part to make room for the guy the Braves want playing right field this year, Ronald Acuna. Acuna is rated as the number six overall prospect by MLB Pipeline and the number one prospect in the Braves farm system. The 20-year old Venezuelan started making headlines last season when he went from A Advanced to Double-A to Triple-A in just one season and posted a .325 average and belted 21 homers between all three leagues last year. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Acuna also was named MVP of the Arizona Fall League in November and appears to be a five-tool prospect.


Acuna will definitely receive an invite to Spring Training, but whether or not he’ll make the Opening Day roster like the fan base wants remains to be seen. With Kemp out, the right field position is now open and the table is set for Acuna.



Bowl season is officially in full swing and I’ve got a pretty embarrassing 3-6 bowl picking record right now. Despite that, I’m still confident that I can turn it around and be the best on the ESPN 106.7 staff… or at least do better than Peck’s Picks. (Click here to view the full 2017-2018 Bowl Schedule):


The Birmingham Bowl between Texas Tech and South Florida is probably the biggest toss up of all the bowl games this season. Charlie Strong had a very strong first season with South Florida, leading them to a 9-2 record (6-2 in conference) in the American Athletic Conference with their only losses coming to Houston and UCF. USF quarterback Quinton Flowers is an extremely impressive duel-threat guy that will make a huge impact on this game. He’s thrown for 2600 yards and 21 touchdowns this season and is the team’s leading rusher, running for nearly 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns. Texas Tech also has a quarterback to brag about, Nic Shimonek, who has been lighting it up through the air this season. Shimonek currently has 3547 passing yards which is good enough for 16th in college football and 30 touchdowns which ranks 11th in college football. Texas Tech’s 6-6 record doesn’t look nearly as impressive on paper, and neither does their 3-6 conference record (Big 12). However, these teams are still very evenly matched and will put on a quarterback show too. This one could go either way (USF is just a three point favorite), but I’m going with Charlie Strong and the Bulls (Saturday 11:00 kick on ESPN).


Another game this week that is intriguing to me is the Texas Bowl between Texas and Missouri. To put it lightly, Missouri had a comeback season. Missouri started their season 1-5 with losses to South Carolina, Purdue, Auburn, Kentucky, and Georgia. Columbia seemed to be a completely silent football town and Barry Odem was as good as gone as head coach. Following the loss at Georgia, the Tigers went on an incredible 6-0 run including wins over huge SEC East opponents Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock has played well during this run, and I see his favorite target J’Mon Moore to make big catches in the bowl game. Moore is currently second in the SEC with 1017 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. I see this one being a close game, and Texas will be helped by the fact that they basically have home field advantage, but I still see the 2.5 point favorite Missouri Tigers taking the Texas Bowl (Wednesday 8:00 kick on ESPN).