The college football bowl season is upon us. With 40 games spread out over the next two weeks there is plenty of opportunity to add a little bonus to your holiday gift pile. Our bowl picks series will let you know who we think will come out on top against the spread. Find all our picks here.
College Football Semifinal: Orange Bowl
Oklahoma vs. Clemson
Spread: Oklahoma -3
Spread: Aside from the disaster at the Cotton Bowl when Oklahoma lost to lowly Texas, OU may have been best team in college football in 2015. However, that loss left a massive black stain on their resume and is the main reason they come in as the 4-seed. What’s been so impressive about Oklahoma is that they have been getting better and better each week and have been blowing teams out since that loss to the Longhorns. On the other hand, Clemson was taking names early in the year, but have since slowed and actually had quite a bit of trouble with the likes of North Carolina, South Carolina, and even Syracuse. Where Baker Mayfield and the OU offense appeared to be getting better each week, it looked as if Deshaun Watson’s Tigers were making life harder and harder on themselves as the season wore on. The long layoff often throws recent form out of whack, but this game is incredibly reminiscent of Florida State vs. Oregon a year ago. One team squeaked by all year and came in undefeated while the other blasted down the stretch and came into the playoff red-hot. On paper these two teams are incredibly similar all on both sides and will attack the game in the same way as each other, so form will play a major factor. Long bowl layoffs make handicapping much much harder, and this is the perfect example of this, because if this game was played four weeks ago, it would be a no-brainer to lay the three and scream Boomer Sooner. Now, it’s still probably the right side, but don’t bet the mortgage on it. Pick: Oklahoma -3
Total: This might be the perfect game to utilize in-game wagering as the first series for both teams will likely dictate how the rest of the football game will go. Unfortunately for me, this pick has to be posted days in advance of the game rather than it being a live blog after kickoff where we can adjust strategies ten minutes in. So, here’s what we will learn on the early possessions. One of two things will happen for each offense and each defense. Either the offenses come out firing and the long layoff between games allowed time for the coaches to come up with the perfect scripted plays, or the energy from playing in the biggest game of the year will benefit the defenses to counteract the nervous energies of the offenses. Woah, much more confusing than it probably needs to be, but it’s really simple. If there are a bunch of points early, this game will turn into a mega shootout where the winner will score 40+. If the defenses are up to the task early, they will be there all night and 64.5 will look like a ridiculously tall number. For the sake of enjoyment of the game, let’s project the former to happen, but know that if there aren’t 14 points in the first 10 minutes, this game will have a tough time reaching 64.5. Pick: Over 64.5
Listen to Usually Wrong with Ken Boehlke on CBS Sports Radio 1140 every Sunday morning from 8 to 10. Follow the show on Twitter @SportsRadio1140