By Ken Boehlke, CBS Sports Radio 1140
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.
Tennessee vs. Northwestern
Spread: Tennessee -8.5
Spread: It’s another battle between the SEC and Big 10 in which the world tells us to expect the SEC team to be far superior. In this instance, there’s a strong chance it’s actually the case, but at the same time, Northwestern is easily the more trustworthy team. It’s kind of similar to a game pitting a major conference foe against a non-power 5 team because of the incredible talent on Tennessee. The Vols have top 25 units almost across the board in terms of talent, yet they have not played that way consistently. Butch Jones is playing with a stacked deck, but he’s playing against a much more experienced and savvy player in Pat Fitzgerald and his Wildcats. It would not be surprising in the least if Northwestern rolls over in the face of strong opposition like they did against Michigan (38-0) and Iowa (40-10). However this is also a team that beat Stanford in a game they controlled from start to finish on the opening week. It’s a nearly impossible game to call, but the safest route is to take the talent and hope they show up ready and prepared to play. Pick: Tennessee -8.5
Total: Northwestern had a peculiar trend this season in regards to totals. After starting the season with five straight unders, they then hit the over four times in a row before closing out with three consecutive unders. There does appear to be a method to the madness however. When Northwestern lost, or played in close games, the games went over the total. When the Wildcats were in control of the football game, it would stay under. Tennessee should be able to have some success running the ball with Jalen Hurd which will allow Joshua Dobbs some time and space to throw the ball. Thus, UT can be expected to control the game for at least a portion of it. When that’s the case, Northwestern games go over the total. The same will happen here. Pick: Over 47.5
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