Top College Bowl Picks of the Week - December 26th Edition

Top College Bowl Picks of the Week – December 26th Edition

Written by on December 26, 2017

How terrible are the NFL’s Cleveland Browns? There’s talk that UCLA star quarterback Josh Rosen might stay in school instead of declaring for the draft so he can avoid being chosen No. 1 overall by the Browns. Rosen’s Bruins face Kansas State on Tuesday. Here’s a look at two other College Football bowl odds and picks this week: the Independence between Southern Miss and Florida State, and the Holiday between No. 18 Washington State and No. 16 Michigan State. Be sure to check out for more bowl picks and previews for this week!

Top College Bowl Picks of the Week – December 26th Edition

Independence Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Florida State College Football Odds  & Game Info

  • When: Wednesday 1:30 PM ET
  • Where: Independence Stadium, Shreveport
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: WatchESPN
  • Radio:
  • Opening NCAAF Lines: FSU -16.5

Why Bet on Southern Miss?

Southern Miss (8-4) finished third in the West Division of Conference USA. It has played two other Power 5 teams this season, losing to Kentucky 24-17 and to Tennessee 24-10. The Golden Eagles play in their third consecutive bowl game and their 25th overall, posting an 11-13 all-time record in postseason contests.

The Golden Eagles and Seminoles meet for the 23rd time overall and first time since 1996 in a series that dates back to the 1952 season. FSU leads the series 13-8-1 and won the last meeting 54-14 in Tallahassee on Nov. 16, 1996.

Against the current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Golden Eagles hold a 38-36-2 record (.513). The Golden Eagles have never met Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Syracuse and Wake Forest in football. Southern Miss has won two consecutive games against the ACC – both versus Virginia in 2009 and 2011 – and three of the last four versus teams in the league.

Running back Ito Smith has set the school record with 6,344 all-purpose yards. He has registered 100 or more all-purpose yards in 27 of his last 31 games. Although he missed the second half of the Louisiana Tech contest, he still totaled 88 all-purpose yards to put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the third straight season and now has amassed 1,715. He has 23 career 100-yard rushing games, which is tied for third nationally.

Why Bet on FSU?

The Seminoles are the second-biggest favorites of any team playing in a bowl (Florida Atlantic was -22 vs. Akron and covered). Except FSU perhaps shouldn’t even be playing in this game. There was a report that the school wasn’t even bowl eligible. Why? Its early-season win over FCS school Delaware State shouldn’t have counted towards FSU’s bowl eligibility. That’s because the school offered less than 90 percent of the FCS scholarship limit – a requirement for Florida State’s win to count toward bowl eligibility. FSU has refuted that report. Wouldn’t have mattered at this point anyways as it was too late to replace the Noles.

Florida State secured a bowl bid for a 36th consecutive season – a national record — thanks to three straight wins to close out its schedule, concluding with a rescheduled game against Louisiana-Monroe on Dec. 2. The Seminoles rescheduled the game, which had been postponed indefinitely due to Hurricane Irma, to give the players a chance to play their way into the postseason.

The Noles will be led by interim coach Odell Haggins. Of course, the school lost Jimbo Fisher to Texas A&M and former Oregon coach Willie Taggart has been hired to replace him but not in the bowl game. Haggins is a former FSU player and the longest tenured assistant on the staff. He’s been with the program as a coach since 1994. The game represents a chance for Florida State to improve to 7-6 and extends its streak of winning seasons to 40.

Holiday Bowl: Washington State vs. Michigan State College Football Odds & Game Info

  • When: Thursday, 9 PM ET
  • Where: SDCCU Stadium, San Diego
  • TV: Fox Sports 1
  • Stream: Fox Sports go
  • Radio:
  • Opening NCAAF Lines: Pick’em

Why Bet on Washington State?

Washington State completed the regular season 9-3 (and 6-3 in the Pac-12). Their victories against nationally ranked teams included USC and Stanford. Cougars head coach Mike Leach is now in his sixth year leading the program. He was nearly hired as the Tennessee coach before things went south at UT.

This is the Cougars’ fourth trip to the Holiday Bowl. They lost to Minnesota 17-12 in 2016. Washington State beat Texas 28-20 in 2003, and lost to BYU 38-36 in 1981. The program’s overall bowl game record is 7-6.

It’s the final college game for arguably the best quarterback in school history, Luke Falk, who holds several school and Pac-12 records. He’s not considered a mega-NFL prospect, however. Falk leads the FBS in completions per game (29.75), while ranking seventh in the nation in completion percentage (.669) and 10th in passing TDs (30), as well as 11th in passing yards per game (299.4 ypg), 13th in passing yards (3,593), 21st in points responsible for (180), 23rd in points responsible for per game (15.0 ppg) and 25th in total offense (287.2 ypg).

In Wazzu’s three loses, Falk threw two touchdown passes, eight interceptions and was pulled in the loss to Arizona. When he plays well, the Cougars win. When he doesn’t, they don’t. The Cougars will play the first half with arguably their best player, defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa, who was ejected from the regular-season finale vs. Washington because of a targeting penalty.

Washington State is 2-1 against ranked teams this season, beating No. 5 USC, 30-27, on Sept. 29 and No. 18 Stanford, 24-21, on Nov. 4, while losing to No. 15 Washington 41-14.

Why Bet on MSU?

The Spartans bounced back from a 3-9 season in 2016 to 9-3 this year, and they have a chance to become only the eighth team in school history to reach double digits in wins if they beat Wazzu. QB Brian Lewerke (17 passing TDs, seven interceptions) ranks third in the Big Ten and 38th in the FBS in total offense by averaging 255.5 yards per game (215 passing and 40.5 rushing). This season, Lewerke led wins over then-No. 7 Penn State, and then-No. 7 Michigan – at Ann Arbor.

Michigan State is making its 27th all-time appearance in a bowl game and its 10th under Mark Dantonio, the most bowl games of any coach in program history. MSU set a school record with nine consecutive bowl appearances from 2017-15, including a school-record four-game winning streak (2011 Outback Bowl over No. 18 Georgia; 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl over TCU; 2014 Rose Bowl over No. 5 Stanford; 2015 Cotton Bowl over No. 4 Baylor). MSU is 11-15 all-time in bowl games and 4-5 under Dantonio.

Michigan State and Washington State have played head-to-head seven times, with the Spartans leading the series 5-2. The two teams last played in 1977. The Spartans are 5-1 in bowl games in the state of California. MSU owns the highest winning percentage of any team with at least five appearances in the Rose Bowl (.800 at 4-1) and also won the 2001 Silicon Valley Bowl over Fresno State in San Jose.

Expert Prediction & College Bowl Picks of the Week

FSU is light years better than Southern Miss but probably won’t care much. Take the points. Sparty beats Washington State. These bowl picks are looking pretty solid, so be sure to take them into consideration before placing your bets!