College Football Pick'em: Recapping the Early Bowl Games

Dumont WalkerSenior Analyst IDecember 29, 2008

So the 2008 College Bowl season is well underway, and here at Walker-Sports we are knee deep in our College Bowl Pick’em game. Just for those of you who are keeping score, we decided to take a look back at the games that were played last week over Christmas and show you how we stacked up with our picks.

Warning: This could get a little ugly.



Poinsettia Bowl: TCU 17 vs. Boise State 16

TCU came into this game with the second ranked defense in college football, and they proved why they are worthy of holding that honor. Boise State is a high-powered team that can score points in a variety of different ways. However, in the end the TCU defense was too tough. After giving up an early lead, TCU controlled the line of scrimmage and shut down the Broncos offense.

TCU came into the game a three-point favorite. They were unable to cover the spread, but they walked away with the victory, which means Walker-Sports split on this game.

Hawaii Bowl: Notre Dame 49 vs. Hawaii 21

This was the best game I have seen the Fighting Irish play since Lou Holtz was calling the plays on the sidelines. Nothing else to say other than I was wrong. Jimmy Clausen played the game of his life, completing 22 of 26 passes for a total of 401 yards and five touchdowns.

There is no doubt that Charlie Weis’ team put it all together for this bowl game. As a result, Notre Dame was able to break its losing streak in bowl games that had extended for over a decade and included nine consecutive bowl losses. This may be the watershed moment for the Fighting Irish where they can build towards the future.

Notre Dame was a two-point favorite entering the game, and obviously they covered that with ease.


Motor City Bowl: Florida Atlantic 24 vs. Central Michigan 21

FAU ended the 2008 college football seasons as one of the hottest teams in the country. After a dismal start, FAU fought all year long to earn the right to play in a bowl game. On the day after Christmas, they were in Detroit playing Central Michigan, and they continued to fight.

There was no spread on this game, but we picked Central Michigan to win, which they were obviously unable to do, so I guess this one goes down as a loss against us.

Emerald Bank Bowl: Cal 24 vs. Miami (FL) 17

The Miami Hurricanes are a young team with a lot of potential. In the late game on Saturday night they proved that theory to be correct. The Canes traveled across the country to play in what was basically a home game for the Cal Bears. Miami went down 14-0 early in the game, but they regained composure and fought hard to make this an interesting game.

However, in the end, Cal was simply too much to handle. Jahvid Best is an absolute stud at tailback for Cal, and there is no doubt he will be high on my Heisman ballot entering next season. His ability to rip off long runs seemingly at will was too much for Miami to overcome. Best finished the day with 20 carries and 186 yards.

The spread had Cal favored by eight points, and they were unable to cover that, but they did get the win, so once again that means Walker-Sports split on this game.

Champs Sports Bowl: Florida State 42 vs. Wisconsin 13

Bobby Bowden still has a few bullets left in the old gun. That’s all I could think while watching this game on Saturday evening. In many ways this looked like a vintage Florida State team that was paced by their defense.

Florida State manhandled Wisconsin throughout the Champs Sports Bowl. The Seminoles recovered three fumbles, turning them into 21 points. With their defense playing so well, Florida State was able to open up their offense and take some risks that we have not seen them take in some years.

The spread favored Florida State by six points, and they easily covered that margin.


Meineke Car Care Bowl: West Virginia 31 vs. UNC 30

Without a doubt this proved to be one of the most entertaining games of the bowl season. The North Carolina Tar Heels were playing in Charlotte in what should have amounted to a home game, but there would be no home field advantage on Saturday afternoon. The Tar Heels and the Mountaineers were in a shootout, and the last one with the ball would emerge victorious.

The West Virginia defense looked horrible for much of the game, as they were unable to contain UNC wideout Hakeem Nicks, who caught eight passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns.

However, West Virginia QB Pat White proved why he has been the pillar of the Mountaineer program for the past four seasons. White completed 26 of 32 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns. Not bad for a quarterback who is supposed to be a runner first and a passer second.

In a game that showcased offense, it would be defense that proved to be the deciding factor. West Virginia forced two key turnovers in the late moments of the game, and they were able to escape with the victory.

The spread favored West Virginia by one-and-a-half points, and they were unable to cover that mark, so once again Walker-Sports split the decision on this game.


College Football Pick'em Bowl Results
Against the spread: 3-2
Straight Up: 3-3