Tailgate Pick ‘Em Bowl Week 1 Including Iowa vs USC

Iowa vs USC
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The first set of bowl games to close out the 2019 college football season is underway. Our panel of John Bava, Steen Kirby, and Yesh Ginsburg predicts all the best action including Iowa vs USC and Oklahoma State vs Texas A&M

New Mexico Bowl: San Diego State vs Central Michigan (Saturday) Line: San Diego State by 3.5

John: San Diego State might be the quietest nine-win team in the nation. They definitely got overshadowed by the two Mountain West division winners, Hawai’i and Boise State. But they continue to fly high under Rocky Long as the Aztecs still haven’t had a losing season during his nine-year tenure as head coach. They face a Central Michigan team who made the MAC title game in Jim McElwain’s first year as Chippewa coach. However, they came up short against Miami (OH) and so expect them to come out a little flat for this contest. San Diego State 41, Central Michigan 24

Yesh: It’s always hard to predict an SDSU game. The defense is good enough to stop anyone, but the offense is awful. I think the Aztecs can get it done, but anything can happen. This will absolutely be a one-score game. San Diego State 20, Central Michigan 17

Steen: San Diego snuck their way to 9 wins under the radar, they have one of the best defenses in the nation but a shockingly bad offense. CMU has shown plenty of offense by contrast but they were disappointing in the MAC title game. I expect SDSU to get over the line. San Diego State 17, Central Michigan 10

Boca Raton Bowl: SMU vs Florida Atlantic (Saturday)
Line: SMU by 3

John: This is a glorified home game for Florida Atlantic who finished with 10+ wins for the second time in Lane Kiffin’s three-year tenure which officially came to an end when he accepted the Ole Miss head-coaching job. They face an SMU side that clinched its first double-digit win season since 1984. This one should be high-scoring with both teams ranked top-20 nationally in scoring offense. Ultimately, the lack of coaching continuity works in the Ponies’ favor. SMU 48, Florida Atlantic 44

Yesh: This should be a fun, old-fashioned shootout between two really talented offensive teams. Even without its coach, I think the Owls can get through this. Florida Atlantic 45, SMU 41

Steen: A memorable season for both teams. SMU reached 10 wins and had their best season since the Pony Express era. FAU won C-USA and also reached 10 wins under now departed coach Lane Kiffin. FAU has an explosive offense but so does SMU, and SMU hasn’t lost their coach. SMU would be a slight favorite under neutral circumstances, but with FAU’s coaching regime change SMU should win in a shootout. SMU 49, Florida Atlantic 38

Las Vegas Bowl: #19 Boise State vs Washington (Saturday)
Line: Washington by 3.5

John: Washington head coach Chris Petersen is well and truly familiar with Boise as he held the same position with the Broncos from 2006-13 before moving to the Huskies. It’s only fitting that his final game with the program comes against the school where he made a name for himself. The quarterback advantage goes to Washington’s Jacob Eason as BSU will be starting Jaylon Henderson in place of the injured Hank Bachmeier. And there should be an incentive to send a coach who led them to a CFP berth during his tenure out on a good note. Washington 34, Boise State 27

Yesh: Predicting this game is silly. Both teams will be highly motivated, but whether that motivation means actually trying to win the game is a different question. Both teams might run trick plays every single down in an ode to Chris Petersen. Boise State 43, Washington 42

Steen: It shocks me that Washington is favored here, the 7-5 Huskies had a disappointing season where a number of their losses were competitive and other than a win in the Apple Cup and against USC, their fans feel somewhat empty. The Chris Peterson era is coming to an end at Washington, while Boise State just kept winning this season. Despite stumbling against BYU, the Broncos were among the best teams in the nation and had a credible case for a New Year’s Six Bowl bid throughout the season. This game is hard to predict, but it’s clear to me Boise is the better team. Boise State 38, Washington 24

Texas Bowl: #25 Oklahoma State vs Texas A&M (Friday)
Line: Texas A&M by 7

John: Both these squads are coming off rather one-sided defeats to teams who ultimately qualified for the CFP. So the motivation factor associated with playing in this lower-tier bowl game might be an issue. The line probably takes into account the meat grinder that was A&M’s schedule being in the SEC West. They certainly have the look of a much more battle-hardened team. For that reason, Jimbo Fisher’s second season in College Station concludes positively. Texas A&M 31, Oklahoma State 23

Yesh: It’s hard to know anything about either team. Texas A&M lost to good teams and beat bad teams. Oklahoma State beat some good teams but lost to some bad teams. I’ll take Oklahoma State, but this is a toss up. Oklahoma State 35, Texas A&M 28

Steen: These teams are relatively closely matched from difference conferences. Texas A&M struggled in games against some of the best teams in the nation, but got to 7 wins by beating everyone else. OK State has been a team of streaks, they started 3-0, and then went 4-0 in another stretch of games before losing to rivals Oklahoma in the last game of the regular season. I’m not sold on Texas A&M this year so I’ll go with the upset. Oklahoma State 33, Texas A&M 28

Holiday Bowl: #16 Iowa vs #22 USC (Friday)
Line: Iowa by 1.5

John: These teams come into their bowl game both riding three-game winning streaks. However, the Trojans looked a lot more convincing in their triad of victories. They put up a half a hundred on crosstown rival UCLA while the Hawkeyes narrowly beat a mediocre Nebraska team. Plus, USC quarterback Kedon Slovis has excelled since taking over as starter. Even though Iowa defends the pass quite well, they’ll struggle to contain Slovis who owns the 10th best pass efficiency mark in FBS. USC 27, Iowa 20

Yesh: This should be, by far, the best of the early bowl games. Iowa is very underrated, and the Hawkeyes face a good USC team. People think the Iowa secondary is slow based on Big Ten stereotypes, but that will be shown to be far from true in this one. Iowa 35, USC 21

Steen: USC is talented but they have had some bad losses this season, Iowa’s three losses have only come against ranked teams and never by more than a touchdown. The offense can be shaky but the defense is one of the best in America. Iowa should slow down the Trojans and get to 10 wins. Iowa 21, USC 17