Every year, college football fans compete in contests where they have to pick the winners of the college bowl games. But in “Confidence Pools” you additionally rank your confidence in the straight-up W/L outcomes, from 1-42, winning the number of points related to your assuredness in their hitting. The person with the highest total point score after Bowl Season ends wins the pot. So you may lose a number of the lower confidence picks, but you’re screwed if you don’t win your higher confidence picks.
(The pick in the National Title game can be used for tiebreaker purposes.)
Whether you’re playing in such a pool, or just looking for advice on how to bet the bowl games, here are my personal predictions for the Bowl Games, with my confidence points rank in parenthesis. Remember, the higher the confidence points, the more, well, confident.
Middle Tennessee State vs. Toledo:
Toledo is a nine-point favorite, plays a no-nonsense kind of ball. Other analysts are more confident than I am.
Pick: Toledo (3)
Northern Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina:
Coastal Carolina has been one of the better programs in college football the last two seasons. Last year they failed to cap the year off with a bowl victory. Grayson McCall gets it done this year.
Pick: Coastal Carolina (33)
Western Kentucky vs. Appalachian State:
The Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky may be the underdogs, but I like the high-powered offense anchored by Bailey Zappe.
Pick: Western Kentucky (11)
UTEP vs. Fresno State:
Jake Haener declared he was entering the transfer portal but decided against it and returned to Fresno State. The Bulldogs have been our squad our season. We are not hopping off of them now.
Pick: Fresno State (22)
BYU vs. UAB:
The Cougars’ defense and running game is too much for the Dragons in this one. BYU wins by two scores.
Pick: BYU (32)
Eastern Michigan vs. Liberty:
In what should be Malik Willis’ last game at Liberty, the Flames go out on top.
Pick: Liberty (15)
Utah State vs. Oregon State:
I don’t have much confidence in this one. Utah State is a tough out, but Oregon State is the more talented team. I will side with the Beavers by a slight margin.
Pick: Oregon State (10)
Marshall vs. Louisiana:
I am not picking against a 12-1 Louisiana team in New Orleans.
Pick: Louisiana (35)
Tulsa vs. Old Dominion:
Both teams come into this game on winning streaks–something has to give. A coin-flip game where I exude zero confidence.
Pick: Tulsa (4)
Kent State vs. Wyoming:
Wyoming feels like they’re limping to the finish line here. I’m going to side with the Golden Flashes of Kent State by the slimmest of margins.
Pick: Kent State (2)
San Diego State vs. UTSA:
Sincere McCormick and UTSA can control this game on the ground and grind out a victory over the Aztecs.
Pick: UTSA (14)
Army vs. Missouri:
The Army ground attack is too much for the Tigers defense to stop for four quarters.
Pick: Army (21)
Miami (OH) vs. North Texas:
How do you pick against a team named the ‘Mean Green’?
Pick: North Texas (1)
Florida vs. Central Florida:
The Gators have too much talent on both sides of the ball, and with QB Emory Jones taking the reigns before heading off to the transfer portal, Florida is the call.
Pick: Florida (39)
Memphis vs. Hawaii:
Christmas Eve in Hawaii is a tough ask for a team to handle against the Rainbow Warriors.
Pick: Hawaii (9)
Ball State vs. Georgia State:
I like Georgia State in this one, they have been red-hot down the stretch, and the momentum carries into the bowl game.
Pick: Georgia State (13)
Western Michigan vs. Nevada:
I don’t see Carson Strong, the most decorated quarterback in school history, leaving out on a low note. The Wolfpack takes this one.
Pick: Nevada (31)
East Carolina vs. Boston College:
This one should be another close one. I will take the better-coached team with the better quarterback in Phil Jurkovec. Give me the Eagles.
Pick: Boston College (8)
Houston vs. Auburn:
Houston is a tough draw for the Tigers, but ultimately I believe their defense is too much for the Cougars to contend with.
Pick: Auburn (30)
Louisville vs. Air Force:
Air Force is a tough draw for a Louisville defense. The Falcons will give the Cardinal all they can handle. In the end, Malik Cunningham is too much, and Louisville pulls out a victory.
Pick: Louisville (20)
UCLA vs. NC State:
I was more and more impressed with the NC State program as the season went along. The Wolfpack is one of the more complete teams in college football. I’ll take NC State to pull away late.
Pick: NC State (19)
Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State:
Mississippi State is one of the most talented teams in college football and found its footing as the season went along. The Bulldogs control this one from start to finish.
Pick: Mississippi State (24)
Minnesota vs. West Virginia:
I like the grit displayed by the Minnesota program when they faced adversity. I’ll take the Golden Gophers by a touchdown.
Pick: Minnesota (23)
Virginia vs. SMU:
Brennan Armstrong vs. Tanner Mordecai–get your popcorn ready. I like the Mustangs’ passing attack more, so I will take SMU.
Pick: SMU (25)
Virginia Tech vs. Maryland:
I question the toughness of the Maryland program. I know the Hokies are in transition at the coaching position, but they are just a better team.
Pick: Virginia Tech (16)
Clemson vs. Iowa State:
The Clemson Tigers had a down year for their standards. They also will be without some assistant coaches. I don’t trust the Iowa State program.
Pick: Clemson (5)
Oklahoma vs. Oregon:
This game feels like a launching pad for Caleb Williams for next year’s Heisman Trophy. Both teams are missing their coaches. I will go with the offense I trust more, and that’s the Sooners.
Pick: Oklahoma (34)
North Carolina vs. South Carolina:
In Sam Howell’s swan song, the Tar Heels defeat the Gamecocks, pulling away late in this one.
Pick: North Carolina (29)
Purdue vs. Tennessee:
This game has all the makings of a track meet. I believe in the Voluteers’ offense more than the Boilermakers.
Pick: Tennessee (18)
Michigan State vs. Pittsburgh:
Kenneth Walker IV and the Spartans running game could control the offense. I can’t overlook Kenny Pickett and how well he has played this season. I’ll take the Panthers.
Pick: Pittsburgh (17)
Wisconsin vs. Arizona State:
Wisconsin’s run game and one of the best defenses in the country is too much for Jayden Daniels and the Arizona State offense.
Pick: Wisconsin (40)
Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M:
Sam Hartman and the Wake Forest offense have enough fire-power to make things interesting, but ultimately the Aggies defense makes enough plays for the victory.
Pick: Texas A&M (28)
Miami (FL) vs. Washington State:
Miami has been one of the most inconsistent teams this season. Washington State can lean on their back Max Borghi, and passing game to get them through.
Pick: Washington State (12)
Central Michigan vs. Boise State:
Boise State is a two-score favorite against the Chippewas. I believe Central Michigan will keep this one close, but Boise State does just enough to squeak out a victory.
Pick: Boise State (7)
Penn State vs. Arkansas:
Penn State is one of the more underrated teams in the bowl games. The Nittany Lions lost several close games to tough teams. Penn State winds up on the right side of this one.
Pick: Penn State (37)
Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma State:
Marcus Freeman sets the tone in his Head Coaching debut for the Fighting Irish leading Notre Dame to a victory over the Cowboys.
Pick: Notre Dame (36)
Iowa vs. Kentucky:
This one should be more of a defensive struggle. We have seen both the Hawkeyes and Wildcats shut teams down during the season. Kentucky’s quarterback play is more stable, so they have the advantage.
Picks: Kentucky (6)
Ohio State vs. Utah:
Utah has a tough defense, and they will give the Buckeyes some issues. C.J. Stroud and the offense have too much fire-power. Ohio State pulls away late in this one.
Picks: Ohio State (41)
Ole Miss vs. Baylor:
Baylor shocked many of us by defeating Oklahoma State in the Big XII title game. I don’t see how Baylor slows down Matt Corral and the Ole Miss offense. I’ll take Mississippi by multiple scores.
Picks: Ole Miss (27)
Kansas State vs. LSU:
LSU is a team in transition. They will be vulnerable to a dangerous Kansas State team. Ultimately, LSU is too talented on both sides of the ball to fall.
Picks: LSU (26)
Alabama vs. Cincinnati:
Cincinnati has been the story of the college football season. The Bearcats are crashing the National Title semi-finals. The story comes to an end here against Alabama.
Picks: Alabama (42)
Michigan vs. Georgia:
I am fascinated by this match-up. This game appears to be a defensive slugfest. I like Georgia’s defense more and believe they eventually take the game over.
Picks: Georgia (38)
National Title: Alabama vs. Georgia:
We have a rematch of the SEC title game. Alabama had their way against Georgia in the first outing. I believe the Bulldogs will be better prepared this time around and edge out the Crimson Tide for the National Title.