clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Picking the Pac: Bowl Season

New, 33 comments

Pac-12 Faces Uphill Climb to Legitimacy

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Championship-Oregon vs Utah Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2021 Pac-12 Picks

Week ATS W ATS L ATS P SU W SU L Season to date ATS W ATS L ATS P SU W SU L
Week ATS W ATS L ATS P SU W SU L Season to date ATS W ATS L ATS P SU W SU L
0 1 0 1 0 48 43 0 63 28
1 4 8 8 4
2 4 6 6 4
3 7 4 7 4
4 3 3 5 1
5 3 2 3 2
6 3 1 3 1
7 3 2 4 1
8 4 2 3 3
9 2 4 3 3
10 3 2 3 2
11 2 3 5 0
12 5 1 4 2
13 2 5 6 1
14 2 0 2 0
15 0 0 0 0
Bowls

All Betting Lines provided by DraftKings Sportsbook

Oregon State (-6.5) vs. Utah State, Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl

This game occurred while I was traveling. I picked Oregon State to win and Utah State to cover. The Beaver offense struggled to finish drives and Utah State ran the ball successfully all day. The 13 points were a season-low output for Jonathan Smith’s squad.

Oregon State 28 – Utah State 23 (Actual, Utah State 24- Oregon State 13)

UCLA (+1) vs. NC State, San Diego Credit Union Holiday Bowl

NCAA Football: California at UCLA Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Holiday Bowl is an evenly-matched game where the strengths and weaknesses line up almost perfectly. UCLA has a very good offense built around Zach Charbonnet, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, and a dynamic interior run threat. On the other hand, the Bruins can’t defend, especially against the run. The Wolfpack struggled offensively through the year, both through the air and on the ground. Their strength is their defense and opponents have struggled to run the ball against them. UCLA ended the season on a role with three dominant wins in a row (albeit against teams with little to play for). Likewise, NC State closed out with solid wins over Syracuse and UNC. In the end, I’ll take NC State based on QB Devin Leary’s efficient game management, but I won’t be surprised to see the Bruins continue to roll.

NC State 35 – UCLA 31

Oregon (+4.5) @ Oklahoma, Valero Alamo Bowl

It was barely over a month ago when the Ducks just had to win out in their last three to qualify for the CFP. Since then, they’ve lost two of three, both to Utah, by a combined score of 76-17 and their coach left for a team that just went 7-5. Of course, Oklahoma has also lost two of three and their coach. On the other hand, it would be hard to find a better interim solution than Bob Stoops. The Sooners have had a soft underbelly in the secondary with the 123rd ranked EPA/Pass defense. Unfortunately for the Ducks, they defend the run very well, which is Oregon’s preferred method of attach. Oklahoma has a more balanced offense. Caleb Williams’s dual threat ability mirrors how Cam Rising picked apart the defense twice.

Oklahoma 30 – Oregon 23

Arizona State (+6.5) vs. Wisconsin, SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl

This game is a classic example of the difficulty of reading a team’s motivation. Is ASU invested in this game with coaching turmoil? They showed up for a rivalry game against Arizona, but it’s hard to know if this game will be meaningful to the remaining roster, which has already seen significant transfer portal attrition. Wisconsin is part of a cadre of Big 10 teams (with Iowa and Penn State) whose defense is lightyears ahead of the offense. In fact, this game pits the #1 rush offense success rate against the #1 rush defense success rate. Suffice to say, it should be a low scoring affair, which will help ASU cover the spread.

Wisconsin 23 – Arizona State 17

Washington State (pick ‘em) vs. Miami, Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl

NCAA Football: Miami at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Continuity favors the Cougs, who promoted interim Jake Dickert to HC after the Apple Cup. Tyler Van Dyke has steadily improved since taking over for the injured D’Eriq King. Converseley, the Canes haven’t shown the proclivity or ability to take advantage of a leaky run defense. Both teams played better in the second half of the season, but neither has been better than middle-of-the-pack for the full year. With the even odds, I’m inclined to go with the far more talented roster, but it should be a competitive, pass-happy game.

Miami 38 – WSU 35

Utah (+6.5) vs. Ohio State, Rose Bowl Game Presented by Capital One Venture Card No Hassle X What’s in Your Wallet Earn Unlimited 2x Reward Miles with No Annual fee

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

I’ve taken some artistic license with the bowl sponsorship, but only slightly. I’m aware that the only Pac-12 team I picked to win outright so far already lost, but that’s not changing my approach to this game. Ohio State has had defensive lapses at times, but the receiving corps remains exceptional. Utah’s best chance is to turn the game into a shootout and try to force the Buckeyes into the kind of mistakes that they used to take advantage of Oregon. While the Utes are peaking at the right time, this game is a much bigger hurdle to clear and it’s hard to see them keeping up with OSU’s offensive output.

Oho State 45 – Utah 35