Happy New Year's Eve, everyone! Can y'all believe that 2012 is almost over? I'm almost as surprised by that fact as I am the fact that we've managed to pick all but four of this post-season's bowl games against the spread. (You can find our prior picks here, here, here, here, here, and here.) Having (nearly) survived the year and (nearly) completed this mammoth task, I figure it's time to step down. Given how bad I am at picking games against the spread, you wouldn't think it would take me so long to put together these columns, but the old boss man was starting to get suspicious about all of the "independent research" I've been doing. Thanks for reading and commenting, and always remember: whenever some random dude on the internet gives you a hot tip about a college football game, Don't Bet On It!
Cotton Bowl (1/4)
No. 9 Texas A&M (-3) v. No. 11 Oklahoma
As usual, Johnny Heis-Manziel is going to be the difference-maker in this game, but it might not be a good thing this time. In the BCS era, Heisman Trophy winners are just 7-7 in bowl games following their award-winning season, and Heisman-winning quarterbacks are just 4-6. Nevertheless, the Aggies are scoring more points than the Sooners despite facing stiffer SEC defenses, so we're picking A&M to cover. We wouldn't put money on anything other than the over (70), though.
BBVA Compass Bowl (1/5)
Pittsburgh v. Ole Miss (-3.5)
I'm not sure how Hugh Freeze got passed over for SEC Coach of the Year. Co-winners Kevin Sumlin and Larry Muschamp were both working with blue chip prospects. Ole Blind Side guided the Rebels from 2-10 to 6-6, including their first SEC win in more than 2 years. The Panthers have the same record in a conference that probably won't exist in 2 years, so we'll take our conference's feel-good story to cover.
GoDaddy.com Bowl (1/6)
No. 25 Kent State (+4) v. Arkansas State
How bad is Arkansas State? Their head coach just left for the Auburn job. That's bad enough for us to pick Kent State to cover.
Discover BCS National Championship Game (1/7)
No. 1 Notre Dame v. No. 2 Alabama (-10)
As far as I can tell, the two highest championship game point spreads in the BCS era were in favor of Miami in 2002-03 and Ohio State in 2006-07. Both of those teams lost outright. That is literally the only reason I can think of to pick against the Tide here. The Irish haven't played a ranked team since October 27th, when they beat Oklahoma 30-13. The mighty Sooners boast the 12th ranked scoring offense in the nation, whereas the Tide are a lowly... 14th? The Tide are also allowing nearly 2 fewer TDs than Oklahoma. Here's how this game is going to go: both teams are going to punt A LOT in the first half. In the second half, Alabama is going to wear down the Irish -- just like they've worn down everyone else -- while rotating in an endless stream of blue chippers to harass Notre Dame's anemic offense. Alabama wins 30-6, and Nick Saban heads back to the NFL.