2022 Bowl Confidence Pool Rankings: Collin Wilson’s Picks for Every College Football Bowl Game
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett IV.
Every sport offers a unique slice of gambling that requires research, statistical analysis, market inspection and a bit of luck.
One of the betting pinnacles in college basketball is the March Madness Calcutta pool, while golf provides a season-long “one-and-done” format. For college football, the most exciting prop bet of the season is a bowl confidence pool.
If you’re unfamiliar with the format, a player needs to pick a winner in every single game and assign a “confidence rating” that will be added up at the end.
For example, if a participant feels that Kansas will blow out Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl, then the Jayhawks would be the selection with the highest point total assigned in the pool. Conversely, if a bowl game has plenty of turnover from coaching, transfer portal and opt-outs then a player could assign the lowest point value to that game.
Information is king when it comes to creating a pool entry. This article will focus on 41 games, not including the national title or the Celebration Bowl.
Point values are based on a straight-up winner, keeping in mind the latest news on coaches on players.
Without hesitation, we start with our list of bowls before a short summary of each game.
Every Bowl Game, Ranked by Confidence Points
UAB vs. Miami (OH)
Bahamas Bowl: Friday, Dec. 16 ⋅ Nassau, Bahamas
Spread: UAB -11
UAB coach-in-waiting Trent Dilfer is doing everything to assist interim head coach Bryant Vincent in preparation for the bowl. The players sent written letters to the UAB administration lobbying for Vincent to be the head coach, making this the last time the Blazers will play for the old Bill Clark regime.
UAB should be highly motivated, but it has struggled to stop dual-threat quarterbacks. Liberty’s Kaidon Salter and LSU’s Jayden Daniels gave the Blazers trouble, and Aveon Smith can do the same for Miami (Ohio).
Pick: UAB ⋅ Confidence: 31
UTSA vs. Troy
Cure Bowl: Friday, Dec. 16 ⋅ Orlando, Florida
Spread: Troy -1.5
This will match the best offense versus the best defense from a Group of Five perspective.
Quarterback Frank Harris has committed to UTSA through next season, but it’s the ground game that will win this bowl. Troy is a superior pass defense, but the results against rush leave plenty to be desired.
Running Back Kevorian Barnes will take advantage of a Trojans defense that struggled against the rushing attacks of Ole Miss, Appalachian State and Louisiana.
Pick: UTSA ⋅ Confidence: 11
Cincinnati vs. Louisville
Fenway Bowl: Friday, Dec. 16 ⋅ Boston, Massachusetts
Spread: Louisville -1.5
There has not been another bowl with more news than the Wasabi Fenway Bowl. Luke Fickell has left Cincinnati for Wisconsin, while Scott Satterfield has departed Louisville for the Cincinnati position.
Quarterback Malik Cunningham and key running backs will not be on the sideline for the Cardinals. Although two backup quarterbacks will be under center, one of these rosters has a distinct advantage. The Bearcats bring better numbers on both sides of the ball in terms of tackling, third-down conversions, coverage and Success Rate.
Pick: Cincinnati ⋅ Confidence: 8
BYU vs. SMU
New Mexico Bowl: Saturday, Dec. 17 ⋅ Albuquerque, New Mexico
Spread: SMU -3.5
SMU head coach Rhett Lashlee mentioned the busy schedule of managing the transfer portal and Texas high school recruiting mixed with the date of the New Mexico Bowl.
The bigger problem is the loss of wide receiver Rashee Rice, who opted out after 156 targets this season.
For BYU, head coach Kilani Sitake has taken over play-calling duties on defense and fields the better unit against the big play. BYU ranks top-40 against explosive plays with the defense of SMU outside the top 100. That’s a key element against these offenses.
Pick: BYU ⋅ Confidence: 2
Washington State vs. Fresno State
Los Angeles Bowl: Saturday, Dec. 17 ⋅ Los Angeles, California
Spread: Fresno State -3
The transfer portal consumed a number of notables on the Washington State side. Both De’Zhaun Stribling and Donovan Ollie recorded the most targets for an offense that throws on 58% of snaps.
Two of the top three tackling linebackers have also hit the portal, making this a tougher pull for a Washington State team that also lost defensive coordinator Brian Ward.
Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford said the LA Bowl was the most desired because of SoFi Stadium, the short drive for the fan base and a Bulldog roster full of Southern California athletes.
Pick: Fresno State ⋅ Confidence: 22
Rice vs. Southern Miss
LendingTree Bowl: Saturday, Dec. 17 ⋅ Mobile, Alabama
Spread: Southern Miss -6.5
The Golden Eagles finished the season on a heater, covering five of their final six games. The opposite can be said for Rice, which won just one of its final five games on the schedule.
There’s no word on who will be under center for the Owls with late-season injuries to Wiley Green and TJ McMahon.
Pick: Southern Miss ⋅ Confidence: 34
Florida vs. Oregon State
Las Vegas Bowl: Saturday, Dec. 17 ⋅ Las Vegas, Nevada
Spread: Oregon State -10.5
There will be plenty of missing pieces for Florida, including quarterback Anthony Richardson and multiple players on the offensive line. With Jalen Kitna being kicked off the team, Jack Miller III is set to receive his first snap of playing time in Las Vegas.
Oregon State will bring one of the best rushing games in the nation led by Damien Martinez. Not only have the Gators struggled to defend the rush, but Florida is also near dead last in defensive third-down conversion rate and Finishing Drives.
Pick: Oregon State ⋅ Confidence: 38
North Texas vs. Boise State
Frisco Bowl: Saturday, Dec. 17 ⋅ Frisco, Texas
Spread: Boise State -10
After failing to win the Conference USA Championship game, North Texas head coach Seth Littrell was fired at the end of the season. Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett will serve as interim for the bowl.
Boise State head coach Andy Avalos was pumped that numerous players on the Broncos roster are set to return to the state of Texas. Most of the players on the current roster have not played in a bowl, as Boise elected not to play in 2020 before the Arizona Bowl was canceled last season.
Mean Green quarterback Austin Aune will declare for the NFL Draft after this game, but the path to a career-ending win isn’t easy. The Broncos are the top defense in the nation in terms of Passing Downs Success Rate.
Pick: Boise State ⋅ Confidence: 32
UConn vs. Marshall
Myrtle Beach Bowl: Monday, Dec. 19 ⋅ Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Spread: Marshall -10
UConn is the feel-good college football story of 2022, as the program rose from the ashes to make a bowl. Now, the Huskies face one of the toughest defenses in the Group of Five.
Quarterback Zion Turner and running back Victor Rosa led a rush-heavy UConn offense, but the Herd field a defense that ranks top-20 nationally in Line Yards and Stuff Rate.
There’s nothing elusive with the smash-mouth rush offense led by running back Khalan Laborn, but Marshall should cruise to a comfortable victory.
Pick: Marshall ⋅ Confidence: 39
Eastern Michigan vs. San Jose State
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Tuesday, Dec. 20 ⋅ Boise, Idaho
Spread: San Jose State -3.5
Head coach Brent Brennan has elevated the San Jose State program, but the 2022 season was a tale of two halves. Led by Hawaii transfer quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, the Spartans won four of their first five games, coming within a possession of beating Auburn in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Pick: San Jose State ⋅ Confidence: 4
Liberty vs. Toledo
Boca Raton Bowl: Tuesday, Dec. 20 ⋅ Boca Raton, Florida
Spread: Toledo -5
Defensive coordinator Josh Aldridge takes over interim duties for Liberty after the departure of Hugh Freeze. Aldridge was proud to coach a defense full of players he personally recruited.
Liberty players are looking to end the season on a positive note after an embarrassing Senior Day loss, as all three quarterbacks in Kaiden Salter, Johnathan Bennett and Charlie Brewer are expected to play in the bowl.
Ultimately, Salter’s dual-threat ability to pass and scramble will take advantage of a Toledo defense that’s near dead last against the explosive rush.
Pick: Liberty ⋅ Confidence: 12
Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama
New Orleans Bowl: Wednesday, Dec. 21 ⋅ New Orleans, Louisiana
Spread: South Alabama -8
A narrow four-point loss is all that kept second-year head coach Kane Wommack from taking South Alabama to the Sun Belt Conference Championship.
A 10-win season was no fluke for the Jaguars, who finished with a Strength of Record in the top 30.
Pick: South Alabama ⋅ Confidence: 33
Air Force vs. Baylor
Armed Forces Bowl: Thursday, Dec. 22 ⋅ Fort Worth, Texas
Spread: Baylor -6.5
Dave Aranda is expected to be hands-on with the defense and special teams but has not faced a triple option in his three-year tenure in Waco.
Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun joked about putting two players in one jersey during practice to replicate the size of Baylor’s defensive line. As long as defensive interior Siaki Ika doesn’t opt out, this is a play on the Bears.
Pick: Baylor ⋅ Confidence: 21
Louisiana vs. Houston
Independence Bowl: Friday, Dec. 23 ⋅ Shreveport, Louisiana
Spread: Houston -6.5
The Ragin’ Cajuns will have upset on their mind with a short trip to Shreveport to face a Houston team that may not be interested in this particular bowl.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen has covered just two of the nine bowl games in his career, emphasizing the priorities for Houston are in the transfer portal and high school recruiting.
Quarterback Clayton Tune and receiver Nathaniel Dell are expected to play in the bowl despite NFL Draft aspirations, but both players may elect to sit leading up to kickoff.
Louisiana will be prepared if the Cougars’ key combination plays, as the Ragin’ Cajuns finished the season 12th in coverage grading, per PFF.
Pick: Louisiana ⋅ Confidence: 13
Missouri vs. Wake Forest
Gasparilla Bowl: Friday, Dec. 23 ⋅ St. Petersburg, Florida
Spread: Wake Forest -1
A plethora of key contributors for Missouri will be missing from the defense, including safety Martez Manuel and edge rusher Isaiah McGuire. Quarterback Brady Cook will also miss his most explosive weapon in wide receiver Dominic Lovett.
Missouri finished dead last in defensive standard downs explosiveness, signaling that the Demon Deacons might find quick scores through quarterback Sam Hartman and wide receiver AT Perry.
Pick: Wake Forest ⋅ Confidence: 29
San Diego State vs. Middle Tennessee
Hawaii Bowl: Saturday, Dec. 24 ⋅ Honolulu, Hawaii
Spread: San Diego State -7
San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke is all too familiar with business trips to the island, defeating Hawaii in Mountain West action last season.
The Aztecs had a renaissance on the offensive side of the ball after running backs coach Jeff Horton took on offensive coordinator duties. Quarterback Jalen Mayden has thrived in the new-look offense, an issue for a Middle Tennessee defense that struggled in passing downs and opponent third-down conversions.
Look for San Diego State’s stout pass defense to limit the Blue Raiders quarterback Chase Cunningham.
Pick: San Diego State ⋅ Confidence: 36
New Mexico State vs. Bowling Green
Quick Lane Bowl: Monday, Dec. 26 ⋅ Detroit, Michigan
Spread: Bowling Green -3
There should be no lack of motivation on either side, as Bowling Green head coach Scot Loeffler coaches his first bowl for a Falcons team that hasn’t played in the postseason since 2015.
This will be New Mexico State’s second bowl game in the past 62 years, as head coach Jerry Kill improved his defense in limiting explosiveness.
The Aggies have struggled to generate a pass rush all season with limited personnel in the trench.
Falcons quarterback Matt McDonald has been excellent in a clean pocket, throwing eight touchdowns against the defenses of Toledo and Marshall.
Pick: Bowling Green ⋅ Confidence: 15
Utah State vs. Memphis
First Responder Bowl: Tuesday, Dec. 27 ⋅ Dallas, Texas
Spread: Memphis -7.5
Running back Calvin Tyler Jr. has opted for the NFL Draft, leaving a hole in the backfield for Utah State. Backup running back Robert Briggs suffered a season-ending injury mid-November, leaving the Aggies with a one-dimensional offense heading into the bowl game.
While Cooper Legas has the ability to scramble at quarterback, the junior had more turnover-worthy plays than big-time throws.
Look for Memphis quarterback Seth Henigan to take advantage of a poor pass defense from Utah State.
Pick: Memphis ⋅ Confidence: 27
Coastal Carolina vs. East Carolina
Birmingham Bowl: Tuesday, Dec. 27 ⋅ Birmingham, Alabama
Spread: East Carolina -9.5
The Coastal Carolina dynasty may finally come to an end, as head coach Jamey Chadwell has moved on to Liberty.
A number of players have hit the transfer portal and opted out with the exception of quarterback Grayson McCall, who was limited by injury in the Sun Belt Championship loss. However, McCall will enter the portal after the bowl game.
Now, the Chanticleers will look to execute the hybrid triple-option offense without their coach or center Willie Lampkin.
Pick: East Carolina ⋅ Confidence: 23
Buffalo vs. Georgia Southern
Camellia Bowl: Tuesday, Dec. 27 ⋅ Montgomery, Alabama
Spread: Georgia Southern -3.5
Clay Helton quietly took a program from decades of the triple option to a 62% pass rate with a top-20 Success Rate. Quarterback Kyle Vantrease gets a revenge angle against Buffalo, where he spent the previous five seasons.
The Bulls’ forte has been Defensive Havoc with a national rank inside the top 10. Buffalo could not have drawn an opponent that’s better at ball protection this season, as Georgia Southern ranks second in Havoc Allowed thanks to the second-lowest tackle-for-loss rate and just four fumbles lost on the season.
Pick: Georgia Southern ⋅ Confidence: 28
Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma State
First Responders Bowl: Tuesday, Dec. 27 ⋅ Phoenix, Arizona
Spread: Wisconsin -3
Dozens of newsworthy items center around this bowl, starting with the impending transfers of both starting quarterbacks.
In addition to losing Graham Mertz, Wisconsin will be without a starting center and two key defensive pieces.
The post-Spencer Sanders era at Oklahoma State begins with a depleted roster sans linebacker Mason Cobb and running back Dominic Richardson.
Although Mike Gundy has been excellent in covering bowl spreads, there are too many missing pieces for the Cowboys heading into Phoenix.
Pick: Wisconsin ⋅ Confidence: 16
Duke vs. UCF
Military Bowl: Wednesday, Dec. 28 ⋅ Annapolis, Maryland
Spread: Duke -1
Central Florida will head into the bowl game without plenty of transfers and with plenty of injuries.
Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee dealt with shoulder and hamstring issues to end the season, with questions about his mobility coming into this game. Both wide receiver Ryan O’Keefe and linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste are major losses on each side of the ball.
First-year Duke head coach Mike Elko defied the odds of getting to bowl season, as his 4-2-5 defense excelled in limiting ground explosiveness.
The ground game, led by running back Jordan Waters and quarterback Riley Leonard, gives Duke statistical advantages in Line Yards and Stuff Rate over the Knights defense.
Pick: Duke ⋅ Confidence: 14
Kansas vs. Arkansas
Liberty Bowl: Wednesday, Dec. 28 ⋅ Memphis, Tennessee
Spread: Arkansas -3
The Razorbacks’ biggest victories of late come at the quarterback position, retaining KJ Jefferson next season while getting Jacolby Criswell from North Carolina via the transfer portal.
The Liberty Bowl will have no shortage of points between these two defenses, as Kansas finished near dead last in Havoc and Line Yards.
Jefferson will have a path to convert every third-and-long, something that has been an issue for the Jayhawks defense all season.
Arkansas is in a similar boat defensively, losing key talent in Bumper Pool, Myles Slusher and Drew Sanders. In the end, Kansas has no answers defensively for Jefferson and running back Raheim Sanders.
Pick: Arkansas ⋅ Confidence: 20
North Carolina vs. Oregon
Holiday Bowl: Wednesday, Dec. 28 ⋅ San Diego, California
Spread: Oregon -14
North Carolina will be without its most explosive pieces around quarterback Drake Maye. Offensive coordinator Phil Longo has accepted the same position at Wisconsin, while receiver Josh Downs has opted out for the NFL Draft.
The Ducks were boosted by the announcement of Bo Nix sticking around for the bowl game. Nix should be fully recovered from an injury that limited his mobility down the Pac-12 stretch.
While this game should be a laser show, Oregon is the offense that executes without interruption better than any team in college football, ranking first overall in Standard Downs Success Rate.
Pick: Oregon ⋅ Confidence: 40
Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech
Texas Bowl: Wednesday, Dec. 28 ⋅ Houston, Texas
Spread: Ole Miss -3.5
Fans and alumni of Texas Tech are excited for the Texas Bowl, quickly selling out their allotment of tickets. Quarterback Behren Morton will start against an Ole Miss defense that finished 94th in Opponent Passing Success Rate.
The Rebels were lethal on the ground this season after electing to rush on 62% of snaps. Running back Quinshon Judkins will face a Red Raiders defense that finished top-10 in Standard Downs Success Rate.
Offenses will get the headlines in this game, but Texas Tech’s leading numbers in tackling and Finishing Drives get the victory.
Pick: Texas Tech ⋅ Confidence: 18
Syracuse vs. Minnesota
Pinstripe Bowl: Thursday, Dec. 29 ⋅ Bronx, New York
Spread: Minnesota -7.5
The loss of offensive coordinator Robert Anae to NC State sent the point spread steaming in the direction of Minnesota. PJ Fleck stated quarterback Tanner Morgan is practicing and “doing everything we can to make him available.”
This game is a severe mismatch in the trench, as rush-heavy Minnesota takes on an Orange defense that finished 114th in Standard Downs Success Rate and 125th in Stuff Rate. Running backs Mohamed Ibrahim, Bryce Williams and Trey Potts have been excellent at creating yards after contact.
Pick: Minnesota ⋅ Confidence: 35
Oklahoma vs. Florida State
Cheez-It Bowl: Thursday, Dec. 29 ⋅ Orlando, Florida
Spread: Florida State -7.5
The opt-out of both starting offensive tackles for the Sooners in conjunction with a number of returning Seminole players has tilted the spread over a touchdown in favor of Florida State.
The Oklahoma defense struggled the entire season to generate a pass rush, as Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis led an offense that ranked top-20 in explosiveness.
Pick: Florida State ⋅ Confidence: 25
Washington vs. Texas
Alamo Bowl: Thursday, Dec. 29 ⋅ San Antonio, Texas
Spread: Texas -5.5
The Alamo Bowl has a long history of producing fantastic offensive fireworks, and this version will be no different.
Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is committed through next season, leading one of the most efficient offenses in the nation. Texas star running back Bijan Robinson is still on track to play in this game, giving the Horns the advantage offensively.
Texas defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski gets the chance to scheme against his old place of employment. The Longhorns defense finished 19th in pass rush and ninth in Finishing Drives, well beyond any numbers put up by the Huskies.
Pick: Texas ⋅ Confidence: 19
NC State vs. Maryland
Duke’s Mayo Bowl: Friday, Dec. 30 ⋅ Charlotte, North Carolina
Spread: Maryland -1.5
Although Maryland loses explosive targets in Dontay Demus and Jacob Copeland to the NFL Draft, the top three targets return for the bowl game. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa showed no signs of injury in the season finale against Rutgers, posting four big-time throws.
The questions for NC State all come on the offensive side of the ball, starting with the health of multiple quarterbacks. Tim Beck is no longer the offensive coordinator, taking over the head coaching position at Coastal Carolina.
Finally, offensive line coach John Garrison has left for Ole Miss as the Wolfpack hand over those duties to a graduate assistant.
Both MJ Morris and Ben Finley are getting reps for the bowl, but it’s the Maryland offense that will push a 3-3-5 Wolfpack defense that struggles to contain the explosive play.
Pick: Maryland ⋅ Confidence: 7
Pitt vs. UCLA
Sun Bowl: Friday, Dec. 30 ⋅ El Paso, Texas
Spread: UCLA -6.5
If there’s a team the Bruins did not want to face, it might be the Panthers.
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi fielded another defense with high marks in Success Rate and Havoc. Pitt ended the season graded second in tackling with complementary top-10 rankings in coverage and Line Yards.
Neither quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson nor running back Zach Charbonnet have opted out for the NFL Draft, as each will face a Panthers defense that will send multiple players to the NFL.
The Bruins have been without defensive coordinator Bill McGovern for several weeks due to health. The UCLA defense ranked outside the top 100 in numerous categories, making this bowl game a prime spot for an upset.
Pick: Pitt ⋅ Confidence: 5
South Carolina vs. Notre Dame
Gator Bowl: Friday, Dec. 30 ⋅ Jacksonville, Florida
Spread: Notre Dame -2.5
For all the of offensive outbursts that came for South Carolina in upsets of Tennessee and Clemson, the Gamecocks enter this bowl a bit deflated.
Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield left for Nebraska, while primary targets Jaheim Bell and Austin Stogner have already found new homes in the transfer portal. Add in wide receiver Josh Vann dealing with a knee injury, and quarterback Spencer Rattler has a depleted arsenal of weapons.
Although Notre Dame lost tight end Michael Mayer to the NFL Draft, the depth and efficiency of the running backs will win this game for the Irish.
Look for Audric Estime to take advantage of a South Carolina defense that finished 129th in Defensive Stuff Rate.
Pick: Notre Dame ⋅ Confidence: 26
Wyoming vs. Ohio
Arizona Bowl: Friday, Dec. 30 ⋅ Tucson, Arizona
Spread: Ohio -1.5
If there’s a coach to trust in covering the spread during bowl season, Craig Bohl has been the poster child.
The Cowboys running back room is missing players due to injury and the transfer portal, but quarterback Andrew Peasley will get the chance to light up the Barstool stream with deep passing.
The Bobcats have been horrific at defending the pass and keeping opponents out of the end zone. With Kurtis Rourke’s injury, CJ Harris will handle quarterback duties for Ohio after a miserable MAC Championship game that ended with four turnover-worthy plays.
Pick: Wyoming ⋅ Confidence: 17
Tennessee vs. Clemson
Orange Bowl: Friday, Dec. 30 ⋅ Miami Gardens, Florida
Spread: Clemson -6.5
The Volunteers didn’t get much out of Joe Milton at quarterback in the season finale against Vanderbilt. Now, Tennessee loses wide receiver Cedric Tillman to the NFL Draft with no word on plans for Biletnikoff Award winner Jalin Hyatt. Expect the Clemson defense to stuff receivers to get Milton off his timing.
As for the Tigers offense, the 2023 Cade Klubnik Heisman campaign officially starts in Miami. Tennessee ended the season outside the top 100 in pass rush and coverage, giving the freshman a chance for a big night.
Pick: Clemson ⋅ Confidence: 30
Ohio State vs. Georgia
Peach Bowl: Saturday, Dec. 31 ⋅ Atlanta, Georgia
Spread: Georgia -6.5
Ohio State has been given new life in the College Football Playoff after a blowout loss at home to Michigan. The box score tells a different story, as two turnovers and a couple of JJ McCarthy bombs gave the perception that a Buckeyes team that led at half is not worthy of a national semifinal.
The Bulldogs will be a hot ticket on New Year’s Eve, but the price is overheated. Georgia doesn’t generate much of a pass rush because of a low blitz rate, but the defense has been beaten deep on a number of occasions this season.
Ohio State ultimately loses with a defense that’s 125th in opponent passing downs explosiveness, but look for a competitive game against the spread.
Pick: Georgia ⋅ Confidence: 24
TCU vs. Michigan
Fiesta Bowl: Saturday, Dec. 31 ⋅ Glendale, Arizona
Spread: Michigan -7.5
The TCU run has been a great story for college football, but the matchups say that Michigan may cruise in this semifinal.
TCU is reliant on explosive plays to gain yards and get into scoring position. The Wolverines are top-15 defending explosives with a PFF tackling grade that tops all FBS teams. If TCU is capable of extending drives into the red zone, a Michigan defense that ranks 14th in Finishing Drives awaits.
No Blake Corum, no problem for the Wolverines in this game. The Horned Frogs have struggled against the run all season while fielding a defense that finished 80th in red-zone efficiency.
Pick: Michigan ⋅ Confidence: 37
Kentucky vs. Iowa
Music City Bowl: Saturday, Dec. 31 ⋅ Nashville, Tennessee
Spread: Iowa -2.5
If there was ever a candidate for a game to enter overtime tied at zero, the Music City Bowl would have the highest odds.
Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras is out with injury, and backup Alex Padilla left for the transfer portal. There are similar issues with Kentucky, as quarterback Will Levis opted out for the NFL Draft.
These are two of the worst teams in the nation in converting scoring opportunities, but Iowa fields two of the best coverage and third-down units in the nation.
Hawkeyes tight end Sam LaPorta is practicing and could play for Iowa, easily making him the most valuable offensive player in this game.
Pick: Iowa ⋅ Confidence: 9
Kansas State vs. Alabama
Cotton Bowl: Saturday, Dec. 31 ⋅ New Orleans, Louisiana
Spread: Alabama -3.5
Bowl practices for the New Year’s Six begin after bowl season has officially kicked off, meaning the pending opt-outs of Bryce Young and Will Anderson Jr at Alabama will be unknown at the entry deadline.
Alabama should be favored by six points, as Kansas State may be a favorite if the Crimson Tide’s heaviest hitters declare for the NFL.
The Wildcats come into the scheduled SEC depression spot of the Sugar Bowl as Big 12 champions, but the defense continues to struggle with the rush.
If Alabama fields backup Jalen Milroe at quarterback, this will still be a highly competitive game.
Pick: Kansas State ⋅ Confidence: 6
Illinois vs. Mississippi State
ReliaQuest Bowl: Monday, Jan. 2 ⋅ Tampa, Florida
Spread: Illinois -2
Following the news of Mike Leach’s death, this game is insignificant in the big picture and certainly would be a candidate for cancellation.
Make sure and give your friends and family plenty of quality time after filling out your pool.
MSU Bulldog family, college football community mourns the death of Coach Mike Leachhttps://t.co/LzWyLyX3xM
— Mississippi State Football (@HailStateFB) December 13, 2022
Pick: Illinois ⋅ Confidence: 1
Purdue vs. LSU
Citrus Bowl: Saturday, Jan. 1 ⋅ Orlando, Florida
Spread: LSU -10.5
With the defection of Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm to Louisville, the point spread was steamed in the market favoring LSU. Interim coach Brian Brohm will field a Purdue team without its starting left guard or star cornerback.
Meanwhile, LSU had a surprise commitment from wide receiver Kayshon Boutte with his intentions to stay throughout 2023.
Purdue will be overwhelmed in the trench on both sides of the ball, as the Tigers should be back to full health by Jan. 2.
Pick: LSU ⋅ Confidence: 41
Tulane vs. USC
Cotton Bowl: Monday, Jan. 2 ⋅ Dallas, Texas
Spread: USC -1.5
Sharp, square, novice and grandma bettors all came in hard backing the opening Tulane number with the possibility of Heisman winner Caleb Williams not playing this game.
Whoever gets starting quarterback duties will have a new center after Brett Neilon was injured in the Pac-12 Championship.
USC’s rush defense has been problematic all season, putting one of the worst examples of tackling together in the conference title game. Green Wave running back Tyjae Spears will create numerous highlights against the Trojans defense.
Pick: Tulane ⋅ Confidence: 3
Penn State vs. Utah
Rose Bowl: Monday, Jan. 2 ⋅ Pasadena, California
Spread: Utah -2.5
Both of these teams have been trading player drops on intentions for the NFL. Utah will be without running back Tavion Thomas and uber-important tight end Dalton Kincaid.
Penn State has been a terror to passing offenses all season from a pass breakup standpoint, but the loss of Joey Porter Jr. to the draft will benefit Utah.
This game comes down to Sean Clifford and his underwhelming performance when pressured in the pocket. Luckily for Penn State, the Utes finished this season ranked 97th in pass rush.