New Year’s Day Bowl Picks: January 1st 2011
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Pick: Northwestern +10
If Northwestern (7-5 #3-9) had the services of the nation’s leading passer quarterback Dan Persa (73.5% completions) I would not have any problems up-grading this selection but, things being what they are I still believe that the Wildcats have enough to ‘cover’ here. Persa’s replacement Evan Watkins has three games and four weeks of practice under his belt and he is facing in Texas Tech (7-5, #6-6) the nation’s 116 ranked defense surrendering 463 yards per game. The Red Raiders defensive coordinator. James Willis is no longer with the team. Take NORTHWESTERN! -Chip Chirimbes
Pick: Connecticut +17
The UConn Huskies (8-4 SU/7-4 ATS) put aside their QB troubles (suspending junior QB Cody Endres (5 TDs, 2 INTs), and finished up on a 5-0 SU/ATS run to win the Big East for Coach Randy Edsell. They did it with defense, giving up 19.8 ppg, 23rd in the nation, and senior QB Zach Frazer (5 TDs, 4 INTs, 1,202 yards). The Ok-State Sooner defense has given up at least 20 points in 8 of their 12 games.Oklahoma struggled against Cincinnati of the Big East, a 31-29 win at home, while UConn whipped the Bearcats, 38-17. Play UConn! -Jim Feist
Pick: Florida -7
This is the final game for Florida head coach Urban Meyer, and you have to believe the Gators are going to want to send their coach out in style. The Nittany Lions struggled to do much of anything against the top teams in the Big Ten, and likely won’t even make a game of it on Saturday. Florida is 24-12 ATS as a favorite over the last 3 seasons, and a perfect 6-0 ATS when playing with 2 weeks or more of rest over the last 3 seasons. Penn State is just 16-35 ATS versus good defensive teams – allowing <=310 yards/game since 1992, and are only 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games as an underdog of 3.5-10.0.