Welcome to the next-to-last BCS bowl season, or as we like to call it: “The mole in the middle of our forehead that the plastic surgeon said he can’t remove for another two years because the deals are in place, conference commissioners have been bagged, athletic directors already have used the free golf clubs, the booze cruise just left port, it’s too late to cancel the caterers, and, dang it, Mike Slive just took the last shrimp!” So we’re stuck.
After 15 years, it’s almost gone. After 17 years, it will be. (How did the BCS get to vote before it was 18?) We’re left with a palatable title game (Alabama-Notre Dame) but a nonsensical way of getting there and zero postseason drama.
Well, except this: (Promotion coming. I feel so dirty.) There’s still time to enter the “Sack Schultz” Bowl Special. We’re giving away $200 in gift cards to Marlow’s, which should buy a lot of wings. Don’t worry that some of the 36 bowls have been played because the contest is heavily weighted toward the BCS games. To enter, just go to ajc.com/go/SackSchultzBowl2012 and pick the winners of the remaining games.
Now, onto the games:
Georgia is in the Capital One Bowl. Not a BCS bowl. Why? Because the Bulldogs effectively were penalized for beating Florida, winning the East and playing for the SEC championship (then losing) while the Gators sat in a La-Z-Boy eating a box of Ding Dongs (not losing). This reaffirms the need for mandatory drug testing — not for players, but for everybody who came up with this system.
Picking bowl winners is tricky. Most of the best players usually have their heads in the NFL. (I think A.J. Green was hiding behind a bush in the Liberty Bowl.) But I don’t expect that to be a problem for Georgia. This is a pretty together group that seems to want to win its final game.
Nebraska? Just gave up 70 points and 539 yards rushing to Wisconsin. Were they eaten by lions or something?
Easy pick: Dogs cover 10.
20 BCS jokes (kinda, sorta)
Sun (Georgia Tech vs. USC): Monte Kiffin resigned from his son’s coaching staff at USC, yet for some reason still claims Lane in the family tree. Just as well. The Trojans have allowed 39, 62, 17, 38 and 22 points in the past five games. Lane was about to tell his dad he couldn’t drive any more. Trojans win but give me Tech and 10.
Chick-fil-A (LSU vs. Clemson): Add Tech as a round-robin, and this would be the Dan Radakovich Rolling Resume Bowl. Not to put all of this on Dabo Swinney, but the ACC went 0-4 against the SEC in the final week of the season and is 9-16 in bowls against Bigfoot in the BCS era. And here comes another pie in the face: LSU covers 4½.
Outback (South Carolina vs. Michigan): Hard-working, humble, disciplined, classy, widely respected and admired by players and coaches, never makes himself the story . . . you know, the funniest thing is Steve Spurrier probably thinks I’m describing him, not Brady Hoke. Wolverines cover 6.
Rose (Stanford vs. Wisconsin): We bow in the direction of new Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen, who made 106 phone calls to tell each of his Utah State players that he was leaving for another job. It’s sort of like what Bobby Petrino did, only without the phone calls, the human contact, the xeroxed note or the vapor trails. Stanford covers 6½.
To Chip Kelly: Before you leave, I have 3 questions
Orange (FSU vs. Northern Illinois): Sit around children: Let me tell you about a time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and people cared about the Orange Bowl. Seminoles cover 13.
Sugar (Florida vs. Louisville): Will Muschamp has something he didn’t have in his first bowl game: a cheering section. Gators win, but take Louisville and 14.
Fiesta (Oregon vs Kansas State): Why is Chip Kelly wearing a Philadelphia Eagles jersey? Ducks cover 9.
Cotton (Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma): I’m not sure anybody did a better coaching job this season than Kevin Sumlin, and I’m including Brian Kelly and Bill O’Brien. On a related note, Bob Stoops seldom is in these conversations any more? Aggies cover 4½.
BCS (Alabama vs. Notre Dame): Nick Saban told his Michigan State players he wasn’t going to LSU. But he did. He told Miami, “I guess I have to say it. I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.” But about seven minutes later, he was. Now he’s denying he’s going to the Cleveland Browns. Know why I believe him this time? Bama has more NFL players. Tide covers 9½.
Rare footage of Nick Saban at The Improv
Time to settle up
“You can eat your betting money but don’t bet your eating money.” — Proverb.
Previous chapter (forgettable): 5-5 straight up, 3-7 against the line.
Bottom dollars (better): 115-40 straight up, 88-65-2 against the line.
Lilly Pick of Week: Lilly is continuing her boycott of the BCS system and declined to pick a bowl game. However, she did chew up a Western Kentucky media guide.