published Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

5 at 10 - Fab 4 (plus-1) picks for the bowl season

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    Boise State head coach Chris Petersen looks on during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Wyoming on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011 in Boise, Idaho. BSU went on to win 36-14. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)

Hello from the modest 5-at-10 compound. We're spending time with the 5-at-10 clan and getting ready for Christmas.

For those new to the show, here's how we roll when the sports editor takes a hiatus. It's a mini-5-at-10, more of a single topic with 5 items, per se. So it goes.

Today we'll toss out our Fab 4 (plus-1) picks for the bowl season and update the bowl picking contest.

We have been making no fewer than four picks per week against the spread during the college football season. We had a good year — we went 41-21-1 against the number and 41-14-1 in games not involving Clemson (and yes, if you're thinking, "Boy, there's no way Clemson will be among these games," you're right).

The most important factor in picking college bowl games is motivation. Period. The most important question is not about match-ups or injuries or talent. It's "Does a team want to be in this bowl?" That's the biggest thing. With that in mind here's our first bowl Fab 4 (and we're using the spreads from this morning, not the ones from the

Here's our Fab 4 (plus 1), bowl style, part I (i.e. games before next weekend):

Arizona State-Boise State over the 65: We originally liked the Sun Devils — and we still picked them on our pool sheet — but there's too much drama withe the Sun Devils to trust them with money on the line. Still, this seems like too many points for an underachieving Arizona State team. To be safe, we'll take the over and root for everyone to score.

Nevada plus-6.5 over Southern Miss: Buy the half. REPEAT. Buy the half. Another hunch on another underdog, but the distractions — going to Hawaii for the first time, losing their coach, getting shafted in the bowl process — seem too much for the Golden Eagles to overcome. Sorry CJ.

California plus-3.5 over Texas — We probably took five underdogs all season, but this week we love the points. Side note, part I: We like the over 47 here, too. Side note, part II: Cal quarterback Zach Maynard has been around so long we think he played against a Phillip Fulmer-coached UT team.

UNC plus-5.5 over Missouri and over the 50: It's official, this is the underdog Fab 4 of all time.

Speaking of all-time, we mentioned that Jefe wants a title belt if/when he wins the bowl pick contest, and that can be arranged. So can the title of "Bowl Picking Champ," whenever anyone refers to the winner for the nest year.

This brings us to the last call for entries in Winners/Losers Bowl-a-palooza. We have received picks from the following: 5-at-10, Mrs. 5-at-10, OTWatcher, ThatIDoKnow, Uch, CSmith, CJoyner, CHiggs, SNix, JHarvey1984, C-Vol, JRoberts, FECHancellor, GCampbell, BBlackmon, Jefe, MemphisExile, McPell, AddictedtoChalupa, JordanRules, WarEagle, and scole023. Remember, today is the deadline. Here are the ground rules:

— All entries must be received by 5 p.m., Dec. 22. E-mailing the entries to would probably be best.

— The point tiers are pretty obvious (i.e., one-point games are worth one point, etc.). If you pick the winner with the point spread factored in, you get the points; if you miss it you have those points subtracted.

— There will be prizes for first (the most points) and last (the lowest number of points). We may add some prizes for second and third depending on how many people play.

— These are the point-spreads we're going with, so even if somebody gets suspended between now and then (yes, we're looking at you Auburn), these points-spreads will stand.

— Remember, this is supposed to be for fun and smack-talking rights of the 5-at-10.

If you have any questions, let us know. Copy and paste the games and e-mail your picks to

One-point games

Arizona State vs. Boise State (-13.5)

Nevada vs. Southern Miss (-5.5)

UNC vs. Missouri (-3.5)

California vs. Texas (-3)

Two-point games

Notre Dame vs. Florida State (-2.5)

Wake Forest vs. Mississippi State (-7)

Northwestern vs. Texas A&M (-11)

Utah vs. Georgia Tech (-3.5)

Three-point games

Cincy vs. Vandy (-2)

Virginia vs. Auburn (even)

Penn State vs. Houston (-9)

Michigan State vs. Georgia (-2)

South Carolina vs. Nebraska (-1)

Four-point games

Ohio State vs. Florida (-1.5)

Wisconsin vs. Oregon (-6.5)

Stanford vs. Oklahoma State (-3.5)

Virginia Tech vs. Michigan (-1.5)

West Virginia vs. Clemson (-3.5)

Kansas State vs. Arkansas (-8.5)

Seven-point game

Alabama vs. LSU (-2)


Which lesser bowl game will you watch? Or will you watch all of them and shed a tear come Jan. 10? Discuss.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Cjoyner said...

Can't fault your logic on picking Nevada. ... Of course, a lot of folks took Houston, laying 14. With those offenses, it's a sucker bet either way. Boy, reviewing my picks I notice I decided to eat a ton of points. In the cold light of day, I'm tempted to rethink my Boise pick. Maybe I've just seen them bullyboy too many mediocre teams.

December 22, 2011 at 11:34 a.m.
Cjoyner said...

As for Ellis Johnson to Southern Miss, I'm most happy that I work with a Gamecock who personally blames me for losing him. Now, where can I steal an offensive coordinator? ....

December 22, 2011 at 4:56 p.m.
jgreeson said...

CJ —

We've never been a fan of playing underdogs, but these seem like evenly matched teams and the points are gifts. So it goes (and you're spot on about the majority of the free world picking Houston and getting a vig sandwich when So. Miss put a whipping on them).

And if you find the Coordinators-R-Us story that is open late through the holidays, all of our Auburn pals would be willing to pay for that info.

— 5-at-10

December 22, 2011 at 7:58 p.m.
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