Houston defensive back Kent Brooks (24) reacts after recovering a fumble by SMU quarterback J.J. McDermott during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game of Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Happy New Year gang. Hope you celebrated safely and had a big time — although we all know BIspy probably erred on the side of a big time rather than safety. So it goes.
Since today is the recognized New Year's holiday, we'll go with an abbreviated 5-at-10 today and be back in full force Tuesday. Before we get started, it seemed strange to have New Year's Day festivities and no bowl games. The black-eyed peas and the grits and greens were in full display at the 5-at-10 compound, but without the bowl games it felt off. We officially do not approve of playing bowl games on Jan. 2 rather than Jan. 1. It's in the books.
That said, let's get to the Fab 4 (plus 1) picks for today's games. We went 4-2 in the second stanza of the Fab 4 (plus 1) bowl picks, which means we're 6-4-1 in the postseason and 47-25-2 overall against the spread this season.
We're going to pick every game from here on out, starting with the six games today. Let's get going:
— Penn State plus-7.5 over Houston: This screams Houston letdown, right? They were a win away from the BCS and their coach up and R-U-N-N-O-F-T. Granted Penn State is far from the bastion of stability, but the Nittany Lions have better athletes across the board than the Cougars, and Southern Miss exposed Houston's flaws.
— Michigan State plus-3.5 over Georgia: Hey, we're SEC fans as much as anyone, but answer the following two questions: Name a bona fide team that Georgia beat? Is Auburn the Bulldogs' best win, because if that's your answer, then you have no answer. Plus, you have to believe after the SEC-level beatdown Alabama handed Michigan State last year, the Spartans are motivated, right?
— South Carolina minus-2.5 over Nebraska: Nebraska is pretty one-dimensional, and one-dimensional does not sound too positive against a defensive line as talented as South Carolina's.
— Ohio State plus-2 over Florida: The Gators were offensively challenged (and that's as politely as we can put it) during the regular season and that was before offensive coordinator Charlie Weis left for the Lawrence, Kan., Shoney's breakfast bar. Plus, after the Urban Meyer flap — and who believes Meyer has not been sharing some inside personnel info on the Gators to his new team — the Buckeyes likely will have the edge of knowledge and motivation. That's enough for us.
— Wisconsin-Oregon over the 73: Wisconsin is two bad-luck Hail Marys away from from playing in the BCS title game. This feels like a tight game throughout — and it's our least favorite pick of the day. This is almost too close to call.
— Oklahoma State minus-3.5 over Stanford: Here's saying the Cowboys put 50-plus on the board and lament the fact they did not get a BCS shot. And that's a fair lamentation, but the antidote of course is they lost to Iowa State. Yes, Iowa State.
Enjoy, and feel free to comment away about your New Year's resolutions, bowl picks or whatever sporting thought you may have. Enjoy, and we're hoping to have the Winners/Losers Bowl-a-palooza standings up later around lunch.
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 ...