Happy New Year. Here's hoping you get everything you deserve in 2014. Well, deserve may be a difficult term for some of us, huh?
Anyhoo, it's Jan. 1 and that now and forever means bowl games. So let's pick some. Deal? Deal.
Of course this time next year we will be shaking loose the cobwebs of New Year's Eve Co-Colas and reflecting on the first College Football Playoff semifinal game and getting ready for the second one. Yep, New Year's bowl games will be dominated next year by the playoff's first round, which will occur on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. Good times. We hope.
A 3-1 close to 2013 left us 13-10 against the number so far in the bowl season after we went 52-40-1 during the regular season. And remember last year, we went 9-0 on New Year's Day. Here's hoping we're more like that and less like the Duke and Texas A&M defenses. Egad.
Georgia minus-9 over Nebraska: Healthy Todd Gurley against a Big Ten defense that struggled down the stretch. Yes please.
UNLV plus-7 over North Texas: We agreed to pick all the bowls, so that means picking all the bowls. Here's a little entertainment wagering tip we have picked up: OK, the line opened at 7, and despite 61 percent of the public's money being bet on the Mean Green, the line has stayed flat, ergo, Vegas likes the public betting on North Texas. And if Vegas likes the public betting on one side, we'll ride the other. They don't build fancy hotels with five-star restaurants with a $3 lunch menu by losing entertainment wagers. Plus, any time we can use "ergo" it's a win-win.
South Carolina plus-2 over Wisconsin: It's the final game for Jadeveon Clowney and quarterback Connor Shaw. The over 51 is appealing in this one, too.
Iowa plus-8 over LSU: You never know how much 'want' the Tigers will have in any particular bowl game, and while it pains us to go against 5-at-10 fav Les Miles, Iowa has been stout down the stretch and it has its starting quarterback. LSU can't say either of those things.
Stanford minus-6 over Michigan State: The Pac 12 has looked good in bowl games. The Big Ten has not. So, when pitting the class of each conference, it makes sense that the top dogs would mirror those trends. Also, Michigan State is built on its defense, which lost its soul when starting middle linebacker Max Bullough was suspended.
Baylor minus-17 over Central Florida: Heavy, double-digit favorites have struggled in bowl games. This one, however, has the makings of a 62-20, turn-it-off-at-halftime conclusion to our bowl-extraganza.
New Year's bonus
Hey, what are your predictions for 2014 in the world of sports?
Here are our five:
Butch Jones and Russ Huesman will conduct postseason practices this year.
Will Wade and Jim Foster will have their Mocs in the SoCon finals in March.
Alabama will win the SEC in football and make the field for the first College Football Playoff, which needs a new name almost as bad as Ebby Calvin Laloosh and the Legends and Leaders divisions in the Big Ten. Also in the field will be Ohio State, Oregon and FSU, each a conference champ, which will relegate a one-loss Auburn as the No. 5 team looking in. Ah controversy, you are our friend.
LeBron and the Heatles will win the NBA title.
Peyton and the Denver Mannings will fall in the Super Bowl amid a blizzard.
Bonus one: Any football coach that thinks it would be a good idea and would motivate his team to vandalize his own fieldhouse and make it look like a rival team did it will rethink that notion. Call it a hunch.
What say you? We say Happy New Year, and go eat some peas and greens.
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 ...