We here at OTE have our own thoughts on the Big Ten games, and we’ll get to picking those in due time. In the meantime, though, there are plenty of other bowl games, good and bad, to keep us entertained!
But how to pick those games?
It’s no secret I was about the pinnacle of average when it came to my straight-up picks this year, and hey, does anyone really care about my breakdown of the New Mexico rushing attack or how Toledo spreads the ball around?
I don’t, at least.
So I had to think: How would I pick the non-B1G games, especially in the early matchups?
Then it occurred to me: Since this is a Big Ten blog, it only seems fair that my picks and my rooting interests should be for the B1Gger team. As such, the crack OTE squad of me, BigRedTwice, and ZuzuRU came up with the Big
Ten Five Factors!
Standard Downs Run%: While this doesn’t encompass every running play, we wanted to see which team would line it up and run the ball down their throat the most often. Hey, the conference of Kirk Ferentz is nothing if not predictable. Higher % gets the nod.
Punting Average: Higher wins, because punting is winning. Obvious.
Nearest Brewery: While their beers likely don’t hold a candle to New Glarus, Bell’s, Surly, Great Lakes, or Toppling Goliath, let’s humor our friends from Beyond the Empire and find out which campus is closer to a microbrewery. Simple Google search for this one—directions from “The University of New Mexico” to whatever brewery was closest on a search for “breweries in Albuquerque.”
Average January Temp: The colder, the better. Duh.
APR Score: As the proud conference of two 5-7 bowl game winners in 2015, this is self-evident. The smarter you are, the more likely I like you.
Let’s get to the picking!
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico Lobos (-7.5) vs. UT-San Antonio Roadrunners
1pm || ESPN || Albuquerque, NM
Pick: New Mexico
A Bob Davie-coached club was bound, with its B1G-friendly run attack, to have a good running percentage, but the punting average and brewery proximity sure surprised me. Bosque Brewing Co. is a quick walk from campus, too.
It’s also worth noting that New Mexico offers classes on the business of craft brewing, which...awesome.
Geico Las Vegas Bowl
Houston Cougars (-4) vs. San Diego State Aztecs
2:30pm || ABC || Las Vegas, NV
Pick: San Diego State
I’m all in on the Donnel Pumphrey Train, and it looks like Rocky Long’s club is living up to its B1Ggest potential. Seems like Tom Herman got out of the Big Ten and this bowl game just in time, because he was exposed for being incompatible with the conference mission. No surprise that SDSU is closer to a brewery, either.
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. Toledo Rockets
4:30pm || ESPN || Montgomery, AL
Sorry, beezer. Toledo’s got that B1G Country knowledge, and this model will favor MACtion with the temperature point. Plus, Toledo punter Nick Ellis has been a goddamn stud this year. Toledo does wing it around a ton, but hey, no team is perfect.
AutoNation Cure Bowl
Citronauts Knights (-6.5) vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves
4:30pm || CBSSN || Orlando, FL
Pick: Central Florida
Do not go to Jonesboro, AR, if you are a fan of craft beer. The nearest brewery is over state lines in Memphis, TN. The Red Wolves do run it a lot and enjoy chillier climes, but Central Florida’s got ‘em in learnin’ and puntin’, and the Citronaut is such a great mascot. Why’d they ever get rid of it?
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Southern Miss Golden Eagles (-6) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
8pm || ESPN || New Orleans, LA
Pick: Southern Miss
The Ragin’ Cajuns have home-field advantage, but when has a Big Ten team ever really enjoyed home-field in a bowl game? The Golden Iggles kick the shit out of the ball, enjoy a slightly cooler January, and hit the books.
Feel free to give us your picks in the comments and use this as an open thread for the day’s action! Standard rules apply.