The regular season is officially history and Butch officially disposed of Tommy - again - by a mere three games this year [not as large as last year's seven-game margin]. But that is the best rationalization for mediocrity that we can come up with because, in reality, both Butch and Tommy were truly horrific at the Pac-10 prediction mambo this year. Either we need more lessons or a new teacher. Tommy's 31-38-2 mark and Butch's 34-35-2 numerals were an affront to pretty much every living being on the face of the Earth - or at least some of the ones that care about college football. Tommy has been below .500 before, so he is used to it, but Butch finds the gutter to be a distasteful place for his Wink Martindale-shaped ornamental cacti upon which he partially relies for the really tough Pac-10 games. You got tough Pac-10 questions? Wink usually has the answers. Thus, the secrets of Butch's prognosticating prowess that has produced the Tommy-slapping dance the last two years, have been revealed. With the regular season over, the consolation round begins. So while Santa is making his list and checking it with his elves, Tommy is diagramming 4 plays and 15 reasons why Team X is going to beat Team Q in Bowl J by G Points. Butch is just gonna prepare another vat o'nog - the holiday version sponsored by Southern Comfort [hey, who says Butch can't get in on the bowl game sponsorship racket?] - and maybe really pull Chuck Woolery off the bench to give him some post-season prediction action [he was only threatening to do that last year]. Let's see what maniacal frenzy has gripped the minds of the boys in the first week of the holiday bowl game season...
Tommy: Yay, the regular season is over! Now Tommy can stop sucking! Both Butch and Tommy have decided that since we've been hitting the nog since September, that we'll actually lay off it over the holidays so we can make some good picks. Here goes something.
Butch: What!?! No way, Tommy! What this calls for is our extra special batch of holiday bowl game nog. If there are gonna be 32 bowl games to slog through, you gotta have nog to do that. Hey look - nog and slog rhymes!
TCU (-12.5) v. Northern Illinois
Tommy: After sleepwalking through the middle of the season, TCU took advantage of some mediocre defense and administered some MWC beatdowns. Fortunately for them, NIU rolls in with their mediocre defense. The Huskies do have Garrett Wolfe, but the Hornies have been awesome against the run this season, and the Red and Black dudes ain't exactly that good at passing. Purple Guys win easy. We Own Paul Hackett-28, What Happened To Wolfie's Heisman?-13.
Butch: Talk about your duds as a bowl game season kickoff. TCU had a weak schedule and head coach Gary Patterson's teams evidently get the heebie-jeebies whenever they are double digit favorites while Northern Illinois is undefeated [2-0] in bowl games and one of those wins came under Novak. Butch hates to do it, but in the interest of safety, takes the deep breath .Huskies to cover.
Las Vegas Bowl
BYU (-4) v. Oregon
Tommy: The Cougs blew through the Mountain West, and Las Vegas will be overrun with the greatest partiers that man has ever known: the Mormons. Still, the Ducks are good on offense, and the Mountain Men aren't as likely to test Oregon's weakness (run defense) because they love to pass. Tommy picks the mountain lions, but Crowton gets his revenge on BYU by squeaking out a cover. Who Needs Gary-38, We Do-35.
Butch: The Nikes have all these new gifts awaiting them under the tree for X-mas - no doubt, a defense will be one of them - but generally, they take care of business in bowl games under Bellotti [3-0 ATS in the last three bowls]. Butch takes the Nikes to win and cover.
New Orleans Bowl
Troy v. Rice (-6)
Tommy: The Trojans captured the Sun Belt by upsetting Middle Tennessee State, but Stanford could probably win that conference. Rice is making its first bowl appearance in 45 years, so they'll be ready. While the Owls are no juggernaut, the Sun Belt has been bad against the spread in bowl game since becoming a 1-A conference: 2-4. Make it 2-5. Long Grain Guys-30, Winners of Awful Conference-20.
Butch: This is the first bowl game in 45 years for Rice and what luck! - they get a Sun Belt team! Butch takes the Owls to win and cover.
Papa John's Bowl
East Carolina v. South Florida (-3.5)
Tommy: I'm not sure why the spread is this small. ECU only beat one bowl team all season, and did it in OT by a field goal. USF destroyed West Virginia and nearly beat Rutgers. The Bulls have too much speed and talent to beaten by a middle of the road Conference USA team. Leavitt's defense makes this one ugly for Pirates. Breakthrough Team in 2007-20, Your Dad Is A Better Coach-6.
Butch: Here's all you need to know about this match-up - these teams have played each other three times in the past four years and USF has won by an average of 42-28. Butch will take USF to win and cover.
New Mexico Bowl
San Jose State v. New Mexico (-4)
Tommy: I realize that this is a home game for the Lobos, but come on. The Spartans gave Boise their most competitive game of the season, and Long's dudes are 6-6 this season, with a 3-4 record at home. No respect for Tomey's team, but he'll earn it by blasting the Wolves with the running game. 9-4 Spartans?-27, Mediocrity Personified-20.
Butch: New Mexico is doing the Boise gig this year and hosting their own bowl game while San Jose State is in their first bowl game in 25 years that isn't named the California Raisin Bowl. Rocky Long has yet to win or cover a bowl game in three tries so Butch is going to go with those upstart Spartans to cover.
Fort Worth Bowl
Tulsa v. Utah (-2)
Tommy: The Golden Hurricane is not exactly a hot team right now. They lost three of their last four, and were pummeled by the same BYU team that had to eke out a win against the Utes. On the other hand, the Utes have won three of their last four, and the loss was said squeaker. Utah wins it, but does anyone really care? HoHum-24, BoRing-20.
Butch: This game is like looking in a mirror - their schedule strength is about even, their bowl records are about even and the coaches even have about the same number of letters in their last names. When faced with this kind of karma, Butch must go to ornamental cacti oracle and select Tulsa to cover.
Arizona State v. Hawai'i (-8.5)
Tommy: Let's get real here. Has Vegas watched the Warriors play any big conference teams? If they lost to 6-6 Alabama, had to come from behind to beat a mediocre Purdue team, and got beat at home by OSU, are they really going to be able to cover the number against a decent ASU team? I don't. The Bows are awful defensively, and while I think they get the W, I doubt very seriously that they cover. Jones Is A Winner-42, Koetter Is A Loser-35.
Butch: Hmmm this is a toughie. How will the team react under a lame duck coach? Pretty much the same as they always did this season - with no defense - but they should stick close enough to make things interesting. Butch takes ASU to cover.
Overall [regular season]: 31-38-2
Overall [regular season]: 34-35-2
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