By Brad Carroll
The first day of the college football bowl schedule is almost in the books and the games are only going to get better as we move closer to the BCS national championship game in early January between Florida State and Auburn. Here we preview and our college football experts pick against the spread the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl between Ohio and East Carolina Monday afternoon and the Hawaii Bowl between Boise State and Oregon State Tuesday night.
Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl
Ohio vs. East Carolina, 2 p.m., ESPN
The Spread: Ohio +14; East Carolina -14
Brad's Breakdown: East Carolina has the chance to make school history at Tropicana Field Monday night against Ohio. The Pirates can do it with a high-powered offense led by Conference USA MVP Shane Carden, the sixth best passer in the nation. He has thrown for 3,866 yards and 32 touchdowns for an offense that averages 40.4 points per game. The big motivation for East Carolina is becoming just the second team in school history to win double-digit games in a season. The last time the Pirates did that was in 1991, when they won 11 games. Standing in their way is the 7-5 Ohio Bobcats. Ohio averages 28 points per game with quarterback Tyler Tettleton leading the way. But the Bobcats haven't been able to do much on offense lately, scoring just 16 points total in three losses before winning the regular season finale. The Pirates have lost four straight bowl games, but will have more than enough offense to end that streak.
Brad's Pick: East Carolina 38, Ohio 21
Craig's Pick: East Carolina 45, Ohio 21
Glenn's Pick: East Carolina 42, Ohio 21
Boise State vs. Oregon State, 8 p.m., ESPN
The Spread: Boise State +3; Oregon State -3
Brad's Breakdown: Boise State will be playing in its 12th straight bowl game, but this year is completely different. First, the Broncos didn't have the season everyone has gotten used to, with an 8-4 record and finished out of the top 25. Second, and bigger, longtime coach Chris Petersen has left the team, accepting the job at Washington. It was a move many thought would never come for Petersen, as he has stuck it out with Boise State despite numerous rumored job offers. But the timing was obviously right this time, as the Broncos have fallen on hard times, by their standards, anyway, and Petersen jumped ship. Losing a coach before a bowl game can lead to a lethargic performance on the field, as the players have to worry about their standing with the new coach. Or they can come out and prove exactly what they bring to next administration. That new head coach is Bryan Harsin, who coached Arkansas State last year and was a former offensive coordinator with the Broncos. He won't coach this game, however. On the field, Boise State averages almost 39 points per game and should be able to move the ball against a bad Oregon State defense. The Beavers are 6-6 this season and have allowed 32.1 points per game. Oregon State scores 34.5 on offense, so this game has the potential to be a shootout. The Beavers have lost five straight games, but all of them came against good teams. But the Broncos should continue those struggles.
UPDATE: Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick was suspended and sent home for alleged urinating from a hotel balcony. Southwick denies it and says he passed a lie detector to prove it. Backup quarterback Nick Patti was suspended as well, but later reinstated. "We investigated the matter with university administrators, coaching staff, a law enforcement official, hotel security and student-athletes," Boise State said in a statement. "We made the decision to send the student-athlete home, and we stand by this difficult decision." The suspension is good news for Craig's and Glenn's pick of Oregon State and not such good news for me with Boise State. But them's the breaks.
Brad's Pick: Boise State 41, Oregon State 38
Craig's Pick: Oregon State 28, Boise State 20
Glenn's Pick: Oregon State 31, Boise State 20
Brad's Bowl Record: 1-3 (spread); 2-2 (straight-up); 1-0 (upset picks)
Brad's Regular Season: 90-81-2 (spread); 131-42 (straight-up); 7-12 (upset)
Craig's Bowl Record: 2-2 (spread); 2-2 (straight-up); 2-1 (upset picks)
Craig's Regular Season: 84-87-2 (spread); 131-42 (straight-up); 7-13 (upset)
Glenn's Bowl Record: 3-1 (spread); 3-1 (straight-up); 2-0 (upset picks)
Glenn's Regular Season: 84-87-2 (spread); 126-47 (straight-up); 10-21 (upset)