By Brad Carroll
It will be Monday Afternoon Football as the Military Bowl, featuring Pittsburgh and Navy, and the Quick Lane Bowl, with Central Michigan playing Minnesota, own the airwaves to continue the bowl season.
We preview, analyze and our four college football experts give their picks against the spread for the pair of Monday games. Click here for all of our bowl season picks from past, present and future here. As always, follow us on Twitter for easy access to all of our picks.
Pittsburgh (8-4) vs. No. 21 Navy (10-2), Annapolis, 2:30 p.m., ESPN
The Spread: Pittsburgh +3.5; Navy -3.5
Analysis: Navy was most likely hoping for more than the Military Bowl in its own backyard when it was 9-1 and playing a big game against Houston. But the fantastic season by the Midshipmen was derailed with a big loss at the Cougars, before Navy rebounded with a win over rival Army in the regular season finale to come into this matchup with a 10-2 record. Navy averages 36.2 points per game on offense, led by quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who should have received an invite to the Heisman trophy ceremony. Reynolds has 28 total touchdowns this season. Pittsburgh was 6-1 before losing two straight to a pair of very good teams, North Carolina and Notre Dame. Pitt beat Duke and Louisville after that, but finished the regular season with a loss to Miami. Pittsburgh averages just 28.3 points per game on offense and allows 24.6 on defense. Navy allows 21.3 points per game on defense. I'd go with Navy on a neutral field, but with it being played in Annapolis, it makes this pick even easier.
Brad's Score: Navy 31, Pittsburgh 24
Craig's Score: Navy 27, Pittsburgh 20
Glenn's Score: Navy 24, Pittsburgh 17
Matt's Score: Navy 37, Pittsburgh 20
Quick Lane Bowl
Central Michigan (7-5) vs. Minnesota (5-7), Detroit, 5 p.m., ESPN2
The Spread: Central Michigan +6; Minnesota -6
Analysis: Minnesota is another team that shouldn't be playing in a bowl game this season, joining San Jose State (which won) and Nebraska (which is currently playing as we're posting) as teams with losing records. It means there are way too many bowls. But you already knew that. Minnesota is also one of the few bowl teams you'll find, and maybe the only one, who allows more points (26.1) per game on defense than it averages on offense (22.6). That's not good. Minnesota has one win in its last five games, beating Illinois. Playing Central Michigan, a team with just seven wins, means Minnesota is a big favorite, however. Central Michigan averages 26.8 points per game on offense and allows 22.1 on defense. The Chippewas have won four of their last five, including two in a row, against Kent State and Eastern Michigan. Central Michigan does own a win over Northern Illinois this season. The Golden Gophers should have too much talent for the Chippewas, but the finish will be tight.
Brad's Score: Minnesota 27, Central Michigan 23
Craig's Score: Minnesota 34, Central Michigan 21
Glenn's Score: Central Michigan 38, Minnesota 28 (upset pick)
Matt's Score: Central Michigan 20, Minnesota 14 (upset pick)