By Brad Carroll and Matt Straub
As college football’s bowl season enters its third week of play, the games and matchups get that much more exciting and interesting, as most will feature ranked teams. The Thursday after Christmas features four of those type games, with the Camping World Bowl, Alamo Bowl and Holiday Bowl each having ranked teams playing each other, while the Military Bowl features always fun to watch Navy taking on Virginia.
Below our college football experts preview and pick against the point spread those four bowl games. Check out all of our past, present and future college football bowl previews and picks against the spread here. And make sure to follow us on Twitter here.
Thursday, Dec. 28
Virginia (6-6) vs. Navy (6-6), 1:30, ESPN
Spread: Navy -1
Matt’s Breakdown: These two teams have struggled mightily down the stretch of the season, combining to finish the regular season 2-11. For both, getting a win in front of what will be a big crowd for a lesser bowl game would be a good way to get some of the bad taste of a lost season out of their mouths. With all other things just about equal, Navy playing at home should be enough to get the Midshipmen a win, though Virginia can be dangerous when it hits on all cylinders. The problem for the Cavaliers is that almost never happens.
Brad’s Final: Navy 27, Virginia 24 (Navy)
Craig’s Final: Virginia 28, Navy 24 (Virginia)
Glenn’s Final: Navy 24, Virginia 20 (Navy)
Matt’s Final: Navy 21, Virginia 17 (Navy)
Camping World Bowl
No. 22 Virginia Tech (9-3) vs. No. 19 Oklahoma State (9-3), 5:15, ESPN
Spread: Oklahoma State -4.5
Matt’s Breakdown: While the game means nothing, this is actually one of the more interesting bowl games from a strategic standpoint. Can Va. Tech’s defense, which has shown its mettle against teams like Clemson and Miami, stop an exciting offense led by Mason Rudolph, the best quarterback the experts aren’t talking about? Rudolph led the country in yards this year, but hasn’t faced a defense like this. While it won’t be a Big 12 style shootout, the Cowboys should have enough to get past the Hokies in what should be a fun one.
Brad’s Final: Oklahoma State 35, Virginia Tech 24 (Oklahoma State)
Craig’s Final: Oklahoma State 34, Virginia Tech 27 (Oklahoma State)
Glenn’s Final: Oklahoma State 45, Virginia Tech 28 (Oklahoma State)
Matt’s Final: Oklahoma State 30, Virginia Tech 24 (Oklahoma State)
No. 13 Stanford (9-4) vs. No. 15 TCU (10-3), 9, ESPN
Spread: TCU -2.5
Matt’s Breakdown: This is a solid game between two good, if underachieving, teams. It’s also a chance for the whole country to see Bryce Love, the guy who was probably the best player in the country this year, but didn’t get much Heisman love because he’s not a quarterback. Love will be going pro soon, probably after this game, but we have one more chance to see him dominate at the college level. He’ll have to beat a good defense to do so, and he will.
Brad’s Final: TCU 24, Stanford 21 (TCU)
Craig’s Final: Stanford 31, TCU 28 (Stanford)
Glenn’s Final: TCU 38, Stanford 35 (TCU)
Matt’s Final: Stanford 35, TCU 20 (Stanford)
No. 18 Washington State (9-3) vs. No. 16 Michigan State (9-3), 9, FS1
Spread: Washington State -2
Matt’s Breakdown: This is one of the more unpredictable games on the holiday week slate. The Cougars, led by quarterback Luke Falk, lit up the stat sheets against Pac-12 foes, but what can they do against a team from a conference which plays a little bit of defense. And speaking of unpredictable, Michigan State has bounced back-and-forth between seemingly unbeatable to disastrously bad depending on what week it was. This doesn’t get said much, but it’s easier to trust Mike Leach’s team than it is Sparty in this one.
Brad’s Final: Michigan State 31, Washington State 28 (Michigan State)
Craig’s Final: Washington State 27, Michigan State 17 (Washington State)
Glenn’s Final: Michigan State 27, Washington State 21 (Michigan State)
Matt’s Final: Washington State 41, Michigan State 28 (Washington State)