The Loaf: College Football Picks – Bowl Season, Week 3 –

Staff Writer: Michael Brown

Welcome back to The Loaf! We’re back at it again for the final group of bowl games! Week 2 of bowl season was alright for us; we kept it above .500 at 3-2, getting us to 28-15 on the season. Georgia Tech (-5) didn’t work out well, and Army-Houston (Under 60) was a joke with Army scoring 70 on its own. We did cash in with Wisconsin (+4), Troy (+2), and Cal-TCU (Under 40.5) in a glorious Cheez-It Bowl that saw 9 interceptions thrown between both teams.

We’re on to bigger and better things now, though, as Bowl Season is now in full swing, and we’ve got lots of exciting games on the slate, including the Playoff. Here’s what I’ve got:

Up first we’re gonna go with South Carolina vs Virginia (UNDER 54.5) in the Belk Bowl from Charlotte, North Carolina. This one is really just a gut feeling more than anything else. Both of these teams are pretty good on defense.

bryce hall

Virginia defensive back Bryce Hall (34) has been awesome this season, and should have a good day against a South Carolina offense missing its best player – PHOTO CREDIT – Mark Gormus

Solid athletes for both schools will be flying around the field on that side of the ball. Notably, Virginia defensive back Bryce Hall will be out there for the Hoos making things difficult for South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley, who will be without star wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who is skipping this game to prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft. That will inhibit the South Carolina offense for sure; Samuel is a big part of the Gamecocks’ offense that is quite mediocre even when he does play. Meanwhile, Virginia isn’t the type of offense to score a ton on you, really. It isn’t bad, just kind of methodical and slow. They run the ball a lot and control the time of possession. Quarterback Bryce Perkins isn’t a great passer, either. Don’t expect this one to be extremely high-scoring. Virginia 30, South Carolina 21

            We have one more under this week, #22 Northwestern vs #17 Utah (UNDER 46) in the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl from San Diego, California. And, really, when you think of these two teams, you think of a low scoring type of matchup. When two teams like these

chase hansen

Chase Hansen (22) leads the Utah defense with 114 tackles this season. He should get a bunch more against a dreadful Michigan State offense – PHOTO CREDIT – Matt York, AP

go against each other, it almost seems too perfect. I’ve already done well with Utah unders here on The Loaf, so I hope to return to the well again and once again find success. Utah is very good on defense, and Northwestern is stingy too. Utah gives up 18.5 points a game, and Northwestern allows 23.5 points a game. Solid. Utah, meanwhile, will still take the field with a depleted backfield, as it has for the past few games. Clayton Thorson is in Northwestern’s backfield, and he’s been real bad this season at quarterback. Just not good. His offense ranks 106th overall in the nation in efficiency, and Utah’s defense, conversely, ranks 15th. Yikes. So, both teams are really good on defense, and neither team is that good on offense. Perfect recipe for an under. I expect to see some interceptions in this game, too. Also, note that the under is 5-2 in Northwestern’s last 7 games. Utah 21, Northwestern 13

            I’ve picked Georgia multiple times throughout the brief history of The Loaf, and it’s gone well each time, so I’m gonna do it one more time with #5 Georgia (-12.5) vs #15 Texas in the Allstate Sugar Bowl from New Orleans, Louisiana.

jake fromm

Georgia QB Jake Fromm has been sensational in his first two seasons at UGA, and looks to have a big showing against Texas in the Sugar Bowl – PHOTO CREDIT – The Telegraph

Frankly, I think Georgia wins this game in a blowout. I would expect Georgia to win by two touchdowns even without factoring in the whole revenge thing, just because they’re that much better than Texas. Even without Deandre Baker back there, the Georgia defense will present the biggest challenge that Texas’ offense has seen this season. Jake Fromm, though, has been great all season (minus the LSU game), and will play very well against Texas. The main reason I like Georgia, though, is that they believe they were snubbed out of a College Football Playoff spot (I don’t think they were). I expect them to come into this game wanting to make a statement to the committee, and Texas just so happens to be the punching bag standing in Georgia’s way. Georgia wants to win this game by a ton, and it very much can win this game by a ton. It’s sort of like 2014, when TCU felt robbed of a playoff spot, and it took out its frustrations on Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl, where it led 42-0 after three quarters, and won 42-3. I fear for Texas. Georgia 41, Texas 14

Next up: Oregon (+1) vs Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl from Santa Clara, California. I don’t really understand why this number is so low. Oregon’s not great, but Michigan State is just a dreadful team to watch play football. The Spartans are solid on defense, but just awful offensively. It’s so bad. Oregon, meanwhile, is very fun to watch on offense, and should be able to score in bunches with Justin Herbert slinging the rock. The Ducks aren’t great on defense, but any defense looks good against Michigan State’s offense, which averages 19.8 points per game and ranks 117th in overall efficiency in the country. I really just have a hard time believing this Michigan State team is going to travel across the country and beat an Oregon team who it simply cannot hang with offensively. I have a hard time believing that Oregon is going to be completely stopped on offense, and I certainly don’t expect Michigan State to outscore anyone. Oregon 35, Michigan State 17

CJ verdell

Oregon RB CJ Verdell has done very well for the Ducks this season. He’ll face a big challenge in the Redbox Bowl; Michigan State defends the run better than anyone else in the country. Verdell is 25 rushing yards away from cracking 1,000 on the season – PHOTO CREDIT – Troy Wayrynen, USA TODAY Sports

We’ve got one more play this week; I’m gonna cap this edition of The Loaf with a Playoff pick, #3 Notre Dame (+14) vs #2 Clemson in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic in Arlington, Texas. I am nervous about this one, because Notre Dame tends to lay an egg on big stages like this, and

dexter williams

Dexter Williams (2) has been explosive this season, quite a weapon for the Notre Dame offense. I think he’ll perform better than most expect against Clemson in the Cotton Bowl – PHOTO CREDIT – Mike Carter, USA TODAY Sports

Clemson is also really good. But Notre Dame is really good too. They’ve caught a lot of hate based on their schedule this season, but I’m not buying it. Notre Dame is a really good team with hardly any weaknesses. They play defense very well, and will be going up against a true freshman quarterback in Trevor Lawrence who will be playing in what will be the biggest game of his life up until this point. Lawrence has been fantastic this season, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he were to make a critical mistake here or there against a defense as good as Notre Dame. The Irish aren’t bad on offense, either. They like to run the ball, and they do it well. Clemson’s vaunted defensive line will also be missing star Dexter Lawrence, so expect Notre Dame to run right at his spot plenty of times in this game. Ian Book has also been really good since taking over as quarterback early in the season. He can really sling the rock, and, if you had to pick a weakness in this Clemson team, it would be its secondary. Notre Dame, with Ian Book, Dexter Williams, Miles Boykin and crew, should be able to put up some points, even against the best defense in the country in Clemson. Overall, Notre Dame should put up a much better fight in this game than people expect. Clemson 31, Notre Dame 24

            That’s what I’ve got for the remainder of Bowl Season! Here’s to a thrilling and exciting Playoff.

As always, LET’S GET THIS TOA$$$$T

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