Forgive us for teasing

Dec 12, 2006 1:21 AM

With the first of 32 bowl games not starting until next Tuesday, there’s no point diving into each one at the same time. In other words, we’re teasing you.

Discussing a few each week opens up the opportunity to better equip ourselves to succeed or fail. Of course, for those that may have missed or forgotten our prior picks, we will provide a complete list each week. Hey, that’s our job.

Admittedly some of these bowls we could care less about, other than providing a line or total we can wager on at the window. There are a few bowls we like, but for the most part these matchups are not for entertainment purposes only.

We were glad to see that some coaches can’t be bought off when elite programs like Alabama and Miami, Fla came swooping in like vultures to throw millions and multi-year contracts in the face of Rich Rodriguez (West Virginia) and Greg Schiano (Rutgers).

You can’t really blame coaches for wanting to upgrade the careers and take very good care of the family financially.

Still, loyalty to a university is a trait seldom seen these days and one to be highly admired.

That said, time to step off the soapbox and examine the good and bad points of these next six bowls leading up to the big Jan. 8 BCS Championship in Glendale, Ariz.

Yes, there are Division 1-AA playoff games taking place, but we’ll bow out of those. We haven’t seen enough of these teams to qualify ourselves from giving you guys a fair shake on which side will cover the number.

That’s just being honest, which is what we do best.

Here’s a recap and updated lines on last week’s selections.

Poinsettia: TCU -13

Las Vegas: BYU -4½, over 59

New Orleans: Rice -6

New Mexico: N.Mexico -5

Papa John’s: S. Florida -3½

Armed Forces: Tulsa -2½

Now let’s get to the three bowl games we didn’t feature to the top of the page.

Thursday, Dec. 28

TEXAS BOWL

Rutgers -7 vs Kansas St: The Scarlet Knights should be happy just to be going bowling, but it’s hard to imagine they’re not wishing it was the Orange instead. Ray Rice and Brian Leonard provide one of the best 1-2 run tandems in the nation and QB Mike Teel proved a most capable passer against the Big East powers West Virginia and Louisville.

However, the Scarlet Knights are used to being in underdog role. Making Rutgers a TD favorite against a quality Big 12 school is deserving, but highly unusual terms of Scarlet Knights football history. Kansas State made great strides this year, most notably the 45-42 upset of Texas. We like K-State receiving points. K-STATE.

HOLIDAY BOWL

Cal -5 vs. Texas A&M: Those who follow the bowls don’t need a reminder of the many memorable games played in previous Holiday Bowls. The one we remember was No. 1 BYU, which hung on to beat a mediocre but gallant Michigan to win the national championship some 20 years ago. With the BCS system in place, the Holiday Bowl will never see a No. 1 again.

Still, this is always a must-see game. This installment should be fun. Cal figured to beat Tennessee in the opener, supplant USC as best in the Pac 10 and possibly make it all the way to Glendale. That didn’t happen, but the Golden Bears will go as far as QB Nate Longshore and RB Marshawn Lynch take them offensively.

Texas A&M is too established to be called a Cinderella, but the Aggies have been a nice surprise. One-point losses to Oklahoma and Nebraska, a three-point upset win at Texas, a 3-0 ATS mark on the road and +9 rating in turnovers are plenty of reasons to back the dog.

Even though the game is in San Diego, the Aggies travel well. We advocate kissing girls following each score. Don’t forget legendary 12th man. A&M.