The Black Heart Gold Blogpoll Bowl Challenge: December 29

USA TODAY Sports

Don't call it a comeback. Been here for years.

Things improves slightly for us over the last few days. Ohio's trouncing of Louisiana-Monroe, Cincinnati's amazing backdoor cover against Duke, and Minnesota's shocking near-miss against Texas Tech made up some of the ground we lost in the first week of games, but an overtime field goal allowed Virginia Tech to cover in the Russell Athletic Bowl and kept us down (Rutgers was our best bet on the sheet).

We made $75 since the last update, and now sit at ($115) for the bowl season. Plenty of chances for us to get back in black here.

ARMED FORCES BOWL
Air Force (-1) vs. Rice
Our projection: Air Force -1
No wager

Well, this is no fun. Vegas seems to think this game is nip-and-tuck too, but remember that Rice quarterback Taylor McHargueue was a shell of himself for basically the entire month of October after an injury, then turned back into CUSA Tebow again in November, as Rice won its last four games while scoring 40.5 points per game. If you're absolutely required to wager, I'd wager on Rice.

KRAFT FIGHT HUNGER BOWL
Arizona State (-13.5) vs. Navy
Our projection: Arizona State -1
Our wager: Navy $125

Things just got interesting. Arizona State, which beat only one team with a pulse this season on their way to 7-5 (5-4), getting two touchdowns against anyone is a travesty, but Navy's schedule is so bad that it makes that line plausible. I don't feel great about putting this much on a team that does not throw the ball, especially when Arizona State has had a month to prepare for the option, but rules are rules.

PINSTRIPE BOWL
West Virginia (-4) vs. Syracuse
Our projection: Syracuse -1.5
Our wager: Syracuse $55

This is more like it: West Virginia loses five straight in the Big 12, ekes by Iowa State and Kansas in their final two games, and plays a team with an actual defense and decent enough offense. Then again, this feels a lot like their game with the Cyclones, right down to the fist pumping head coach on the opposing sideline. The key stat here: Syracuse is 93rd nationally in pass efficiency defense. That bodes well for Holgorsen.

ALAMO BOWL
Oregon State (-3.5) vs. Texas
Our projection: Oregon State -8
Our wager: Oregon State $45

I think Oregon State really is that much better than Texas, even if it's practically a home game for the Longhorns. This one should be interesting, especially since teams that can throw the ball have torched the UT secondary this year (Oregon State is 15th nationally in passing offense at 315 ypg).

DON'T CALL IT THE INSIGHT BOWL
TCU (-2) vs. Michigan State
Our projection: Michigan State -2.5
Our wager: MSU $45

In a game between two pedestrian offenses and two excellent defenses, I'll take the points. There's not much more to this one. It could make the Russell Athletic Bowl look like West Virginia-Baylor.

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