The college football season has moved from the regular season to the bowl season. Teams’ hopes and dreams are no longer focused on a 12-game schedule, but on one neutral-site contest.
2013 New Mexico Bowl
Washington State Cougars vs. Colorado State Rams
Saturday, 2:05 PM ET
College Football Betting Odds: Washington State -5
Colorado State has played in only one bowl game since the 2005 season, and Washington State is making its first bowl appearance since 2003. This is going to be a rare experience for these programs, and an entirely new experience for the players on both teams. It’s a mystery as to which team will better handle the excitement and the pressure of the occasion. This game will also be played relatively early in the day in Albuquerque, N.M., adding yet another point of uncertainty to the mix.
It’s hard to get a feel for this game, but if you had to make a betting play, Washington State is the better choice for one simple reason: If you look at the records of Pac-12 and Mountain West teams in head-to-head competition this season, the Pac-12 dominated. One of the few games in which the Mountain West was expected to win (Fresno State versus Colorado) did not take place due to flooding in Boulder, Colo. Colorado State will be playing for the chance to defend the Mountain West’s honor, but picking the Pac-12 team in this football betting matchup is probably the better course of action.
Pick: Washington State -5
2013 Las Vegas Bowl
Fresno State Bulldogs vs. USC Trojans
Saturday, 3:35 PM ET
College Football Betting Odds: USC -6
All college football experts would tell you that of the four games being played on Saturday, this is the one with the most talent on the field. USC struggled early in the season, but the Trojans did knock off Stanford in November and showed that they could compete with some of the best teams in the country. USC did not have a lot of depth due to scholarship limitations that flowed from NCAA sanctions imposed in 2010, but the Trojans’ frontline starters – especially on the defensive line – were able to play at a very high level for extended periods of time. The Trojans looked lost under former coach Lane Kiffin, but they found themselves under interim coach Ed Orgeron. In this bowl game, Orgeron won’t be coaching, and new head coach Steve Sarkisian will take over the program after the Las Vegas Bowl ends. Yet, the point remains that USC has a lot of skilled players on its roster.
Fresno State is also very talented. The Bulldogs won the Mountain West championship this season, powered by quarterback Derek Carr, regarded by many as one of the 10 best players in the country this season. Carr can throw the ball to a group of very fast receivers who can turn short catches into big gains. This should be a close game but Fresno State should cover the spread. The sense here is that the Bulldogs will win outright.
Pick: Fresno State +6