College football predictions | NevadaAppeal.com

College football predictions

Joe Ellison
Nevada Appeal Betting Columnist

College football’s regular season ends tomorrow, and the day is filled with important games. From rivalries to Bowl Championship Series qualifiers, plenty will be settled out on the football field.

Of course, with the way the wacky BCS is set up, much will still be left up for debate, too. Hopefully tomorrow loyal college football fans can somehow forget that there is such thing as a BCS, and just enjoy the action.

Army-Navy: To not look forward to this game would be un-American. Really there is nothing like this rivalry, and during times of war it takes on an added dimension. I don’t care if Navy wins 55-0, I’ll be watching all of this one. Prediction: Navy -21.

Oklahoma-Nebraska: This huge rivalry produced arguably the greatest game in the history of college football in 1971. Unfortunately now a meeting in the Big 12 Championship is the only way to renew it. These teams should be battling every year like they used to. Prediction: Oklahoma -4.

UCLA-USC: When the Army-Navy game ends, it will be around halftime of UCLA-USC. Chances are the score will already be one-sided, as USC has won seven straight in the series.

Sports books seem to agree, because there already is a line set for a BCS National Championship Game between No. 2 USC and undefeated Ohio State. Prediction: USC -13 1/2.

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Note – Ohio State opened at -5 over USC, with a total of 53. The lines have since moved to 4 1/2 and 54.

Rutgers-West Virginia: Assuming powerful Louisville defeats lowly Connecticut, Rutgers would need the upset here to win the Big East title and earn the automatic invitation to a BCS bowl. The BCS people would love to see Louisville qualify, which is all the more reason to root for Rutgers instead. Prediction: Rutgers +9.

California-Stanford: This rivalry is called “The Big Game,” but lately California has been the team playing big, while Stanford has been a big mess. Still, in a big rivalry, 29 points is usually too big. Prediction: Stanford +29.

BOWL GAMES

As the saying goes, the more the merrier. This year four bowl games have been added to the schedule, creating a record grand total of 32.

With teams now playing 12 games each season, 6-6 is all that is required to reach a bowl, and one of those wins can be against a Division I-AA opponent. Under that criteria, 73 of the 119 Division I teams have qualified for the 64 postseason bids.

Also, there are now five high-paying BCS bowl games instead of four. That extra bowl was created partly to accommodate any undefeated non-BCS conference teams such as the WAC’s No. 8 ranked Boise State. Regrettably it also indulges Notre Dame, who will be invited whenever possible and is already guaranteed some BCS money every season.

As it appears right now, LSU will be the team to join Michigan, Boise State, Notre Dame and the six BCS conference champions in the five BCS bowls.