Mike: It's bowl season, and somehow Santa got Nebraska to a bowl game. So let's pick ‘em..
Joe: Yes, Nebraska, there is a Santa Claus.
Pat Janssen: No team during bowl season is matching the performance of my gastrointestinal system. That Georgia Southern quarterback was impressive, but my farts are still winning by a large margin. Hopefully the Nebraska defense can be as disruptive as my parents' sodium-heavy foods.
Sun Bowl - El Paso, TX (Saturday)
Washington State (-3) vs. Miami
Mike: The Cougs came a long way from that season opening loss to Portland State. But here's the key of the game to me: Miami can't stop the run, while Mike Leach and Wazzu have no interest in running the ball. Give me the ‘Canes in the mild upset. The U 35, Wazzu 31
Joe: If Miami wins, Nebraska's strength of schedule goes up and we could possibly be ranked in the top 50. So I'm gonna say Miami 50-0.
Jon: Which team did the hardest collective sigh when they discovered they were going to El Paso for their bowl game? That's the key question here. Then you have the "We didn't want Mike Leach fired, we just wanted to scare him" guys versus the "We didn't want Al Golden fired... oh, hell yes we did" guys. I'm going with the "just wanted to scare him" guys because now they're a real family again. Wazzu 42, Miami 41
Pat Janssen: QUARTERBACKS! OFFENSE! LINGERING HANGOVER! Cougars 48, Thunderstorms 35
Heart of Dallas Bowl - Dallas, TX (Saturday)
Washington (-8) vs. Southern Miss
Mike: On paper and in the computers, this should be a huge mismatch. But temperament is a big deal in bowl games, and a team like Washington is likely to be unimpressed by playing a team like Southern Miss in a 2/3rds empty Cotton Bowl stadium; in fact, a team like UDub probably thinks they should be playing IN the Cotton Bowl semifinal game. Meanwhile, Southern Miss is just ecstatic to be in a bowl period. This one will be sloppy, but the Huskies will pull away late. Huskies 31, Eagles 28
Joe: Remember what I said about Miami? Well it goes double for Southern Miss. (It doesn't. It goes single). Southern Miss 50-0
Jon: Meh. Washington 38, Southern Miss 21
Pat Janssen: Washington seemed to find a mini-stride by the end of the year. I think Chris Peterson and the gang gets it done. Big-Boneds 31, Eagles 21
Russell Athletic Bowl - Orlando, FL (Tuesday)
North Carolina (-2.5) vs. Baylor
Mike: Injuries have blown Baylor's season to bits; the Bears are hoping their 3rd string quarterback is healthy enough to go in this game. Their top rusher and receiver: out as well. Meanwhile, the North Carolina defense has shown major strides this season. This one looks like a mismatch, as Baylor looks more like a pre-Briles team at this point of the season: Heels 42, Bears 17
Joe: Nebraska didn't play either of these teams so I don't really have a "take" on this one. I will say that the greatest defensive player in the history of professional football played for the Tarheels. So N.Carolina 56-0
Jon: Mike pegged this one. Baylor is damaged and their season hasn't turned out the way they wanted. I've never been to Orlando. Never been to Disney. Don't feel like I'm missing that much, honestly. North Carolina 38, Baylor 21
Pat Janssen: What's Baylor down to now, their 17th-string quarterback? I realize my late grandma Wanita Janssen could probably throw for at least 250 yards in Art Briles' system, but it feels like the wheels have officially fallen off for the Bears this season. Dirty Feet 49, Sickly psychologically wounded Bears 31
Holiday Bowl - San Diego, CA
Southern Cal (-3) vs. Wisconsin
Mike: Corey Clement's lost season might have a chance to redeem itself in this bowl game. Between injuries and an off-field issue, he's been off the field more than on, and he won't start. But he will play, and that might be the difference. Badgers 31, Trojans 28
Joe: Another chance for the strength of schedule to go up. You know where this is going, right? Sconsin 50-0
Jon: I don't give Wisconsin that much of a chance in this game, honestly. I know they finished 9-3, but their offense left a lot to be desired and the Holiday Bowl craves offense like zombies crave brains. The Badgers biggest chance is that USC doesn't care, but the Trojans have a shiny new coach and they'll all want to play well for him. USC 38, Wisconsin 21
Pat Janssen: Wisconsin isn't all that good, but they're consistent. USC can be really, really good, but who knows which Trojan squad is showing up? I think it'll be the good one. Durexes 33, Angry Rats 21
Foster Farms Bowl - Santa Clara, CA
UCLA (-6.5) vs. Nebraska
Mike: UCLA's offensive line is in a bit of disarray, and that might the edge that Nebraska needs in this game. But will Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf give Nebraska a chance to win? While it sounds cliched to keep saying "run the ball" over and over again, the evidence is pretty clear that in order to win this game, Nebraska needs to run the ball. UCLA has struggled to stop the run this season, and Nebraska turns the ball over too much in the passing game.
A bowl game gives teams a new opportunity to work on their game plans; it's almost like a second spring practice. About 25 years ago, Colorado took advantage of the bowl to completely change their offense. So what will Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf do? Will they use as an opportunity to get some momentum going into the offseason by building on what works, or will they use as a chance to work on the shortcomings of this team? That's the real question to me. If Nebraska runs the ball 60% of the time against UCLA, they'll win. If they don't, it'll be a struggle, and could actually get ugly. But I've got to make a pick, and after being burned time and time again, I don't see this tiger changing his stripes. UCLA 38, Air Nebraska 27
Joe: Although there are no Husker opponents in this game you could say that in most of our losses we beat ourselves. So I consider the Nebraska Cornhuskers to be the Nebraska Cornhuskers toughest foe this past season. Nebraska 50-UCLA 51 (somehow we lose on the last play of the game).
Jon: A loss drops Nebraska to 5-8. Nobody wants that. A bad game by Tommy Armstrong and everyone who hasn't already will have completely lost faith in him. Nobody wants that either, even if they think they do. Tommy haters may not admit it, but they really want a healthy quarterback competition going into spring ball.
Nebraska can win if they play clean (HAHAHAHA) and I'd try to keep UCLA's offense off the field and minimize our exposure to Josh Rosen.
I still believe. I'm not sure why, but I guess I'm hopeless. We will be entertained.
Nebraska 42, UCLA 38
Pat Janssen: About mid-year I started picking against Nebraska and wearing non-Husker gear during gamedays. It worked for every game except Iowa, but that Iowa one hurt. Bad. So fuck it, I'm throwing on two different Nebraska shirts today and picking the ‘Skers! Nebraska 173, UCLA 6.
And Just Because: