McMurphy's Picks: More Holiday Cheer and Bowl Picks
Then on Thursday, six Ohio State players were suspended for selling more gear than a pawn shop. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor and running back Dan Herron were among the players suspended, starting next season. They also must repay money and benefits ranging in value from $1,000 to $2,500.
The school announced the repayments must be made to a charity. How about: "Little Sisters of the Poor?" I'm sure Ohio State president Gordon Gee would approve.
With all of the fine and upstanding student-athletes in the Big Ten, call me crazy, but I think Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany needs to reconsider and should keep the division names as "Legends" and "Leaders."
Despite the Ohio State suspensions, they will be allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl. While the Sugar Bowl is still more than a week away, here are this week's bowl selections (how's that for a transitional paragraph).
Reminder: Before the season, I was staked an imaginary $5,000 bankroll. Each week, "Cover Me" – at least that's the name tattooed on his arm – and I made our college football selections. We finished 20 games over .500 for an imaginary $1,050 profit.
For the bowl season, we decided to combine forces. We will pick each and every one of the 35 bowl games. In some bowls, we'll even provide our over/under selection. And as a special holiday treat, we've rated our picks from 1-to-4 stars with the 4-star, in theory, being the stronger pick. Point spreads from Wednesday's USA Today.
Hawaii vs. Tulsa, Hawaii Bowl, Friday. Playing in sunny Hawaii, Tulsa's players have been encouraged to use a lot of SPF-60 sunscreen to guard against sunburn. The Hurricane defense, which is the nation's second worst against the pass, should also apply full-body wraps for the third-degree burns they're going to receive facing Hawaii's No. 1 ranked offense. Tulsa +10, 1 star. Over 73 points, 4 stars.
Toledo vs. Florida International, Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Sunday. Florida International reportedly has sold only a "few hundred tickets" to play in this Detroit bowl played on the day after Christmas against a Mid-American team. Yep, I'm also surprised they sold that many. Florida International +2, 3 stars.
Air Force vs. Georgia Tech, Independence Bowl, Monday. To celebrate Georgia Tech's 14th consecutive bowl appearance, the Yellow Jackets offered $14 bowl tickets. Little did Georgia Tech fans realize, that's actually double the face value. Georgia Tech +2½, 3 stars.
West Virginia vs. N.C. State, Champs Sports Bowl, Tuesday. Since 1990, this bowl has gone by: the Blockbuster Bowl, Carquest Bowl, MicronPC Bowl, MicronPC.com Bowl, Visit Florida Tangerine Bowl, Mazda Tangerine Bowl and the Champs Sports Bowl. Next year it will be known as "The Last Bowl That Bill Stewart Was Actually In Charge Bowl." N.C. State +3, 3 stars.
Missouri vs. Iowa, Insight Bowl, Tuesday. After hearing that one of Iowa's players, who been running a drug house never once tested positive, coaches from the University of Jamaica have made plans to visit Iowa City in the off-season and learn more about the Hawkeyes' "unique" drug testing policies and procedures. Missouri -2½, 2 stars.
Maryland vs. East Carolina, Military Bowl, Wednesday. C'mon, this has to be some sick joke. Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen was forced out after being named ACC Coach of the Year to make room for Pirate lover Mike Leach and Friedgen's final game is against the East Carolina ... Pirates? East Carolina +7, 1 star. Over 68, 2 stars.
Baylor vs. Illinois, Texas Bowl, Wednesday. I can't remember: is Illinois coach Ron Zook a "legend" or a "leader?" Baylor -2, 1 star. Over 62½, 4 stars.
Oklahoma State vs. Arizona, Alamo Bowl, Wednesday. This hasn't been the best stretch for Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. First, he loses the services of offensive coordinator whiz Dana Holgorsen to West Virginia and now he has to coach against a Stoops. Gundy, by the way, has as many victories against Bob and Mike Stoops as he does Big 12 titles: none. Arizona +4½, 3 stars.
SMU vs. Army, Armed Forces Bowl, Thursday. With the Dallas Cowboys' season swirling down the toilet, this bowl game held at SMU gives Cowboys fans a rare Christmas treat: the chance to see a Dallas-based football team with a winning record. SMU -9½, 3 stars.
Kansas State vs. Syracuse, Pinstripe Bowl, Thursday. The inaugural Pinstripe Bowl will be played in Yankee Stadium. Syracuse should enjoy a big edge fan-wise, but the Orange have lost their last four games in the state of New York. Talk about a home-field disadvantage. Kansas State even, 1 star. Under 47½, 2 stars.
North Carolina vs. Tennessee, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Thursday. A recent study from USA Today shows the Southeastern Conference has 51 assistant coaches making more than $250,000 a year. Well, 52 if you include Cecil Newton. Tennessee +2, 5 stars.
Nebraska vs. Washington, Holiday Bowl, Thursday. These were the actual quotes from Nebraska coach Bo Pelini after Nebraska's 56-21 win at Washington on Sept. 18 when asked about QB Taylor Martinez: "I don't know if you can really rattle the guy. He's really the same way all the time; he's not a real emotional guy, what you see is what you get." This is what Pelini said to Taylor on the sideline during last month's loss to Texas A&M: "&#*&%@* &*#%* #!$$!*%." Washington +13½, 1 star.
Lock of the week: Peifer's Word Lock Padlock, PL-001-PK
Last week: 3-2-1 (-1 star; -50)
Bowl record: 3-2-1 (-1 star; -50)
Regular season totals
Bankroll: Up 1,050 for season; 6,050 balance
McMurphy: 98-81; +750 (13-15 best bets)
"Cover Me": 24-21; +300 (6-3 best bets)
Brett McMurphy is a national college football writer for FanHouse. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and please follow at Twitter.com/BrettmcmurphY