Bowl picks ATS: Let’s make some money and learn something interesting

Bowl picks ATS: Let’s make some money and learn something interesting

What the Pillsbury doughboy, Rice’s Frog Wall and the Addams Family have to do with the next round of bowl games and picks.

Todd Lisenbee

By Todd Lisenbee

| Dec 21, 2023, 12:30pm CST

Todd Lisenbee

By Todd Lisenbee

Dec 21, 2023, 12:30pm CST

After a 6-2 record last week, I’m back with more picks and more interesting facts about each school playing in a bowl game this week. Even though last week’s record was impressive, this is the week that you can cash in picking the bowl games. There are 16 games total to choose from. Hopefully, that means 16 winning picks and 32 random pieces of knowledge for you.

Last week: 6-2

This year: 89-72

*Games from Thursday, December 21, through Wednesday, December 27.

Boca Raton Bowl — South Florida vs. Syracuse (-3), 7 p.m. Thursday: The campus of USF was built in 1956 on what used to be Henderson Air Field, which was a WWII-era airstrip. Before it was used as an airstrip, the area was part of a 5,000-acre temple orange grove, which was the largest in the world at the time. One of the most iconic buildings on the Syracuse campus is the Hall of Languages, built in 1873. It served as the inspiration for the fictional home of the Addams Family. Pick: South Florida +3

Gasparilla Bowl — Georgia Tech vs. UCF (-5.5), 5:30 p.m. Friday: Technically, Georgia Tech has the oldest stadium in FBS football. Bobby Dodd Stadium, formerly known as Grant Stadium, was built in 1913. Texas A&M has been playing football at Kyle Field since 1904, but it wasn’t an actual concrete stadium until 1927. UCF was known as Florida Technological University (FTU) until 1978. The name was almost changed to University of Florida-Orlando, which means UCF could’ve been known as UFO. Pick: UCF -5.5

Birmingham Bowl — Troy (-7) vs. Duke, 11 a.m. Saturday: From 2007 until March of 2023, Troy was home to the Confucius Institute, which was affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. At Duke, you can not only get every call from the referees during basketball games, but you can also find the largest and most diverse collections of lemurs in the world. The Duke Lemur Center is home to over 240 animals considered one of the most endangered species in the world. Pick: Troy -7

Camellia Bowl — Arkansas State (-3) vs. Northern Illinois, 11 a.m. Saturday: The first students at Arkansas State in 1910 took classes above a jewelry store on the corner of Washington and Main in Jonesboro. Northern Illinois is located in DeKalb, Illinois, which is named after Revolutionary War hero Johann de Kalb. Johann was born in Germany, served in the French Army, then came to fight with the Americans and died in the Battle of Camden at the age of 58. Pick: Northern Illinois +3

Armed Forces Bowl — James Madison (-2) vs. Air Force, 2:30 p.m. Saturday: There’s a giant rock on The Quad at JMU that’s called The Kissing Rock. Legend has it that when James Madison was an all-female university the young women would kiss their dates goodbye behind the rock to avoid being seen. One of the most striking features at the Air Force Academy is the Cadet Chapel. It hosts over 100 weddings every year. Pick: James Madison -2

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl — Georgia State vs. Utah State (-2.5), 2:30 p.m. Saturday: Georgia State was founded in 1913 as the Georgia School of Technology’s Evening School of Commerce. That’s a mouthful! Utah State was founded in 1888, but its first students weren’t until 1890. The first student to officially enroll was named Vendla Bernston. She was 14 years old. Pick: Georgia State +2.5

68 Ventures Bowl — South Alabama (-17) vs. Eastern Michigan, 6 p.m. Saturday: South Alabama is located in Mobile. A 2013 study showed that it rains more in Mobile than in any other city in the 48 contiguous states. Yes, even more than Seattle. The head coach at Eastern Michigan, Chris Creighton, was my football coach at Ottawa University in Kansas in 2000. He then went on to D3 Wabash College, before moving to Drake and eventually EMU. Wabash College’s nickname? The Little Giants. Pick: Eastern Michigan +17

Las Vegas Bowl — Utah (-6.5) vs. Northwestern, 6:30 p.m. Saturday: In the early 1900s, Utah graduates would paint their class year on the side of Mount Van Cott, which overlooks campus. In 1907, a permanent “U” was put on the hillside, known as “Block U.” Every year, Northwestern students host a 30-hour dance marathon for charity. It’s the largest charity event in the country run solely by students. Pick: Utah -6.5

Hawai’i Bowl — Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State (-10), 9:30 p.m. Saturday: Coastal Carolina is known as the Chanticleers, which is a character from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Nun’s Priest Tale. The character is a rooster who rules the barnyard. It was also meant to pay homage to the original parent school of Coastal Carolina, the University of South Carolina, who are known as the Gamecocks. An athlete connected with SJSU has been a part of every Summer Olympics since 1924, including John Carlos, who famously raised his fist during the National Anthem at the 1968 Mexico City Games. Pick: Coastal Carolina +10

Quick Lane Bowl — Bowling Green vs. Minnesota (-3.5), 1 p.m. Tuesday: Originally named Bowling Green State Normal College, the sports teams were known as the “Normals” until they received their official nickname “Falcons” in 1927. John Pillsbury was not only the co-founder of the Pillsbury Company that gave us the doughboy, but also is known as the “Father of the University of Minnesota.” A donation from Pillsbury in 1876 saved the school, and Pillsbury Hall stands on campus in his honor. Pick: Minnesota -3.5

First Responder Bowl — Texas State (-5.5) vs. Rice, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday: Texas State graduates celebrate by jumping into the San Marcos River in their caps and gowns. Thankfully, the San Marcos River water is 72 degrees year-round. The wall at the entrance of Rice’s Anderson Hall has holes in it that make a croaking sound when you run your finger across them. It’s known as the Frog Wall. Pick: Rice +5.5

Guaranteed Rate Bowl — Kansas (-12.5) vs. UNLV, 8 p.m. Tuesday: The first idea for a university in Kansas came from Territorial Governor Andrew Reeder. Reeder was a free-state Kansan, who eventually was chased out of the state back to his birthplace of Easton, PA when The Civil War broke out. He died in Easton, PA in 1864, where there is a street named for him. Famous alumni from UNLV include Guy Fieri, Jimmy Kimmel, Suge Knight and Kenny Mayne. Pick: UNLV +12.5

Military Bowl — Virginia Tech (-10.5) vs. Tulane, 1 p.m. Wednesday: Most of the buildings on campus at Virginia Tech are made from a type of limestone called “Hokie stone.” Hewed by hand, no two stones are the same color and the university operates its own quarry. Tulane Stadium was the host to the coldest Super Bowl ever played. Super Bowl VI between the Cowboys and Dolphins had a kickoff temperature of 39 degrees. Pick: Virginia Tech -10.5

Duke’s Mayo Bowl — North Carolina vs. West Virginia (-6.5), 4:30 p.m. Wednesday: Founded in 1795, UNC is the oldest state university in the United States and the only one to hand out diplomas in the 18th century. Lady Gaga’s mother, Cynthia Germanotta, was a cheerleader at West Virginia. Pick: West Virginia +6.5

Holiday Bowl — No. 15 Louisville (-7.5) vs. USC, 7 p.m. Wednesday: Louisville fans throw up a hand sign that looks like OSU or Texas Tech’s “guns up” sign, but includes the middle finger as well. This is not meant to look like a gun, but instead a combination of the letters “U” and “L” in sign language. The Academy Awards started in 1929 and in every single ceremony since a former USC student has been nominated for an Oscar. Pick: Louisville -7.5

Texas Bowl — Texas A&M (-2) vs. No. 20 Oklahoma State, 8 p.m. Wednesday: When trains approached the campus of Texas A&M in its infancy, the conductor would say, “Next stop, the college station.” That’s how the town College Station got its name. Old Central is the oldest building on campus in Stillwater. Built in 1894, it was the only permanent campus building until 1900 when the Chemistry department moved out of the basement and into a building just west of Old Central. Pick: Oklahoma State +2

 

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Todd Lisenbee is the host of The Todd Pod with Todd Lisenbee on the Sellout Crowd network. He has been a producer/talk show host at WWLS, The Sports Animal and 107.7 The Franchise during a Oklahoma broadcasting career that spans to 2002. Todd has broadcast high school basketball, football and soccer play-by-play since 2003 and is currently the voice of the UCO Bronchos, a role he has been in since 2018. He can be reached at @ToddOnSports on Twitter/X or Instagram or via email at [email protected].

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