-- Every Wednesday during the college football season, we gave "Stanford Steve" Coughlin of ESPN Radio and the "SVP & Russillo" show and Chris Fallica of ESPN Stats & Information and "College GameDay" their shot at picking the weekend's top college football games. The results were quite impressive. With Coughlin on a well-deserved vacation, Fallica is taking the baton this week.
Here are his against-the-spread picks (in bold) for the remaining bowl games, along with a confidence level of 1-10 (1 is lowest, 10 highest) for each:
Note: All odds courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.
Duck Commander Independence Bowl (Shreveport, Louisiana), Dec. 27, 3:30 pm. ET (ESPN)
Miami Hurricanes (-3.5) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
Miami's season was essentially over when it blew a 16-point lead to Florida State on Nov. 15. That loss actually turned into three losses, as the Canes went on to lose to Virginia and Pitt. But after having time to regroup, I think Miami is the right play here. Last season, Al Golden and Co. were embarrassed in a blowout loss to Louisville in the bowl game, and another bowl no-show will fuel the fire of critics who say Golden isn't the right man to coach the U. If there is ever a perfect bowl opponent for Miami, it is South Carolina, whose fan base has shown about as little interest in this game as possible (under 800 tickets sold at the time of writing). The Gamecocks have one of the worst defenses in the country and of their six wins, the last four came against South Alabama, Florida, Furman and Vanderbilt.
ATS pick: Miami 41, South Carolina 21 (confidence: 8)
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Nashville), 12/30, 3:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+7.5) vs. LSU Tigers
Notre Dame is another team whose season went down the drain after a near upset of Florida State, but in Notre Dame's case injuries and turnovers were the main culprit in the slide. Beginning with the loss to FSU, Everett Golson has committed 13 turnovers in his last six games -- that's more than 83 teams have committed in that time frame. It's believed both Golson and Malik Zaire will play, and whoever is under center has plenty of weapons to score points. LSU has just 11 sacks vs. Power 5 teams (only Cal, South Carolina and Pitt were worse among Power 5 teams), so the Irish will have time to throw. This is not an LSU team built to score points and move the ball against good opponents. LSU averaged 20.1 points and 342 yards per game vs. Power 5 teams (59th and 54th nationally among 65 Power 5 teams). Look for the Irish to end the season on a high note.
ATS pick: Notre Dame 24, LSU 20 (confidence: 6)
Belk Bowl (Charlotte, North Carolina), 12/30, 6:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Louisville Cardinals (+7) vs. Georgia Bulldogs
This one comes down to motivation. It's Bobby Petrino coaching against an SEC team -- one where his defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham, coached last year. This is not the bowl Georgia had in mind at the start of the season, or even as late as November. The defense is shorthanded and Hutson Mason (45th among 65 Power 5 QB in 20-yard passes) will not be able to stretch a Louisville defense that leads the FBS in opponent QBR and has allowed 10 touchdowns to 22 interceptions vs. Power 5 teams this season. Chalk up another one for the ACC against the SEC.
ATS pick: Louisville 30, Georgia 21 (confidence: 8)
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl (Atlanta), 12/31, 12:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Ole Miss Rebels (+3) vs. TCU Horned Frogs
When fully healthy, Ole Miss was the best team I saw this season, but obviously, injuries helped derail what could have been a historic season for the Rebels. This matchup could be the best possible outcome for Ole Miss, however: A de facto home game in Atlanta vs. a team some people think should be in the playoff. I love this matchup for the Rebels. Against Power 5 teams, Ole Miss allowed just seven TDs this season and was third in opponent QBR behind Louisville and Clemson. Its secondary should tackle well enough to handle TCU's passing game and yards after catch. TCU has faced two defenses that are in the top 25 efficiency-wise vs. Power 5 teams (Texas and West Virginia). Those two teams forced four turnovers and held the Horned Frogs to 368 and 389 yards (5.5 per play, when TCU's season average was 6.8) respectively, by far their lowest two outputs of the season. Ole Miss has won and covered each of its bowl games under Hugh Freeze and with him opting to stay in Oxford instead of leaving for Gainesville, this will be a game for which Ole Miss is emotionally sky high.
ATS pick: Ole Miss 26, TCU 21 (confidence: 7)
Capital One Orange Bowl (Miami), Dec. 31, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Since ascending to No. 1 following its win over Auburn, Mississippi State has four wins -- Kentucky, Arkansas, UT Martin and Vanderbilt. All told, what once looked like a strong resume now includes just three wins over teams with a winning record. The Jackets have gotten better as the season has gone on, and I don't think the MSU offense will be able to hurt a vulnerable Tech defense the way FSU did in the ACC Championship. Since the win over Auburn, State has forced six turnovers in six games -- three vs Vanderbilt. In the last four games, Tech has been held without a first down on just four of 39 drives. If MSU can't force turnovers, it could find itself in trouble.
ATS pick: Georgia Tech 37, Mississippi State 30 (confidence: 4)
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (Arlington, Texas), Jan. 1, 12:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Michigan State Spartans (+3) vs. Baylor Bears
I'm looking forward to this game. Michigan State's defense has been a bit leaky vs. Power 5 teams, ranking 17th in efficiency and 14th in points per drive. But that's elite compared to Baylor's defense, which is 39th in efficiency and 41st in points per drive. Bryce Petty saw his yards per attempt drop by over a yard-and-a-half, his interception percentage more than double and his QBR fall by 15 points this season. Much like last year in the Rose Bowl, this is a chance for Michigan State to prove itself, as MSU lost to the two best teams it played this season. For the seventh time in seven bowl trips under Mark Dantonio, MSU is an underdog. And for the fourth straight time, it will win outright. Right or wrong, I can't get the vision of last year's Fiesta Bowl out of my head, where Baylor allowed 52 points and 556 yards to UCF. That was also one of the nine losses (against zero wins) for Baylor under Art Briles away from home against top 15 teams.
ATS pick: Michigan State 42, Baylor 31 (confidence: 7)
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl (Orlando, Florida), Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Missouri Tigers (-5) vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers
This is the first January bowl for the Gophers since the 1962 Rose Bowl, so there is little doubt the team and its fan base will be ready for a trip to Florida to cap off a fine season. Problem is, they face a team in Missouri which has already beaten an Arkansas team built on a physical running game, like Minnesota's, only with better players. Missouri held up well for three quarters vs. Alabama before allowing 21 4th-quarter points. If Missouri is mentally invested, it should handle Minnesota.
ATS pick: Missouri 28, Minnesota 21 (confidence: 3)
TicketCity Cactus Bowl (Tempe, Arizona), Jan. 2, 10:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Washington Huskies (-5.5) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Only seven teams in the country allow sacks at a higher rate than Oklahoma State (9 percent). Only one of those is in a Power 5 conference (Wake Forest) and only one made a bowl (Navy). Washington sacks the QB on roughly 9 percent of pass plays, which is about the same as Texas. How did the Longhorns do against the Cowboys? They sacked the QB on 19 percent of pass plays (seven times) and held OSU to 192 yards and nine first downs. Seems like a field day is in order for Hau'oli Kikaha, Andrew Hudson and Danny Shelton against an offense that now doesn't have RB Tyreek Hill (dismissed from the program). Washington hasn't lost to a team that's .500 or worse this season. This looks like a good spot for the Huskies to pick up win No. 9.
ATS pick: Washington 28, Oklahoma State 13 (confidence: 8)
Fallica: 39-36 ATS (54.2 percent)
Coughlin: 44-28-1 ATS (60.3 percent)