The Pencil Storm sports department assembled at Jed's in Hilliard Friday December 27th for its annual meeting. Over Fireballs (a house specialty) and cold pitchers of grog Editor-In-Chief Colin Gawel challenged drunk-in-residence Brian Phillips to a bowl game pick-em.
The concept is simple. With alternating picks Gawel and Phillips were to select winners for all remaining bowl games out of that morning's Columbus Dispatch which happened to be laying on the bar. Both combatants are locked into the Vegas lines published December 27th. Each win is worth two dollars. Each man also selected the game giving them the most confidence. Those are worth an additional $2. The National Championship Game is being held as a tie breaker. That pick will come later. The stains on the page are real. Commentary will be added as time allows.
The Military Bowl Presented By The Military Industrial Complex
Marshall -2 1/2 (Gawel) over Maryland (Phillips)
Phillips: Colin when President Eisenhower warned us of the dangers of the military industrial complex he was likely speaking against just this sort of game. Who the fuck knows right?
Gawel is out of the gate with an easy cover: Marshall 31-20.
The Texas Bowl Presented By Irritating Puffy Chested Texans
Minnesota -4 (Phillips) over Syracuse (Gawel)
Phillips: Colin your faith in the Big Ten is almost non existent. I like the Gophers defense a lot and they can run the ball half way decent. What the hell!
Update: So much for that: Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17
The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Presented By Our Shitty Economy
Washington -3 1/2 (Gawel) over Brigham Young (Phillips)
Phillips: Thank you Colin for taking this one out of my hands. I'm a Wazzu Coug and can't possibly root for the Dawgs.
Update: Ugh... UW 31 BYU 16
Day One Totals: Gawel 3 Phillips 0
Pinstripe Bowl Presented By Robinson Cano
Notre Dame -14 (Phillips) over Rutgers (Gawel)
Phillips: I hate that number for obvious reasons. Gawel snagged this one before I got to it however. At this point I'm hoping for a blow out.
Update: Told you I hated that number. Notre Dame 29 Rutgers 16
Belk Bowl Presented By People Who Ask "What's A Belk?"
North Carolina -2 1/2 (Gawel) over Cincinnati (Phillips)
Phillips: This one jumped out at me.... I think the Heels are getting a bit too much respect owing to their frantic slog to 6-6 after beginning the year 1-5. U.C. meanwhile did notch some nice wins over bowl teams and took Louisville to overtime too.
Update: What a crap pick on my part. North Carolina 39 Cincinnati 17. The Heels have a kid named Switzer from Charleston, WV by the way. Ran back a punt for a TD. Blazing speed. How did WVu not get him?
Russell Athletic Bowl Presented By I Have A Russell Jersey Made In 1983
Louisville -3 1/2 (Gawel) over Miami (Phillips)
Phillips: I'm hoping the Cardinals will be a bit underwhelmed with this bowl after losing out on a BCS bid. That's all I got. Colin snagged this one first and it could be among his smarter selections.
Update: Louisville 36 Miami 9. The story line in this one was that all the kids on the field played against each other in high school down in Miami. I guess all the good ones went north. No way Teddy Bridgewater comes back to UL after this one. 35-45 447 yards, 3 TDS, No picks.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Presented By I Want Some Wings Right Now
Kansas State -4 1/2 (Phillips) over Michigan (Gawel)
Phillips: I see the humor in Gawel having to root for Michigan of course. Taking the Wildcats was pretty easy after learning UM would have to start a true freshman.
Update: Thank God. K-State 31 Michigan 14. Nice players on KSU's side. I like the quarterback Waters a lot. Nice arm, great poise. Can run when he has to. Tyler Lockett is a pro prospect at wide receiver no question. Michigan? Last night was the same old story. They can't run the ball. The freshman wasn't horrible, but not ready to make any difference either. Their d-coordinator is supposed to be brilliant, but they didn't look that great last night... not as bad as against OSU mind you, but not great. Hoke really hasn't moved the needle up north much at all.
Two Day Total: Gawel 5 Phillips 1. Blech.
Monday December 30
Armed Forces Bowl Presented By It Would Be Cool To Have A Helicopter
Navy -6 1/2 (Phillips) over Middle Tennessee State (Gawel)
Phillips: I'll be honest, I don't know squat about these two teams. Navy runs the ball a lot and MTSU is in the middle of Tennessee. I took Navy because 6 1/2 is a much more humane number than 7.
Update: Navy 24 MTSU 6. Yeah see I told you so.
The Music City Bowl Brought To You By Underwater Mortgages
Ole Miss -3 (Gawel) over Georgia Tech (Phillips)
Phillips: Nice snag by Colin. When in doubt take the SEC team over the ACC team. (Not so sure about this logic for the National Championship however.)
Update: Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17. Crap.
The I've Never Been To A Valero Station Alamo Bowl
Oregon -13 1/2 (Gawel) over Texas (Phillips)
Phillips: My logic here such as it is.... In Mac Brown's final game surely the Horns can cover against a bored Oregon team.
Update: Oregon 30 Texas 7. Bloody hell! Did they ever like Mac Brown? Nice way to show it losers.
The National University? Holiday Bowl
Arizona State -14 (Phillips) over Texas Tech (Gawel)
Phillips: As I remember it sitting at the bar December 27th I avoided this one for as long as I could hating that number. It wouldn't surprise me a lick to see ASU easily beat the 14 though.
Update Texas Tech 37 Arizona State 23. Biggest upset of the bowl season thus far. ASU fell way behind and just never bothered to get moving. After a very nice season the Devils shit down their leg in the Pac 12 Championship and this one.
Three Day Total: Gawel 8 Phillips 2. This needs to turn around in a hurry.
Tuesday December 31
The This Used To Be The Poulan Weedeater Now It's Something Called Advocare V100 Bowl
Arizona -7 1/2 (Gawel) over Boston College (Phillips)
Phillips: Good luck figuring out Dick Rod's 2013 Arizona Wildcats. Down the stretch they lost at home to WSU, clobbered Oregon, and then got blasted in their rival game by ASU 58-21. My thinking here is that when the players figure out they are not in New Orleans they're going to become bored and depressed.
Update: Arizona 42 Boston College 19. Another ACC squad.... This is beginning to bode poorly for FSU.
The How Do You Spell Hyundai Sun Bowl
UCLA -7 (Phillips) over Virginia Tech (Gawel)
Phillips: I saw UCLA quite a lot this year. Quarterback Brett Hundley is darn good, and two way threat Miles Jack is perhaps the nation's most intriguing freshman. I have no problem laying a normally problematic 7 here.
Update: UCLA 42 Virginia Tech 12. Finally a satisfying result! And another turd for the ACC. They now sit at 2-5.
The Autozone Has Lots Of Parts And I Have No Idea How To Install Them Even With Their Advice Liberty Bowl
Mississippi State -7 (Phillips) over Rice (Gawel)
Phillips: Another 7 I don't worry about. MSU played a tough SEC schedule, and I'm not entirely certain what conference Rice is in at this point. I think it's Conference USA. Good for them.
Update: MSU 44 Rice 7. Two in a row! Look out!
The I'm Not Saying Their Name Because Of Their Stance On Same Sex Marriage Bowl
Texas A&M -12 (Phillips) over Duke (Gawel)
Phillips: God bless Duke they've had a great year, but this is probably out of their league.
Update: A&M 52 Duke 48. I don't want to hear any more about the SEC playing defense. Woeful effort on that side of the ball. Johnny Football was a star in what will likely be his final game, but it wasn't enough for me.
Four Day Total: Gawel 10 Phillips 4
Wednesday January 1
The Slayer Bowl
Georgia -9 (Gawel) over Nebraska (Phillips)
Phillips: Colin snatched this one up as eagerly as a heaping fork full of Jed's Fireballs. He has no respect for the Huskers and who can blame him after their season ending lack of effort at home against Iowa.
Update: Nebraska 24 Georgia 19. In retrospect the Bulldogs going without Murray makes that -9 look goofy. I'll take it.
The They Killed JFK In The Heart Of Dallas Bowl
North Texas -6 1/2 (Gawel) over UNLV (Phillips)
Phillips: Just as Jerry Jones uses his immense power to get this Cowboys Stadium dog on New Years Day so he uses his power to keep Jason Garrett employed. This was I believe the last game selected and only then because we were out of beer. Ok we were only out of beer for a few moments.
Update: North Texas 36 UNLV 14. Seriously you could comb the earth and not find one person who watched this game.
This Used To Be The Tangerine Bowl Only No One Remembers Bowl
Wisconsin -1 1/2 (Gawel) over South Carolina (Phillips)
Phillips: It's probably just my diseased mind, but this might be the most tantalizing line of the entire bowl season. Conor Shaw is a nice quarterback. That Clowney guy might knock someone's head off again. What's not to like.
Update: South Carolina 34 Wisconsin 24. Here's to a diseased mind!
The Bloomin Onion Bowl
LSU -7 (Colin) Over Iowa (Phillips)
Phillips: This is another one Gawel jumped on like a starving dog on a steak. I can see it. Iowa is just so..... Iowa.
Update: LSU 21 Iowa 14. Les Miles' Tigers played it Big Ten style and gave us our first push of the competition.
The Rose Bowl Shouldn't Be Presented By Anyone
Stanford -5 1/2 (Gawel) over Michigan State (Phillips)
Phillips: Gawel's lack of respect for his own Big Ten is becoming a trend. I like that number for Stanford and am regretting not getting it for myself.
Update: Michigan State 24 Stanford 20. I watched the whole game and came away with even more respect for Dantonio's Spartans. This team is a disappointing early season loss to Notre Dame away from playing in the national championship.... And I'd pick them if they were.
This Is The Final BCS Bowl Stuck With The Regional School No One Gives A Crap About Fiesta Bowl
Baylor - 16 1/2 (Phillips) over Central Florida (Gawel)
Phillips: Well shit. Something deep within tells me that number is way too high. Who knows right. This is probably a nice snag by Colin.
Update: UCF 52 Baylor 42. George O'Leary got caught lying to get the Notre Dame job once, but in the end things worked out well... Which isn't a good lesson for children I suppose. Speaking of children I missed this game because I had been hogging the TV at the vacation cottage we rented for a few days and my 12 year old wanted to watch this awful show called "Dance Moms." It features these hideous mothers and the fascistic woman who teaches their terrified children how to dance. The teacher hates these poor girls and their mothers live vicariously through them. I weep for their futures, which likely include teen pregnancy.
Five Day Total: Gawel 12 Phillips 7 (One Draw)
Thursday January 2
The Corn Syrup Bowl
Alabama -15 (Phillips) over Oklahoma (Gawel)
Phillips: I have no problem picking against Big Game Bob and laying the 15 to do it. No one sucks more in important games than Bob Stoops. Hell I'll give Colin another TD! Yee Haw Boomer Sooner.
Update: I'm an idiot. That is all.
Six Day Total: Gawel 13 Phillips 7 (One Draw)
Friday January 3
Another Credit Card With A Bowl Game Offer
Ohio State -2 1/2 (Gawel) over Clemson (Phillips)
Phillips: I didn't pick this one first as I wanted Colin to. What am I going to do let the OSU grad root against his beloved Bucks? I am human. That said I'm beginning to have my doubts. With Roby (injury) and Spence (suspension) out an already suspect Ohio State defense looks even more shaky. That said I'm not rooting for Clemson. I hope Ohio State wins by 2 or less!
Update: Clemson 40 Ohio State 35. I take no pleasure in this win. Clemson really tried to give this away, Ohio State just tried a bit harder. Also Miller was hurt the entire time.
The Cotton Bowl Is Not Played In The Cotton Bowl Cotton Bowl
Missouri -1 (Phillips) over Oklahoma State (Gawel)
Phillips: Pretty simple. When in doubt I'll take the SEC squad giving a mere 1.
Update: I didn't watch much of this owing to Ohio State being on.... Crazy finish.... 24-17 in the fourth. That was enough.
Seven Day Total: Gawel 13 Phillips 9 (one draw)
Saturday January 4
The... What? BBVA Compass Bowl? I Think It's A Bank In Alabama
Vanderbilt -2 1/2 (Phillips) over Houston (Gawel)
Phillips: James Franklin has done a remarkable job at Vanderbilt, which is for lack of a better comparison, the Stanford of the SEC... Which is to say it's the only school in the SEC you can't enroll any prospect with a pulse. The question for Coach Franklin is whether or not to cash in.... and where to cash in.... I don't have an answer. I think he should stay. Great school, cool town. You'll always be appreciated.
Update: Vanderbilt 41 Houston 24. Vandy 9-4. Tennessee 5-7.
Eight Day Total: Gawel 13 Phillips 10 (one draw)
Sunday January 5
The Danica Patrick Implied Breast Godaddy.com Bowl
Ball State -8 /12 (Phillips) over Arkansas State (Gawel)
Phillips: Ah yes... After a solid two days of heart stopping NFL Wild Card Action (and the stupid Bengals) we have this.... I'm not even sure what this is... Poor ASU has lost their head coach to a better program for four straight seasons now. Hell last year's Arkansas State Godaddy.com Bowl winning coach Gus Malzahn is coaching Auburn in the title game this year. What does it all mean? I have no stinking clue and as I remember it this one sat on the bar for a long time. Anyway I'm on a jag here and can't stop now. Go Cardinals!
Update: Arkansas State 23 Ball State 20. Bloody hell.
Final Total: Gawel 14 Phillips 10 (one draw)
We didn't need to pick the national title game after all, which in retrospect seems anti-climatic. That happens. I owe Colin $8. I will probably settle up in beer. As it should be.