NFL plus the first bowl game!

I have two favorite times of year. One is March Madness, when I can immerse myself in basketball, brackets and gambling excess (nothing like being in Vegas during the first weekend of the tourney). The second is the bowl season, where every day from Dec. 20 to Jan. 3 or 4th is filled with at least one football game (pro or college) per day. I can’t wait.

So with that said, here are some picks for the bowl games this weekend. I’m going to visit some family, so I might as well just get these out of the way now.

Poinsettia Bowl, tonight: Navy (+8) over Utah
I think the San Diego “home-field” advantage keeps Navy close, despite losing coach Paul Johnson to Georgia Tech.

New Orleans Bowl, Friday: Memphis (+3) over Florida Atlantic
I’ll be honest and say that I don’t know a single thing about this game. I’ll go with Conference USA over the Sun Belt.

PapaJohns.com Bowl, Saturday: Cincinnati (-11.5) over Southern Miss
This might be the biggest bowl mismatch of the season, which says something. Ousted lameduck Southern Miss coach Jeff Bower will be getting takeout after this blowout.

New Mexico Bowl, Saturday: New Mexico (-3) over Nevada
Do you really think New Mexico is that fired up about playing a bowl at home? Just imagine USC, but hanging out in New Mexico instead of LA.

Las Vegas Bowl, Saturday: BYU (-5.5) over UCLA
My money is not on the Bruins. I realize they defeated BYU at the Rose Bowl in September, but a few things have changed since then, such as UCLA’s coach.

Hawaii Bowl, Sunday: Boise State (-11) over East Carolina
I can’t imagine there are going to be many fans at this game. Neither team has a huge alumni base, its on a holiday weekend, its half an ocean away. It’s a tough sell.

Now here are some NFL picks. Unfortunately for me, Jessica Simpson (or Jessica Biel) isn’t watching me do these.

ST. LOUIS (+7.5) over Pittsburgh
CAROLINA (+10.5) over Dallas
Cleveland (-3) over CINCINNATI
Green Bay (-8.5) over CHICAGO
INDIANAPOLIS (-7) over Houston
DETROIT (-4.5) over Kansas City
NEW ENGLAND (-22) over Miami
BUFFALO (+3) over N.Y. Giants
JACKSONVILLE (-13) over Oakland
Philadelphia (+3) over NEW ORLEANS
ARIZONA (-10.5) over Atlanta
N.Y. Jets (+9) over TENNESSEE
Tampa Bay (-6) over SAN FRANCISCO
Washington (+6.5) over MINNESOTA
SAN DIEGO (-8.5) over Denver
*Baltimore at Seattle is off the board. I’m picking the Seahawks no matter the spread, but I’ll try to get an updated spread when it arrives.