Welcome to Against All Odds: NCAA Bowls/NFL Picks Week 18! From the opening weekend of the NCAA football season through Super Bowl LII, Mike Drakulich (PSN), the man behind Pittsburgh SportsNation, takes on his father, Michael J. Drakulich (MJD), in picking NCAA and NFL games against the Vegas spread.
Mike Drakulich covers both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Panthers during the season for NGSCSports.com!
To appease the taste buds of Pittsburgh’s local coverage area, Pitt, Penn State, and West Virginia, when they are playing, will always be on the docket among the NCAA games chosen, as will the Pittsburgh Steelers for NFL games.
Once Bowl Season arrives, we’ll bring you EVERY Bowl Game and then continue throughout the conclusion of the NFL Playoffs.
Itchy vs Scratchy. Black Spy vs White Spy. Cheers vs Gary’s Old Towne Tavern. History is full of rivalries, but none are better than father vs son! Who will rise above the other this season and become the 2018-19 Against All Odds Champion?
As Al Bundy used to say, a lot, “Good one, God…”
Last week I go 9-1 and feel like I’m on a roll… this week, it the exact opposite, as just about anyone I picked decided to kick me in the nuts. Game after game, after game.
You don’t believe in a Higher Power? Just follow me around. This is why I hate Bowl games. I was seven games over .500 and had a five game lead over my dad. Now I’m two games under and trail him by two games courtesy of him picking against me in the majority of those games… screw these games and the players who dog it while playing them.
This week marks the last of College Football for the 2018-19 Against All Odds season, that is, with the exception of the National Championship in Week 20’s edition, which also starts the NFL Playoffs and Wild Card Weekend.
21 games on the docket… will I be pumping my fist in the air or hiding under a blanket come next week?
Guess we’ll see.
Lines as of 12/26/2018
Friday, December 28th
Music City Bowl
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN.
Purdue Boilermakers (6-6) at Auburn Tigers (7-5), 1:30 pm
Line: Auburn -3.5
Pick: PSN: Auburn | MJD: Auburn
Auburn should be able to make Purdue sing the Blues in this game down in Nashville. War Eagle!
Camping World Bowl
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL.
#16 West Virginia Mountaineers (8-3) at #20 Syracuse Orange (9-3), 5:15 pm
Line: Syracuse -1.5
Pick: PSN: Syracuse | MJD: Syracuse
How will WVU fare without star QB Will Grier? Something tells me not well… maybe the Mountaineers will find their offense and make Syracuse fold their tents and go home, but I doubt it.
Alamodome, San Antonio, TX.
#24 Iowa State Cyclones (8-4) at #13 Washington State Cougars (10-2), 9:00 pm
Line: Washington St -2.5
Pick: PSN: Washington State | MJD: Iowa State
Washington State makes their final stand of the year vs a tough Iowa State team… they’ll hold the fort and make the cover. Dad said watch out for Dorothy and Toto here.
Saturday, December 29th
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC.
South Carolina Gamecocks (7-5) at Virginia Cavaliers (7-5), 12:00 pm
Line: South Carolina -5.5
Pick: PSN: South Carolina | MJD: Virginia
The Gamecocks will be shopping for their 8th win of the season. They will do so vs a soft Virginia squad.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA.
#10 Florida Gators (9-3) at #7 Michigan Wolverines (10-2), 12:00 pm
Line: Michigan -5.5
Pick: PSN: Michigan | MJD: Florida
Things won’t go very peachy for the Gators who face one of the toughest defenses in the country in Michigan… that is unless the Wolverines forget how to football, as they did vs Ohio State a few weeks ago… dad says “chomp, chomp”.
Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ.
Arkansas State Red Wolves (8-4) at Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5), 1:15 pm
Line: Arkansas St -1.5
Pick: PSN: Arkansas St | MJD: Nevada
Wolves in Arizona?!? Yes!! We’ll go with the red ones for me in this one. Dad says there is safety in numbers.
Cotton Bowl (College Football Semifinal)
AT&T Stadium, Dallas, TX.
#3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0) at #2 Clemson Tigers (13-0), 4:00 pm
Line: Clemson -13.5
Pick: PSN: Notre Dame | MJD: Notre Dame
This is a National Semifinal, right?? I know how good Clemson is, but this one will be closer than two touchdowns. Notre Dame isn’t some patsy here. Or are they?
Orange Bowl (College Football Semifinal)
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL.
#4 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1) at #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0), 8:00 pm
Line: Alabama -14.5
Pick: PSN: Oklahoma | MJD: Alabama
This is a National Semifinal, right (Part II)?? I know how good Bama is, but the Sooners can score with the best of them. The Crimson Tide will more than likely win, but it won’t be a blowout… then again, dad says “Roll Tide!”
Monday, December 31st
Navy Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD.
Cincinnati Bearcats (10-2) at Virginia Tech Hokies (6-6), 12:00 pm
Line: Cincinnati -5.5
Pick: PSN: Cincinnati | MJD: Cincinnati
I like the Bearcats to come out gunning vs the Hokies, who are lucky to even be in a Bowl.
Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX.
Stanford Cardinal (8-4) at Pitt Panthers (7-6), 2:00 pm
Line: Stanford -5.5
Pick: PSN: Pitt | MJD: Pitt
The sun don’t shine on the same dog’s ass every day… the bad luck Pitt has endured in Bowls will come to an end vs Stanford. Bryce Love won’t be playing for the Cardinal, so unless the Panther’s Kenny Pickett completely stinks the joint out, Pitt will pull the upset. Look for seniors Qadree Ollison and Darren Hall to make their final games as Panthers a memorable one.
Levis Stadium, Santa Clara, CA,
Michigan State Spartans (7-5) at Oregon Ducks (8-4), 3:00 pm
Line: Oregon -2.5
Pick: PSN: Oregon | MJD: Oregon
Normally, these two teams are a lot better, but this year both are just average. This game being played out west favors the Ducks.
Liberty Bowl, Memphis, TN.
#23 Missouri Tigers (7-5) at Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-6), 3:45 pm
Line: Missouri -7.5
Pick: PSN: Missouri | MJD: Oklahoma State
Give me Missouri or give me death!
SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CA.
#22 Northwestern Wildcats (8-5) at #17 Utah Utes (9-4), 7:00 pm
Line: Utah -6.5
Pick: PSN: Utah | MJD: Northwestern
Northwestern, like Clark Griswold and family, take Holiday Road to Cali where they will likely get pasted by the Utes…wait, what? Did you say Utes?
TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL.
N.C. State Wolfpack (9-3) at #19 Texas A&M Aggies (8-4), 7:30 pm
Line: Texas A&M -6.5
Pick: PSN: Texas A&M | MJD: Texas A&M
The Wolfpack were rolling along this season till Clemson clobbered them. They haven’t been the same since. The Aggies will slay N.C. State in this game.
Tuesday, January 1st
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL.
#18 Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4) at Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4), 12:00 pm
Line: Mississippi St -7.5
Pick: PSN: Iowa | MJD: Iowa
Mississippi State is a good team, but they aren’t good enough to cover this game vs the Hawkeyes, who just might take the Bulldogs outback and surprise them.
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL.
#14 Kentucky Wildcats (9-3) at #12 Penn State Nittany Lions (9-3), 1:00 pm
Line: Penn St -6.5
Pick: PSN: Penn State | MJD: Kentucky
Will Kentucky be able to end this superb season by putting squeeze on Penn State? I’d love for that to happen, so to ensure it does, I’m taking the Nittany Lions here.
Cardinals Stadium, Glendale, AZ.
#11 LSU Tigers (9-3) at #8 UCF Knights (12-0), 1:00 pm
Line: LSU -7.5
Pick: PSN: LSU | MJD: UCF
No McKenzie Milton, no chance for UCF vs the Tigers. Would’ve loved to see that kid healthy and the Knights be given a chance, but it is what it is.
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA.
#9 Washington Huskies (10-3) at #6 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1), 5:00 pm
Line: Ohio St -6.5
Pick: PSN: Ohio State | MJD: Washington
Ohio State, unless they shot their wad vs Michigan, should come out smelling like roses after this match-up against Washington. I just don’t think the PAC 12 is that good.
Superdome, New Orleans, LA.
#15 Texas Longhorns (9-4) at #5 Georgia Bulldogs (11-2), 8:45 pm
Line: Georgia -12.5
Pick: PSN: Georgia | MJD: Texas
Georgia is looking for sweeten the end of the season by chopping up Texas down in Louisiana.
Sunday, December 30th
Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) at Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6-1), 4:25 pm
Line: Pittsburgh -16.5
Pick: PSN: Pittsburgh | MJD: Cincinnati
16.5 points is a helluva spot to cover for Pittsburgh, but something tells me that the Steelers are going to take out their frustrations on the Bengals. To make the playoffs, they need to win and…
Cleveland Browns (7-7-1) at Baltimore Ravens (9-6), 4:25 pm
Line: Baltimore -7.5
Pick: PSN: Cleveland | MJD: Cleveland
…Cleveland has to defeat the Ravens for Pittsburgh to win the AFC North. Will Baltimore choke for the 2nd straight season in the last game of the year, only to watch their hated rivals best them once again? Ahh, hell, why not?
MJD: Last Week: 10-4 | Bowls: 12-7 | Overall: 76-73 — .500
PSN: Last Week: 3-11 | Bowls: 9-10 | Overall: 74-75 -2 .500
2017 Champion: PSN
2016 Champion: MJD
2015 Champion: MJD
2014 Champion: PSN
2013 Champion: PSN
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.
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