Against All Odds: NCAA Bowls/NFL Picks Week 18

Against All Odds: NCAA Bowls/NFL Picks Week 18

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!

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

NCAA Football

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.


Alamo Bowl

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

Belk Bowl

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.

Peach Bowl

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 Bowl

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

Military Bowl

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

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.

Redbox Bowl

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

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!


Holiday Bowl

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?


Taxslayer Bowl

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

Outback Bowl

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.


Citrus Bowl

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.


Fiesta Bowl

Cardinals Stadium, Glendale, AZ.

#11 LSU Tigers (9-3) at #8 UCF Knights (12-0), 1:00 pm

Line: LSU -7.5


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

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.


Sugar Bowl

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?


Pick Results

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

Author Profile

Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
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.

There's nowhere on earth that is more dedicated to its sports teams like Western Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. The passion and pride of Pittsburgh's fan base is second to no one. From the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, to W.P.I.A.L. high school sports, "The City of Champions" has it all!

As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football.

For a refreshing view of sports, mixed with humor and uncensored opinions, check out Pittsburgh SportsNation today on Facebook, Twitter @PghSportsNation and videos with over 1,000,000 views on YouTube!

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