Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) passes against Boston College during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/
Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) passes against Boston College during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic | Associated Press

NCAAF: Kern picks Louisiana Tech vs Miami, Eastern Michigan vs Pitt, Washington vs Boise State, and Arkansas State vs Florida International

The early bowls are pretty much nothing more than an excuse to send teams to postseason games that they really have no reason being in or going to. It’s really that simple. But since you can still bet on them, even though you may not be able to name a single player on some or even most of those teams, we’ll take our stab at trying to get some right. I would advise to tread lightly, for all the obvious reasons. But I know it’s hard to sit through games without having something riding on it. I will take a look at the first dozen, which will take us through December 26. And then we’ll go on from there, hopefully with a little more money in our wallet.

Louisiana Tech (+6.5) over Miami

Tech will be playing what amounts to a home game in Shreveport. Miami, which was a bit of a disappointment this season, has lost eight of its last nine bowls. The Bulldogs, under Skip Holtz, have won five straight. I’m not sure how motivated the Hurricanes will be to be here. So we’ll take our chances with the points.

Eastern Michigan (+10.5) over Pitt

Again, this is somewhat about venue. The Eagles will be playing in Detroit, not far from their campus. And, as with Miami, I’m not sure this is really where Pitt wants to spend the holidays. Just saying.

Washington (-3.5) over Boise State

Easily the best matchup of the opening weekend, even if Washington isn’t as good as it used to be. Anyway, this is the last game for its coach, Chris Petersen, who of course previously coached at Boise. You remember the hook-and-ladder and Statue of Liberty against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, right? I just think the Huskies will figure out a way to send him out the right way. Boise just missed going to a New Year’s Six Bowl, but I guess going to Las Vegas is never a bad consolation prize. Or maybe I’m just being too sentimental.

Again, tread lightly. You have to know your limitations.

Oops, almost forgot

Arkansas State (-2.5) over Florida International

Why ask why? FIU beat Miami, where coach Butch Davis once coached. But it did have an up and down kind of year. Arkansas State can score, and I’m hoping that will be enough to cover a fairly light spread. We’ll see, as always.

And if you’re really looking for more, you might take a look at Appalachian State laying 17.5 in New Orleans against Alabama-Birmingham. The Mountaineers were maybe one upset loss away from going to a big-time bowl. So they might not be too excited to be in the Big Easy, where distractions aren’t far away. But there’s no way they’re going to lose. It’s pretty much a matter of by how much, and I just don’t like giving that many. But you might.

Hope you get most of what you were wishing for under the tree. Including a few wins. We’ll see you next week for the next round of games, which of course will include the playoff semifinals. Imagine that. Games that really mean something. And we will have our pro picks, where we’ll try to do better than last week, sometime tomorrow. Since there are three games on Saturday.


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