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College Bowl Game Picks 2011: First Impressions Of All 35 Matchups

It's time to make some first-impression bowl picks and love every second of it. It's the most ... wonderful time ... of the year ... Stay tuned here for more college football news and coverage.

WACO, TX - DECEMBER 03:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Baylor Bears runs onto the field before a game against the Texas Longhorns at Floyd Casey Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
WACO, TX - DECEMBER 03: Robert Griffin III #10 of the Baylor Bears runs onto the field before a game against the Texas Longhorns at Floyd Casey Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Getty Images

A disclaimer: I love bowl games. Love them. I want more of them. If college football passed a ruling saying 5-7 teams were eligible for bowls, I would watch 5-7 Syracuse play 5-7 UTEP. I am very much for an expanded college football playoff, be it four teams or 16, but said playoff will not get my support if bowls are eliminated. In an oligarchy like college football, I love the socialist twinges of bowls. Only the ruling class can win the titles, but anybody can get to 6-6.

I am not bragging about this, mind you. Half-empty bowl stadiums should be seen only as half-depressing, and I am pretty sure that if I ever met a member of a bowl committee (especially for, say, the Sugar or Orange Bowls), I would want to swear off of college football entirely. I hate that 6-7 UCLA was granted a bowl waiver in this case (simply because they stole a spot from a Western Kentucky team that is a much better story), and I hate that we don't use the BCS standings to select the ten teams that will go to BCS bowls (instead of giving the committee a larger pool with which they can screw over teams like Boise State and Kansas State). I am not showing strength of character in loving bowls. But I love them anyway. I can't help it.

RELATED: Spencer Hall ranks every bowl game from best to worst.

I love that UL-Lafayette had something to play for and celebrate.

I love that Western Michigan is (indirectly) representing Little Caesar's Pizza! Pizza!

I love, love, that Northern Illinois and Arkansas State are playing each other (even if ASU coach Hugh Freeze may be gone, and even if I have to wait until the day before the national championship to watch it).

I love Stanford-Oklahoma State. I love Baylor-Washington. I love Penn State-Houston. I love Florida State-Notre Dame.

I love that there are still over 100 hours of football to watch in the 2011 season. I love that, according to my picks below, I think almost every game will be tight and competitive, even though there's no way in hell that's actually the case.

With that in mind, here are some early bowl picks, both from the F/+ ratings and my own brain. The numbers will remain the same moving forward, but I reserve the right to change my own mind at least 15 or 16 times.

Date Bowl Time TV Team Team My Pick
F/+ Pick
17-Dec New Mexico 2:00 PM ESPN Wyoming Temple Temple by 3 Temple by 19.2
17-Dec Idaho Potato 5:30 PM ESPN Ohio Utah State Utah State by 3 Ohio by 4.5
17-Dec New Orleans 9:00 PM ESPN San Diego State UL-Lafayette SDSU by 10 SDSU by 3.3
20-Dec Beef 'O' Brady's 8:00 PM ESPN Florida International Marshall FIU by 7 FIU by 10.7
21-Dec Poinsettia 8:00 PM ESPN TCU Louisiana Tech TCU by 14 TCU by 7.9
22-Dec Las Vegas 8:00 PM ESPN Boise State Arizona State BSU by 13 BSU by 16.6
24-Dec Hawai'i 8:00 PM ESPN Southern Miss Nevada USM by 6 USM by 11.4
26-Dec Independence 5:00 PM ESPN North Carolina Missouri Mizzou by 3 Mizzou by 1.4
27-Dec Little Caesars Pizza 4:30 PM ESPN Purdue Western Michigan Purdue by 1 WMU by 8.6
27-Dec Belk 8:00 PM ESPN N.C. State Louisville Louisville by 10 Louisville by 6.8
28-Dec Military 4:30 PM ESPN Toledo Air Force Toledo by 10 Toledo by 12.8
28-Dec Holiday 8:00 PM ESPN California Texas Texas by 14 Texas by 5.3
29-Dec Champs Sports 5:30 PM ESPN Florida State Notre Dame FSU by 7 FSU by 3.1
29-Dec Alamo 9:00 PM ESPN Baylor Washington Baylor by 10 Baylor by 6.9
30-Dec Armed Forces 12:00 PM ESPN BYU Tulsa BYU by 6 Tulsa by 1.4
30-Dec Pinstripe 3:20 PM ESPN Iowa State Rutgers Rutgers by 1 Rutgers by 10.6
30-Dec Music City 6:40 PM ESPN Wake Forest Mississippi State MSU by 14 MSU by 4.2
30-Dec Insight 10:00 PM ESPN Iowa Oklahoma OU by 3 OU by 10.1
31-Dec Meineke of Texas 12:00 PM ESPN Northwestern Texas A&M A&M by 4 A&M by 9.6
31-Dec Sun 2:00 PM CBS Georgia Tech Utah GT by 3 GT by 3.7
31-Dec Liberty 3:30 PM ABC Cincinnati Vanderbilt Vandy by 3 Cincy by 4.3
31-Dec Hunger 3:30 PM ESPN Illinois UCLA UCLA by 3 Illinois by 6.9
31-Dec Chick-fil-A 7:30 PM ESPN Virginia Auburn Auburn by 7 Virginia by 0.6
2-Jan TicketCity 12:00 PM ESPNU Penn State Houston PSU by 7 Houston by 0.7
2-Jan Outback 1:00 PM ABC Michigan State Georgia UGa by 6 State by 2.8
2-Jan Capital One 1:00 PM ESPN Nebraska S. Carolina S.C. by 2 Nebraska by 3.7
2-Jan Gator 1:00 PM ESPN2 Ohio State Florida Ohio St. by 6 Ohio St. by 0.7
6-Jan Cotton 8:00 PM Fox Kansas State Arkansas Hogs by 3 Hogs by 4.7
7-Jan BBVA Compass 1:00 PM ESPN Pittsburgh SMU SMU by 3 Pitt by 7.8
8-Jan 9:00 PM ESPN Northern Illinois Arkansas State NIU by 7 NIU by 0.1
2-Jan Rose 5:00 PM ESPN Wisconsin Oregon Oregon by 3 Wiscy by 0.5
2-Jan Fiesta 8:30 PM ESPN Oklahoma State Stanford OSU by 10 OSU by 7.4
3-Jan Sugar 8:30 PM ESPN Michigan Virginia Tech Va. Tech by 7 Michigan by 3.6
4-Jan Orange 8:30 PM ESPN Clemson West Virginia WVU by 3 Clemson by 0.6
9-Jan BCS Championship 8:30 PM ESPN LSU Alabama Bama by 7 LSU by 6.4