CFB Bowl Picks: Trust Clemson, Oklahoma to cover on Wednesday's slate

Bowl season is all about motivation.

And oh buddy do we have some differing motivations on Wednesday's three-game slate.

Virginia Tech, Oregon and Oklahoma all have new head coaches coming in for next season. Iowa State's top player opted out. Clemson and Maryland will try to use their games as a springboard for 2022.

Maryland and Virginia Tech start the abbreviated schedule off inside Yankee Stadium. The first game of the day was supposed to be the Fenway Bowl, but Virginia was unable to participate due to COVID issues.

The Pinstripe Bowl serves as an appetizer for two higher profile Power Five clashes in the Cheez-It Bowl and Alamo Bowl.

Clemson and Oklahoma have clear advantages in those contests for a handful of reasons, and because of that, they are two of the easier picks for bowl season.

Wednesday Bowl Picks

Overall Record: 118-100 (13-11 Bowl Record)

Pinstripe Bowl

Maryland vs. Virginia Tech (Over 55)

I have no problem with everyone being on Maryland to win the Pinstripe Bowl.

That's probably the right move since the Terps have more motivation than a Virginia Tech team in the middle of a coaching transition and without its starting quarterback.

With that being said, the Hokies appear to be embracing the bowl experience and they are wearing the New York Yankees logo on one side of their helmet.

That suggests to me that the Hokies are making the best of their situation and going to be up for the game, at least in the first half.

Maryland has not beaten a good team this season. Its best wins are over West Virginia, Kent State and Rutgers. West Virginia and Kent State lost their bowl games in blowout fashions and Rutgers is probably in line for the same result.

The Terps allowed 46.8 points per game in their six losses, all of which came against bowl eligible teams in the Big Ten.

Virginia Tech is starting a fifth-year junior at quarterback that is playing with nothing to lose and running back Raheem Blackshear is still in the fold amidst some opt-outs.

The Hokies should play a free offensive style against a Maryland defense that stinks. The Terps give up 415.6 yards per game.

The Over is absolutely in play here due to the Va. Tech offense playing with nothing to lose and Maryland trying to set a foundation for next season.

Cheez-It Bowl

Clemson (-1.5) vs. Iowa State

As the No. 1 Clemson chaser on the planet, I have to finish the Tigers' season with a wager on them.

Dabo Swinney's side actually got better after its sluggish start and was probably one extra week away from challenging for a divisional title in the ACC.

Clemson has all sorts of motivation in the world to win the Cheez-It Bowl. D.J. Uiagalelei needs a solid performance to set up a better 2022 and the experienced players on the Tigers roster want to go out with a victory.

The Tigers notably had few opt-outs and some of their seniors on defense want to play one final game for the program.

That is a scary sign for an Iowa State offense without leading rusher Breece Hall, who opted out to focus on the NFL draft.

Clemson's defense should feast on Brock Purdy. The unit that gives up 15 points per game should pin its ears back and give Purdy hell on every snap.

The 1.5-point spread is respectful to Iowa State, but the final score may not be that close.

Alamo Bowl

Oregon vs. Oklahoma (-6.5)

The best bet for the Alamo Bowl is the Over on how many times the ESPN announcers will openly discuss Caleb Williams' future.

Oklahoma's star freshman quarterback could easily leave for USC to join Lincoln Riley, or he could stay in Norman and become the program's latest star signal-caller.

Regardless of what his future looks like, Williams should have a fairly easy night in the pocket against Oregon.

The Ducks are ravaged by injuries and opt-outs and they have a makeshift coaching staff in place after Mario Cristobal left for Miami. Joe Moorhead stayed on as offensive coordinator for one game before departing for Akron, but that might not matter.

Oklahoma has the edge at quarterback and more depth across the board. And as we saw against Utah, Oregon might not be the team we thought it was when it beat Ohio State.

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