Major Conferences Start Bowling

Major Conferences Start Bowling

By the KING of Las Vegas WAYNE ALLYN ROOT

When North Carolina takes on Missouri Monday afternoon in the Independence Bowl, it marks a very important beginning in the 2011-12 college football bowl slate. This is the FIRST game played this year that features TWO teams from major conferences!

The only team from one of the BCS conferences to take the field so far was Arizona State of the Pac 12. They got routed by Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl. TCU won the Poinsettia Bowl...and they'll be in the Big 12 next year. This year, they were still part of the Mountain West.

In Monday's Independence Bowl...it's an ACC team against a Big 12 team, and the official start of "the bowl games people care about the most." Major conference showdowns within then next few days:

Louisville (Big East) will play NC State (ACC) in the Belk Bowl
California (Pac 12) will play Texas (Big 12) in the Holiday Bowl
Notre Dame (Major Independent) will play Florida State (ACC) in the Champs Sports Bowl
Washington (Pac 12) will play Baylor (Big 12) in the Alamo Bowl
Rutgers (Big East) will play Iowa State (Big 12) in the Pinstripe Bowl
Wake Forest (ACC) will play Mississippi State (SEC) in the Music City Bowl
Iowa (Big 10) will play Oklahoma (Big 12) in the Insight Bowl

That's just now through Friday Night. There are five big games on tap Saturday that all feature majors vs. majors, and then of course the six traditional New Year's games that will be played on Monday, January 2nd this year because the final NFL Sunday falls on January 1st.

I'm not laying all of this out for you today as a free ad for ESPN. The point I want to emphasize is that you're about to get some very good reads on CONFERENCE STRENGTHS these next few days that will help you pick winners the rest of the way.

Missouri's performance vs. North Carolina will tell you a lot about how the Big 12 is likely to perform this season. Missouri is a very solid proxy for that conference given their style and slot in the Power Ratings. North Carolina will do the same thing for the ACC in my view. And, certainly the combination of North Carolina Monday and NC State Tuesday will tell you a lot about that conference.

After Cal plays Texas in the Holiday Bowl, you'll have learned a lot about both conferences given prior appearances from Arizona State and Missouri. The Big 12 is all over the schedule later this week!

I'm not going to post my official bowl selections here in my online articles. That wouldn't be fair to paying customers. But, I will discuss some of my strategies as we work our way through the busy days ahead. There are definitely some games I've circled already for GAME OF THE YEAR caliber selections because of the personnel matchups or emotional intangibles involved. But, what I learn in these next few days about the major conferences will certainly influence my day-to-day decisions. At the very least, they might turn strong plays into VERY strong plays...or perhaps cause me to lower a rating if a conference gets exposed as overrated.

That's what's so great about the bowls. An outlook that starts out strong because of your initial handicapping just keeps getting better and better as you work your way through the schedule. Keep doing your homework!

My bowl selections will go up every day this week a few hours before the first kickoff. Note that there are DAY games Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and then a very early kickoff Friday in the Armed Forces Bowl (Tulsa vs. BYU starts at noon ET, 9 a.m. here in Las Vegas). Be sure you take care of business EARLY this week. Have your credit card handy when you visit the site. Or, sign up for my full bowl package online or in my handicapping office at 1-877-766-8946.

Be sure to ask about basketball when you all. My New York Knicks are travelling West this week to face Golden State Wednesday and the LA Lakers Thursday. Those are prime-time TV games here in Vegas! I can assure you I'll have several major releases this week in the busy pro and college basketball schedules in addition to all the bowls. Were you aware that many college basketball conferences begin league play this week? The Big East and Big 10 start Tuesday. The Missouri Valley starts Wednesday. The Horizon League and the Pac 12 start Thursday. You regulars know I love handicapping Pac 10 basketball because we get so much local coverage of the Western conferences out here.

This is one of the busiest sports weeks you'll ever see in terms of IMPORTANT games. That means, it's time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLLYN ROOT!
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