Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck isn't playing for a national title,… (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images )
If UCLA can get an NCAA waiver to play in a bowl game with a losing record, I deserve a pass for going 18-17 and getting blasted by fans who lost their house betting my wild guesses in Las Vegas.
These annual predictions are for entertainment purposes only — unless you win a million dollars and want to send me half. There are not a lot of good matchups this season, but there are a lot of tough picks.
The bowls are ranked in reverse order, the least interesting first, and were painstakingly selected with help from the consulting firm of "Manny, Moe & He Doesn't Know Jack."
35. Kraft Fight Hunger, UCLA (6-7) vs. Illinois (6-6), Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m., ESPN: Two programs with interim coaches play "little ball" in the San Francisco Giants' home ball park. Winner: Illinois.
34. Beef 'O' Brady's, Marshall (6-6) vs. Florida International (8-4), Tuesday, 5 p.m. PST, ESPN: The ratings might be as flat as Chipped Beef on 'O' Brady toast, but FIU did win more games than Miami, Florida or Florida State. Winner: Florida International.
33. Music City, Wake Forest (6-6) vs. Mississippi State (6-6), Dec. 30, 3:30 p.m. PST, ESPN: Last year's game was a double-overtime thriller between North Carolina and Tennessee. Winner: Mississippi State.
32. BBVA Compass, Southern Methodist (7-5) vs. Pittsburgh (6-6), Jan. 7, 10 a.m. PST, ESPN: Arizona State turned down SMU Coach June Jones to hire Pitt Coach Todd Graham. Winner: SMU.
31. Famous Idaho Potato, Utah State (7-5) vs. Ohio (9-4), Saturday, 2:30 p.m. PST, ESPN: Utah State nearly stunned national champion Auburn to start the season but didn't, so who cares? Winner: Utah State.
30. New Mexico, Wyoming (8-4) vs. Temple (8-4), Saturday, 11 a.m. PST, ESPN: Temple bus pulls into downtown Albuquerque, players get out, one screams: "Anyone know where we can get a decent Philly cheese steak around here?" Winner: Wyoming.
29. New Orleans, Louisiana Lafayette (8-4) vs. San Diego State (8-4), Saturday, 6 p.m. PST, ESPN: La-La has the home beignet advantage, but San Diego State will play five hard quarters if you count the French. Winner: San Diego State.
28. Independence, North Carolina (7-5) vs. Missouri (7-5), Dec. 26, 2 p.m. PST, ESPN2: Four out of five independent dentists note six of the last seven games have been decided by a touchdown or less. Winner: Missouri.
27. Military, Air Force (7-5) vs. Toledo (8-4), Dec. 28, 1:30 p.m. PST, ESPN: Joint Chiefs of Staff have protested pairing Air Force against a team nicknamed "Rockets." Winner: Air Force.
26. Pinstripe, Rutgers (8-4) vs. Iowa State (6-6), Dec. 30, 12:15 p.m. PST, ESPN: This has the chance to be the second-greatest Pinstripe Bowl ever after last year's thrilling inaugural game between Syracuse and Kansas State. Winner: Rutgers.
25. Little Caesars Pizza, Western Michigan (7-5) vs. Purdue (6-6), Dec. 27, 1:30 p.m. PST, ESPN: As tough to swallow as cardboard dough with tomato paste, but you are allowed to add anchovies and up three other toppings. Winner: Purdue.
24. Belk, North Carolina State (7-5) vs. Louisville (7-5), Dec. 27, 5 p.m. PST, ESPN: Louisville lost a tiebreaker to West Virginia for the Big East title; North Carolina State lost the potato-sack race at Belk's annual company picnic. Winner: Louisville.
23. Sun, Utah (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (8-4), Dec. 31, 11 a.m. PST, Channel 2: Georgia Tech runs the triple option offense, but the head coach says crossing border to Juarez is not a fourth option. Winner: Utah.
22. Liberty, Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6), Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m. PST, Channel 7: Cincinnati looked Bowl Championship Series bound until quarterback Zach Collaros got hurt. Winner: Cincinnati.
21. Armed Forces, Brigham Young (9-3) vs. Tulsa (8-4), Dec. 30, 9 a.m. PST, ESPN: Fort Worth-hosted game features tough BYU defense against Tulsa team that has, um, won four more games than it's lost. Winner: BYU.
20. Gator, Ohio State (6-6) vs. Florida (6-6), Jan. 2, 10 a.m. PST, ESPN2: The bowl's Mendoza-line mediocrity was masked by pairing Urban Meyer's former team against the school he will soon be coaching. Winner: Florida.
19. Meineke Car Care, Texas A&M (6-6) vs. Northwestern (6-6), Dec. 31, 9 a.m. PST, ESPN: Texas A&M is a 10-2 BCS team before halftime and a folding chair in the second half. Winner: Northwestern.
18. Poinsettia, Texas Christian (10-2) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-4), Dec. 21, 5 p.m., ESPN: TCU was two BCS spots from playing in a major bowl before getting dropped to a game with a gift bag that includes tickets to a bull fight in Tijuana. Winner: TCU.
17. Chick-fil-A, Virginia (8-4) vs. Auburn (7-5), Dec. 31, 4:30 p.m. PST, ESPN: The game must be completed by midnight because Chick-fil-A is closed Sundays. Winner: Auburn.
16. Hawaii, Southern Mississippi (11-2) vs. Nevada (7-5), Dec. 24, 5 p.m. PST, ESPN: Southern Mississippi deserved better after winning Conference USA, but no kid who gets to leave Hattiesburg for Hawaii should ever complain. Winner: Southern Mississippi.