Adventure Cycling College Football Bowl Picks

December 11, 2015

College football bowl matchups were set earlier this week. In years past, I've selected winners based on breaking down team stats, choosing my favorite mascots, and even going with favorite colors. This year, I'm taking a different approach and picking winners based on how many Adventure Cycling members each team has within a 50-mile radius of their home stadium. Here's a look at how that all pans out:

Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl
North Carolina A&T (254) over Alcorn State (8)

Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Arizona (226) over New Mexico (198)

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
Utah (380) over BYU (338)

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Appalachian State (114) over Ohio (81)

Cure Bowl
San Jose State (1789) over Georgia State (423)

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Louisiana Tech (9) over Arkansas State (4)

Miami Beach Bowl
South Florida (397) over Western Kentucky (29)

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Akron (714) over Utah State (81)

Marmot Boca Raton Bowl
Temple (1122) over Toledo (353)

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Northern Illinois (846) over Boise State (231)

GoDaddy Bowl
Bowling Green (170) over Georgia Southern (38)

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
Western Michigan (323) over Middle Tennessee (168)

Hawai'i Bowl
San Diego State (652) over Cincinnati (433)

St. Petersburg Bowl
Connecticut (868) over Marshall (47)

Hyundai Sun Bowl
Miami (252) over Washington State (59)

Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl
Washington (1531) over Southern Miss (18)

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Duke (347) over Indiana (208)

Camping World Independence Bowl
Virginia Tech (132) over Tulsa (113)

Foster Farms Bowl
UCLA (1468) over Nebraska (178)

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman
Navy (1674) over Pittsburgh (410)

Quick Lane Bowl
Minnesota (967) over Central Michigan (122)

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
California (1989) over Air Force (613)

Russell Athletic Bowl
North Carolina (376) over Baylor (21)

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Colorado State (720) over Nevada (195)

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
LSU (62) over Texas Tech (17)

Birmingham Bowl
Memphis (75) over Auburn (51)

Belk Bowl
NC State (343) over Mississippi State (15)

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Louisville (167) over Texas A&M (54)

Holiday Bowl
USC (1489) over Wisconsin (352)

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Houston (391) over Florida State (92)

Orange Bowl
Clemson (144) over Oklahoma (115)

Cotton Bowl
Michigan State (307) over Alabama (52)

Outback Bowl
Northwestern (1391) over Tennessee (142)

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
Michigan (722) over Florida (143)

BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl
Ohio State (402) over Notre Dame (249)

Rose Bowl Presented by Northwestern Mutual
Stanford (1907) over Iowa (190)

AllState Sugar Bowl
Oklahoma State (93) over Ole Miss (18)

TaxSlayer Bowl
Georgia (150) over Penn State (117)

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Arkansas (56) over Kansas State (53)

Valero Alamo Bowl
TCU (404) over Oregon (311)

Motel 6 Cactus Bowl
Arizona State (470) over West Virginia (121)

College Football National Championship
Michigan State (307) over Clemson (144)


Based on my projections, it's looking like another good year for the Big Ten, although as an Iowa City native, I'm not super happy about seeing the Iowa Hawkeyes get trounced by Stanford.

Don't like how your team fares either? This is a good time to improve their chances during our 1/2-price holiday gift membership campaign. Join or renew your membership at the regular price, and give as many gift memberships as you want for 1/2-price.

We'll be revisiting this list after January 11th to see how well these picks performed.

Photo by Greg Siple


TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh's "Fine Tuned" column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.



Stephen December 14, 2015, 6:53 PM

You get points for using that word in a sentence.

I haven't checked Josh, but you didn't list the corporate johns who bought the naming rights for 2 of the match-ups. Did those games lose their naming rights sponsors? And as a result of reviewing the list I see that a certain chip company is no longer naming a game. However, once a naming rights corporate john, always one and as a result, I go out of my way TO NOT PATRONIZE those companies. Yeah, it gets harder as each day goes by, but I do what I can. You'll notice that the Rose Bowl does not have a title sponsor, but a presenting sponsor. They get less money that way, but I guess they see it as hey, our name comes first and not the company. I didn't look but I'm guessing no New York City schools are playing, correct?

And, Josh, your method is as good anyone else's since, as we all know, on any given day, any team can beat any other team. If I happen to be someplace and the Rose Bowl is on, I'll root for your team.

Thanks for the exercise.

Josh December 11, 2015, 3:43 PM

Hi Scott,

That's a good call adjusting for population. I might have to revisit that idea when March Madness rolls around! In either case, it was a good exercise in looking into our membership distribution.

As for the BYU-Utah match up, there's definitely a lot of overlap, but BYU is far enough south that they don't catch the north end of Salt Lake City. I used stadium zip codes as a central point, and Utah's turf was in the sweet spot.

Scott Curtis December 11, 2015, 1:26 PM

Very fun analysis. Reminds me of Woody's system (from the old show Cheers) of picking NFL games based on mascots.

Further questions: should you adjust for population? 50 mile radius of Northwestern is pretty much the entire Chicagoland area, which is obviously much higher than the greater Knoxville, TN area. (Though I'd much rather ride in TN than the concrete jungle of my hometown). USC and Stanford are similarly-skewed. Adjusting for population of Stanford's radius might just give your Hawkeyes the boost they need!

Utah vs. BYU is interesting. Where/How did you choose the cutoff for those two? Their home stadiums are less than 50 miles from each other, so the radii overlap significantly.

This is lots of fun. And I just used "radii" in a sentence.

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