I went 4-3 a week ago and am now 23 over .500 on the season. We remain vigilant and start with a few bowl games.
Pittsburgh Panthers vs. 18. UCLA Bruins (-8, 54)
Friday, 2 pm ET, Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas
Van Pelt’s pick: Pitt +8
I think my record on Pitt this year is horrible, but I’m unflappable. Taking the Panthers plus the points in El Paso.
SVP: 3-6 all-time when picking Pittsburgh (0-2 this season)
5. Alabama Crimson Tide (-6.5, 56) vs. 9. Kansas State Wildcats
Saturday, noon ET on ESPN, Allstate Sugar Bowl, New Orleans
Van Pelt’s pick: K-State +6.5
These next two require belief and hands to hold on to your butts. Taking the points and going against a couple of teams who are frightening to be opposed to. Starting with Kansas State — EMAW and all that — against Bama.
SVP: 4-2 all-time when picking Kansas State against top-10 opponents
4. Ohio State Buckeyes vs. 1. Georgia Bulldogs (-6.5, 62)
Saturday, 8 pm ET, CFP Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Atlanta
Van Pelt’s pick: Ohio State +6.5
And this line has puzzled me for weeks. Georgia has been dismantling people. The Bulldogs are giving less than a TD and are a popular side in part because of that. I’m taking Ohio State as a result. The Buckeyes have been gifted an opportunity. We will see if they make it count.
SVP: 4-1 all-time when picking Ohio State
NFL Week 17
Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5, 43.5) at Houston Texans
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, NRG Stadium, Houston
Van Pelt’s pick: Texans +4.5
In the NFL, boy am I on some dodgy sides — yikes. Houston plus the points against Jacksonville.
SVP: 0-3 all-time when picking the Texans
Cleveland Browns at Washington Commanders (-2, 41)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
Van Pelt’s pick: Browns +2
We are on Cleveland in its game with the Commanders.
SVP: 2-6 all-time when picking the Browns
New Orleans Saints (+6.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
Van Pelt’s pick: Saints +6.5
Also taking the Saints against Philly. You’ll recall we took the Saints off the list late last week (those teams are undefeated) — Saints won outright. I’m a dummy.
SVP: 1-1 all-time when picking the Saints
Indianapolis Colts (+5.5) at New York Giants
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Van Pelt’s pick: Colts +5.5
As proof of that. I’m giving the Colts again. How? Truly don’t know. But as a rule, if you can back a team that scored just three points and converted zero third downs, how can you not? Right?
SVP: 4-2 all-time when picking the Colts
OK, there they are. Happy New Year, birdcage.