We've almost reached the end of another long, drawn-out bowl season. Some of the games have been worth watching, while some others would likely be best played on local television.

Now, though, we've reached games featuring quality opponents. Here's a best bets guide for the upcoming games into the New Year for the college football bowl picks.

Louisville (-7) vs. Mississippi State

At one point this season, I would have easily jumped on the Bulldogs in this instance.

However, the Cardinals are showing some improvement in recent weeks, and unlike last year where Louisville faded, especially in their bowl game, I expect a different result this year.

Offensively, the Cardinals are one of the better units in the country, especially at the moment. In the last three games, the Cardinals are averaging 8.6 yards per play. That's much better than Mississippi State at 4.8 yards per play in the last three games.

And defensively, Louisville has shown some strides. Lamar Jackson will show he deserved more respect and will guide Louisville to a cover. -- Go Chalk with Louisville

Washington vs. Penn State (-3)

I love Penn State in this game. No matter where the Nittany Lions ended up on the season, I still believe they're the best team in the Big 10.

Penn State was better than Ohio State for 58 minutes of a 60-minute game, and then had to endure a rare weather delay in the following week against Michigan State, in their only other loss.

Offensively, Penn State is better than Washington, and the defense isn't far off. I just don't see the Huskies being consistent moving the football. That's been something that has haunted Washington this season, so that will be an issue once again. -- Go chalk with Penn State

Iowa State (+4) vs. Memphis

I know everybody loves offense, but why can't the Cyclones get any love?

Iowa State played teams with similar offensive styles with better players throughout the season. And the Cyclones showed a strong ability to play solid defense in those contests.

Even though Memphis is the better offensive team, they don't play defense. Iowa State is used to playing teams like this in a better conference. Everybody is jumping all over the Tigers. That's not a wise decision. -- Go Against The Chalk with Iowa State

Michigan vs. South Carolina (+7.5)

Both teams have similar styles and I would say the talent disparity isn't that far off, especially with Michigan's youth.

That's why I'm banking on the Gamecocks covering the touchdown spread. Michigan may win, but it will be within one possession. The Wolverines just can't get anything going offensively, and that won't be easy to find against a South Carolina that is decent on the defensive side of the football.

Michigan's defense is good, but this should be a low-scoring affair, so I'll give the Gamecocks the edge in covering this spread. -- Go Against the Chalk with South Carolina

LSU vs. Notre Dame (+3)

Once again, both teams are similar, so in this case, I'm looking at the coaching staffs. For everything said against Brian Kelly, I still favor him over Ed Orgeron.

And it's not even close.

The Irish can run the ball, so that should neutralize some of the Tigers' speed. And defensively, the Irish can stand their ground, especially against an LSU offense that is lethargic more often than not.

Don't sleep on Notre Dame and a punishing offensive line. Take the points and back the Irish. -- Go Against The Chalk with Notre Dame

Georgia vs. Oklahoma (+2)

People are getting gun-shy with the Sooners.

They've seen this script before. An offensive-minded team enters a bowl game against a defensive-minded team. And while everyone jumps on the bandwagon of the offensive team, the defensive team manhandles them, and eventually wins.

So that's why the Sooners have moved from favorites to underdogs as we near gametime. I may be a slow learner, but I feel something is different with this Oklahoma team.

The Sooners have played well against top-tier competition this season, even teams with good defenses. And I'm not so sure Georgia's offense will be able to consistently move the ball against Oklahoma. Don't overthink this one. Oklahoma has an elite offense and a defense good enough to make timely stops. -- Go Against The Chalk with Oklahoma

Alabama (-3) vs. Clemson

How good is Clemson? I just don't really know. Defensively, I think they're good. And offensively, they're not on the same level as previous years.

The Crimson Tide, meanwhile, will come in with a better offensive than years past, with a defense that is still among the best in college football and getting healthier. Forget about revenge in this contest. The Crimson Tide are better overall and should be favored by more than a field goal.

Once again, don't overthink this one. Alabama is the more talented team, so back the Crimson Tide. -- Go Chalk with Alabama

Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. Check out more at Against The Chalk. 

Scott Levine can be reached at scottlevine@clintonherald.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH

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