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Let the Bowl Mania Begin
By Will Harris
Chris Cotter breaks down College Bowl Mania.
ESPN.com's free College Bowl Mania game will be familiar to those who have played College Pick 'em. The principle is the same: Pick the winner of each game, then rank the games in the order of your confidence in those picks. The twist, of course, is that Bowl Mania requires you to rank 35 games in order of confidence rather than the usual 10. (There is also an option where you just pick the winners of each game without assigning confidence points.)
You'll always be able to access your entry from the drop-down menu under the fantasy tab on the ESPN.com front page. Play against others from around the country or create your own private group to compete against your friends. The first bowl games are scheduled for Dec. 21.
Handicapping bowl games can be both easier and trickier than regular season games. Each team is a known commodity with a full season's body of work to dissect. However, the true stakes of each contest are not always readily apparent.
College football is unique among major sports in that teams compete for something other than the sport's overall championship during the postseason. That "something" is different from bowl to bowl, and each game's prize is not always valued equally by the combatants.
The college football postseason is the only situation in the major sports where one team that views the game as a meaningless exhibition might be pitted against another team that views it as a championship-type opportunity.
If you understand what the game means to each team and which teams are highly motivated to prepare and play their best, you'll be well on your way to Bowl Mania success. You'll then know which teams will likely play better or worse than their usual performance baseline, and that's the hard part. ... MORE
If you need more help making your picks, check out the following:
• Stats and Info: Picking the winners via ESPN's Football Power Index
• Schlabach: Breaking down all 35 bowls
• Insider bowl betting guide
• College Football PickCenter
• Overview of all 35 bowls
• Schlabach: Ranking all 35 bowl games
• Complete 2013-14 bowl schedule
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