Nick Bartlett’s Dec 30-Jan 2 SuperWest Bowl Predictions

UCLA plays Pitt in the Sun, USC faces Tulane in the Cotton & Utah takes on PSU in the Rose

Posted on December 30, 2022

  By Nick Bartlett, SuperWest Sports

We’re in the home stretch of our 2022 football coverage with three bowl games left to play.

UCLA squares off against Pitt in the Sun Bowl on Friday morning, USC faces Tulane in the Cotton Bowl on Monday morning, and Utah takes on Penn State in Rose Bowl on Monday afternoon.

As always, my selections come with incredibly accurate game scores and just enough commentary to keep me from drinking too much coffee at my favorite java shop here in the beautiful Shoreline district of Seattle.

Pittsburgh vs. No. 18 UCLA

Friday, December 30
11:00 am PT, CBS

If Pittsburgh was at full benchpress, I might pick them to win this game. Sadly, they’re not. The Panthers are without everyone.

Ex-Trojan quarterback Kedon Slovis just transferred from Pitt to the dark hole. Also opting out of this contest is halfback Israel Abanikanda who ran for 1,431 yards and 20 touchdowns this season.

They’ll also be missing key defensive pieces at every level, most notably, All-American defensive lineman Calijah Kancey.

The Bruins just have to avoid getting sunburned. No worries there. They’re already tanned.

The UCLA players are actually coming to play and they need to dominate. This is bigger than the Pac-12, this is for pride.

If they can’t beat Pittsburgh without its starting signal caller, leading rusher, leading tackler, and best pro prospect, it’s on Chip.

But it ain’t gonna happen.

Bruins by 14.

Final Score: UCLA 38, Pitt 24

No 16 Tulane vs. No. 10 USC

Monday, January 2
10:00 am PT, ESPN

In no realm in this world do I think Tulane can beat a Caleb Williams-led USC squad.

It would be like Val Venis beating Brock Lesnar. “Hello, Ladies.”

Minus my WWE reference, the Trojans do need to overcome two obstacles in this contest.

First, they’ll need to figure out how to scheme without offensive linemen Brett Neilon and Andrew Vorhees, both will miss this matchup. They’ll also need production from multiple wideouts to replace Jordan Addison, who is out with an ankle injury.

Tulane’s Michael Pratt is a darn good quarterback. The Green Wave has a balanced attack, and pretty much their whole roster is tying their apron on for this contest.

But Tulane still isn’t gonna beat USC.

Did you not read my opening line? I don’t believe in fraud.

Trojans by Seven.

Final Score: USC 35, Tulane 28

No. 11 Penn State vs. No.8 Utah

Monday, January 2
2:00 pm PT, ESPN

This is the one Utah’s gotta get. The Utes have built themselves into a tradition out west.

And even though Penn State’s a legendary program, they’re not Ohio State, Clemson, or Alabama.

To win a Rose Bowl would be a monumental moment for the Utes. It feels like it could be their reckoning on a national landscape.

People always want to congratulate the Loveable Loser, and that’s the treatment Utah got in the defeat to the Buckeyes last year.

But no more, it’s time for the Utes to win more than the Pac-12 Championship.

They’ll be missing cornerback Clark Phillips III and tight end Dalton Kincaid. But they still have their quarterback, coach, and culture to get it done.

Kyle Whittingham’s been in Salt Lake City for 18 years. It’s time to hit the Grand Daddy Purp.

Utes by three.

Final Score: Utah 27, Penn State 24

—More from Nick Bartlett—