I know you’re wondering why this year’s “Incredibly Clever Except When It’s Not” college bowl-prediction column is appearing now, when nine games already have been played.

As much as I want to make friends in Athens by claiming, “The bowl season doesn’t officially begin until Ohio plays,” the truth is that 40 bowls are too many, so time to whack this baby down to size 31 and a title game.

BAHAMAS: Alabama-Birmingham vs. Ohio. Bobcats in the Bahamas? Now that’s what I call a Christmas break. Ohio, 34-27.

FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO: Central Michigan vs. Wyoming. Fries, Hasselback or au gratin. Any way you slice it the Cowboys mash the Chippewas. Wyoming, 27-23.

BIRMINGHAM: Texas Tech vs. South Florida. One of these teams will win. South Florida, 38-31.

ARMED FORCES: San Diego State vs. Army. My old man went through WWII basic training near Fort Worth, Texas, site of the bowl, which has nothing to do with anything other than I always side with the ground pounders. Army, 27-23.

DOLLAR GENERAL: Appalachian State vs. Toledo. I wouldn’t pay more than a buck to attend, but given the title sponsor maybe not a problem? Toledo, 42-24.

HAWAII: Fresno State vs. Houston. Some bowls offer gift watches. Others give video games. This one provides Waikiki Beach. Enjoy, fellas. Houston, 27-24.

HEART OF DALLAS: Utah vs. West Virginia. There’s a mountains and moonshine joke in here somewhere, but I won’t antagonize folks who pick their teeth with a shotgun. Utah, 40-27.

QUICK LANE: Duke vs. Northern Illinois. I’ll take the bowl name at its word and pass. Duke, 23-20.

CACTUS: Kansas State vs. UCLA. What better way to usher in Chip Kelly 2.0 than to play in Phoenix? KSU, 37-24.

INDEPENDENCE: Southern Mississippi vs. Florida State. Here’s betting new FSU coach Willie Taggart, who has worked at 35 schools over the past 13½ months, jumps to the NFL at halftime. FSU, 38-21.

PINSTRIPE: Iowa vs. Boston College. The Hawkeyes are like Eleven from “Stranger Things” — capable of shocking the world (see Ohio State) but often looking dazed and bloodied. Boston College, 38-27.

FOSTER FARMS: Arizona vs. Purdue. RichRod went 1-2 against the Boilermakers when he coached Michigan. Nuff said. Purdue, 41-36

TEXAS: Texas vs. Missouri. The Longhorns are like their TV network programming: 25 minutes of decent viewing wrapped around hours of blech. Missouri, 28-27.

MILITARY: Virginia vs. Navy. Variation on a theme. My father was a Grunt. (see above). I can’t pick the Squids. Virginia, 22-21.

CAMPING WORLD: Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma State. The Mullet matters. OSU, 48-38.

ALAMO: Stanford vs. TCU. Horned Frogs turns them in-tie-lectuals into Texas BBQ. TCU, 38-27.

HOLIDAY: Washington State vs. Michigan State. If Dino thinks Harbaugh is off-kilter, wait until he gets a load of Mike Leach. WSU, 36-33.

BELK: Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M. Sign in Aggies’ locker room: Put Forest to sleep. Texas A&M, 42-30.

SUN: North Carolina State vs. Arizona State. No clue. N.C. State, 50-38.

MUSIC CITY: Kentucky vs. Northwestern. Go with the Bluegrass. Kentucky, 28-27.

ARIZONA: Utah State vs. New Mexico State. Don’t care. Utah State, 13-6.

COTTON: Ohio State vs. Southern California. The Buckeyes are 0-4 against the Trojans with me in attendance. Am accepting offers to stay away from Dallas. No bitcoin, please. USC, 34-31.

TAXSLAYER: Louisville vs. Mississippi State. Congress votes 216-212 for the Cardinals to benefit the most. Louisville, 41-27.

LIBERTY: Iowa State vs. Memphis. Bummer for the Tigers having to play in their backyard, but it makes the sad ride home that much shorter. Iowa State, 52-38.

FIESTA: Washington vs. Penn State. That annoying Nittany Lion roar arrives early and often. Penn State, 48-34.

ORANGE: Miami vs. Wisconsin. Cheeseheads on South Beach? Lord, have mercy. Wisconsin, 24-23.

OUTBACK: Michigan vs. South Carolina. Harbaugh brags about de-pantsing South Khaki-laki. Michigan, 28-24.

PEACH: Central Florida vs. Auburn. The Misfit Toys of New Year’s Six bowls. Auburn, 38-27.

CITRUS: Notre Dame vs. LSU. In magical land of Disney, leprechauns rule. Notre Dame, 27-17.

ROSE: Georgia vs. Oklahoma. Baker Mayfield should be fine, because grabbing your crotch in Tinseltown is just another way to say hello. OU, 34-31.

SUGAR: Alabama vs. Clemson. Move over, Nick. Here comes Dabo. Clemson, 28-20.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: You’re looking fine, Oklahoma. Sooners, 28-27. 



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