"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
There are many Michigan fans who may believe that our Wolverines are at the bottom looking up. In fact, this bowl season gives evidence yet again that Michigan is now making the fundamental changes that leads back to national relevance for our team and our conference.
Living in Buckeye country as I do, I have observed that the hatred of RR is disproportionate to the apparent threat. In other words, if RR were as pathetic as this 3-9 season suggested (and as they argue), then why the frantic need to still tear him down at such a guttural level? Wouldn’t you think that, a la John Cooper, OSU fans would be placid about RR, encouraging all manner of good cheer for our new coach?
No, these Buckeye fans understand at a subconscious level that Michigan is in a better place than they are (and the rest of the Big 10). It is very much like Michigan is the first drunk on the wagon. Those first sober months are brutal. The other heavy drinking buddies are laughing and looking on our shaking hands and pallid complexion and telling each other that we are done, no longer functional. Then they stagger into their low-paying jobs and watch their sober competitors blow by them on the career path. Some, like OSU, are functional drunks who hold down a high-level management job, but to everyone in the know, the never really will be executive material.
Later, at the pub, all these lowlifes rationalize away why they are yet again passed over for promotions, for relevance. In their inner being, they know that their former barstool companion they passed looking haggard in his cubicle but working hard nonetheless is doing something they should be doing, but they can’t conceive of actually doing it.
High-level, nationally powerful football is what RR is working on: a blend of speed, aggression and power. Attacking offense, freak power/speed defense, relentless domination. Tressel will never get where RR is going. Paterno and his successor will never get there. Dantonio will never get there. Zook has potential, but Illinois is still Illinois. These guys are fossils that occasionally can scare the more fleet-footed and intelligent mammals, but only rarely. RR will one day be where USC is, where Florida and the SEC power are, where the Oklahoma is. OSU, PSU, MSU, even ND will not.
So take heart. This season’s bowls are the reason why 3-9 was necessary.
The past few days, we’ve all gotten a glimpse of how good this recruiting class really is, and they haven’t even gotten to play the games yet. Michigan has representation at both the Army All American game and the ESPN Under Armour game as well. I’ve been a little discouraged lately with rumors and talk of negative recruiting, and the media repeatedly asking commits about decommitting. The positive attention Michigan and their recruits have gotten is a breath of fresh air, and something we didn’t get to see a lot of this past season. At the Army All American game, Justin Turner has turned heads with how well he’s covered some of the top receivers. Jeremy Gallon has shown why he was chosen as an All American in the first place. Anthony LaLota has only been playing football for two years, and said that this experience has already given him confidence knowing he can hang with the best. Craig Roh has shown his athleticism in the few days he’s practiced with the Under Armour teams.
The latest commit, Taylor Lewan, is finally getting a chance to show the nation what all the talk is about. Taylor’s father Dave shared some of the highlights from the Under Armour practice so far. “I’ve read some good things about Taylor so far, and I think he’s doing a good job of showing off his footwork and athleticism.” In practice, Taylor has been going up against Sam Montgomery, one of the top defensive end recruits, and has proven he belongs at this game. “It’s been fun for Taylor, because him and Craig are solid on Michigan, and they’re comfortable with who they are, so they get a chance to just meet some new people, catch up with kids they’ve met at camps, and really test themselves against the best kids in the country,” said Dave.
The fact that Michigan has such a high number of commits at these games bodes well for a couple of reasons. It helps dispel some of the negatives that this past season brought, it gives everyone a chance to see what “Rich Rodriguez’s guys” actually look like, but it also shows the future recruits that Michigan football hasn’t gone anywhere. There will always be negative recruiting that goes on, but if we can continue to pull in high caliber, and character guys we won’t have to worry about a thing.
Below is the list of commits that will be playing in the All American games
Army All American
ESPN Under Armour
Big Ten #1 vs Pac Ten #1
Big Ten #1 vs Pac Ten #1
BCS vs. Big 12 #1
Big Ten #2 vs. Big 12 #2^
Capital One Bowl
Big Ten No. 2 vs. SEC No. 2
Big Ten #3 vs. SEC # 3
MSU solid loss to UGa
Big Ten No. 3 vs. SEC 3/4
Big Ten #4 vs. SEC # 5*
Iowa kills USC (NTUSC)
Big Ten #4/5 vs. Big 12 #4
Big Ten #5 vs. Big 12 #6^
NW OT loss to Mizzou
Champs Sports Bowl
Big Ten #4/5 vs ACC #4
Big Ten #6 vs ACC #4**
Wisc demolished by FSU
Big Ten #6 vs. Big 12 #6
Big Ten #7 vs. Big 12 #7^
Minn demolished by KU
* Looks like the Outback received 5th pick from the SEC this year: BCS (UF), BCS (Bama), CapOne (UGa), Cotton (OleMiss), Outback (USC (NTUSC)). http://secsports.com/index.php?s=&change_well_id=2&url_article_id=44
The Outback, Chick-fil-A and AT&T Cotton Bowls will work with the conference office to determine picks 3-5. The Cotton Bowl has the first preference of teams from the Western Division and the Outback Bowl has first preference of teams from the Eastern Division. The Cotton or Outback Bowl can select teams outside of its divisional preference, but must not select them before the opposite bowl selects from its divisional preference. The Chick-fil-A Bowl has the selection of preference following the Cotton and Outback Bowls.
** Champs received the 4th pick from the ACC (one rep in the BCS for the ACC).
^ 2008 Big 12 bowls, in order: BCS, BCS, Cotton, Holiday, Gator, Alamo, Insight, etc.
Again this season, the Big 12 has eight bowl slots guaranteed. The Conference is partnered with nine bowls. However the arrangement with the Gator Bowl is for it to select a Big 12 team twice over a four-year period. In the two years in which the Gator does not select a Big 12 team, the Sun Bowl will.
Following is the selection order:
BCS [ x2, -ed.]
Gator (when it selects a Big 12 team) [it did: Neb –ed.]
Sun (when the Gator does not take a Big 12 team)
So, the Big10 has some even match-ups this year. The top 3 games and the Insight Bowl are 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 7v7, respectively. Bullets:
• We were overmatched in the Champs Sports Bowl having the 6th place team (Wisc) play the ACC #4, leading to a bad loss in which no one was shocked.
• The NW game favored the B10 (tho, not according to talent on the field) and a close loss resulted. Minn got creamed by KU in what was another even match-up (but again, not according to talent on the field). It should be pretty clear that the B12 is a stronger conference this year and the bowl match-ups confirm this, if only in small sample size. OSU-Tex pending, of course.
• The SEC match-ups are turning out fine for the B10. Iowa moiderized the Cocks in a game that only slightly favored the B10 according to match-ups. MSU is hanging tough with a pre-season #1 UGa team in a dead even conference match-up, but will most likely need an onside kick to have a chance to win. Looks like the B10 ended up breaking even in bowl games w/ the grey coats this year.
• No doubt the remaining BCS games will break the B10's back should PSU and OSU lose. Two wins will be necessary if the perception of the B10 is to stay out of the toilet.
THE KNOWLEDGE has become so popular in this weblog that even a damned impostor has had a most popular post
THE KNOWLEDGE is clearly the most popular poster in this log after Mr. Cook
however, onto that impostor - you had best stop this nonsense. no one in amused. you have besmirched the name of THE KNOWLEDGE, and inappropriately used my popularity to spew some nonsense.
THE KNOWLEDGE requests Mr. Cook to ban the fake "THE KNOWLEDGE." (with the dot) from this blog
well, on to the topic on this New Year's Day. THE KNOWLEDGE shall reveal the identity of the new DC as a new year's day present to the Michigan faithful
previously, THE KNOWLEDGE reported the DC search situation and how the first two choices - Dick Lebeau and Tommy Tuberville - didn't work out. At that time, the identity of the third candidate was kept secret by THE KNOWLEDGE
However, at this point, it has become quite likely that the candidate will become the next DC of M. so, THE KNOWLEDGE can now reveal who this is
The next DC will be...
Rex Ryan - the current DC of the Ravens
M fans can rejoice knowing that we will now have one of the top DCs in the nation
If you don';t believe me, wait and watch Ryan take over as the DC later this month
THE KNOWLEDGE will then soar
and leave everyone in a trail of dust
Just like THE KNOWLEDGE did exactly a year ago
when THE KNOWLEDGE soared over a sea of surrounding gators during the Cap One bowl game
Happy New Year, everyone. I hope everyone had a safe and fun night. Lets have a Go Blue 2009!!!
Actually, i'd settle for a turniquet to stop the bleeding. The last two days have been dim for the Bowl Chronicles as its hemorraged for a loss of 4.2 units. Thats a little more than half the profits we had won during bowl season vanishing under the weight of bad picks (I'm looking at you BC and Minny!!). Thats not the way we had hoped 2008 would end.
We're soldiering on with today's games knowing that with a change in the calendar also comes with a chance of strategy. We've been chirping all along that our main focus is taking the underdog in the post Christmas December games. Those puppies ended up 9-6 ATS since the 25th. When January rolls around, the favorites have a tendency to strike back. Over the last nine bowl seasons, January favorites are 48-26-1 ATS (7-4 last year). We've been pointing people to live dogs for much of the last week, however, dont be surprised to see us eating some chalk as the remainder of the bowl season plays out.
Outback Bowl, Tampa Bay, 11 am
South Carolina vs Iowa. Lines, Iowa -3.5, O/U 43
This game begins and ends for me with one man: Shonn Greene. Oh yeah, he's back, my favorite breakout player of the 2008 season. Readers may remember me touting the kid all fall as the Iowa Hawkeyes became the biggest profit wheel of my Big 10 Picks diaries. He's primed for a huge game today and he will be the biggest factor in the eventual outcome of this game today.
Both teams come in with physical, athletic defenese. Both are among the best tackling teams I've seen play this year. The difference, however, is the other side of the ball.
The Gamecocks have nothing to lean on. The run game has been inconsistent at best. Its 108th ranked in the nation trying to carve out yards against the 10th ranked rushing defense. When the Cocks go to throw, the results have not been good either. Spurrier still cant settle on a QB and his quick hook after mistakes I feel has ruined the position in Columbia. Stephen Garcia will start, but I would be shocked if The Visor does not pull him for Chriss Smelley at some point in this contest. Hopefully it comes after a 2-pick first half or something. I love the D-Line of Iowa to own the line of scrimmage and make life miserable for whatever QB is back there.
The Iowa defense has held nine foes to less than 20 points this year. Only one team scored more than 23. South Carolina has the 92dn ranked scoring offense. I dont think they get out of the teens in this one.
When Iowa has the ball, it wont be easy either. But, they have that meal ticket to cash in on that South Carolina does not. Shonn Greene has eclipsed the century mark in all 12 games this season. Iowa is very patient with its run game and will hammer all day. Greene will not only get his 100 yards, but expect a couple of back breaking home runs in the second half as it pounds on the Cocks' D. They've scored 30.25 ppg this season, which puts them in the top quarter of the country, and by milking Green to open up the pass for Stanzi, I expect them get to come close to hitting their average mark.
Turnovers will also swing this game to Iowa. South Carolina coughed up 34 turnovers. The QBs have been turnover machines. Iowa had a couple bad turnover games back in September, but otherwise have been one of the best ball security teams in the country. Iowa is 29th in TO margin, South Carolina 102nd. I love those numbers going in Iowa's favor today.
In conclusion, lets go back to Greene. He's gonna go off for another 100, but I dont think USC can even get 100 yards on the ground as a team. Indeed, they only average 98.33 rusing yards per game. Here's a quick thumbnail rule for handicapping the bowls: The running game is important. How important? In the more than 400 bowls played since 1991, the team that has more yards rushing has covered the spread at a 79% clip. And, the team that has more rushing attempts covered at a 75% clip.
I like Iowa to win both of those stats today. They have an identity and will stick to it.
The Pick: Iowa -3...3 Units....I bought this down to 3, costing me $30 in extra juice....Ok, Iowa, you might be the league's best chance to actually win a bowl game. No pressure, or anything. Also, I ignore the Ferentz rumors distracting this team. Inexplicably, Captain Kirk is a hot commodoity each off season. These are rumors the kids at Iowa probably dont even blink at anymore.
Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, 1 pm
Nebraska vs Clemson. Lines, Clemson -1, O/U 55
While we're supposed to start taking favorites now that it is January, we're playing the short dog Nebraska in the annual Gator Bowl. The Huskers come into town with the proverbial explosive Big 12 offensive attack. It's something that Clemson did not see all season in the offensively challenged ACC.
Husker QB Joe Ganz threw for over 3,300 yards, but his season performance was completely overshadowed by all the other QBs in the league. I think he catches Clemson off guard all day long as the Tigers, despite some of their impressive defensive numbers. Nebraska comes to town with the best QB and offense Clemson has seen all year. The only other comparable is to Alabama and we saw how the Tide picked them apart many weeks ago. Nebraska also gets RB Marlon Lucky back from injury which will only make them more balanced and dongerous for Clemson to contain. Oklahoma limited Nebraska to 28 points, but the Huskers scored over 30 points in all their other games this season.
Clemson will get its lick in. The Cornhuskers have been vulnerable on the ground at times this year, giving up 24 rushing scores and have an average y.p.c D. But, I'll take Pellini's chops as a defensive coach to come up with a gameplan to bottle up the James Davis and CJ Spiller show. Pellini will find away to put pressure on Cullen Harper and we'll see just how clear the QB advantage is in this game. Ganz has his offense rolling, but Harper has struggled all year and has as many TD as INTs. I like the Huskers to force more mistakes, especially with their front seven.
Nebraska wants to put a stamp on their season and announce that they'll be factor for next year. They look at the Gator Bowl as unfinished business. Clemson played their tails off to allow their interim head coach Dabo Sweeney to get the fulltime job. That was their goal the back half of the season. That mission was accomplished. They look at this bowl as a reward. My gut tells me this is an intangible edge to Nebraska.
The ACC is 3-5 SU in bowls this season. Now one of their middle of the pack squads faces off with an explosive offense from the best league in the land. I'll take my chances with Nebraska.
The Pick: Nebraska +1, 2 Units; Over, 55 1 Unit.....Clemson is always unreliable in the big spots. And, I just dont think they're ready for a game thats played in the 30s. Nebraska kills them today with their balance. There's also a clear edge in the field goal kicking department for Nebraska. In a coin flip, I'll take that edge to the bank. Although, I dont think we'll need it. Huskers roll 41-28.
Capital One Bowl, Orlando, 1pm
Michigan St vs Georgia. Lines, UGA -10, O/U 57
By all accounts, UGA should wallop Sparty today. The stadium in Orlando will be nothing but a woodshed. I'd take the Bulldogs in a heartbeat had the line stayed at -7. I could see myself buying down a hook and laying that chalk.
But, I am always hesitant when the public backs a team and that has what has been going on the day. This line was 7.5 24 hours ago. It was at 9 this morning and we approach 30 minutes to kick, it has mushroomed further up to -10.
One thing I have noticed this bowl season is when the public lines up on a team, driving the line hard in one direction, the public has lost their respective shirts. Since Christmas, the public has lined up with WVA, Cal, Missou, BC, and Pitt. Those were all losers. The public did win with Florida St and Kansas. All seven of those games saw more than a one point line shift in the final 24 hours before kickoff.
I hate betting with the public.
Am I really going to put cash on Sparty? Hey, they are 20-15 ATS as a dog away from home over the last decade.
Ok, I'll say it: Ohio St, Penn St and Iowa all have better defenses than Georgia. I think that will allow MSU to have a bit more success on offense today than they did earlier in the season in those league showdowns. I think MSU can get into the high 20s today.
Georgia has had turnover issues this season. I like MSU's big play back 7 especially Greg Jones and Otis Wiley. Stafford is a heady pro prospect, but I dont think he throws the best ball and MSU can get a key turnover or two.
You have to wonder if MSU has the full attention of the Bulldogs today. It might take them until the second half to take Sparty seriously. By then, it will be a dogfight.
The Big 10 has won four straight Capital One bowls......and, in these two early SEC/Big 10 showdowns, the SEC is just 2-7 ATS as a favorite, with one cover by the hook and the other in OT. Interesting.
The Pick: MSU +10, 1 Unit; Over 57, 1 Unit.......ok, I guess I'm not playing the favorites after all. Or, ignoring the Totals. My gut is telling me its ie to fade the public. I also think we'll see some fireworks. Remember, all the teams UGA faced this season with top notch running backs really ran all over them. Bulldogs win this one 38-30.
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, 5pm
Penn St vs USC. Lines, USC -10, O/U 45
Alright, I'm killed on Overs, so I am changing horses.
Give me some of today's under in the Granddaddy. I dont see either defenses giving up ground in this one. USC, despite their glitz, has had problems this year against better defenses forging an offensive identity. And, we all know about USC's D. There one of history's greatest, at least statistically, and Penn St is not going to show up and score a bunch of touchdowns.
I see this game playing out like the Rose Bowl did exactly two years ago today. Dont forget UM-USC was tied at 3 at the break. We could see a repeat of that in thise. Both teams will feel each other out and will look to land physical blows and play power football during the first half. Both teams will play conservative and field position.
I like both defenses to limit the number of big plays throughout the game. There will not be quick scores.
Unlike the aforementioned 2007 Rose Bowl, I dont think USC has the firepower to just turn it up a couple of notches coming out of the half the way they exposed Michigan. Penn St is more solid in the back four and USC is not as explosive out wide. Thats a big difference in the matchup.
Penn St will hang in this one the whole way through. USC wins, but in a tight, defensive slugfest.
The Pick: Penn St +10, 1 Unit; Under 45, 1 Unit.....i really dont see either team creeping to far past the 20s, if at all. 21-13 sounds like a likely score
Orange Bowl, Miami, 820pm
Cincy vs VT. Lines, Cincy -2, O/U 42
I feel so stupid taking those underdogs from the Big 10. Yuck.
In Brian Kelly I trust. VT has a pedestrian offense and when they do throw expect the Cincy secondary with Mike Mickens to create turnovers. I've played Cincy quite a bit during their march the second half of the season. I think they're the better team tonight.
The Pick: Cincy -2, 2 Units.....about time to follow my on words and get on the favorite train. It could have been so easy to win cash today, but I refused to follow the rule I have been talking about. I be with stoopid.
Second update with the Minny-KU and LSU-GT games.....oh, and, by the way, Wanny you blow. That's your bowl performance?!?!?! Panthers are going nowhere with him running the show.
Just updated the Diary with my guesses for the Sun and Music City bowls......another update on the two evening games to come after the UM hoops game
Yesterday broke a six diary winning streak for the Bowl Chronicles. Holy moly, was that WMU pick a clunker or what? If we had received a few extra points in the Holiday Bowl last night, the damage would have been minimal. Instead, Chronicles registered a loss of 1.8 units. But, it’s still up 6 units during this bowl run and with a quintet of games today, hopefully we can unearth a couple of winners.
Today’s games offer us some interesting challenges. We have a rematch. We have two ACC schools favored to beat pair of SEC clubs. That’s compelling because the ACC is 6-0 ATS in bowls this year, while SEC Bowl Dogs are historically a winning play. We also have three teams playing in their home state, an edge that has seen those clubs go 16-9 ATS since 2006, including 5-3 this year. A lot of trends collide in these games, so leaning on history this afternoon means you’re ignoring history as well.
Of course, you could just play all five underdogs on the blind. Remember, the Chronicles primary bowl season rule is to play the favorites before Christmas and the underdogs after during the December bowl slate. The favorites went 4-3 before Christmas, while the dogs are 7-3 since. That equates to a little more than 4 units of profit just by adhering strictly to that basic strategy. History tells us that by playing the dogs today, you stand a good shot at no worse than 3-2. However, two of those dogs are playing teams in their home state. Once again, history collides.
Looks like I may have to do this the old fashioned way: Throwing darts.
Armed Forces Bowl, Fort Worth, noon
Air Force vs. Houston.. Lines, Houston -3, O/U 64
This game gives me a bad flashback to last year’s Armed Forces Bowl where I saw a nice chunk of change on this very same Air Force program go down the drain when their senior QB, who had been dominating Cal, tore his knee midway through the game. The Falcons did not have a chance after that.
This game also gives me flashbacks to mid September when these two teams played an intriguing 31-28 game won by the Falcons. The 2008-09 Bowl Season began with a rematch between Navy and Wake Forest, with the Deacons, inspired to get even with the Middies for an earlier defeat, pushing past Navy for a late win.
I feel revenge will win out again in this one.
In the original contest, the game was played amid Hurricane Ike conditions. That clearly helped Air Force’s ground attack against the pass first, pass second, pass third offense of the Cougars. In better conditions today, expect the Cougars offense to be more prolific and harder for the Falcons option offense to keep pace. Also, the Cougars were getting used to a new head coach and a slew of first year contributors on offense. Whatever inconsistency those personnel issues created during the first month of the season have completely evaporated.
Over the final eight games of the season, Houston has averaged 45.3 ppg and has not been held below 38 points. Against fellow bowl teams, the Cougars have averaged 37.5 ppg. I think they can hang 40 points on the Falcons this afternoon. Not only do they have revenge on their mind, but I think the Houston offense wants to send a message today. The Cougars led the nation in offense, scored over 40 points in 7 of 8 league games, yet placed only one player—an offensive lineman—on the first-team, all-league team. I think that burns them a bit inside and will motivate them today to let it all hang out.
Remarkably, Air Force won the first game between these two without completing a single pass. They won’t be able to do that again today. The Falcons will not go quietly. They will have tons of success running their option and with the return from injury of TE Travis Dekker and WR Ty Paffett (neither played in the first game) will have some downfield weapons this time around to puncture the vulnerable Cougar Defense.
It won’t be enough as the Cougars, behind stud QB Casey Kennan, win this game on the strength of a pair of explosive fourth quarter drives. Kennan needs four TD passes to break Andre Ware’s single season school record. He’ll spend the fourth quarter padding the new mark.
The Pick: Houston -3 (-130), 1 Unit and Over 65, 1 Unit……the teams combined to score 57 points back in September in less than ideal conditions. Both teams have developed new weapons since then and are playing better. That should translate into at least one more touchdown and sneak this over. I see a 44-37 final score in favor of the Cougars
Sun Bowl, El Paso, 2pm
Pittsburgh vs. Oregon St. Lines, OSU -2.5, O/U 51
For my tastes, this game begins and ends with the loss of Jacquizz Rodgers for Oregon St. The four games played without this year (two at the start of the year before his discovery and two at the end after his injury) have been disasters for Oregon St. Like, Titanic, Hindenburg and Mt. St. Helen combing forces disaster. The Beavers were outscored by more than 70 points in those games.
I dont expect a similar blowout today, but I do expect Pitt to eventually get it down against the outgunned Beavers. Not only is Jacquizz out, but so is his brother WR James Rodgers. While not as electric as his younger brother, his removal from the equation really benefits Pitt strategically. The Panthers can now matchup their top cover corner Aaron Berry on OSU's Sammy Strougher. If both were in the lineup, I would not like Pitt's chances trying to contain both. But, with Berry locking down, I think Pitt can handle this and keep OSU's passing game from going too nuts. I also like Pitts physical and active defensive line to get the better of the Beavers and force their smallish quarterback into bad passes and deflections. Without their top two playmakers, the going will be rough all day for OSU.
When Pitt has the ball, expect them to pound, pound and pound with LeSean McCoy. Stanford, Utah, Penn St and Oregon ran up and down the field on the Beavers. Pitt may not be as good top to bottom as those clubs, but it can take over games against just about anyone on the legs of McCoy. This may be his college swan song, and I expect an outing today that will put him near the top of his RB class in the upcoming draft.
Pitt has topped 7 bowl clubs this year. Their formula is simple, and they've executed it against some of the better defenses out there like WVA and USF. I dont think this is too big of a chore today.
The Pick: Pitt +2.5, 1 Unit.......am I really investing in Wanny? Yes, yes I am. I just feel without the Rodgers pair that Pitt is the better team. Plus, remember how I mentioned yesterday about Pac 10 Dogs in bowl games? League favorites, on the other hand, in the bowls represent the other end of the spectrum: Pac 10 bowl favorites, not named USC, are 9-14 ATS
Music City Bowl, Nashville, 3:30pm
Vanderbilt vs. Boston College. Lines, BC -3, O/U 41
These teams are mirror images of each other: tough, stout defenses that excel at getting takeaways and not a whole hell of a lot of offense. On the surface, history points us the Commodores. Not only are they playing in their home state (a 17-9 ATS run in recent seasons), but their also a SEC team catching points, which is another historical benchmark.
But, I am bucking history on this one. Frankly those above historical markers are the only thing Vandy has going for it today. This team had an amazing run of takeaways early in the season to stake itself out to a 5-0 record, paving the way for this bowl bid. Since then, however, they’ve dropped ball games to the likes of Mississippi St, Duke and Tennessee, all last place teams in their respective divisions. Vandy scored a measly 13.25 ppg in closing the season on a 2-6 run.
We have the third to last worst offense in the land, going up against a BC defense that ranked sixth in total D, eighth in rushing D and 19th in scoring D. Vandy will struggle all day with the Eagle defensive front and be in way too many third and longs to have any amount of success over the course of a full four quarters. If BC plays it’s ‘A’ game, we may even see a shutout.
BC’s offense is not that great either and they’re pressing their backup into duty today due to injury. But, their bread is buttered with the power run and as long as they stay true to their identity, they will wear out the Commodores. While Vandy struggled down the stretch, even against woeful teams, the Eagles went 6-3 down the stretch, all against fellow bowlers, and averaged 24.5 ppg, in those contests. They played the tougher schedule down the stretch and performed much better than the Commodores did.
Vandy’s meal ticket all season has been its turnover ratio, but they’re playing a BC team today that ranks right up there with them in the category. The Eagles actually lead the nation in takeaways and whatever momentum-changing, short-field creating turnover the Dores get, the Eagles ought to be able to return the favor.
The Pick: BC -3, 1 Unit…….expect Vandy to play lights out, bolstered by the home crowd, in the early going. In the second half, however, BC’s power will take over and the Commodores shortcomings on offense will rear its ugly head. The Eagles have won a bowl game in eight consecutive seasons, logging a 7-1 ATS mark (they’re 11-2 SU, 10-3 ATS in their last 13 postseason games). They’ll make it 9 in a row with an aesthetically ugly 27-13 win.
Insight Bowl, Phoenix, 6pm
Minnesota vs Kansas. Lines, KU -9, O/U 60
Its been an uneasy strech of games recently for the Chronicles, so we're falling back on an old reliable for this one. Bowls dogs of 7 to 16.5 are 64-36-2, including 4-2 this year, ATS. That puts us on Minnesota. So far, the powerful Big 12 has yet to produce a cover. I like Brewster's ability to coach his team up and keep that turnover mojo going. We said we were going to ride that above system all postseason. So far, we've rode thos to quite a profite, including a 4-unit win with North Carolina St and a 2-unit win with Florida Atlantic. If it aint broke, dont fix it. Gophers are not toally outclassed here. I dont trust the KU D and feel Weber can spread the field out against them and kill them with Decker.
The Pick: Minny +10 (-130), 2 Units..I bought this up a full point for the +10. Cost me an extra $20 in juice...I've had such a roller coaster ride with the Gophers this year. I looked so bright in October. I looked less brigt in November. Then, they Gophers were a winner in one of my bigger bets of the season when they took Wisco to the wire. Yet I followed that up with perhaps the worst bet of the season, taking Minny in their 55-0 loss to Iowa. The Gophers are like that crazy girlfriend you had back in college. Tonight is like hooking up with her one last time before the semester ends.
Peach Bowl, Atlanta, 730 pm
LSU vs Georgia Tech. Lines, GT -4, O/U 54
Like the above intro pointed out, histories collide. SEC teams, LSU, are 12-1 ATS as bowl underdogs. Bowl teams playing in their home state, GT, are 17-8 ATS. As much as I like what the Techsters have done this year ith Paul Johnson, I'm going with the SEC Dog in this one. Here's why:
I dont care what the scenario is but to get an SEC team as a dog in a non conference game is too much to pass up. I went the other way in the Vandy-BC game and am sweating it out right now. I'm not passing it up twice.
LSU's D has fallen apart, but they've cleaned house. While the new folks in charge of the D aren't there yet, I think this is enough of an improvement as is. We saw Maryland thwart the mighty Pistol yesterday ith new defensive coaches leading the way. I think this helps the D because the new folks sprinkle in some looks that surprises the O. Miles has talent galore on the D and they'll have enough new looks today to help sytmie to triple option's momentum.
And, hey, when there is a rule book, use it. Post Xmas Day Decemnber Dogs. They were 7-3 coming into the day and after being on a couple of short favorites earlier in the day, I feel more comfortable getting back with the puppies in the nightcaps.
The Pick: LSU +4, 2 Units......I'm really banking on LSU's talent to finally put it all together. Also, I feel GT will suffer a bit of a letdown after spending the last month basking in their breakthrough victory over hated Georgia.