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.