landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
Is it 2010 yet? Perhaps I can get a mulligan, at least, on starting this new year?
I had a great bowl season going until the last 48 hours came in like a plague of locusts and infected my entire profit margin.
Trutfully, I cant blame a new year's haze, locusts or, sadly, being distracted by the ending of a Michigan game leading me to confused, head scratching decisions. Seriously, I think that's how I ended up taking Piit in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl against Urban's Meyer monster Utah team. The furious closing moments of the Texas-UM Rose Bowl that day are fuzzy at best, amid a fog a Vodka drinks, reefer and, of course, a typically gut wrenching Michigan fourth quarter. Somehow I picked up the phone and uttered the phrase, 'gimme the Panthers.' Ah, sweet memories.
Nope. I cant even blame it on a similar situaiton. The last 48 hours have been on me and my reckless strategy. Up on the house, you should reduce your bets in size and quantity. I did neither, and the House, like Charlie Wies at a Chinese Buffet, gobbled up darn near all the cash.
The fact is I got hoodwinked in the number of games on the slate. Even during the year, I do so well on those midweek games, while running in place when the board is full on a typical Saturday. When I can focus on a singular game, I do fine. When the board has multiple games and endings are crossing over with beginnings, I become a spastic, sugar-addicted kid in a candy store. Sound reason gives way to emotional, from-the-heart picks. How else can you explain backing obvious overmatched teams from the Big 10 in recent days? Or, forgetting my seven-year-old rule about betting against USC, especially in big game? Or fading a Virginia Tech program that has done nothing but win me cash since I began this hobby? Or forgetting my own golden rule--that being, after taking dogs for a full week of bowls, always hop on the big favorites, come New Year's Day--about betting bowl season?
I have been winning all my big bets. That tells me my overall analysis is sound. However, I've been unable to resist the tempation and have frittered most of it away. Like I said, reckless I am. My resolutions for the new year ought to be moderation, dont bet any more totals (seriously, I wish they would just stop posting these. Between Big 10 Picks and Bowl Chronicles, I think I've won maybe two of these all season) and learn to hate the Big 10. That last one will come in handy, I am sure, in non league showdowns. We'll see if any of those take form.
Sigh. A gambler's money, indeed, knows no home.
I guess I could toss some blame onto my girlfriend. She's gone through tomorrow on a family vacation, but we did catch up a bit on the phone yesterday morning. She does a great job of helping me cut through the emotion of college football when it comes to making selections.
Yesterday, when we talked, she asked about the games, who was playing and, of course, what the spreads were. She laughed at the prospect of MSU having to play Georgia. As for the Rose Bowl? If Michigan's greatest teams cant touch USC in Rose Bowls (she was recalling the fun I dragged her family through while watching the 2007 Grandadday), how will Penn St? Interesting takes. And, right all the way.
I'd like to think that had she been around yesterday, she would have needled me so much about my Big 10 bias. I would have been convinced to go the other way in those contests, or ignore them all together. In the moments up to the Rose Bowl kick, she would have dialed the phone for me to get off of PSU and buy into some of that USC action. So, yeah, its clearly her fault for not being around.
(And, for those of you who feel its not wise to lean on someone who cant even name a person on Michigan's roster, even though she goes to half the home games, trust me, this is smart on many levels. She's basically a casul fan, but what she does pay attention to is the spreads, mostly because she's a good woman who is into her significant others, uh, hobbies. In a related note, I like cross country skiing. She has helped me cut through the fat of all the information I have and find a winning investment on several occassions. Do I get pissed if I follow her quirky guesses on a game? Hardly. After all, there is nothing quite as steamy as "sorry, I lost you a bet and money" sex. It's like fat girl sex. They just try a little bit harder than the rest.)
Phew! Now that I've found a way to blame someone else for my losses and addiction, i feel like I am a true gambler again. You know what else would make me feel like a true gambler, I mean, besides pointing fingers at my enablers? Wagering on today's bowl tripleheader, that's what. Besides, I am still up almost two units and still playing with house money. Without further adieu:
Cotton Bowl, Dallas, 2pm
Ole Miss vs Texas Tech. Lines, Tech -5, O/U 66
The famed Cotton Bowl. My worst Cotton Bowl memory? New Year's Day, 1987. As Ohio State put the finishing touches on Texas A/M, the announcers trumpeted the victory by saying the Bucks were the first school to win all of the major bowls. In my mind, it was a shady accomplishment at best because most schools at the time had no chance to play in the Rose Bowl. And, Michigan had never been to the Cotton Bowl, so who cares? Oh, but the Bucknuts I was with that day kept celebrating the fact and when UM dropped the Rose Bowl to ASU (A John Copper-led squad, ironically), they became insufferable. In the final Coach's Poll, OSU was actually one place ahead of UM, despite the Wolverines beating them in Columbus 26-24. Those aforementioned jokers taped several copies off the poll onto my locker. Such is the topsy-turvy world of this backyard rivalry. Here's hopnig 2009 brings a big dose of topsy-turvy to this series.
Anyway, on to today's Cotton Bowl. I'm grabbing the points with the Rebels. This is an underrated program and may be primed for bigger and better things next season. I love this team in both trenches. Ed Ogeron recruited well and left the Rebels surprisingly strong with NFL prospects on both defensive and offensive lines. In their upset of Florida and near miss against Bama, the Rebels owned the lines of scrimmage. This will catch Tech off guard today.
Ole Miss traditionally is a solid underdog bet, logging a 30-20 ATS mark in its last 50 when catching points. This number has been trending upward in recent seasons, covering 13 of its last 20 and seven in a row as a pup, the last six on the road. The Rebels covered all four games this year when catching points (Wake, Florida, Alabama and LSU), including a pair of outright upsets. They are also 8-2 ATS vs teams with a winning record.
Meanwhile, the Raiders have struggled to a 2-6 ATS mark as bowl favorites and are just 4-9 ATS as favorites from 3.5 to 10 points. They've always been a dicey play away from Lubbock.
Can Ole Miss keep up with Tech? Why not. They've moved for more than 350 total yards in 11 games this season and are 38th in the country in total offense. And they're ranked 14th in both total defense and scoring defense. They might not have to keep up as much as you think in this one. Its safe to say Ole Miss will outrush Tech, making the one good piece of advice I passed on yesterday in play: Bowl teams who outrush their foes covers the spread at a 79% clip.
The Pick: Ole Miss +5, 1 Unit......another tipping point in this game. Consider half the roster from Tech is returning home to the Dallas area. How many of them have broke curfew this week to hang with their boys during various New Year festivities. I'll take the Over on that one. This feels like a pleasure trip for the Red Raiders and business trip for the Rebels.
Liberty Bowl, Memphis, 5pm
ECU vs Kentucky. Lines, ECU -3, O/U 44
Last year in the Liberty Bowl the team from mighty SEC, in this case Mississippi St, took down the plucky CUSA Champ, Central Florida, in a bone crunching 10-3 final. Back when I used to play totals (see, this resolution thing is going well so far), it was the easiest Under bet I had ever won.
I think the opposite is going to happen in this one. No, not a shootout, per se, but I think the mid major is coming out of this contest with at least the win.
I like how the Pirate program has performed under Skip Holtz when the spotlight is on. Whether its taking on high end programs from BCS leagues (VT and WVA in September), playing a league title as significant underdog (Tulsa, last month) or going up against a allegeldy superior bowl team (Boise St, last year), East Carolina has always been up to the task. Did they struggle a bit this year with the bullseye on their back? Yes, but mid majors always do that, but the good ones find a way to rebound and close strong. That is exactly what ECU is doing.
I'll take the QB Pickney is this one. I dont trust the UK offense. I'll take Skip Holz over Rich Brooks anyday.
ECU comes in hot, having won 6 of their last seven, including a great performance in winning their league title game against Tulsa. In this stretch, they've allowed less than 17 points. Pickney, the offense and the playcalling of Holtz can clear that scoring bard with no problem.
The Cats are not hot. They've only won twice since September, both single point wins over non-bowl teams. Yes, the SEC slate did get harder as the year wore on, but this team seemed to get worse as well. UK may be the biggest bowl fraud this side of Hawaii or Minnesota. They went 0-5 against fellow bowlers this year.
They may not cover, but I expect ECU to notch the win. I will play them on the moneyline.
The Pick: ECU moneyline, -145, 1 Unit......Under Holz, the Pirates are 23-8 ATS as a dog or favored by 5 or less points.
I'm working on the Sugar Bowl while watching the start of the Libery Bowl. So, if you want to see who to fade, check back a bit later.
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.
Did you know the Arena League sponsored bowl games? Just kidding, they don’t. But, if they did, these would be their games. All three of today’s games could tilt the pinball machine and ultimately give us Arena Football like scores. Nevada and Maryland square off in Boise where I believe the state government of Idaho mandates that any game played on Smurf Turf becomes a shootout. Down in Houston, WMU and Rice will provide a look at defense optional football. The loser should score at least 30 in that one. Meanwhile, in San Diego the Holiday Bowl convenes. Just about every Holiday Bowl has involved some wacky scoring tomfoolery. With Oklahoma St and Oregon we have two teams who are more than capable of adding to this bowl game’s high scoring history. It should be a fun day of football, especially if you hate defense.
Of course, this leads to a quandary. I want so much to play the Over in all of today’s games. But I’ve been getting killed on totals throughout the college season. To make matters more challenging are the high numbers set in these games by the oddsmakers. Both teams could reach the 30s in the Houston and Holiday Bowls, for example, and still go under the total of 74 and 76 respectively. My sense is you could put some coin on the Over in all three and likely come away with a 2-1 record.
Humanitarian Bowl, Boise, 4:30 pm
Nevada vs. Maryland. Lines, Nevada -2, O/U 59
Have you seen a picture of Maryland QB Chris Turner? He kind of reminds me of an adult version of that dopey, wimpy neighbor kid from the show ‘My So Called Life.’ I can’t in good conscience put my money on him.
Besides, I think we have an intangible emotional edge today with Nevada. The Wolf Pack is stoked about being here and can’t wait to show off their stuff against a BCS school. You have to wonder about the Terps. The trip to Boise is always something of a gag gift for the ACC school. These are college kids and I sure they would rather be in a sunnier spot playing in more of a showdown game. Instead, they’re in Boise, where it might snow, and they’re playing a little known team and a quirky offense that’s humming at full throttle. Maybe that’s why the WAC is 4-0 ATS in the last four Humanitarian Bowls against the ACC.
Michigan fans may want to look away when Nevada has the ball. They run the Pistol Formation, a weird semi shotgun look that, at times mirrors the zone read, while other times is a pass first look. I expect OSU to use even more Pistol Formation next season and every success Nevada has today with it, try not to picture Tyrell Pryor doing the same.
Nevada has their Pistol working to perfection. And, they should since their longtime coach Chris Ault pioneered the offense. In the past, it’s been a pass first look, but because of his personnel this season, Ault has the Nevada 2008 Pistol gashing people with the run. QB Colin Kaeperneck has rushed for over 1,000 yards and accounted for 19 touchdowns. He’s only the fifth player in history to have 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season. Tailback Vai Taua has over 1,400 yards and sports a gaudy 6.5 ypc. They will run all over the questionable Maryland D, which has had issues at the point of attack all season long and enter this game without their DC who left to take another job.
While Turner and his top target Darrius Heyward-Bey will land a few haymakers against the weak Nevada pass defense, I just don’t think it will be enough to get the win. Turner will have to put together his best game of the season just for Maryland to keep up with the Nevada attack. I don’t think he has a game like that in him. Plus, I think they’re vulnerable to pressure and Nevada, while hardly stout on the defensive front, has a pair of playmaking defensive ends that remind me of the Utah combo we learned about many weeks ago. I think they’ll fluster Turner enough and force a mistake or two out of an offense that’s just 99th in the country in turnover margin.
I don’t trust Maryland away from home. On the road, the Terps are 1-4 and were outscored 25.85 to 13.2. Away from College Park, Maryland lost to Middle Tennessee State and drubbed 31-0 by Virginia, two teams that are nowhere close to a bowl game.
While the Terps have struggled putting points on the board away from home, Nevada scores wherever they play. They’re second in the nation in running the football (nearly 300 yards per game), 12th in scoring offense (39.74 ppg) and have not been held below 34 points since mid September.
The Pick: Nevada -2, 1 Unit……We have a pair of average defenses in this one. I’ll take the team with the smoother running offense, especially one like Nevada which will control the clock and pace of the game with their multi faceted rushing attack. Also, its Maryland’s first look at the Smurf Turf and it will play with their minds and cause even more focus issues for the Terps.
Texas Bowl, Houston, 8pm
Western Michigan vs. Rice. Lines, Rice -3, O/U 74
When a pair of 9-3 teams from BCS leagues swap paint in a bowl game, it usually generates a buzz and is labeled must see viewing. The same can not be said when 9-3 mid majors square off. That’s too bad because this contest between Rice and Western Michigan ought to be a doozy with two of the premier passing attacks in the country going head to head. Rice’s Chase Clement and WMU’s Tim Hiller are at the top of their games, have next level targets at their disposal and to score all day long.
Both teams look to make history for their programs today. WMU has never won a bowl game, while Rice has not been victorious in a postseason game since the FDR administration. Both are treating this like the Rose Bowl. It ought to be a blast.
Expect this game to cause some panic within the Michigan fan base. Hiller and just about all his weapons will be back next year and open the season in Ann Arbor. Try not to freak out too much as he’s marching the Broncos up and down the Reliant Stadium field. All those open receivers, no worries. I’m sure Stevie Brown will be there to save the day come next September 5.
Both teams enter the game with sick passing stats. Rice is 5th nationally in passing, 8th in scoring and 10th in overall offense. The Broncos counter with the 10th ranked passing offense in the nation and scores a smidge under 30 points per game. Rice QB Chase Clement has accounted for 120 total TDs during his Owl career and this year has a 41 to 7 TD/INT ratio. He tosses five TD games around like its candy. Not to be outdone is WMU’s Tim Hiller. Hiller has fought injuries throughout this career, but he;s been completely healthy this season and threw for 34 TDs to just 8 INTs. Each has a stud WR. For Rice, its Jarret Dillard, who has a speed and deep threat game. For WMU, its Jamarko Simmons, who has more of a physical game. Neither will be stopped much by the other’s teams secondary.
Both teams passing offenses are a wash, so to find a winner in this game, lets try and figure out who will perform the other facets of the game better. I think that answer is Western Michigan. I like their rushing attack with Brandon West a bit better than Rice when the Owls look to run.
More than anything, I think WMU has a better chance at getting a stop or two than the Rice defense does. Rice has allowed 7 non BCS team to score 28 or more points. Against the run, WMU allows just 3.8 ypc while Rice gives up over 5 yards per rush against. This tells me that WMU has a better chance at playing keep away from the high octane Owl attack.
Other factor to consider include WMU has only allowed 14 sacks this year. Rice won’t touch Hiller. And, Hiller is getting his security blanket back, TE and uber possession receiver Brandon Ledbetter, who missed most of the final month of the season with an injury.
In a game where both offenses will rock and roll, I am taking the squad that is better running the football with a bit more of a competent defense.
The Pick: WMU +3, 1 Unit…..The Broncos also have the more reliable kicker in this game, something not to be overlooked in a proverbial coin flip toss up.
Holiday Bowl, San Diego, 8pm
Oregon vs. Oklahoma St. Lines, OSU -3, O/U 76
Two trendy things to do in bowl season collide in this game. Always take the Underdog in the Holiday Bowl. And always take Pac 10 Dogs in bowl season.
In the thirty Holiday Bowls played, the underdog has gone 21-9 ATS, with 11 outright wins. Meanwhile, the Pac 10 has been 16-5 ATS in bowl games when installed as the underdog.
Of course, neither trend worked in this game last year as Texas thumped Arizona St. But, we’re undaunted and back on it again this year. To quote the famous baseball manager Montgomery Burns as he hissed to his petulant outfielder, ”It’s called playing the percentages, Strawberry, playing the percentages. Hopefully, doing so tonight works out as well for me as it did for the Springfield Power Plant back in the day.
I’m comfortable taking Oregon for a couple other reasons as well. They always play well in their bowl game. Head Coach Mike Bellotti is 5-1 as a bowl underdog. The one non cover in this stretch occurred when a member of the Leaf Family tree started at QB. Over the last 11 seasons, his Ducks are 23-12 ATS away from home when catching points. And, the Ducks are hot right now, scoring 55 and 65 points respectively, in wins against fellow bowlers Arizona and Oregon St to close the season.
I love the Ducks running back tandem of Jeremiah Johnson and LaGarette Blount. I don’t think Okie St can contain those two which will open the offense even further for Oregon. The Cowboys have their weapons too and if Zac Robinson is the game’s MVP, they cold win in a walk. One concern for OSU is the fact that stud WR Dez Byrant has been a bit of a non factor in a lot of key games this season.
I think Oregon is the established program while Okie St is bit more of an upstart. I think the Ducks history of doing well in bowls, away from home and as an underdog puts them on the ride side on the intangible chart tonight. They more than matchup athletically to the Cowboys and in a neutral setting I will take a Bellotti coached team over a Gundy one any day of the week.
The Pick, Oregon +3, 1 Unit……I always play Pac 10 Dogs. I always play the Dog in the Holiday Bowl. Really, that’s the only true thought I have put into this one. Here’s hoping the Ducks play the pass better tonight than they have all year. Still, I think they can control this game running the football. Bellotti knows how to beat better teams, except for ones that call L.A. home, and I trust that blueprint tonight
Ok, I cant resist on these Overs. I am placing a half-unit wager on all three. Seriously, we’re in for video game football today.
Maryland/Nevada Over 59…….When Nevada has the ball, its Pistol O that nobody has really stopped all year. When the Terps have the ball, they’re going against of the worst pass defenses in the country
WMU/Rice Over 74…….Defense will be optional in this one. WMU is mediocre at best defensively, but they look like the Steel Curtain compared to the Owls.
Oregon/Okie St Over 76…….Both teams are in the top-10 in total offense and scoring offense. Both Defenses are ranked worse than 80th in total defense and worse than 100 in passing defense. Could both clubs really get into the 40s in this one?
I got too caught up in watching that first game on DVR and have no time to really put much time into this next one. That sure was a quirky end to that first one, but I'll take it. The Alamo Bowl is updated at the top of the Diary for easier access.
Alamo Bowl, San Antonio, 8 pm
Northwester vs Missouri. Lines, Missou -14, O/U 67
The creative folks are calling this the Prose Bowl becuase of both school's Journalism pedigrees. Whatever.
I am going to take a stab that Northwestern hangs within the two touchdon number in this one. I dont like Missouri's defense. They've given up 24 or more points seven times this season. The Wildcats have a senior laden offense and Bacher can take advantage of the nation's 81st worst pass defense.
The Tigers are good, but have never been as good this year as they were last. They dont run the ball as well as they need to and that might hurt them a bit today. Dont sleep on NW's D. Its solid, well coached and play the pass well. They will hold their own on enough third and longs tonight to stay in the ballgame and keep Chase Daniel from turning this into his personal video game.
NW's players goals this season was to finally win a bowl game. Their season has pointed to this moment. The Tigers, meanwhile, wanted to play in a BCS game when the season started. The season spun out of control, and while they have redemption on their mind, I feel the Wildcats have an intangible motivation edge in this one.
This just feels like a game where we have a disinterested favorite in the Tigers. They have a lot of key players who are returning to the Texas, their native state, and that lends itself to a bit of a distracted team. It might be the second quarter before some guys realize the game is on.
Besides, remember one of the rules we are leaning on: Underdogs after Christmas, but before New Year's Day. You profit by doing that, especially by focusing on those catching between 7 and 16.5 points. Those guys are 63-35-1 ATS since 1990, 3-1 ATS this season. Might as well ride that bandwagon out the rest of the calendar year.
The Pick: NW +14.....1 Unit....yeah, after the sweat fest of the first game, lets take it down a notch on this one. Tyrelle Sutton looks to be a go, which is great news for Wildcat backers. Also, this line has grown from 12.5 to 14 since yesterday. The public and late money is on the Tigers. I faded this movement in all three Saturday games and went 2-1. We'll see how this one goes tonight.
Papa Johns Bowls, Birmingham, 3 pm
North Carolina St vs Rutgers. Lines, Rutgers -7, O/U 57
If we ever get a playoff system, I hope they keep some of the bowls as an undercard. Hey, the NCAA Tournament has the NIT after all. Anyway, these two teams playing this afternoon gives us a good example of why the Bowl System can not be discarded altogether. Neither Rutgers, nor NCST would be anywhere near a playoff spot. But, both ended the season playing as well as most anybody else in the country. What's more, is both teams climbed out of embarrasing early season holes, rallied and ripped off winning streaks to close the season. The end result? Surprising bowl bids. It would be a pity if we lose the bowl system and teams like Rutgers and NCST dont have a place to go to reward the fantastic conclusions of their seasons.
Anyway, enough of the preaching. Let's get into this game. I hope you have your DVR set and wont miss this one at work. This will be a barnburner. I expect it to be one of the best bowl games this season. Both clubs were playing at such a high level to close the season that anything else other than a classic would be a letdown.
Rutgers closed the year with a six-game winning streak. During the run, Rutgers woodshedded USF and Pitt and scored more than 40 ppg. Not to be outdone, NCST won their final four games in a row and beat all five of their in state rivals this season. They've covered the spread in seven straight games. The Pack covered every single ACC game this season en route to a 9-2 ATS record, one of the best in the country. This is a club that won me a lot of cash since the end of September.
Despite Rutgers own hot streak, I am not getting off my very own NCST Wolfpack bandwagon.
Already this bowl season, we've seen ACC teams Wake Forest, UNC and Miami look good and cover the spread. In the Pack, we have a team that beat all three of those teams by a combined 45 points in the month of November. NCST played 10 bowl teams this year and went 8-2 ATS in those contests. Rutgers, meanwhile, only went 3-5 ATS in their games against fellow bowlers this year. That alone would have me on the TD underdog in this one.
But, on the field, there is much to like about NCST, even though statistically they dont appear as strong as Rutgers. QB Russel Wilson is the real deal. He's a redshirt freshmen and the minute the team gave the QB position to him, this team has been on fire. They're covered the spread in each of his starts. He's a dual threat and will get between 250-300 yards of total offense today. He's tossed 16 TDs to just 1 INT and has at least 2 TD passes in five straight games. What's more is the threat of Wilson has really opened up the running game. They have a thunder and lightning type combo of Andre Brown and Jamelle Eugene and the duo has combined to average more than 5 yards per carry since Wilson became the QB. I am sure there will be some rust due to the layoff, but I expect Wilson, Brown and Eugene to eventually get it going and march up and down the field against an undersized and not very impressive Rutgers defense.
In their 7-game cover streak, the Pack are averaging 28.85 ppg, against athletic and powerful defenses like Florida St, BC, Maryland, Miami and UNC.
Of course, Rutgers will do some offensive damage in this one. After 3.5 years of head scratching inconsistency, Knight QB Mike Teel finally found his groove. As Rutgers won six in a row, Teel and his awesome set of wideouts (I like Kenny Britt and Tanquean Underwood. They've got NFL written all over him) have combined for 20 TDs passes. He has many critics--myself included-- but at least he's ending his tenure on a high note and no other QB has led the program to as many bowl games as he has.
Nevertheless, I think the run ends today. First, lets look at the key TO stat. The Pack never turn it over and rank 15th nationally in TO margin. Rutgers has always had problems holding onto the ball and are on the fringe of being in the bottom third nationally in the TO margin category. I still dont trust Teel. He can be a turnover machine and is not the most accurate QB out there.
Neither defenses are that great, but the Pack have more play makers on that side of the ball. That will help create turnovers and a bad throw or two out of Teel. The best pass rusher in this game in NCST's Willie Young. And, the best overall defender on the field will be NCST's LB Nate Irving. Much is made of Wilson's insertion into the lineup as turning around the Pack, but dont forget Wilson missed most of the first half of the season with an injury. Folks, this guy is a stud. He's a dual threat defender, stuffing the run for a TFL on one play and getting a pass deflection on the next. Watch for him to bait Teel into an INT right into his arms that will sway momentum in this game.
The ACC is a better conference than the Big East. I'll take the team from the ACC getting a TD head start against a Big East team anyday of the week. Espcially one with a first team all league QB on its roster. The ACC is 4-0 ATS in bowls this year. Really as long as an ACC team is not going against one of the elite teams in the country, I'll take that team getting points all the time.
Also, there is the Tom OBrien factor. He won his final 8 bowl games as head coach at BC. He's getting his postseason chance in Raliegh, and I like his proven ability to get it done in the bowl games.
Teel and his wideouts will land a haymaker or two. But, the Pack will survive that. Teams have run all year on Rutgers. The tailback combo, plus the legs of Wilson, will account for 200 yards on the ground. Plus, Wilson will match Teel's TD throws if his streak of at least 2 TD passes in a game is any indication. The Pack will finish +2 in the TO department. I expect them to win this game, but I will gladly take the +7 points and put them in my pocket in case I need them.
The Pack have covered as an underdog against ECU, FSU, BC, Maryland, Wake, UNC and Miami. All of those clubs would beat Rutgers on a neutral field. The wrong team is favored in this one.
The Pick: NCST +7......4 Units.....I am going to steal a poker reference in this one: I am going 'All In' with this game and am risking all the Units won so far during bowl season. Near as I can tell, its a coin flip. The spread should be a Pick 'Em. How confident am I? You know those polls where you select which team to cover and then rank them confidence-like. This would be my 34 game. The ND game would have been my 33 game and it won easily. Here's hoping for a repeat.
The Pick: Over 56......1 Unit.....Adding a small play over. I cant see anything smaller than a 31-27 final score. I expect both teams in get into the 30s. This will be one of the better games in bowl season
I will add a writeup on the Missouri/Northwestern Alamo Bowl later in the day.
Independence Bowl, Shreveport LA, 8:15 pm
Northern Illinois vs Louisiana Tech. Lines, LT -2, O/U 47. Moneyline (to win) for LT, -135
Why would you watch an NFL Division Title Game (SD vs Denver) when there is a bowl game on, especially one that could finally give us the elusive answer of which conference produces the less fraudulent bowl team, the MAC or the WAC. Truth seekers have looked high and low for this answer and they may get some tangible evidence tonight when Northern Illinois swaps paint with Louisiana Tech.
That can't hold a candle to deciding an AFC West Champion, or, as I like to call it, Colt Fodder for next weekend. Besides, if you're reading this, aren't you obligated to be watching the Mazie and Blue icers skate in the GLI Final? Its a presitigoous hockey tournament.....against Sparty.....the boys need you, so tune in. It's 1-1 at the first intermission right now.
Typically, the Independence Bowl is a Big 12 vs SEC matchup, which would provide an interesting undercard in advance of the showdon for all their marbles between these leagues respective conferences. They've been the best leagues all season, but ironically neither were able to qualify enough teams for their slots after placing two into the BCS. Blame Auburn, Tennessee, Colorado and Texas AM for regressing in 2008 and making this classic clash between the Huskies and the....ah.....wait a second.....crap, I dont even know La Tech's nickname. Give me a second while I look that one up.
Alright. I'm back. Thanks for cutting me some time there. The Bulldogs, eh? Gun to my head, I would have said Broncos. Dodged a bullet there, I suppose.
Kidding aside, history suggests this game will at least be close and not decided until late. Nine of the last Independence Bowls have been decided by 7 points or less. These two clubs have combined to play a dozen games this season decided by a score or less. NIU always seems to play close games. And, they typically lose those contests. NIU is 8-16 SU in games decided by a TD or less, 2-4 in those types of games this season. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are 5-3 in those games in the two-season tenure of coach Derek Dooley (the son of UGA legend Vince Dooley), 3-2 this year.
Throw in the fact that LT will be playing this game in fron of a home state crowd, and I like their chances to pull the win. Enough, at least, to risk a one unit wager that the program's historic identities in close games will stay consistent.
The Bulldogs are playing better coming into this game. NIU lost 3 of their last 4 and lost all five of their games this year to fellow 2008 bowlers. LT had a four game winning streak in November, averaging 35 ppg. They did lose their finale, 35-31 to Nevada, but playing Nevada is a harder chore than going against NIU. Going back to mid October, this team has scored more than 32 ppg.
I doubt NIU can keep up for four quarters. Their D has some nice stats, but the teams with relatie offensive acumen, like CMU, WMU, Ball St and Navy have been able to call their shots and drive the ball at will versus this D. LT has the better rushing offense and better rushing defense. Thats a recipe for success.
I am going to promote another little know, mid major running back to look out for tonight. Last week, in the debut diary, I touted Gantrell Johnson, the sparkplug looking, dreadlock wearing tailback for CSU. I said he would be the most fun player to watch in that mid major slug fest. He delivered with almost 400 yards from scrimmage. I made a fatal error, however, when I bet against him. I wont make that mistake here.
Watch out for LT tailback Daniel Porter. Expect him to be the best player on the field today. He has 100 yard games in five of his last seven games as he emerged as a first teamm All-WAC performer. He's shifty, elusive, and dangerous in space, but he has enough power to also run in between the tackles. He's a complete back and reminds me of a more physically formed out Jacquizz Rodgers, the waterbug for Oregon State that nearly dragged the Beavers to Pasadena. Porter will be the Bowl MVP for LT. He'll rip off 150 yards and a couple of scores will the Bulldogs nail down a hard fought 24-17 victory.
The Pick: Louisiana Tech to win on the ML, -135, 1 Unit......the Independence Bowl historically gives us close games. So, after UM bodychecks MSU to a bloody pulp and hoists the GLI Trophy, turn the dial and watch the second half