5* Compass Bowl High Roller Money Maker
Southern Methodist vs. Pittsburgh,
01/07/2012 13:00 EDT,
Score: 28 - 6
Point Spread: +4/-110 Southern Methodist
SMU is showing some solid value as a 4-point underdog in the Compass Bowl against the Pittsburgh Panthers. While SMU finished just 2-4 in their final six game after starting the season 5-1, I believe they will be the more motivated team in this game.
Pittsburgh finished strong with three wins in their final five games. Both of their losses came by a total of 4-points against a couple of pretty good teams in Cincinnati and West Virginia. However, the Panthers will be playing this game without head coach Todd Graham, who abruptly left the team to take the Arizona State job. Graham thought so little of his players, he informed them via text message. Hard to imagine Pittsburgh's players being all that motivated to play in this game.
While SMU lost 14-16 to Army as 7-point favorites in the Armed Forces Bowl last season, the year before they crushed Nevada 45-10 as 12-point underdogs. The Mustangs are in the underdog role again, and I look for them to win this game outright.
Outside of the coaching problems for Pittsburgh, SMU is a pretty tough matchup. Defensively SMU allowed just 127.3 ypg on the ground. Their strong defensive front should not only be able to slow down the Panthers rushing attack, but also take advantage of a weak Pittsburgh offensive line that allowed starting quarterback Tino Sunseri to be sacked 54 times.
SMU will be without their leading rusher, Zach Line, but should be able to exploit the Panthers' 67th ranked pass defense with quarterback J.J. McDermott and wide outs Darius Johnson and Cole Beasley. BET THE PANTHERS +4!