jimmythegreek Posts:10722 Followers:376
12/30/2013 12:19 AM

Armed Forces Bowl
Middle Tennessee St vs. Navy
The scene shifts to Fort Worth, Texas on Monday where the Navy Midshipmen (8-4) will notch their 10th bowl appearance in the last 11 years taking on the Middle Tennessee St Blue Raiders (8-4) out of Conference USA. Navy finished second in the FBS in rushing on the strength of the traditional triple option. while MTSU finished 6-2 in C-USA play after making a living out of the competitive Sun Belt.

When the Middies do execute the passing game namely on long third down conversion attempts, Keenan Reynolds (65/121 1038 8 TD 2 INT) showed efficiency despite using his feet as the main ingredient for success. Navy led the nation with 708 rushing attempts or an average of 59 per game.Navy averages 322 yards per contest on the ground, losing just 4 fumbles all season. Reynolds (280-1260 4.5 29 TD) leads 8 backs who have gained at least 200 yards this season. Ball security is obviously critical to any productive offense, but especially a run-centric one like Navy’s. MTSU has done a decent job against the run this season, allowing 185.8 yards rushing per game, but the Blue Raiders know full well that Navy’s triple option represents a unique challenge.

Logan Kilgore (197/322 2289 16 TD 11 INT) will have to be efficient throwing the ball downfield as well as receive protection from a balanced yet limited ground game. Top target Tavarres Jefferson (41-532 5 TD) scored a TD in his final 3 games and will test Navy's secondary. Marcus Henry (36-528 3 TD) and Kyle Griswould (36-359 4 TD) will also have to play key roles in the receiving core especially if this game turns into a toe to toe shootout. Jordan Parker (145-741 5.1 6 TD) will have a tough task in matching the success of the Navy ground attack, but the Blue Raiders have enough balance to compete despite not using the run as their primary strength. Reggie Whatley (93-631 6.8 3 TD) wasn't much of a factor held out of the end zone in the final 2 months, so it will be essential for Kilgore to be accurate and make big plays if they operate the offense at a quick pace like Navy.

The Blue Raiders finished the season averaging 31 points, 207 passing yards and 208 rushing per game. You cannot get much more balanced than that. However, even though Navy's offense is predicated on the run, teams have had a hard time stopping the option, which has allowed the Midshipmen to average an impressive 34 points per game. MT finished the regular season ranked fifth nationally in forced turnovers with 31, and third nationally in fumble recoveries with 16. However they are ranked 99th against the run. the Midshipmen own the country’s 59th-ranked scoring defense, allowing 25.9 points per game and senior LB Cody Peterson (124 Tackles) is this unit’s standout. This game could honestly come down to who has the ball last.

The pick: Navy -6.5 (bought half, one gyro)
totals lean: over 56.5 (two gyros)


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jimmythegreek Posts:10722 Followers:376
12/30/2013 12:53 AM

Music City Bowl:
Mississippi vs. Georgia Tech:
A pair of 7-5 teams clash out of the SEC and ACC as the Ole Miss Rebels will do battle with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the 2013 Music City Bowl from Nashville, Tennessee. The Yellow Jackets blew a 20-point lead against Georgia on Nov. 30 and allowed the Aaron Murray-less Bulldogs to win in double-overtime, 41-34. Meanwhile, the Rebels ended their season losing their final 2 games capped off by a 17-10 defeat at the hands of their interstate rivals in the Egg Bowl.

Vad Lee (77/163 1414 10 TD 9 INT) leads a GT offense that like in our previous bowl coverage primarily runs while also using the triple option. The Yellow Jackets are 6th overall in the nation on the ground gaining 312 yards per contest. Lee (166-489 2.9 8 TD) is especially dangerous calling his own number in opponent's territory while utilizing David Sims (151-846 5.6 11 TD) as the featured back. Sims is among several backs that only gets a limited amount of touches but makes for the most of them with his speed and ability to follow his blocks downfield. Robert Godhigh (69-694 10.1 6 TD) like Sims ran for over 100 yards in 3 games this season with each effort well under 20 carries. Goodhigh (21-420 2 TD) and DeAndre Smelter(21-345 4 TD) are also used for Lee to execute in the flat as slot receivers and occasionally to utilize the deep ball. Because there is so much balance and agility in the running game, it will be a challenge for Mississippi to contain and make plays up front and in the secondary.

Bo Wallace (261/405 3090 17 TD 9 INT) is looking to make up for one of his worst performances to close out the regular season. The junior threw three interceptions and fumbled at the 3 yard line in overtime against Mississippi State. The Rebels have the nation’s 24th-ranked passing offense behind Donte Moncrief (53-825 5 TD) and Laquan Treadwell (67-557 5 TD). 3 backs for Ole Miss have run for 500 yards, but in order for Wallace to avert further disaster he will have to be less mistake prone. Georgia Tech has several pass rushers in their defense who make a living hurrying the quarterback. Give Wallace time in the pocket and he can be just as good as any other QB in the country, however make him uncomfortable, and he becomes a turnover machine.

If the Ole Miss defense can force Lee to throw the ball, GT could have issues considering they are just 118th in the nation averaging only 129 yards per contest. Consequently on defense GT ranks 29th in scoring allowing just 22.7 points per contest and 9th in run defense at 107 yards per game. Senior DE Jeremiah Attaochu (12 Sacks), an All-ACC First Team selection, is one of this unit’s standouts. Defensively, the Rebels own the country’s 39th-ranked scoring defense, allowing 24.3 points per game. I'll take a shot at Georgia Tech having more success running the triple option over Ole Miss with Wallace looking sluggish down the stretch with the inability to close out winnable contests.

The pick: Georgia Tech +3.5 (bought half, 2 gyros)
totals lean: over 56


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jimmythegreek Posts:10722 Followers:376
12/30/2013 01:23 AM

Alamo Bowl
(10) Oregon vs. Texas
What most believed could have been a 5th consecutive BCS appearance in the bowls for Oregon (10-2), a lackluster finish prevented the Ducks from receiving an at large berth. For Texas (8-4) this will be the final head coaching appearance for Mack Brown who is resigning after 16 seasons at the helm in Austin. These two will meet on Monday in the Alamo Bowl from the AlamoDome in San Antonio, Texas.

In what also will be the final game for Case McCoy (179/312 1885 11 TD 11 INT) at Texas, the embattled quarterback hopes to fare better against the intriguing Ducks defense. McCoy started six games the previous two years and became the starter in 2013 when David Ash's season ended due to concussion-like symptoms. Top target Mike Davis (49-715 8 TD) will finish his career in the top five of several major career receiving categories at Texas. Jaxon Shipley (55-581 1 TD) failed to meet expectations especially since following in his brother Jordan's footsteps. With Johnathan Gray (159-780 4.9 4 TD) going down for the season with an achillies injury against West Virginia, Malcolm Brown (188-774 4.1 9 TD) will receive the majority of the touches in the backfield. Brown ended the season on a high note running for a combined 259 yards in his final 2 games against Texas Tech and Baylor.

McCoy and the Longhorns offense will be facing an Oregon defense that will be led by coordinator Nick Aliotti for the final time. Aliotti announced Friday that he'll retire after this game following 24 years with the Ducks, including 17 as defensive coordinator. t's on the defensive side where Texas likely faces its biggest challenge in this contest. Marcus Mariota (227/360 3412 30 TD 4 INT) has thrown a TD in each of his 25 career games and set a single-season school record with 3,994 total yards in 2013. Returning for his junior season, Mariota's top targets are Josh Huff (57-1036 11 TD) who tore apart Oregon State's secondary in a 36-35 winning finale Civil War matchup, catching 9 passes for 187 yards and 3 TD. Bralon Addison (56-842 7 TD) is also a legitimate threat on special teams in the return game. While Mariota (81-582 7.2 9 TD) is also dangerous in the open field when his receivers are well covered, Byron Marshall (155-995 6.4 14 TD) plays week in and week out with a chip on his shoulder.

It;s no secret that Oregon is one of the most talented teams in the nation, with a signature offense capable of hanging 70 in any game. The Ducks finished second in the country in scoring and yardage, with 49.6 points and 573 yards per game. After a terrible start to the season, a win over then No. 12 Oklahoma sparked a six-game win streak that saved the Longhorns' season and brought them within a game of a Big 12 title.

The Ducks are a far superior team to the Longhorns. Not only that, but the Ducks match up extremely well schematically with Texas. Oregon’s option attack is one of the most dynamic rushing offenses in all of college football, and the Longhorns have proved to be susceptible to potent ground attacks. Oregon has too much fire power for Texas to handle and should win this one going away in the second half.

The pick: Oregon -14 (bought half, 4 gyros)
totals lean: over 67

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jimmythegreek Posts:10722 Followers:376
12/30/2013 01:57 AM

Holiday Bowl
(16) Arizona St. vs. Texas Tech
Although having their Rose Bowl dreams squashed by Pac 12 rival Stanford, 16th ranked Arizona St (10-3) heads to Qualcomn Stadium where they will take on Texas Tech (7-5) out of the Big 12 that fell victim to a back-loaded schedule and ended the season with 5 straight losses.

The Sun Devils saw a 7 game winning streak end with the loss to the Cardinal, however Taylor Kelly (286/455 3510 28 TD 11 INT) should continue to lead an offense that methodically exposed opposing defenses by scoring points and gaining yards in bunches. Jaelen Strong (71-1094 7 TD) ended the 2013 campaign with 7 100+ yard receiving efforts proving to be a deep ball threat as well as speed that amounts to siginificant yards after the catch. DJ Foster (73-369 5 TD) also ended the season out on a high note with 188 yards and 3 TD in his final 2 games. Marion Grice (50-438 6 TD) is listed as doubtful after suffering a leg injury last month against UCLA. This hurts the 9th ranked offense in the FBS averaging 41 points per contest in the ground game (191-996 5.2 14 TD) as Price accounted for about a third of his team's trips to the end zone. Kelly may call out more passing plays or call his own number (148-473 3.2 8 TD) since he is especially dangerous with his feet. Arizona State owns the nation’s 58th-ranked scoring defense, allowing 25.8 points per outing. Senior DT Will Sutton (44 Tackles, 4 sacks) and junior LB Carl Bradford (59 Tackles, 8.5 Sacks) are this unit’s standouts.

The Red Raiders peaked as high as #10 in the country before being chewed up and spit out by the Big 12 gauntlet in five straight, including blowout losses to Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas in the season finale. The latest news has true freshman Baker Mayfield (218/340 2,315 12 TD 9 INT) who won the start just before the opener then suffered an injury, requesting a transfer. Davis Webb (198/320 2315 16 TD 9 INT) has put up similar numbers and has an especially dangerous receiving core. Jace Amaro (98-1240 7 TD) sports his 6-5 257 frame with hands like a WR utilizing as a primary option over the middle on early and long distance down yardage. Eric Ward (80-904 8 TD) brings speed to the table and tests the corners well against opposing secondaries. The ground game is virtually an afterthought, however Kenny Williams (117-480 4.1 8 TD) is the primary back in the red zone and could see opportunities deep in the opponents field position. The Red Raider defense is led by senior linebacker Will Smith. Smith is having a monstrous senior season and leads the team with 106 tackles and five sacks. His 106 tackles rank third in the Big 12 Conference and 47th nationally. As a unit, the Red Raiders are holding opponents to 34.6 percent (ranks 26th nationally) on third down.

ASU had 15 starters back this season and only lost three games while playing one of the toughest schedules in the country. Running an up-tempo attack, ASU has averaged 184 yards per game on the ground and 277 yards through the air, while defensively the Sun Devils rank a very respectable 31st nationally. While this one has the makings of a shootout and the Red Raiders hanging around early, they simply don't have the intangibles defensively to stop nor contain Arizona St.

The pick: Arizona St -14 (bought half, 2 gyros)
totals lean: over 71 (2 gyros)


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jimmythegreek Posts:10722 Followers:376
12/31/2013 12:09 AM

V100 Bowl
Boston College vs. Arizona:
A game that was once initially named as the Independence Bowl now is sponsored by Advocare and features the Boston College Eagles (7-5) out of the ACC against the Arizona Wildcats (7-5) from the Pac-12 taking place at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, LA. These two teams have never met, though Boston College has seen Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez before, going 2-2 against him when he was at West Virginia. The bottom line is, If you love grind it out ground game rushing attacks, you've come to the right place.

Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey, the nation's second-leading rusher, will square off with Boston College's Andre Williams, the nation's leading rusher this afternoon. Carey (322-1716 5.3 17 TD) eclipsed the 100 yard mark in all 12 regular season games and gained no fewer than 119 in a win at Colorado peaking with 206 in a surprising win over Oregon last month. BJ Denker (216/357 2241 14 TD 7 INT) is especially dangerous with his feet moreso than his arm and adds a second rushing dimension to the dominating ground game (167-898 5.4 12 TD). Denker didn't have his best game last time out in a 58-21 loss in the season finale to Airzona St, as he was intercepted 3 times while throwing for just 175 yards. Nate Phillips (42-503 7 TD) is Denker's top target but hasn't had much of a chance to make an impact as the Wildcats run the ball better than 60% of the time. Samaje Grant (45-355 1 TD) and Terrence Miller (39-456 1 TD) are basically short slot receivers but can make somewhat of an impact if Carey cannot take advantage of BC's 52nd ranked run defense.

Williams (329-2102 6.4 17 TD) has one of the strongest lower bodies out of any running back in the country and runs very low, making his greatest strength finding gaps through the guards. Boston College does not want to throw the ball, but will have to if Williams can’t bully his way through the middle. Williams is capable of putting up some big numbers as he did back on Nov 16th in a 38-21 win over NC State where he ran for a season high 339 yards on 42 carries (8.1) and 2 TD's. QB Chase Rettig (146/237 1804 17 TD 6 INT) has thrown the ball sparingly, but is on target when he needs to be especially if Williams needs to catch his breath. His top target is senior WR Alex Amidon (67-903 5 TD), who has caught nearly 50% of Rettig's completions.While the Eagles plan to run Williams as much as possible, other receivers may have to step up if BC needs to face some 3rd and long situations. Denker is a much more efficient passer with a heavy dose of the run game. Boston College needs to do a good job of containing Carey and limiting breakaway runs. Arizona's pass defense ranks low by raw yardage due to the number of above average passing teams in the league.

Marquis Flowers led Arizona with 86 tackles this season. Fellow starting linebackers Jake Fischer and Scooby Wright maintained similarly high numbers. Fischer had 85 tackles while true freshman Wright notched 78, which included 9.5 for a loss. The Wildcats, almost notoriously, have made it a habit in falling behind before finally waking up and getting after an opponent on both sides of the football. In fact, in all five of Arizona’s losses this season, the Wildcats trailed after the first quarter. Expect both Arizona and BC to run the football, effectively. The key, though, will be which team can surprise the other through the air. BC will work the play action hard and if they’re getting over the top of Arizona’s secondary it could be enough to keep the Wildcat defense guessing all game. Arizona, on the other hand, will continue to run its spread read option that moves Denker out of the pocket and positions him to make plays with his feet or arm.

The pick: Arizona -6.5 (bought half, 2 gyros)
totals lean: over 56.5


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jimmythegreek Posts:10722 Followers:376
12/31/2013 12:53 AM

Sun Bowl
Virginia Tech vs. (17) UCLA:
17th ranked UCLA (9-3) with a win will win 10 games for the first time in 8 years when they finished 16th in 2005 with a 10-2 record. Virginia Tech (8-4) and head coach Frank Beamer will present a challenge donning one of the best overall defenses in the country. Jim Mora will try to lead the Bruins to their first postseason win since 2009 against the Hokies in the Sun Bowl. UCLA sports one of their more accurate and successful QB's in the nation with Brett Hundley.

Hundley (232/342 2845 22 TD 9 INT) is highly regarded as one of the more efficient prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft. However there's a good chance the redshirt sophomore will return for his junior season as long as Mora is still at the helm next season. Hundley is one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in college football, but has struggled with his downfield accuracy and footwork are operating in a congested pocket.He certainly has the personnel in a balanced receiving core led by Shaquelle Evans (43-617 8 TD) is Hundley's top target and possesses blazing speed when thrown to in order to improve field position.Devin Fuller (42-464 4 TD) was seldom used over the last few games but has the ability to make an impact with dependable hands in the UCLA receiving core. Hundley (150-587 3.9 9 TD) is also extremely dangerous with his feet when the pocket closes and receivers are well covered downfield. Paul Perkins (126-570 4.5 5 TD) is a nice addition to the ground game with the ability to convert short and long third downs while following his blocks efficiently.

The Hokies are led by Logan Thomas (224/391 2861 16 TD 13 INT) who since garnered 2011 ACC honors during his freshmen season has hardly been a shadow of himself ever since. The Hokies’ overall offense was statistically worse than a year ago, but Thomas’s passer efficiency rating and completion percentage both improved. He had not played in a passing scheme based on progression reads and did it with an inexperienced supporting cast around him.Top target Willie Bryn (49-635 2 TD) has slowed down over the past few games due to consistency issues all season surrounding Thomas. Demitri Knowles (43-619 3 TD) can be a deep ball threat with speed and ability to get behind opposing defensive corners in the secondary. For the ground game, Trey Edmunds (166-675 4.1 10 TD) finished up strong over the final 3 games, and could get more touches to keep UCLA's offense off the field given the contrasting styles on both sides.

Virginia Tech can be extremely physical on defense, whether it's winning the battle in the trenches or hard-hitting personnel in the defensive secondary. Tech is expected to get cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Antone Exum back for this game. Those two honestly would change the complexion of this stop unit, which also includes NFL prospects in strong safety Kyshoen Jarrett and defensive tackle Luther Maddy. Defensively, UCLA ranks 37th in the country in scoring defense, allowing 24.1 points per outing and senior LB Anthony Barr (63 Tackles, 10 Sacks) is this unit’s standout. Pac 12 freshman of the year Myles Jack, a LB who burst onto the scene as a RB late in the season with 267 yards and 7 touchdowns, is also likely to make an impact. Va Tech also ranks 9th in the country in scoring defense, allowing 17.4 points per outing and 5th in INTs with 19. Freshman CB Kendall Fuller (19 INTs), ACC defensive rookie of the year looks to have a bright future ahead of him and will almost certainly play on Sundays given his continued success.

There's no telling which version of Virginia Tech shows up in this game. Traditionally, the Hokies have been pretty good in bowl games under Beamer, however this season has been far from traditional by Hokie standards. It's been a season of inconsistency, as the Hokies played Alabama tough, struggled with ECU and Marshall, then beat a surging Georgia Tech team before losing three of their final five games to teams like Duke, Boston College and Maryland. UCLA's offense is just too athletic and sound for VT to consistently stop. While this one may start out close given VT's ability to create plays on defense, Hundley and company pull away in the second half to a convincing victory.


The pick: UCLA -7 (bought half, 2 gyros)
totals lean: over 46.5 (2 gyros)






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jimmythegreek Posts:10722 Followers:376
12/31/2013 01:30 AM

Liberty Bowl
Rice vs. Mississippi St:
Conference USA is surely making a name for itself during the 2013 bowls season. Rice (10-3) used a 4 game winning streak and notched 8 of it's final 9 games to make it to the Liberty Bowl against the Mississippi St Bulldogs (6-6) out of the SEC needing to win their final 2 to become eligible for postseason play. Despite a 3-5 mark in conference play, MSU finds itself back in Memphis for the first time since 2007.

For the Owls, Taylor McHargue (161/309 2261 17 TD 8 INT) threw the ball fairly effective considering he is a dual threat when it comes to QB keepers (151-466 3.1 5 TD). The Rice rushing attack has averaged 240 yards per contest and is led by Charles Ross (201-1252 6.2 14 TD) who gained over 100 yards in 7 of the Owls 13 contests. That included 109 yards on 18 carries (6.1) and 2 TD's in a 41-24 win over Marshall in the C-USA Championship game. McHargue's top target is Jordan Taylor (54-846 8 TD) who feasted on Marshall's swiss cheese defense in the secondary catching 6 passes for 131 yards and a TD. Being that Rice has the weapons in both the running and passing game, controlling the line of scrimmage in a faster than normal operation offense will be essential to their success.

They say it's often better to be lucky than good, and it came down to the final possession in a 17-10 OT Egg Bowl win for Miss Sts to participate in one of the more historical prestigious bowls of the bunch. Tyler Russell (71/109 875 5 TD 3 INT) was supposed to be the star under center this season. However, Dak Prescott (139/239 1657 7 TD 7 INT) is the one who emerged as the more dangerous play-maker giving the Bulldog offense a deeper dimension. Prescott leads the team in rushing (120-751 6.3 11 TD) and has an arm with the ability to make big plays to his receiving core in deep coverage and in the open field. Jameon Lewis (55-703 5 TD) is his top target that can focus on high efficiency receptions in the flat by running modest corner routes and over the middle patterns. What makes MSU so balanced is that they have LaDarius Perkins (124-495 4.2 4 TD) and Josh Robinson (75-414 5.5 3 TD) in the backfield that are able to wear the opposition down making an impact in the ground game.

A glaring weakness however for the Bulldogs is their 3rd down inefficiency. Rice led C_USA in 3rd down conversion defense allowing the opposition to convert at just a 33% rate. MSU is also very limited in special teams and needs to capitalize winning the field position battle. Rice has an offense that can strike quickly but also control tempo holding the edge against the opposition in time of possession. Don't be surprised if this one ends up in an upset simply based solely on conference strength and overall schedule. This Rice team is capable of dominating the run game as evident in the opener against A&M where they had a field day on the Aggies front seven gaining 306 yards.

The pick: Rice +8 (bought half, 2 gyros)
totals lean: over 50



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jimmythegreek Posts:10722 Followers:376
12/31/2013 01:40 PM

Chick Fil-A Bowl
(22) Duke vs. (20) Texas A&M
20th ranked Texas A&M entered the season with sky-high expectations in its sophomore season with the SEC, but an unstable defense combined with lackluster offensive performances derailed the Aggies into an 8-4 (4-4 SEC) conclusion, including two straight road losses to close the year. As for 22nd ranked Duke, the Blue Devils were nowhere near expected to perform as well as they did , however the unheralded squad closed the year with a 10-2 (6-2 ACC) record and Coastal Division title. These two teams face off in the Chick Fil-A Bowl this evening in yet another matchup that features contrasting styles.

All signs point this game as the finale for former Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel (270/391 3732 33 TD 13 INT). Manziel finished 5th in voting this December after closing his redshirt sophomore campaign with forgettable performances against LSU and Missouri, respectively. However statistically he remains an offensive machine thanks to a solid receiving core. Manziel and Mike Evans (65-1332 12 TD) are likely to declare themselves eligible for the 2014 NFL draft. Evans, listed at 6-5, 225, looks the part of a can't-miss dominant downfield receiver with big play ability in man to man coverage averaging better than 20 yards per catch. Derel Walker (45-706 4 TD) is Manziel's second option when opposing defenses double Evans. Malcome Kennedy (55-606 7 TD) hopes to play after suffering an undisclosed injury against LSU. Most of us know how productive Manziel can be in the open field scrambling out of trouble (133-686 5.2 8 TD), however Ben Malena (107-506 4.7 10 TD) must step up to provide a bit of protection for Johnny football. Manziel has despite great balance for his size cannot afford to be gang tackled if he runs out of time in the pocket.

Don't expect Duke to find themselves caught in a shootout with the high octane Aggies. The Blue Devils started the season with Brandon Connette (90/145 1212 13 TD 6 INT) under center but missed the better part of 3 games to be with his family. Connette learned that his mom underwent emergency brain surgery though he has since rejoined his team in Atlanta. Anthony Boone (177/277 1833 10 TD 11 INT) has received the bulk of the playing time in a 2 QB system and head coach David Cutcliffe plans to use the same approach with hopes of throwing A&M's vulnerable secondary off balance. Jamison Crowder (96-1197 7 TD) broke school receiving records all over the place despite not taking many of his receptions to paydirt. Not a great matchup for A&M as they give up better than 460 yards per game on defense which ranks 105th in the nation. Jela Duncan (113-562 5.0 3 TD led Duke in the ground game, however the combination of Connette and Boone have scored 17 TD's calling their own number.

The Blue Devils will find the A&M defense to be much more manageable than the Florida State unit they faced in the ACC Championship Game. While Duke will be able to produce points, they won’t be able to keep up with Manziel and company for four quarters.


The pick: Texas A&M -13 (one gyro)
Totals lean: under 76

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jimmythegreek Posts:10722 Followers:376
12/31/2013 08:16 PM

Heart of Dallas Bowl
UNLV vs. North Texas:
There is a long separation for both teams when looking at the last time they qualified for a bowl game. It will be the first time since 2000 that the UNLV Rebels (7-5) last made it to the postseason. The North Texas Mean Green (8-4) are bowl bound for the first time since 2004. Both teams will meet on New year's Day in the Heart of Dallas Bowl at the Cotton Bowl.

Derek Thompson (230/360 2640 14 TD 13 INT) has a strong accurate arm, but sometimes takes too many chances stalling promising drives or setting up opponents starting field position on the Mean Green side of the field. Darnell Smith (65-716 3 TD) is one of Thompson's top targets but Brelan Chancellor (47-718 4 TD) ranks 17th nationally in all-purpose yards (149 per game) and has scored via reception, kick return and punt return this year. Brandin Byrd (182-1023 5.6 11 TD) enjoyed his best game of the 2013 regular season gaining 251 yards on just 26 carries (9.7) while scoring 3 TD's in a 42-10 rout of Tulsa.

When UNLV converted Caleb Henning (234/364 2522 22 TD 4 INT) from WR to QB after dropping it's first 2 contests to Minnesota and Arizona, results came almost instantaneously winning their next 4. His clear primary target is Devante Davis (77-1194 14 TD) who ended the Rebels campaign with by far his most dominating performance. In a 45-19 trouncing of San Diego St, Davis caught 8 passes for 171 yards and 4 TD's. Tim Cornett (252-1251 5.0 15 TD) is capable of picking up yards on the ground for the Rebels, eclipsing 100 on the ground in 5 games including a season high 220 on 36 carries and 4 scores (6.1) in a 41-21 losing effort to Air Force.

For UNLV to have a chance, they must improve on their red zone efficiency ranking just 102nd in red zone offense, generating points on just 76.9 percent of their opportunities. North Texas puts the clamps on opposing attacks inside the 20-yard line, allowing foes to score on just 60.6 percent of red zone trips, tops in the nation. The Mean Green rank 9th in the country in defense giving up just 18 points per contest while scoring 31. The Rebels average about 31.5 points per game behind the success of Henning and Cornett but yield the same on defense. The Mean Green could only beat themselves by not taking care of the ball. UNLV's high powered offense may struggle in an otherwise down year for the Mountain West.

The pick: North Texas -6 (bought half, 3 gyros)
Totals lean: over 54.5


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jimmythegreek Posts:10722 Followers:376
12/31/2013 09:42 PM

Outback Bowl
(14) LSU at Iowa:
The 14th ranked talent-laden LSU Tigers (9-3) entered the season with a lot of questions on defense, but confident that the four and five-star talent the Tigers have been recruiting would keep them in the national championship conversation. out of the SEC. However 3 conference losses later virtually ended all hopes for contention despite earning a New Year's Day bowl appearance. Iowa (8-4) had 4 and 3 game winning streaks during the course of the regular season including a 5-3 mark in the Big 10.

Zach Mettenberger (192/296 3082 22 TD 8 INT) suffered a season ending torn ACL injury giving way to Anthony Jennings, who completed 4 of 7 passes for 76 yards and a TD in a 31-27 win over Arkansas. The good news is that he'll have Jarvis Landry (75-1172 10 TD) and Odell Beckham Jr. (57-1117 8 TD) in the receiving core. Jeremy Hill (175-1185 6.8 14 TD) ran for 145 yards on 20 carries (7.3) and a score in the win over the Razorbacks. Hill however could have his work cut out for him as the Hawkeyes rank 17th in the country against the run. Iowa has also allowed just 5 TDs on the ground this season, tied with BCS national championship favorite Florida State for first in the country. However, LSU leads the country in third-down conversions at 58.6% (82 of 140), and broke a school record on offense averaging nearly 466 yards per contest.

Jake Rudock (195/324 2281 18 TD 12 INT) has shown maturity in his first year as the Iowa starting QB. He calls successful audibles at the line engineering a smoother offense that has shown increased production to the tune of 390 yards per contest. Kevonte Martin Manley (39-384 4 TD) is his top target leading a well balanced receiving core also featuring TE CJ Fiedorowicz (26-253 6 TD) who has hands like a WR. Mark Weisman (208-937 4.5 7 TD) is a grind it out type RB who denotes Iowa's hard-nosed approach. Rudock (62-223 3.6 5 TD) can also make plays with his feet with his 6-3 205 frame that could turn this battle into a heavyweight type bout at the line of scrimmage.

Iowa is neither flashy or explosive, but they are a tough, gritty team that will stand tall amongst the best of teams. Their star players resemble such mold. Left tackle Brandon Scherff is a mauler that will give trouble to whoever may line up opposite of him. However LSU outmatches Iowa in every aspect, even with a freshman quarterback who has yet to start a game. There is NFL talent up and down the roster for LSU and their depth is just as talented. Expect a valiant effort from the Hawkeyes, but the Tigers are just too experienced, organized and talented on both sides of the ball.

The pick: LSU -7 (bought half, 2 gyros)
Totals lean: over 49

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