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12/22/2011 07:59 PM
NCAAF

Thursday, December 22

Game Score Status Pick Amount

Arizona State - 8:00 PM ET Boise State -14 500

Boise State - Over 65.5 500
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12/22/2011 08:03 PM
NCAAF

Thursday, December 22

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Las Vegas Bowl: What bettors need to know
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Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Boise State Broncos (-14, 66)

MAACO BOWL LAS VEGAS STORYLINES

1. No. 6 Boise State is back in this contest for the second straight year after once again missing out on a BCS bid. Arizona State is lucky to be anywhere after collapsing with four straight losses to end the regular season, which led to the firing of Dennis Erickson, who will coach in the bowl game.

2. Both teams have prolific quarterbacks. Boise State’s Kellen Moore (49-3) is the winningest quarterback in NCAA history and is second on the career touchdowns list with 140. Arizona State’s Brock Osweiler is a gunslinger who passed for 3,641 yards and 24 touchdowns.

3. Boise State’s pass defense ranks 25th nationally at 195.5 yards per game; Arizona State could try the long-ball route that worked well for TCU in its victory over the Broncos when the Horned Frogs had touchdown plays of 75, 74 and 69 yards. The Sun Devils rank 11th in passing offense (310.2), and Osweiler has a big-time target in Gerrell Robinson (64 receptions for 1,156 yards).

4. Boise State is 7-4 in bowl games, including last year’s 26-3 victory over Utah in Las Vegas. Arizona State is 12-11-1 and in its first bowl game since losing to Texas in the 2007 Holiday Bowl.

TV: ESPN

LINE: Boise State opened as low as -12.5 and has grown to as big as a 15-point favorite. The total has dropped from 66.5 to 65.5 at some books.

WEATHER: The sun should be out in Las Vegas, with temperatures in the low 40s. Winds will blow slightly, at 9 mph at Sam Boyd Stadium.

ABOUT BOISE STATE (11-1, 6-1 Mountain West, 4-8 ATS): The Broncos are back in Las Vegas due to the same formula that hurt them in 2010 – a weak schedule and a missed field goal. Boise State went 1-1 against the two tough teams on its schedule (Georgia and TCU) and lost to the Horned Frogs 36-35 when Dan Goodale missed a game-winning 39-yard field goal attempt. A year earlier, it was Kyle Brotzman missing two chip-shot kicks in a loss to Nevada. Moore passed for 3,507 yards and a school-record 41 touchdowns, and receiver Tyler Shoemaker caught a school-best 15 touchdowns. Doug Martin has rushed for 1,370 yards, fourth most in school history.

ABOUT ARIZONA STATE (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12, 3-8-1 ATS): The Sun Devils were cruising toward a berth in the Pac-12 title game when they were 6-2 in late October before the four-game November skid in which they allowed 144 points. The highlight of the season was a 43-22 shellacking of USC. Erickson is 31-30 in five seasons at Arizona State entering his finale. Running back Cameron Marshall (1,038) has 18 rushing touchdowns to tie the school record shared by Woody Green (1972) and Terry Battle (1996). Linebacker Vontaze Burfict (team-high five sacks) has been practicing on the second team after he finished the regular season poorly and reportedly refused to re-enter the season finale against California after being pulled.

TRENDS:

* Sun Devils are 2-5 ATS in their last seven Bowl games.
* Broncos are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 bowl games.
* Under is 5-2 in Sun Devils last seven Bowl games.
* Under is 7-2-1 in Broncos last 10 non-conference games.

PREDICTION: Boise State 45, Arizona State 23 – No telling whether the Sun Devils will be inspired for Erickson’s final game or go through the motions, but Boise State will be looking for a rout in Moore’s final game.


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12/24/2011 01:04 AM
Nevada And Southern Miss On Holiday In Hawaii

If you ever wonder why the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl makes a special place for the hometown University of Hawaii Warriors, check out the crowd at this year’s renewal on Christmas Eve – lots of fans dressed as empty seats.

Of course, that’s usually not a problem when the Warriors are involved, with their spot guaranteed in this bowl as long as they finish bowl-eligible. Unfortunately, for the second time in three seasons, Hawaii isn’t eligible, one of the main reasons coach Greg McMackin was forced to resign under pressure at the end of the disappointing and just-completed 2011 campaign that finished 6-7.

Taking Hawaii’s WAC slot in this annual affair at Aloha Stadium is Nevada, (7-5 straight up, 5-7 against the spread), which makes its third appearance in this bowl since 2005. Like many mainland schools whose fans are not equipped to travel en masse halfway across the Pacific Ocean right around Christmas time, the Wolf Pack had trouble selling tickets to its fan base for this game. Only 10 tickets were reportedly bought by Nevada fans as of early this week (although it should be noted that the Wolf Pack pass list will number close to 700, with family and friends of players and coaches making the trip).

The opponent, Southern Miss (11-2 SU, 9-4 ATS; No. 22 in the Don Best Linemakers Poll), doesn’t figure to be well-supported, either, as not many Golden Eagles backers are expected to trek from Hattiesburg, MS to the islands. Before watching, those handful in attendance and tuning in at home will want to consult the Don Best odds page which notes Southern Miss priced as a 6½-point favorite at the vast majority of Las Vegas wagering outlets as we approach the Saturday, Christmas Eve kickoff at 8:00 p.m. (ET). ESPN will provide TV coverage in the run-up to Santa’s visit a few hours later.

But, like many games unique to each college football postseason, there is a coaching scenario to consider in this year’s Hawaii Bowl. The dynamics of this one in Honolulu, however, are a little bit different; we don't often see coaches who have already taken assignments at new locales sticking around on their old job for the bowl game. Note how schools such as Houston, Toledo and Pitt from this year’s bowl mix are using designated interims to lead their respective teams after their head coaches took jobs elsewhere.

Not so, however, at Southern Miss, where coach Larry Fedora has already taken a new job (at North Carolina) yet is being allowed to coach the Golden Eagles in their bowl game.

Indeed, it has hardly been a calm couple of weeks in Hattiesburg, with Fedora’s pending departure, the announcement of the retirement of longtime AD Richard Giannini, and appointment earlier this week of South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson as the new head coach. There are lots of changes going on in Golden Eagle athletics, that’s for sure.

Although there have not be many pronounced pointspread trends over the years in the various bowl coaching change scenarios, many observers suggest that situations such as the current one in Hattiesburg are hardly a positive. Fedora and much of his staff are undoubtedly distracted by the fast-approaching move to Chapel Hill, and remaining players are left wondering what might become of them in a new regime with a coach arriving from outside the program.

No wonder, then, that most shrewd C-USA insiders do not expect Southern Miss to hit the same crescendo it reached when routing favored host Houston in the conference title game on Dec. 3. And if the Golden Eagles are even partly distracted by recent developments, or the rare trip to Hawaii, they could have their hands full with Nevada.

On the other hand, WAC observers report that Wolf Pack players lobbied extremely hard for the assignment to Honolulu, and not just for another trip to the islands. Word was that upperclassmen, in particular, who vividly recall Nevada's no-show in this bowl two years ago vs. SMU, wanted a chance to make amends . And the Pack is certainly familiar with Aloha Stadium, making its seventh trip to Honolulu in eight seasons, having played the hometown Warriors every-other-year on the islands in conference action, and also appearing in this bowl after the 2005 and 2009 campaigns.

Fundamentally, Nevada coach Chris Ault's "Pistol" offense figures to be loaded with its usual ammo, with electric red-shirt frosh QB Cody Fajardo (71% completions) expected to be 100% after a November ankle injury, and backup (and former starter) senior Tyler Lantrip also likely to be available after suffering a mild concussion in the regular-season finale vs. Idaho. The fleet Fajardo quickly developed into a dangerous playmaker in 2011, also rushing for 680 yards after emerging as a solid successor to the decorated Colin Kaepernick.

He also gained excellent rapport with home run WR Rishard Matthews (91 catches), who has been given the green light for the bowl after his own leg injury in the Idaho finale.

Unlike the Houston spread that USM outscored, the Nevada Pistol is more ground-based; Ault's late-season dismissal of then top rusher Mike Ball is mitigated by the presence of Fajardo (11 rush TDs) and a deep stable of RBs now led by explosive Lampford Mark (104 ypg).

The Pistol will need to be fully loaded to outdistance QB Austin Davis (28 TDP) and the 13th-ranked USM strike force that scored 38 ppg. But in late-season action we couldn’t help but note how the Golden Eagles "D" was getting pushed around by modest attacks such as UCF's and UAB's in November. And if there's a defender who could alter the course of the proceedings in this game, it's non-stop Nevada DT Brett Roy, with 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.

Although the Pack is just 2-4 straight up and 1-5 vs. the line in bowls since Ault returned to the sidelines in 2004, a mild upset in Honolulu would be no surprise.
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12/24/2011 01:09 AM
Missouri Tigers, UNC Tar Heels At Independence Bowl

The Missouri Tigers and the North Carolina Tar Heels will meet in this year’s Independence Bowl Monday night at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Monday night’s game starts at 5:00 p.m. (ET) and will be televised nationally on ESPN. Missouri is currently a 5-point favorite on the Don Best odds screen.

While both the Tigers and the Tar Heels finished with identical 7-5 SU and 6-6 ATS records, they each peaked at different times. North Carolina started the season off 5-1 SU (3-3 ATS) before finishing 2-4 SU (3-3 ATS) down the stretch and Missouri started off 3-4 SU (4-3 ATS) before finishing up 4-1 SU (2-3 ATS). Missouri’s late-season surge included wins over then-ranked Texas A&M and Texas.

Missouri had a fairly strong year considering how tough the Big 12 was this year. The Tigers were tasked with facing Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Baylor on the road and kept each of those losses within 10 points, and their other losses came in an early season road game at Arizona State and at home to Oklahoma State. Missouri was 7-1 SU and 5-3 ATS against teams that finished with less than nine wins in 2011.

The star of the Tigers offense was quarterback James Franklin. The sophomore passed for 2,733 yards with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his first year as the team’s starter, and also rushed for 839 yards and 13 touchdowns on 199 attempts. Along with sophomore running back Henry Josey (who had 1,168 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on just 145 carries), the Tigers had the nation’s 11th best rushing attack averaging 236.3 rushing yards per game.

North Carolina picked up its first bowl win since 2001 last year in a thrilling double-overtime game against Tennessee, and the program would love to take another step in the right direction with another bowl win this year. UNC had a solid season, but didn’t really pick up a signature win along the way; a bowl win over Missouri would certainly give the Tar Heels that.

The Tar Heels had a balanced attack on offense and got strong performances out of their top three performers on offense. Sophomore quarterback Bryn Renner passed for 2,769 yards and 23 touchdowns with 12 interceptions, many of those plays going to senior wide receiver Dwight Jones who had 79 catches for 1,119 yards and 11 touchdowns. Freshman running back Giovanni Bernard held down the running game with 1,222 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 226 carries.

Both teams finished tied at 44th in the nation with 23.5 points per game given up. Missouri’s offensive output was slightly higher at 32.2 points per game to North Carolina’s 28.3.

The total for the Independence Bowl is currently set at 52 ½. Neither team had any telling trends in totals betting this year as both Missouri and North Carolina split 6-6 on the ‘over’ and the ‘under.’

It looks like fairly normal weather conditions for this time of year in Shreveport, with partly cloudy skies and afternoon highs reaching into the mid-50s before cooling back into the 40s as the game progresses.
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12/24/2011 01:11 AM
Louisville, NC State Collide In Charlotte's Belk Bowl

What happened to the Meineke Car Care Bowl? Or the Continental Tire Bowl?

Don’t worry, the game still exists here in Charlotte, but has simply gone through the sponsorship naming parade the past few years. That doesn’t explain why Meineke took its name to the Texas Bowl in Houston this year, but we won’t waste any more time on bowl-naming dynamics.

As usual, there is some college football to be played in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium on Tuesday, December 27. The antagonists in this year’s newly named Belk Bowl are Louisville (7-5 straight up, 8-4 against the spread) and North Carolina State (7-5 SU, 5-6-1 ATS). Kickoff on Tuesday for this battle will be a 8:00 p.m. (ET), with ESPN providing the TV coverage.

A quick consultation with the Don Best odds screen notes that the Wolfpack, from nearby Raleigh (158 miles east),is priced as a narrow 1-1½ point favorite at Las Vegas wagering outlets entering the weekend, with the total between 44½ and 45.

Although we recall Louisville, coached by none other than Lee Corso, participating in the long-ago Pasadena Bowl in December of 1970 against Long Beach State at the Rose Bowl (in a rather entertaining 24-24 draw), modern Cardinals football history really began with the hiring of Howard Schnellenberger in 1985. Schnellenberger needed a few years to make U of L known for something besides Denny Crum’s hoop teams, but by 1990 had the Cards “bowling” for the first time in 20 years, walloping Alabama 34-7 in the Fiesta Bowl behind QB Browning Nagle.

Louisville has been through several coaches since Schnellenberger left after the 1994 season and one more bowl win (that one at the Liberty over Michigan State, 18-7) as the Cards have remained a frequent bowl participant in the past two decades.

Meanwhile, historical mention of NC State in bowls recalls a pair of teams in the 1960s coached by Earle Edwards, including a very good 1967 squad that beat Vince Dooley’s Georgia by a 14-7 count in the Liberty Bowl after rising as high as third in the national rankings in early November that year. The 'Pack would eventually become bowl regulars in the 1970s under none other than Lou Holtz, who parlayed four straight bowl visits into a job with the New York Jets after the 1975 season.

Yes, Holtz coached the Jets for one year in 1976, Joe Namath’s last season in New York, before moving to Arkansas in 1977!

The Cards and Wolfpack are also both making their second postseason visits in a row after each won and covered their bowl games a year ago. For Louisville, it was a 31-28 win over Southern Miss at the Beef O’Brady’s St. Pete Bowl, while NC State dismantled West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl at Orlando, 23-7.

Of course, the 'Pack gained more mention for much of this season due to developments elsewhere, namely Wisconsin, where former QB Russell Wilson was leading the Badgers to the Rose Bowl. Indeed, NC State coach Tom O’Brien came under much fire after demanding Wilson concentrate solely on football and not his baseball career. Wilson understandably balked, and since he had graduated academically, could move wherever would take him for his remaining year of eligibility.

What made matters more uncomfortable for O’Brien was that successor QB Mike Glennon endured some choppy efforts, especially in the first half of the season, and was hardly comparable to the exciting Wilson. Eventually, however, the big, strong-armed right-hander settled down and ended up with some very respectable stats, including 28 TD passes while effectively utilizing multiple receivers.

Like most O’Brien teams, this Wolfpack edition also picked up steam as the season progressed, winning and covering five of its last seven games to get bowl-eligible. Included was the school’s biggest-ever comeback when rallying from a 41-14 deficit in the third quarter of the regular-season finale vs. Maryland before emerging a miraculous 56-41 winner in a game NC State needed to qualify for a bowl thanks to two earlier wins vs. FCS-level opposition.

State’s late-season rally was even more impressive considering the various injuries endured by the defense, especially along the front seven. For this bowl game, the 'Pack is healthier, with seven of its top eight defensive linemen available. Moreover, NC State had a big-play bent on its stop unit with 24 picks, including a nation’s-best 11 by CB David Amerson, this year’s Jack Tatum Award winner.

Likewise, Louisville had to scramble down the stretch to get bowl-eligible, winning five of its last six after a 2-4 start. The Cards entered the season with an unsure QB situation, with pint-sized former backup Will Stein taking the snaps in the first few weeks before a shoulder injury thrust true frosh Teddy Bridgewater, a Miami-area product, into the lineup sooner than expected.

Bridgewater, a candidate for a redshirt year prior to Stein’s injury, immediately flashed his playmaking skills in a mid-September win at Kentucky and eventually smoothed out many of his rough edges. When the dust settled, Bridgewater had completed 66% of his passes and the Cardinal “O” scored 34 points or more in three of its last four games. The Cards’ infantry, however, was sporadic, and Bridgewater remains reluctant to look downfield with his throws.

Defense will likely be key in Charlotte, and second-year Louisville coach Charlie Strong, a longtime defensive coordinator before taking this assignment at the ‘Ville, makes no bones about his intentions. It’s pressure, pressure and more pressure from the Cards stop unit that registered 32 sacks and allowed only 20 ppg in 2011. How well Glennon deals with the aggressive Louisville “D” and how well NCS RBs James Washington and frosh Anthony Creecy provide an infantry diversion will be key to the Pack solving the Cards’ defensive riddle.

There are also a few interesting pointspread trends to note with these teams and coaches. Curiously, Louisville has been a pointspread phenom away from Papa John’s Stadium under Strong, covering all six road games this season and 11 of the last 12 since a year ago.

Meanwhile, NC State’s O’Brien has been the most successful bowl pointspread coach over the past decade, covering eight straight bowls spanning his Boston College and Wolfpack tenures. The patented late-season surges of O’Brien’s, as noted earlier, have also netted a sparkling 26-9 spread mark form the sixth game of the season onward since he arrived in Raleigh from BC for the 2007 campaign.
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12/24/2011 01:13 AM
Texas Longhorns And Cal Bears In Holiday Bowl

Have we seen the college coaching carousel finally stop spinning? Or might there be a few more moves and resultant dominoes to fall?

And could Texas coach Mack Brown still perhaps be in some trouble?

Remote as the possibility seems, we wouldn’t dismiss the idea. More on all of that in a moment.

We’re mentioning ’ol Mack because his Longhorns are going to be in action. The specifics tell us that Texas (7-5 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) will be meeting California (7-5 SU and ATS) in the Holiday Bowl at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium on Wednesday night, with kickoff time at 8:00 p.m. (ET). As usual, ESPN will provide the TV coverage.

A check of the Don Best odds screen notes that the Longhorns are 3-point favorites at the majority of Las Vegas wagering outlets, with a handful of sports books rating Texas a 3½-point choice. The total hovers between 47½-48 points, depending upon the outlet.

There’s also a little bit (though not much) history between these two programs, as well as a colorful history for this bowl game which had its inception in 1978.

As for the Golden Bears and Longhorns, they don’t run into one another too often. Indeed, they haven’t squared off in over 40 years, or since the early days of Darrell Royal’s wishbone era at Texas.

The September 20, 1969 meeting at Berkeley was a nationally-televised affair – a big deal in those days, since ABC’s featured game was the only one on live TV anywhere in the nation most weekends – dominated more by the Longhorn defense than the wishbone, which nonetheless pounded out 311 yards on the ground. Touchdowns in the first half by HB Jim Bertelsen and QB James Street staked the 'Horns to a 14-0 edge at intermission, and Texas would ease to a 17-0 win.

It was only the second national TV appearance for the wishbone, which was introduced midway through the previous 1968 campaign by Texas. The masses first got a look at the ’bone in the January 1, 1969 Cotton Bowl, when Lindsey Nelson described Texas’ 36-13 romp over Tennessee on CBS.

The rematch between Cal and Texas the following September 19, 1970 at Austin was even more lopsided. The 'Horns had replaced Street with Eddie Phillips at QB, but the wishbone was at its most dominating, running roughshod through the Bears while building a 21-0 first-quarter lead on three TD runs by punishing FB Steve Worster. The score ballooned to 49-0 in the second half before Cal got on the board on a TD pass to WR Isaac Curtis, who would eventually star for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The final score that night was 56-15, and no one could blame the Bears for not wanting anything to do with Texas in the 41 years since.

As for the Holiday Bowl, it dates to 1978, when, ironically, the need to feature the winner of the old WAC prompted its creation. WAC champs had been the host team in the Fiesta Bowl from 1971-77, but once Arizona State and Arizona moved to the newly-expanded Pac-10 in ‘78, the WAC sought a new venue for its bowl game. San Diego was the perfect fit, especially since the hometown SDSU Aztecs joined the WAC (replacing the Arizona schools) in ‘78.

The Holiday Bowl featured BYU often in its early years, with some great thrillers along the way. Indeed, BYU was featured in the first seven Holiday Bowls, although the Cougs blew leads when losing the first two to George Welsh’s Navy by a 23-16 count and Lee Corso’s Indiana by a 38-37 scoreline. BYU would finally get its win the following year vs. Eric Dickerson, Craig James and SMU, but it took three TDs in the final 2:33, including a Hail Mary from QB Jim McMahon to TE Clay Brown on the final play to tie the game before Kirk Gunther’s PAT won the battle for the Cougs, 46-45.

Fast-forward 31 years, and we arrive at Wednesday night for Texas-Cal, where we still believe Mack Brown could find himself in some trouble if the 'Horns lose, and look bad doing so. Remember, Brown’s Texas was only 5-7 last year, and at a school where the baseline is 8-9 wins, a second straight subpar campaign could spell big trouble. Brown’s goodwill from the 2005 BCS title is running low, and remember that predecessors such as Fred Akers and David McWilliams had been dismissed for less than Brown’s mark the past two years. Many southwest observers believe the game Brown really needed to be safe was the Texas A&M clash on Thanksgiving, won (barely) by the Longhorns on a last-second field goal, 27-25.

Still a loss to Cal puts Texas at 7-6, on the heels of a 5-7 mark. If nothing else, Brown will be squarely on the hot seat next fall.

Of these two, the Bears were certainly playing better down the stretch, covering their last four games, losing straight up only to highly-ranked Stanford in the process as Jeff Tedford’s team became bowl-eligible after it, too, missed the postseason a year ago.

Cal finally found some traction when Buffalo transfer QB Zach Maynard began to play with more consistency in the later stages of the season. The lefty was wildly erratic the first half of the campaign but began to eliminate mistakes by November, tossing just one pick in those last four games. Maynard’s half-brother Keenan Allen was a preferred receiving target, with a whopping 89 receptions, while Marvin Jones caught another 55.

Another key for the Bears down the stretch was the emergence of RB C.J. Anderson as a physical complement to undersized slasher Isi Sofele, who gained 1266 yards on the ground. Cal’s defense was also rarely overrun this season (only in the second half of an early October loss at Oregon), mostly keeping opposing rush games in check, allowing only 3.8 ypc, and generating 32 sacks. The strength of the stop unit’s 3-4 alignment is an active LB quartet featuring redshirt frosh David Wilkerson and 6-foot-6 true frosh Chris McCain.

As for the 'Horns, Brown was hoping to upgrade the offense by importing offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin from Boise State, though results were mixed. A re-emphasis of the ground game seemed to be paying dividends the first month of the season, but inconsistent QB work eventually proved problematic. Original starter Garrett Gilbert was so ineffective that he was pulled in September and eventually decided to transfer, leaving the offense to soph Case McCoy (Cleveland Browns’ QB Colt McCoy’s younger brother) and David Ash, one of many true freshmen who became key contributors as the season progressed.

The loss of explosive HB Fozzy Whittaker to a knee injury in early November was another blow to an offense that also dealt with absences of breakout freshmen such as RB Malcolm Brown and WR Jaxon Shipley (brother of Bengals WR Jordan). All of the youth, injuries and lineup juggling created a series of uneven performances as the Longhorns dropped five of their last eight.

Of more concern to Brown was a defense that often leaked (allowing 55 to Oklahoma and 48 to Baylor) despite the presence of several former blue-chip recruits. Which is another reason why some believe Brown isn’t out of the woods if the stop unit should collapse again vs. the Bears.

Note that Brown’s Texas is 7-3 straight up in its last 10 bowls, but only 3-7 vs. the number in those games (2-6 the last eight as a bowl favorite). Meanwhile, Tedford is 5-2 straight up in bowl games with the Bears since winning his first postseason try over Virginia Tech, 52-49, in the 2003 Insight Bowl.
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12/24/2011 01:21 AM
Big 10 Bowls - Part I

December 22, 2011

Ten of the 12 Big Ten teams are headed to a bowl game this season, including a pair of squads heading to BCS bowls. Apparently, Vegas oddsmakers don't like the Big Ten's chances as seven of the 10 squads are underdogs. Since 2009, the Big Ten is 8-9 straight up and 10-6-1 against the spread in bowl games. In BCS bowls in that span, the Big Ten is 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS.

Here's a look at part I of a two-part series previewing the Big Ten Bowl games from Dec. 27 through Dec. 31.

Little Caesar's Bowl from Detroit
Matchup: Purdue Boilermakers (-2.5) vs. Western Michigan Broncos
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 27
TV/Time: (ESPN, 4:30 p.m. ET)

Purdue won its final game of the season at Indiana to secure its first bowl game since 2007. Western Michigan is in its third bowl game in the last five season's thanks largely to the strength of its high-octane offense. Western Michigan is no stranger to the Big Ten, having played Michigan and Illinois this season (lost to both).

The Broncos offense ranked 22nd nationally in total offense averaging 456 yards per game, and 18th in scoring offense averaging 35.6 points per game (scored 44+ points on five different occasions). QB Carder threw for 3,434 yards (67%) with 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season. WR White was on the receiving end of 48% of those yards and had 16 touchdowns (leads the nation in receiving). Carder missed the season finale against Akron with a sore shoulder but is expected to start in the bowl game.

Purdue's top two rushers were both injured in the Boilers' last game. Leading rusher Ralph Bolden suffered a knee injury and is not expected to play in the bowl game and second leading rusher (and leader in touchdowns) Akeem Shavers suffered a concussion and is questionable for the bowl game. It might not matter who the Boilers send out at RB, as Western Michigan ranks 100th in total defense and 107th against the run.

As you might expect for an inconsistent 6-6 team, Purdue doesn't stand out in many areas, but the Boilers did just enough to advance to their first bowl game since 2007. The Boilermakers never once won two games in a row and had only one two-game losing streak. Purdue will have to shore up its defense after it allowed 35 points per game over the final five weeks.

Something to consider: Western Michigan has played nine games against Big Ten squads over the last five seasons. The Broncos 2-8 SU and 3-5 ATS (loss against Michigan earlier this season wasn't counted ATS as it was cancelled early due to lightning).

Insight Bowl from Tempe
Matchup: Iowa Hawkeyes (+14) vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Date: Friday, Dec. 30
TV/Time: (ESPN, 10:00 p.m. ET)

Iowa is 6-3 in bowls during Kirk Ferentz's tenure as coach, including victories in each of the past three years (2010 Insight, 2010 Orange, 2009 Outback). Extending the win streak will be a tough task against Oklahoma, the preseason No. 1 team. Oklahoma dealt with a ton of injuries and both teams struggled down the stretch, each dropping two of the final three games.

Iowa has a strong three-headed attack on offense with QB Vandenberg (23 pass TD), RB Coker (1,384 rush yards, 15 TD), and WR McNutt (1,269 receiving yards, 12 TD). It was quite unpredictable, however, as it scored 41+ four times but was held to 7 or fewer twice. The defense was also quite unreliable, allowing 388 yards per game and 23 points per game (worse averages that Iowa has seen in over six years).

Oklahoma averages over 532 yards per game and 40 points per game, but this offense is much less dangerous without WR Broyles (1,157 yards, 10 TD before injury) and RB Whaley (627 rush yards, 9 TD before injury) out of the lineup. The offense averaged just 29 points per game sine their injuries.

The big question is: how motivated is Oklahoma to be here? They started the season ranked #1 in the country before an inexplicable loss to Texas Tech at home as a four touchdown favorite. The Sooners had another shot to get back in the title hunt before losing to Baylor (had been 20-0 against the Bears). Then to top off the season, the Sooners lost by 34 points to bitter in-state rival Oklahoma State.

Something to consider: Iowa is 7-1 ATS its last eight games as a double digit underdog and 4-0 its last four bowl games. Oklahoma is 19-7 ATS following a loss but just 1-4 ATS the last five bowl games.

Meineke Car Care Texas Bowl from Houston
Matchup: Northwestern Wildcats (+10) vs. Texas A&M Aggies
Date: Saturday, Dec. 31
TV/Time: (ESPN, 12:00 p.m.)

The Aggies are in a state of turmoil. They have no coach and the players are understandably shaken up about it. The team is moving to the SEC next season after a disappointing final season in the Big 12 and a spot in the Meineke Car Care Bowl isn't what the seniors had in mind. Northwestern doesn't have as much talent as the Aggies, but the Wildcats won four of their final five to secure a Bowl bid and are always dangerous as an underdog.

A&M was a preseason top 10 team with as much talent as any in the Big 12 and they ended up 6-6. The Aggies held a 2nd half lead in five of the six losses and a 4th quarter lead in four of the six. The offense can hang with anyone but this defense cannot keep a lead. They were 113th against the pass and 76th in scoring defense. Northwestern's QB Persa led the nation in completion percentage and had 17 TD and 7 INT after missing the first three games with an injury (played the rest of the season injured).

A&M will likely get a bevy of offensive talent back for this game; RB Gray will likely return from injury, as will QB Tannehill with top WR's Swope and Fuller. This Aggie offense ranked 7th nationally in total yards and 11th in scoring. They could have a big day here against this Wildcats defensive unit that surrendered 409 yards per game (80th) and 27 points per game (68th).

Something to consider: Northwestern will play in a bowl for a team-record fourth consecutive year, but the Wildcats haven't won a Bowl game since 1949. This will be a virtual road game for Northwestern in Houston, as Texas A&M fans will pack Reliant Stadium. However, Northwestern is 4-2 ATS on the road this season.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl from San Francisco
Matchup: Illinois Fighting Illini (-2.5) vs. UCLA Bruins
Date: Saturday, Dec. 31
TV/Time: (ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET)

These are the toughest games to gauge, considering that Illinois & UCLA both just fired their head coaches and both had disappointing finishes to the season. Illinois started 6-0 before losing the final six games of the season. UCLA lost three of its final four games by 18+ points and is the only FCS team to make it to a bowl with a sub-.500 record.

Illinois scored just 66 total points in its final six games after averaging nearly 30 in the first half of the season. QB Scheelhaase had just two touchdown passes the final six games after throwing 10 the first six. Offensive coordinator Petrino already departed for a job at Arkansas, leaving Illinois without two of its top three coaches heading into the Bowl game.

Somehow the Bruins came out atop the Pac-12 South and "earned" a place in the conference championship game - mainly because 10-2 USC is serving its two-year postseason ban. UCLA was embarrassed by USC and Oregon the final two weeks of the season, allowing 99 total points and scoring just 31. This defense was terrible in 2011 and it ranks at or near the bottom of every major statistical category.

Illinois' defense has the major edge in this game. This unit ranked 7th in yards allowed and 21st in scoring defense. DE Mercilus leads the nation in sacks (14.5) and forced fumbles (nine, a Big Ten record) and the Illini were 4th nationally against the pass thanks to him. Defensive coordinator Koenning will take over interim head coaching reigns for this game and he should have this defense motivated for one more big performance.

Something to consider: Illinois has failed to cover 15 of its previous 20 non-conference games while the Bruins are just 5-12 ATS its last 17 as an underdog.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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12/24/2011 01:23 AM
Big 10 Bowls - Part II

December 22, 2011

Ten of the 12 Big Ten teams are headed to bowl games this season, including a pair of squads heading to BCS bowls. Apparently, Vegas oddsmakers don't like the Big Ten's chances as seven of the 10 squads are underdogs. Since 2009, the Big Ten is 8-9 straight up and 10-6-1 ATS in bowl games. In BCS bowls in that span, the Big Ten is 3-1 straight up and 4-0 ATS.

TicketCity Bowl from Dallas
Matchup: Penn State Nittany Lions (+5.5) vs. Houston Cougars
Date: Jan. 2
TV/Time: (ESPNU, 12:00 p.m. ET)

Houston had a golden opportunity for an at-large bid to a BCS Bowl; all the Cougars had to do was beat Southern Miss in the Conference USA championship game. Houston responded with its worst performance of the season. The Cougars had season-lows in yards and points and record setting QB Keenum had his lowest rated game of the season. It will be difficult for the Cougars to be motivated for this upcoming game in the TicketCity Bowl. Especially considering that head coach Sumlin's name has been thrown around as the hottest name on the market for open coaching candidacies.

On the other side, Penn State endured arguably the worst mid-season scandal/story in the history of College Football. Longtime head coach Paterno was fired and the Nittany Lions sputtered to a 1-2 finished after starting the season 8-1. Because of the rumors of the scandal, more prestigious bowls passed on PSU and the Lions ended up here. Like Houston, it will be difficult for players to be motivated to play here after aspirations of a bigger Bowl.

QB Keenum shattered virtually every NCAA passing mark - career yards, career touchdown passes and total offense - as he threw for more than 5,000 yards for the third time in his career, along with a career-high 45 touchdown passes. However, this team hasn't faced a defense on caliber with Penn State's. PSU has the 10th best defense in the nation and 5th best scoring defense. The closest comparison would be Southern Miss' 31st ranked defense that held Houston to its lowest point & yard total this season.

Something to consider: Penn State has failed to cover 11 of its last 14 games overall and is just 1-5-1 ATS its last 7 as an underdog. Houston is 7-1 ATS its last 8 games but is 1-4 ATS its last five Bowl games.

Gator Bowl from Jacksonville
Matchup: Ohio State Buckeyes (+2) vs. Florida Gators
Date: Jan. 2
TV/Time: (ESPN2, 1:00 p.m. ET)

The Buckeyes and Gators are used to playing in bigger postseason games, but a matchup between two storied programs like Florida and Ohio State (teamed with the recent news that former Florida coach Urban Meyer will coach next season at OSU) will certainly be motivation enough for both of these squads.

We mentioned above that Meyer will take over coaching the Buckeyes next season, but interim coach Luke Fickell will finish up this season by coaching the Bowl game. The extra month of practice should certainly help this young Buckeyes team, particularly quarterback Braxton Miller. The Big Ten freshman of the year showed strong promise and improvement while starting the final eight games, including his 335-yard, three-touchdown performance in the season-ending loss at Michigan.

The immediate concern for the Buckeyes is finding ways to score against a Gators defense that finished ninth in the nation in total defense. Ohio State had the worst passing attack in the Big Ten while Florida held opponents to fewer than 167 pass yards per game and allowed just 13 passing touchdowns all season.

After starting 4-0, Florida lost six of its next eight games and didn't beat anybody that finished the regular season with a winning record. The 6-6 mark is Florida's worst regular-season finish since 1987. The Gators averaged just 334 yards per game (102nd nationally) and averaged just 13 points per game against FBS opponents during the final eight weeks of the season.

Something to consider: Florida has won four of its last five Bowl games, including last year against Big Ten Penn State and in 2006 against Ohio State in the BCS Championship. Florida has failed to cover eight straight games while OSU has covered four straight as an underdog.

Capital One Bowl from Orlando
Matchup: Nebraska Cornhuskers (+2.5) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
Date: Jan. 2
TV/Time: (ESPN, 1:00 p.m.)

Nebraska's first season in the Big Ten had its ups and downs, but with a win here in the Capital One Bowl the Huskers would get to 10 wins and this season can be seen as a success. South Carolina had two narrow losses this season, a three-point defeat to Auburn and a closer-than-the-score-indicates 16 point loss to Arkansas.

Offensively the Huskers are pretty one-dimensional. QB Martinez and RB Burkhead lead the nation's 13th best rush-offense and have combined for 2,105 rush yards and 24 touchdowns. Martinez has never been a huge threat through the air, throwing for less than 2,000 yards and completing just 56% (12 TD and 7 INT).

South Carolina lost arguably the top RB in the nation when RB Marcus Lattimore injured his knee in week seven against Mississippi State. South Carolina's offense was averaging 36 points per game with Lattimore in the lineup, but sputtered to just 22 points per game the final six games without him. QB Shaw took over when SC dismissed starting QB Garcia midseason. Shaw performed well, completing 66% with 12 TD and 6 INT the final seven games.

Defensively the Gamecocks have the clear advantage in this game. South Carolina has the 4th best defense in the nation, 2nd best pass defense, and 13th best scoring defense. The strength is in the defensive line, where defensive ends Ingram, Clowney, and Taylor have wreaked havoc on opposing QB's all season long (combined 19.5 sacks this season).

Nebraska's Blackshirts has shown the ability to be a shutdown defense (allowed just three points to Big Ten Legends champ Michigan State), but were thoroughly dominated by the Big Ten's two best offenses in Michigan and Wisconsin. Wisconsin put up 48 points while Michigan put up 45 (both 20+ point losses for Nebraska).

Something to consider: South Carolina is 1-4 straight up and against the spread in its last five Bowl games. Nebraska is having an eerily similar finish as last season when it lost three of its final four games, including its Bowl game, after a 9-1 start. This season the Huskers are 2-2 the last four games (1-3 ATS) after a 7-1 start.

Outback Bowl from Tampa
Matchup: Michigan State Spartans (+3.5) vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Date: Jan. 2
TV/Time: (ABC, 1:00 p.m.)

Michigan State will try and rebound after a heartbreaking loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, coming up short of the Rose Bowl for the second consecutive season. Last season Sparty didn't respond well in the Capital One Bowl, losing 49-7 to Alabama. Georgia also lost in its conference championship game, losing 42-10 to #1 LSU. The Bulldogs finished with their first 10-win season since 2008 and look for their fifth Bowl win in the last six years.

Offensively, the Spartans have surged since a three-point performance on October 30th at Nebraska. Since then, Sparty is averaging 38.6 points in the past five games. QB Cousins has completed 67% of his passes with 13 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions over that span. The rush-offense has been surprisingly non-existent for most of the season. MSU ranks just 76th nationally with 143 rush yards per game.

These two squads are very similar defensively. Both squads rank in the top five of total defense and in the top 15 against both the run and the pass. Both squads are off of disappointing efforts as each allowed 42 points in the conference championship losses. Both squads can get after the opposing QB. Georgia was second in the SEC with 34 sacks while MSU led the Big Ten with 41 sacks.

Something to consider: MSU is 0-4 in Bowl games (1-3 ATS) under head coach Dantonio. That includes two double digit losses to SEC schools, including a Capital One Bowl loss to Georgia in 2008. Georgia outgained the Spartans 337-236 and the Bulldogs held Sparty to just 31 rush yards on 34 carries. MSU has the experience factor as QB Cousins and WR's Cunningham and Martin all played in that game.

Rose Bowl from Pasadena
Matchup: Wisconsin Badgers (+5) vs. Oregon Ducks
Date: Jan. 2
TV/Time: (ESPN, 5:00 p.m.)

Wisconsin makes its second consecutive trip to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1998-99 after last year's 21-19 loss to TCU. Oregon will make its second trip to the Rose Bowl in the last three seasons after a 26-17 loss to Ohio State in the 2009 edition. Both will be highly motivated for a different result here.

Both of these offenses couldn't be more different in scheme and style, yet so similar statistically. Oregon runs a fast-paced, no-huddle spread offense to perfection, averaging 515 yards (6th nationally) and 46 points per game (3rd). Wisconsin is more methodical at it uses a mammoth offensive line and an extremely efficient balance of run & pass to chew up the clock and keep the defense guessing. Wisconsin averages 477 yards per game (15th) and 45 points per game (4th).

Wisconsin has the 8th best defense in the nation and 6th best scoring defense. It was a bit exposed against the Spartans in the Big Ten Championship. MSU used its speed and quick hitting plays to rack up 471 yards and 39 points against UW. The Badgers' best defense, in this game, could be its offense. Their offensive line could wear on the smaller Ducks, and the ground game led by Montee Ball - who needs just two touchdowns to set the single-season FBS record - will help keep Oregon's offense off the field.

Something to consider: Oregon coach Chip Kelly has only lost six times in his three years at Oregon. In five of those losses, high-quality teams had extra time to prepare their defenses, including the last two Bowl games. Wisconsin has covered five of its last seven Bowl games - all as an underdog.

Sugar Bowl from New Orleans
Matchup: Michigan Wolverines (-2.5) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Date: Jan. 2
TV/Time: (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.)

Michigan is back in a BCS bowl for the first time in five years. A victory over the Virginia Tech Hokies would give Michigan its first BCS bowl win since the 2000 Orange Bowl. VA Tech will be making its fourth trip to a BCS Bowl in the past five seasons. The Hokies' only win in those appearances came against Cincinnati in the 2008 Orange Bowl (lost to Stanford by 28 points last season).

Michigan's QB Robinson and RB Toussaint have both rushed for over 1,000 yards and have 25 combined rushing touchdowns. Virginia Tech will do its best to stop the run and force Robinson to air it out. D-Rob is only completing 56% of his passes this season and has 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Michigan's offense gets most of the attention, but Michigan's defensive improvement from a year ago is why this squad is where it is now. The Wolves improved from 110th nationally in total defense last season to 18th this year.

Virginia Tech was easily the most surprising selection as a BCS at-large bid. The Hokies lost both of their games against Clemson this season and don't have a "marquee" win on their resume. QB Thomas has 19 touchdowns and 9 interceptions this season while RB Wilson ranks 5th in the country with 1,627 rush yards. Defensively this squad allows just 314 yards per game (13th nationally) and 17.2 points per game (8th nationally), however, much of those stats came against weak opposition.

Something to consider: Michigan is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games against non-conference opponents but just 8-20 ATS against teams with a winning record. VA Tech has failed to cover nine of its last 12 games this season but has covered 14 of its last 20 as an underdog.
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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12/24/2011 01:30 AM
Bowl Trends - Part II

December 22, 2011

Wednesday, Dec. 28


Military Bowl from Washington, D.C.
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

TOLEDO vs. AIR FORCE...Troy Calhoun has won and covered bowl games the past two years after dropping first two at AFA. Although Falcs only 10-15 vs. line overall the past two seasons. Rockets only 2-5 vs. spread outside of MAC (against FBS foes) the past two seasons. Slight to AFA, based on team trends.




Holiday Bowl from San Diego
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

CAL vs. TEXAS...Bears closed with a rush by covering their last four games in 2011. Although Tedford only 2-4 vs. spread last six bowls. Mack Brown has only covered one of last nine games with spread of seven or fewer since early 2010. Mack 3-7 vs. line last ten bowls. Cal, based on team trends.




Thursday, Dec. 29


(Champs Sports Bowl from Orlando
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

NOTRE DAME vs. FLORIDA STATE...Teams haven't met since 2003. Noles have covered last three and six of last seven bowls (1-0 for Jimbo). Note Irish "under" 16-8-1 since Kelly arrived. Brian Kelly 3-1 SU but 1-3 vs. line in bowls. ND has won and covered last two bowls after dropping previous nine SU. FSU and "under," based on team and "totals" trends.




Alamo Bowl from San Antonio
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

WASHINGTON vs. BAYLOR...Baylor 9-4 last 13 as chalk since early 2010. Bears haven't won a bowl game since Grant Teaff's last game in '92 Sun Bowl vs. Arizona, but have only played in two since (LY Texas Bowl and '94 Alamo Bowl)! Sarkisian only 6-8 as dog since 2010 as Huskies lost and failed to cover 3 of last 4 TY. Baylor "over" 10-1 TY and "over" 17-5-1 since 2010. Baylor and "over," based on team and "totals" trends.




Friday, Dec. 30


(Armed Forces Bowl from Dallas
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

TULSA vs. BYU...BYU on another late-season uptick like 2010, won last five and covered last six in 2011. Last year the Cougs covered their last five including bowl romp past UTEP. Bronco Mendenhall has won and covered his last two bowls, now 4-2 vs. spread in postseason. Tulsa did cover last five away from home TY and has covered 10 of last 11 away from Chapman Field/Skelly Stadium. Golden Hurricane has also won and covered last three bowls. BYU, based on late-season uptick.




Yankee Pinstripe Bowl from Bronx, New York)
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

RUTGERS vs. IOWA STATE...Greg Schiano has won his last four bowls games SU and is 4-1 vs. spread in five bowls since 2005 campaign. Rutgers also 4-1 vs. line outside of Big East TY. ISU closed with a rush by covering five of its last six TY, including last five as dog. Slight to Rutgers, based on Schiano bowl marks.




Music City Bowl from Nashville
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

WAKE FOREST vs. MISSISSIPPI STATE...Grobe has won and covered three of four bowls at Wake. Grobe 23-15 as dog since 2005 if you exclude injury-wrecked 2010. MSU covered five of last six TY, and Bulldogs have won and covered last three well-spaced bowls since 2000 (1-0 for Dan Mullen). Wake, based on Grobe's extended dog marks.




Insight Bowl from Tempe
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

IOWA vs. OKLAHOMA...OU cooled off down the stretch, failing to cover last three and five of last six TY. Bob Stoops just 1-4 vs. number last four, and 2-6 vs. points last eight bowl games. Krik Fernetz has covered last four bowls and five of last six as bowl underdog. Ferentz 6-1 vs. spread last seven bowls. Ferentz only 1-3 as dog TY but 13-7 as "short" since 2007. Iowa, based on bowl trends.




Saturday, Dec. 31


Meineke Car Care Texas Bowl from Houston
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

TEXAS A&M vs. NORTHWESTERN...Ags only 2-9 vs. line last 11 TY and have lost and failed to cover last five bowls. Pat Fitzgerald only 4-8 as dog since 2010 but NU 14-7 last 21 as dog away and 3-0 vs. line in bowls for Fitzgerald. Northwestern, based on team and bowl trends.




Sun Bowl from El Paso
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

UTAH vs. GEORGIA TECH...Kyle Whittingham was 5-0 SU and vs. line in bowls (including a win over a Chan Gailey GT team in 2005 Emerald Bowl) prior to LY vs. Boise in Las Vegas Bowl. Whittingham Ute teams 15-10 as dog since he took over in 2005. Utes overall 8-2 SU in bowls since 1999. Paul Johnson 0-3 SU and vs. line in bowls at GT, and Jackets no wins or covers their last six bowls. Tech only 1-6 vs. line last seven in 2011. Utah, based on team and bowl trends.




Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl from San Francisco)
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

UCLA vs. ILLINOIS...Rematch of some memorable past bowls, including Illinois 45-14 win in 1947 Rose Bowl, UCLA 45-9 in 1984 Rose Bowl, and UCLA 6-3 in 1991 Sun Bowl. Bruins also won another 6-3 yawner vs. Illinois in 2003, Karl Dorrell's first win as Bruins coach. Illini lost last six SU in 2011 although they are 7-4 vs. spread last eleven away from Champaign-Urbana since LY. Bruins have covered 5 of last 8 bowls and covered four of last six overall in 2011. UCLA, based on recent Illinois fade.




Liberty Bowl from Memphis
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

CINCINNATI vs. VANDERBILT...Vandy making only second bowl appearance since 1982 (2008 was the other) and Dores were 9-3 vs. line for James Franklin TY, including 4-1 as chalk. Cincy no covers last four bowls and Bearcats just 1-4 against spread last five in 2011. Cincy 4-9 vs. number last 13 away from home as well (4-7 for Butch Jones). Vandy, based on team and bowl trends.




Chick Fil-A Bowl from Atlanta)
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

VIRGINIA vs. AUBURN...Auburn very so-so 4-8 vs. line TY, and Tigers 6-14 vs. spread for Chizik in their last 20 games non-Cam Newton. Note Virginia "under" 8-2-1 in 2011. Cavs covered 4 of 5 bowls for Al Groh but haven't been to postseason since 2007. Slight to Virginia and "under," based on Auburn non-Cam marks and "totals" trends.




Monday, Jan. 2


Ticket City Bowl from Dallas
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

PENN STATE vs. HOUSTON...Nittany Lions just 3-10-1 their last 14 on board and 1-5-1 last seven as dog. Penn State 29-1 last 12 as dog. UH 1-4 vs. line last five bowls but was 10-3 vs. spread in 2011. Houston, based on Penn State negatives.




Outback Bowl from Tampa Bay
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

MICHIGAN STATE vs. GEORGIA...Mark Richt is 4-1 SU and vs. line in last five bowls, with the loss a year ago vs. UCF at Liberty. Dawgs covered 8 of last 11 TY and were 5-0 vs. points their last five with spreads of 10 or fewer. Rematch of 2009 Cap One Bowl (after 2008 season) in which Georgia won and covered, 24-12. Spartans 8-2 vs. line last 10 TY, although Dantonio no wins or covers in last three bowls. Georgia, based on bowl trends.




Capital One Bowl from Orlando)
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

NEBRASKA vs. SOUTH CAROLINA...Bo Pelini 3-1 SU and vs. line in bowls with Huskers, including 2003 Alamo Bowl as interim HC vs. Mich. State after Solich ouster. Spurrier no wins or covers last three years in bowls and just 2-5 vs. spread last 7 away from Williams-Brice Stadium. Slight to Nebraska, based on bowl trends.




Gator Bowl from Jacksonville)
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

FLORIDA vs. OHIO STATE...Gators enter "Gator" on 8-game spread losing streak. Although Florida did win and cover 5 of 6 bowls for Urban Meyer (lone loss after 2007 to Michigan in Lloyd Carr's last game as coach). Buckeyes won and covered last three bowls for Tressel and are 7-2 vs. number last nine bowls since 2002. Slight to OSU, based on recent Florida negatives.




Rose Bowl from Pasadena)
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

WISCONSIN vs. OREGON...Ducks no wins or covers in two bowl games for Chip Kelly. Bielema 3-2 SU and vs. line in bowls. Bielema has covered last four as dog. Bielema 14-5-1 last 20 on board since mid 2010. Ducks surprisingly better on road vs. points (4-1) than at home(2-5-1) this season. Both "over" 9-4 this season, though Wiscy "under" 5-1 last 6 bowls and Ducks "under" last two bowls for Kelly. Wisconsin, based on team trends.




Fiesta Bowl from Glendale)
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

STANFORD vs. OKLAHOMA STATE...Pointspread showdown, Tree 10-2 vs. line TY and 13-2 last 15 on board, OSU 19-6 against points since LY. Cowboys also 11-1 against spread away from Stillwater since LY. Gundy only 1-2 in last three bowls but did rout Arizona LY at Alamo. Tree has covered last seven vs. non-conference opposition. Slight to Stanford, based on team trends.




Tuesday, Jan. 3


Sugar Bowl from New Orleans)
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

MICHIGAN vs. VIRGINIA TECH...Beamer only 4-6 vs. spread last ten bowls and has struggled vs. ranked teams. Beamer is 8-5 as a dog since 2005, but was only 4-9 against number this season. Michigan 5-14 vs. line away from Ann Arbor since 2008 but most of that was Rodriguez' doing, 2-2 in role for Hoke TY. Wolverines 1-3 vs. line last four bowls and 2-6 SU last eight bowls dating to the Lloyd Carr years. Michigan 7-4 vs. spread TY for Hoke, who is 16-8 vs. line last two years at SDSU & Michigan. Slight to Michigan, based on Brady Hoke marks.




Wednesday, Jan. 4


Orange Bowl from Orlando)
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

WEST VIRGINIA vs. CLEMSON...West Virginia no covers last three years in bowls for Stewart. Holgorsen spread marks this year were very middling. But he was 2-1 as dog, and Mountaineers 11-3 getting points since 2005. Dabo had dropped four straight vs. line late in season until ACC title win vs. Beamer, but he's only 4-7 last 11 laying points away from Death Valley. Dabo also just 1-2 SU and vs. line in bowls. WVU, based on team trends.




Friday, Jan. 6


Cotton Bowl from Arlington, Texas
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

KANSAS STATE vs. ARKANSAS...Bill Snyder was 9-2 vs. line in 2011 including 7-1 as dog! Snyder 15-6 as dog since returning to Wildcats in 2009. K-State, however, has failed to cover its last five bowls dating back to the last win at the Jan. 1, 2001 Cotton Bowl vs. Tennessee. Petrino 28-15 last 43 spread decisions at Arkansas but only covered 1 of 5 away from home this season. Arkansas no covers in its last four bowls, either. Kansas State, based on Bill Snyder dog trends.




Saturday, Jan. 7


BBVA Compass Bowl from Birmingham
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

SMU vs. PITTSBURGH...These two once met in a memorable Jan. 1, 1983 Cotton Bowl won by SMU 7-3, Eric Dickerson over Dan Marino in their last college games. Pitt returns to this bowl for a second straight year again with an interim coach. June Jones, however, no covers last six TY for SMU and just 7-15 vs. spread last 22 since mid 2010. June Jones also 1-6 last 7 as dog. Pitt covered its last five this season prior to Todd Graham's departure. Pitt, based on SMU negatives.




Sunday, Jan. 8


GoDaddy.com Bowl from Mobile
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

ARKANSAS STATE vs. NORTHERN ILLINOIS...Ark State 10-2 vs. line TY and 17-7 last two years vs. number. First Red Wolves bowl since losing 2005 New Orleans Bowl (at Lafayette) vs. Southern Miss. NIU had lost and failed to cover in four straight bowls prior to LY's 40-17 romp past Fresno in Boise. Huskies only 5-8 vs. line in 2011. Ark State, based on team trends.




Monday, Jan. 9


BCS Championship from New Orleans
Matchup Skinny Tech Trend

ALABAMA vs. LSU...LSU has won and covered close 3-point decisions the last two meetings including 9-6 OT win Nov. 5 at Tuscaloosa. Les Miles 10-3 vs. line but covered all seven away from Baton Rouge, and has covered last eight away from Tiger Stadium. This series had gone "over" five straight prior to earlier 9-6 scoreline in November. Tigers "over" 12-5-1 last 18 since mid 2010. Saban dropped three of last four vs. line in 2011 and is 4-3 as dog with Bama (hasn't been a dog since 2009 SEC title game vs. Florida). Saban 4-3 vs. line last seven bowls at LSU & Bama. Les Miles 5-1 SU and vs. line in bowls with LSU. LSU, based on team trends.



Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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12/24/2011 01:34 AM
Coaching Changes

December 16, 2011

We’ve seen key players make an impact on point-spreads posted on college football games, but what about the value of a head coach leaving a team just before heading into a bowl game? Of course, it depends on the circumstances whether the coach bailed on the team to take another job or if they were fired.
Then you also have the circumstances like Urban Meyer at Ohio State, where they have a respected coach watching practices from afar, but not officially taking over coaching duties until next season. Luke Fickell, who is the interim head coach will also be part of Meyer’s staff next season. Could this situation turn out better for Ohio State than if Meyer hadn't been named yet for their Gator Bowl matchup with Florida?

“I think the Buckeyes situation is a positive for them because every kid on the team will be practicing extra hard trying to win Urban Meyer’s attention,” said Las Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White, who made the Florida-Ohio State game a PICK when the consensus in Las Vegas is Florida -2.

“I think it’s a great situation for that program, especially with the players knowing that the well liked Fickell, who recruited many of them, will be staying with the team.”

UCLA has a similar situation with the kids knowing Jim Mora Jr. is taking notes while offensive coordinator Mike Johnson leads them into the Fight Hunger Bowl against Illinois. Illinois opened as a 3-point favorite and after dropping all the way down to -1 ½, has settled in at -2 ½.

Illinois has change too with former Toledo head coach Tim Beckman doing the same thing as Meyer and Mora Jr. with defensive coordinator Vic Koenning coaching the Illini against UCLA.

Toledo quickly got rid of the interim title with Matt Campbell and named him head coach moving forward which should give the players some feeling of security that one of their own is staying put. Toledo has been a steady 3-point favorite for their Dec. 28 Military Bowl game against Air Force.

Other circumstances such as Houston, where head coach Kevin Sumlin took the same position at Texas A&M may have a negative effect.

“Sumlin was a well liked coach by the kids and they believed in everything he was preaching,” said White. “And then after the players have all the anxiety of losing their first game of the season, they’re hit with a bombshell that Sumlin is leaving them.

White said Sumlin vacating the spot was worth about 1-point in his line, which he set Houston as a 2-point favorite. Las Vegas sports books currently have Houston as high as a 6-point favorite against Penn State.

“I thought Houston would have trouble with Penn State’s defense beforehand and now it just adds a little more to the overall equation,” says White.

Tony Levine will taking over the head coaching duties and it should be business as usual for the Cougars, but you do have to account for emotion somewhat.

Most head coaches don’t do a lot of coaching during the game, or practices, leaving most of the duties up to the assistant coaches. The head coach’s job is to get his coaches to do the coaching the way he wants and then serve as somewhat of an inspirational piece for the players and getting them to execute out of respect for him and his staff.

It could be argued that the most important piece to the equation is when a team loses their offensive or defensive coordinator, forcing someone else into that play calling role. Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn accepted the head coaching position at Arkansas State but announced that he would be with Auburn for the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve against Virginia. Malzahn will also be with Arkansas State for their Jan. 8 GoDaddy.com Bowl against Northern Illinois. Despite wearing two different hats, Malzahn said he didn't feel right about leaving the Auburn kids.

"I feel like that's the right thing to do (coaching for Auburn). ... I really have not gotten any farther as to what my role will be with the bowl game in Mobile (Arkansas State)," Malzahn said Wednesday. "I'll kind of take a couple of days to sit back (and evaluate his plans). But I will be on the sidelines as far as (being) there watching and I will be with the whole bowl experience there in Mobile.'

The move either way hasn’t affected the Auburn line as it holds steady at -1 ½. The Arkansas State line hasn't been affected either, staying at consensus -1 over Northern Illinois.

A game that saw immediate action with a coaching change done mid-stream after the bowl lines had been up for a while was Pittsburgh head coach Todd Graham announcing Wednesday that he had accepted the position at Arizona State. This was one of the all-time great bailouts on a team as he told his kids the news through a text message.

“I Immediately moved the game from (Pittsburgh) -5 to -3 ½,” said Las Vegas Hilton Super Book assistant manager Jeff Sherman. “I saw a lot of over-reaction from a few sports books, but 3 ½ looks to be the right number.”

Pittsburgh plays SMU in the Compass Bowl in Birmingham on Jan. 7.

Ultimately, it appears Houston and Pittsburgh have the biggest issues coming into the bowls due to the coaching situation while others may be better off because of more focus in practice to win the new coach‘s approval.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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