SPOOKY EXPRESS BOWLING FOR DOLLARS SELECTION AND ANALYSIS THREAD
New Mexico Bowl
Temple vs. Wyoming
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2:00 pm
Here’s The Deal … You might not cancel your holiday shopping plans for the New Mexico Bowl, but after the lack of college football games since the end of the regular season, this one should be worth the time and energy. Temple has unofficially become the best non-BCS team over the last three years that hasn’t won anything.
On the plus side, the three-game winning streak to close out the year showed the team could rally and was enough to earn a second bowl bid in three seasons. With a pounding rushing offense, one of the nation’s most productive defensive fronts, and a scoring defense that allows fewer than 14 points per game, this is a good, sound team that pushed Penn State in a 14-10 loss and with three of the four losses coming by four points or fewer.
As stunning as Temple’s turnaround was a few years ago, Wyoming’s 2010 season was almost as impressive.
The Cowboys seemingly had nothing coming off a 3-9 season. It’s top quarterback, Austyn Carta-Samuels, took off, there was massive turnover on both sides of the ball, and outside of the 44-0 aberration over Colorado State to close things out, there wasn’t anything to suggest that this would be the program’s best season since going 8-3 in 1998.
Yes, beating Weber State, Texas State, Bowling Green, UNLV, New Mexico, and Colorado State was enough to form a nice base of wins over cupcakes, but the Cowboys won on the road at San Diego State and Air Force and weren’t awful in losses to TCU, Nebraska, and Boise State. There was a meltdown against Utah State, but for the most part this was a fun and exciting team that rallied behind Freshman All-America quarterback Brett Smith and managed to win three of its final four games to finish third in the Mountain West.
If the Cowboys and Owls each play up to their capabilities, this should be a very good, very competitive kickoff to the bowl season.
The running game for Temple is among the most productive in college football, and the Wyoming defense is one of the worst in the country against the run. The Cowboy defensive front is big at all four spots, and the linebacking is active and is great at getting around the ball, but it isn’t the fastest group around and it’s had a nightmare of a time with any quarterback that can run. The only teams that didn’t run well on Wyoming are the ones that couldn’t run on anyone.
The Owl offensive line has been devastating and the 1-2 rushing punch of Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown should be able to go ballistic. Wyoming doesn’t have the defensive front to be able to hold the Owls to under 250.
Defensively, helped by a strong pass rush that led the MAC with 32 sacks and is able to generate consistent pressure. Wyoming’s line has been good in pass protection, but the passing game isn’t explosive or particularly efficient. Temple’s secondary is fast and active, leading the MAC in yards allowed and second behind Kent State in pass efficiency defense. To win, Wyoming will have to run the ball, but Temple has the MAC’s best run defense.
Wyoming does not make many mistakes. Temple is a tight team when it comes to penalties and turnovers, but Wyoming is even better. Temple doesn’t have any passing game whatsoever, throwing for fewer than 100 yards in four of the final six games of the season. The air attack might be effective when it has to be, and it doesn’t turn the ball over, there’s absolutely nothing for the Cowboy secondary to fear. Partly due to the mobility of Brett Smith the Wyoming quarterback, the UW offensive line has been terrific in pass protection allowing just 11 sacks on the year. Even though he’s a freshman, Smith doesn’t make poor decisions and he’s great at getting the ball out of his hands in a hurry. He should be able to neutralize the Temple pass rush with quick hitters and taking off when needed.
Temple will run for 300 yards and will control the game and the clock, will keep the chains moving, the offense will have enough balance to get by, and the defense will come up with the stops it has to have. Spooky is looking at Temple to win this game by a bit more than 2 touchdowns. I never like to go too crazy early in bowl season and it always takes a bit of time to determine what to expect. Will come back with any total opinion as we get closer to the game but right now we are starting to play on Temple minus the points.
TEMPLE/WYOMING OVER 50 POINTS (OPINION)
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