jimmythegreek Posts:11456 Followers:384
12/27/2012 12:26 AM

Holiday Bowl:
Baylor vs. UCLA
UCLA made strides in its first season under coach Jim Mora but again faltered down the stretch. Baylor showed it could win without Robert Griffin III, though it took until late in the season to prove the point. After coming up short for the second straight year in their bid to reach the Rose Bowl, the 17th-ranked Bruins look to avoid their third straight 0-3 finish when they take on the surging Bears in the Holiday Bowl at San Diego on Thursday night.

Mora replaced Rick Neuheisel, who went 21-29 in four seasons and lost 49-31 to Oregon in the inaugural Pac-12 title game last December. UCLA went 5-4 in the Pac-12 South last year but was declared the division champion because Southern California was ineligible for the postseason. A 20-14 loss to Illinois in the Fight Hunger Bowl capped a 6-8 season in 2011, and the Bruins turned to Mora - a former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks head coach - to get the program back on track. Mora led UCLA to a 9-2 start, including wins over ranked foes Nebraska, Arizona and USC, but the Bruins dropped their last two games - both to Stanford.

UCLA lost 35-17 on Nov. 24 and the Cardinal came away with a 27-24 win in the conference championship game the following week as Bruins freshman Ka'imi Fairbairn missed a 52-yard field-goal attempt in the closing minute. Still, a 9-4 season is a big improvement for UCLA, which will be trying to earn 10 wins for the first time since 2005.

The Bruins are led by senior running back Johnathan Franklin, a Doak Walker Award finalist, and redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley. Franklin, the school's all-time leading rusher with 4,369 yards, set career bests this season with 1,700 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns, 32 receptions, 319 receiving yards and a pair of TD catches. Hundley completed 68.2 percent of his passes for 3,411 yards, and his 26 touchdowns were second most in a season in school history. He also finished second on the team with 365 rushing yards and nine scores on the ground. Defensively, junior linebacker Anthony Barr led the nation with 13 1/2 sacks and sophomore linebacker Eric Kendricks was fifth in the FBS with 137 tackles.

Barr, Kendricks and the rest of UCLA's defense will certainly have their hands full with Baylor (7-5). The Bears' offense ranks first nationally with 578.8 yards per game and fifth with an average of 44.1 points. Senior quarterback Nick Florence is the national leader in total offense with 387.7 yards per game, and senior wideout and Biletnikoff Award finalist Terrance Williams topped the nation with a school-record 1,764 receiving yards. Those impressive numbers came minus Griffin, who won the Heisman Trophy last season before being drafted No. 2 overall by the Washington Redskins. Florence has filled in nicely, but he threw seven of his 13 interceptions during a four-game losing streak Sept. 29-Oct. 27 that seemed like it would keep Baylor out of a bowl game.

The Bears, though, finished on a three-game win streak which began with a 52-24 victory Nov. 17 over Kansas State, which came in ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings. Baylor concluded the season with a 41-34 win over then-No. 24 Oklahoma State on Dec. 1. Baylor has won at least seven games in three straight years for the first time since 1949-51, and the Bears are playing in a bowl game in three straight seasons for the first time. The Bears won 67-56 over Washington in last year's Alamo Bowl, the highest-scoring regulation bowl game in history.

If you prefer old fashioned defensive football, this probably won’t be the bowl game for you. Baylor has one of the worst defenses in the country and UCLA isn’t much better. Both offenses are explosive. This could be one of those games that which ever team has the ball last will win. Slight lean to the over 81.5.


The pick: UCLA -2.5 (bought half)
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jimmythegreek Posts:11456 Followers:384
12/28/2012 01:00 AM

Independence Bowl:
Ohio vs. Louisiana Monroe
The Warhawks and the Bobcats, teams that pulled off big upsets in 2012, meet for the first time Friday in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. Louisiana-Monroe (8-4) opened the season with a stunning 34-31 win over then-No. 8 Arkansas on Sept. 8. Though the Razorbacks proved to be vastly overrated, the Warhawks went on to show they could indeed compete with bigger programs, losing to Auburn and Baylor by a total of eight points in the following weeks. Louisiana-Monroe then went 7-2 to close the regular season and earn its first bowl appearance since joining what would become the FBS in 1994.

Despite missing almost two full games due to injury, Kolton Browning has thrown for 2,830 yards and 27 touchdowns with seven interceptions. The junior has also rushed for a team-best 441 yards and seven TDs. Browning suffered a foot injury against Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 3 and missed the next contest at Arkansas State. The Warhawks dropped both contests - the only losses in their final nine games. Junior Brent Leonard has emerged as Browning's top target, ranking seventh in the nation with 97 catches for 1,042 yards and 10 touchdowns. Louisiana-Monroe, averaging 35.5 points, will try to take advantage of an Ohio defense that allowed 80 points and 965 yards in the last two games.

Like Louisiana-Monroe, Ohio (8-4) opened the season with a road upset, knocking off Penn State 24-14 on Sept. 1. The Bobcats won their first seven games for their best start since 1968 and became bowl eligible for the fifth time in six years. Ohio climbed as high as 23rd in the Top 25, but it was outscored 106-47 during a three-game losing streak to end the regular season. The Bobcats will try to close 2012 with a victory behind second-team all-MAC pick Beau Blankenship, 10th in the nation with 125.0 rushing yards per game. The junior has run for a school-record 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also has 177 receiving yards and is 15th nationally with 139.8 total yards per game.

Junior Tyler Tettleton directs the passing attack, having completed 62.0 percent of his attempts for 2,513 yards, 16 touchdowns and three interceptions. Tettleton will have to continue to make smart decisions against Louisiana-Monroe, which has 15 interceptions on the year. Ohio has scored 15.7 points per game during its skid after averaging 35.6 in its first nine contests.

Both of these teams come into this game with eight wins and an impressive non-conference win on their resumes. These appear to be teams headed in opposite directions with ULM is looking for the most wins the program has had in nearly 20 years, while Ohio is wondering what might have been after starting the season 7-0 and earning a top 25 ranking. Momentum looks to be on the side of the Warhawks, who will ride Browning’s arm and the energy generated from playing in their home state to finish a memorable and history-making season on a winning note. Slight lean as well to under 60.5

The pick: Louisiana Monroe -6.5 (bought half)
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jimmythegreek Posts:11456 Followers:384
12/28/2012 01:16 AM

Russell Athletic Bowl:
Virginia Tech vs. Rutgers
Rutgers (9-3) shared the Big East crown but didn't receive the league's automatic BCS bid -- the school has never earned one -- because it blew a chance to win the outright title in the regular-season finale. Despite leading 14-3 late in the third quarter, the Scarlet Knights would lose 20-17 to Louisville on Nov. 29. That gave the Big East's BCS spot to the Cardinals, who will play fourth-ranked Florida in the Sugar Bowl. A big-time bowl against a perennial power would have brought more money, recognition and possible recruiting help to Rutgers, not to mention the program's first crack at a Top 25 opponent in postseason play. The Scarlet Knights are in their seventh bowl game in eight years and have not lost one since 2005, a year before their breakout 11-2 season under former coach Greg Schiano. That's the last time they reached double digits in wins -- the only other one came in 1976.

Coach Frank Beamer got his alma mater back into bowl season, but barely. Virginia Tech (6-6) had to win its final two games to become eligible. The Hokies are the sixth program in history to reach a bowl in 20 consecutive seasons, currently the country's third-longest run behind Florida State (30) and Florida (21). Beamer's teams lost in BCS games the last two years after claiming the ACC's bid, but this one finished fourth in the Coastal Division after entering the season as the favorite. Virginia Tech, ranked as high as 13th in mid-September, will finish with its worst record since going 2-8-1 in 1992.

While the Hokies closed with back-to-back wins, Rutgers lost two straight as the ground game stumbled -- 104 yards on 41 carries. All-Big East second-teamer Jawan Jamison ran for 64 yards in those games after gaining 990 through the first 10. Sophomore Gary Nova completed less than 50 percent of his passes in each of those two defeats -- that hadn't happened in a game all season. His 2,566 yards passing were the most by a Rutgers quarterback since 2008, but 13 of his 15 interceptions came during the team's 2/3 finish.

While Jamison and Nova had their moments, Rutgers' star is senior linebacker Khaseem Greene. He was named Big East defensive player of the year for the second straight time after recording team highs of 125 tackles, 5 1/2 sacks and six forced fumbles. Greene led a Rutgers defense which ranked sixth nationally in points allowed at 14.3 per game. That unit will focus on Logan Thomas, who threw for 2,783 yards with 17 touchdowns and ran for nine scores. Virginia Tech was 0-5 this season when he had more than one interception. Like the ground game, defense keyed Virginia Tech's rise to prominence but has been a problem this season. If they don't shut out the Scarlet Knights, the Hokies will allow their most points since 2003.

Thomas has had to do everything for Virginia Tech's offense this season. If freshman tailback J.C. Coleman can't gain some yards to lighten Thomas' workload, it will be a long afternoon for the Hokies offense. Meanwhile, the Hokies' defense will have to slow Jamison. This is the same unit that gave up 157 yards to Pittsburgh's Rushel Shell and 262 yards to North Carolina's Giovani Bernard. If they bottle up Jamison, then the Hokies have a better chance to force Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova -- who threw five interceptions in the Scarlet Knights' final three games -- into making a mistake. If Jamison is picking up consistent yardage, Nova should be able to take advantage of one-on-one matchups on the outside. Slight lean to the over 41.

The pick: Rutgers +3 (bought half)
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jimmythegreek Posts:11456 Followers:384
12/28/2012 01:28 AM

Meineke Car Care Texas Bowl:
Minnesota vs. Texas Tech
Former Texas Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury will take over the program as one of the youngest head coaches in the FBS, but first interim coach Chris Thomsen will try to lead the Red Raiders past Minnesota on Friday night in the Meineke Car Care Bowl at Houston's Reliant Stadium. Tommy Tuberville never quite clicked in his three seasons in Lubbock, but it was still a shock when the former Auburn coach suddenly announced Dec. 8 that he was leaving Texas Tech (7-5) to go to Cincinnati.

Athletics director Kirby Hocutt named Thomsen, who had been in charge of the offensive line, as the team's interim coach two days later, and two days after that he found a new coach. Hocutt announced the decision to bring Kingsbury back to the program he starred for from 1999-2002 with a video message on Twitter. Thomsen will still coach the bowl game, and he'll have another former Red Raider quarterback - Sonny Cumbie - call plays against the Gophers. But Texas Tech fans should be intrigued with Kingsbury's arrival for one big reason - he spent 2012 as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Texas A&M, where he tutored Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

Minnesota (6-6) is still hoping Jerry Kill is the best fit for a program that's looking for its first bowl win since after the 2004 season, and it's at least taken a step in the right direction by making its first postseason appearance since 2009 after going 3-9 in Kill's first season. Still, the Gophers went 2-6 in the Big Ten after opening with four non-conference wins. Only in a 44-28 victory over Purdue on Oct. 27 did Minnesota score more than 17 points in a conference game. The personnel and coaching staffs of the Red Raiders and Golden Gophers have certainly changed since these teams met in the 2006 Insight Bowl, but their records are the same and the Meineke Car Care Bowl has to be hoping they get a show as good as the one those teams put on in Tempe.

The Golden Gophers held a 38-7 third-quarter lead before allowing the Red Raiders to rally and win 44-41 in overtime, surpassing Marshall's 30-point comeback in the 2001 GMAC Bowl as the biggest in Division I history. Texas Tech's offense, as usual, is among the nation's best. The Red Raiders are second in the nation in passing yards (361.9 per game), 12th in total yards (501.4) and 16th in points (37.8) led by senior quarterback Seth Doege, who finished second in the FBS with 38 touchdowns.

Perhaps the toughest thing to maintain without Tuberville will be the success of the defense, which made major strides in 2012. Texas Tech was tied for 114th in the nation in total defense (485.6 yards) in 2011 but was 39th (367.3) - and second in the Big 12 - this season. Texas Tech might not have to worry about scoring enough to keep up with the Golden Gophers. Minnesota's offense is 114th in the nation, averaging 317.5 total yards, and it'll no longer have its top target in the passing game.

Junior receiver A.J. Barker, who had a team-high 577 yards and seven TDs, abruptly quit the team in November amid allegations of mistreatment by Kill. Barker isn't the only one who won't be back. Sophomore quarterback Max Shortell, who lost his job to freshman Philip Nelson on Oct. 20, will also head elsewhere. Those are minor issues in the grand scheme of things for Kill, who experienced his third game-day seizure in his first two seasons at Minnesota in a 26-10 loss to Michigan State on Nov. 24. Kill walked out of the stadium and has recovered after missing the second half of that game, and he intends to be on the sidelines in Houston.

The Red Raiders offense should propel them to a convincing victory here over an overmatched Minnesota team. Both teams are 4-6 against the spread in their last 10 games but Minnesota has only been able to cover twice in their eight games as underdog while Texas Tech is 4-2 as the favorite. In addition, in the last four Meineke Car Care Bowls the margin of victory was 20.3 points per game. Look for a Red Raider rout in their home state bowl as they win undercoach Thomsen with a strong lean to the over 55.5.


The pick: Texas Tech -13 (bought half)
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jimmythegreek Posts:11456 Followers:384
12/29/2012 12:29 AM

YTD 7-6-1 .538
+4 gyros


7-7 on totals leans.

Have ran into a 2-6-1 snag since hitting my first 5 bowl sides. Let's try to get some revenge this weekend and back on the winning track!

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jimmythegreek Posts:11456 Followers:384
12/29/2012 12:46 AM

Armed Forces Bowl:
Rice vs. Air Force
While a 6-6 record isn't anything to get overly excited about, Rice has every reason to feel good about itself heading into its first bowl game since 2008. Ending that drought seemed very unlikely after the Owls lost five of their first six games, but they rebounded to win five of six, including their final four contests. They became bowl eligible with a 33-24 victory at UTEP on Nov. 24. Momentum will clearly be on Rice's side when it faces Air Force on Saturday at TCU's completely redone stadium.

Air Force, meanwhile, enters its sixth straight bowl wondering what could've been. It won five of its first eight games - including a 4-1 start in Mountain West play - before dropping three of its last four, including a regular season-ending 48-15 loss at Fresno State. The Falcons looked like a tired team down the stretch while playing 10 consecutive weeks, but having more than a month off should have them refreshed for the postseason.

Although the Owls struggled early this season, it's not surprising that the second-youngest team in the FBS showed improvement in the latter half. Three of their six losses were by four points or fewer, including a double-overtime defeat to Marshall and a 28-24 loss at Tulsa during which they held four different leads. Rice's balanced offense keyed the four-game streak, averaging 40.5 points and 432.0 yards. Junior quarterback Taylor McHargue completed 64 of 98 passes for 843 yards with three touchdowns and one interception during that span. He's the main piece in the second-most productive offense in school history. The Owls' 381 points and 5,053 yards of total offense - 2,415 on the ground - are bettered only by the 2008 team that went 10-3.

Senior tailback Charles Ross should see plenty of touches in this game as he tries to build off a career-high 154-yard, two-touchdown effort in the regular-season finale. He's a big reason why the Owls led Conference USA in time of possession. Rice certainly has the more balanced offense in this matchup, but perhaps no team in the nation boasts a better running game than Air Force. The Falcons feature the nation's No. 2 rushing offense (328.8 yards per game) and have finished in the top 10 every year since 1986.

Air Force isn't shy about being one-dimensional with the ball, becoming the first FBS team in three years to have no pass attempts in a game - a 21-7 win over Hawaii on Nov. 16. The main cog in the Falcons' dynamic ground game is Cody Getz, who rushed for 1,213 yards and nine touchdowns this season despite missing two games with an ankle injury. The 5-foot-7 senior - the first player in school history with three 200-yard rushing games in a season - could be in for a big performance against a Rice run defense that allowed 193.2 yards per game to rank 94th in the nation.

Getz and quarterback Connor Dietz have the luxury of lining up behind an offensive line that didn't allow a sack through the first nine games despite losing starting center Michael Husar in the opener. Dietz isn't usually asked to do more than run the triple-option attack, but the fifth-year senior can be effective when called upon to throw. He passed for 1,127 yards and eight touchdowns with only three interceptions - none on 76 attempts through the first eight games.

The Owls are riding a hot streak into this game and have a balanced attack that can keep up with the Falcons. This one could come down to who has the ball last and which defense will bend but not break in a toe to toe offensive showdown. Tough one to call but in the end go with the team that has been riding high over the last month of the regular season confident against the other with a similar style but a heaping loss of momentum. Lean strongly to the under 62 as well.

The pick: Rice +2
one gyro

light sprinkle on some +110

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jimmythegreek Posts:11456 Followers:384
12/29/2012 01:01 AM

Pinstripe Bowl:
West Virginia vs. Syracuse
It's been a bumpy ride for Geno Smith and West Virginia, who had BCS aspirations earlier this year before coming undone mid-season. The Mountaineers, though, have since regrouped and will surely be looking to come out strong against a familiar foe at Yankee Stadium. Smith concludes his remarkable college career as West Virginia and Syracuse square off for the 60th time in the Pinstripe Bowl on Saturday. While the Mountaineers (7-5) climbed their way to No. 5 in the country after averaging 52.0 points during a 5-0 start, things didn't exactly go their way thereafter. West Virginia lost its next five games, eliminating any hopes of playing in a BCS bowl.

The Mounties however regrouped during their last 2 regular season games with a 31-24 win at Iowa State on Nov. 23, then blew by Kansas 59-10 in its regular-season finale the following weekend. Most of the headlines surrounding this game figure to highlight Smith, who's shattered school records with 11,461 passing yards and 96 touchdowns. He's thrown for 4,004 yards and an FBS-best 40 scores this season and completed 23 of 24 passes for 407 yards and three TDs against the Jayhawks to tie a single-game FBS record with a 95.8 completion percentage.

While West Virginia and Big East co-champion Syracuse (7-5) met every year from 1955-2011, the programs didn't figure to square off in 2012 after the Mountaineers bolted to the Big 12. The Orange had dropped eight straight matchups in this series before taking the last two, winning 19-14 in 2010 and 49-23 last season. Smith has been sacked nine times in those losses, throwing just three touchdowns and five interceptions. After beating then-No. 11 Louisville 45-26 on Nov. 10, the Orange pulled out road wins over Missouri and Temple to earn a share of the conference title.

Syracuse is led by senior Ryan Nassib, whose school-record 3,619 passing yards rank 10th in the country. He could be in for a big day against a Mountaineers defense thats given up 38.1 points per game - the nation's ninth-worst mark. After passing for 24 TDs and nine INTs, Nassib will be leaned on to match scoring strikes with Smith who is ranked by many as the top quarterback prospect in April’s 2013 NFL Draft. On defense, which the Orange clearly have the advantage, Syracuse will need to be especially wary of Smith's favorite target, Stedman Bailey. The 5-foot-10 wideout is averaging 125.1 yards and leads the nation with 23 TDs, and on Dec. 17 announced he'd forgo his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

West Virginia’s defense allowed 38.1 points per game, ranking No. 114, or seventh-worst, in the country. The Mountaineers allowed 45 or more points in six games and will likely struggle to slow down Nassib’s favorite receivers Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales, as well as the Orange’s backfield duo of Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley.

Scott Shafer has figured out a way to contain Smith in their last two match ups (nine sacks, 5 interceptions). While I don't think he'll completely shut down Smith this time, he has the pedigree to at least slow him down to a manageable level and Shafer has an offense that is playing with more confidence than at anytime in his Syracuse tenure to back his defense. Slight lean to the under 71.5.

The pick: Syracuse +4 (bought half):
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jimmythegreek Posts:11456 Followers:384
12/29/2012 01:15 AM

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl:
Navy vs. Arizona St
Following a dramatic win over its archrival, Arizona State wants to cap coach Todd Graham's promising first year with a bowl victory. Navy ended the regular season in similar fashion and now looks to add another triumph to its bounce-back campaign. The Sun Devils take on the Midshipmen for the first time Saturday when they play in the Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Arizona State (7-5) enters its 26th bowl appearance having not won one since defeating Rutgers in the 2005 Insight Bowl. The Sun Devils have since lost three appearances by an average of 22.3 points, including a 56-24 defeat to then-No. 8 Boise State in last year's Las Vegas Bowl. This is the ninth bowl game in 10 years for Navy (8-4), which missed out on the postseason last year thanks to a 5-7 record.

While the Midshipmen hope to carry over the momentum of last Saturday's 17-13 come-from-behind win over Navy, Arizona State looks to do the same after beating Arizona on Nov. 23 to claim the Territorial Cup trophy. Trailing 27-17 after three quarters, the Sun Devils stormed back, turning two turnovers and a blocked punt into three touchdowns on the way to a wild 41-34 win over the Wildcats. After opening the season 5-1, Arizona State dropped four in a row - three to ranked Pac-10 foes - but closed with back-to-back wins to become bowl eligible.

Seven of quarterback Taylor Kelly's nine interceptions this season came during that four-game skid - he was sacked 17 times in that span. The sophomore passed for 2,772 yards with 25 touchdowns and had thrown at least one in every game until the Arizona win. Kelly ranks second in the Pac-12 in yards per attempt (8.15) and third in completion percentage (65.9). He was one of four Sun Devils to rush for more than 400 yards - none had more than 524. Arizona State had similar balance in the passing game with six players having at least 300 yards receiving, led by tight end Chris Coyle's 53 catches and 659 yards. Tailback Marion Grice topped the team with eight TD receptions and nine touchdown runs, including three against Arizona as he ran for a career-high 156 yards.

The Pac-12's third-ranked scoring offense (36.4 per game) should be able to find some holes in a Navy defense that allowed 705 passing yards in two games before facing run-heavy Army in the regular-season finale. Navy and its triple-option offense hope to take advantage of a Sun Devils defense which allowed four of its final six opponents to rush for more than 200 yards. The Midshipmen rank sixth in the nation in rushing yards per game (275.6) while sitting fourth from the bottom in passing attempts (160).

Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds threw for just 884 yards and eight touchdowns with one interception while leading the team with 10 rushing TDs, including the game-winner against Army. Reynolds ran for 588 yards in the final seven games, and fullback Noah Copeland rushed for 209 with three TDs over the last two. Gee Gee Greene led the team with 765 rushing yards but managed just 15 on four carries against Army.

Navy has struggled against quality opponents this season, losing to Notre Dame, Penn State, San Jose State and Troy. It defeated only one team with a winning record (East Carolina) and will struggle to match up with the speed and burst of Arizona State’s offensive skill players. Like with any triple option, if ASU plays fundamentally sound gap defense, it should be able to control the line of scrimmage — and the final outcome. Lean slightly to the over 52.

The pick: Arizona St -13.5 (bought half):
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jimmythegreek Posts:11456 Followers:384
12/29/2012 01:27 AM

Alamo Bowl:
Oregon St vs. Texas
Oregon State has completed one of the country's biggest turnarounds, while Texas is trying to salvage a season considered a disappointment by its lofty standards. Both the 15th-ranked Beavers and the Longhorns have dealt with uncertain quarterback situations leading up to Saturday's Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. Oregon State (9-3) won six more games than it did last season, tying the largest improvement in the FBS. As a result, the Beavers are heading to their first bowl game since 2009, when they lost to BYU in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.

The Beavers' quarterback situation was in flux all season due to injuries. Sean Mannion led the team to a 4-0 start before the sophomore suffered a knee injury that required surgery, paving the way for junior Cody Vaz to take over before he succumbed to a high ankle sprain. Mannion regained the starting job - and struggled with four interceptions in a 48-24 loss to Oregon - but still started in the team's finale, a 77-3 blowout of Nicholls State. Mannion went 20 of 23 for 231 yards and two touchdowns, but Vaz, who completed 14 of 17 passes for 190 yards and three TDs, also saw extensive action.

Texas has gone 8-4 - a success for most - but a third consecutive season without a BCS bowl appearance had some questioning coach Mack Brown's job security. The Longhorns are 9-4 in bowl games under Brown, but are 21-16 overall since losing the 2010 BCS championship game to Alabama. David Ash started Texas' first 11 games under center but was benched in favor of Case McCoy during the team's Thanksgiving loss to TCU.

McCoy won't see the field Saturday, however, after he and injured linebacker Jordan Hicks were sent home for violating team rules. The players broke curfew and KENS-TV reports that police were investigating two unidentified Texas players in an alleged sexual assault at a San Antonio hotel. Even before the suspensions were announced, Brown had decided to will go back to Ash, who has completed 67.7 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Oregon State intercepted 19 passes this year, tied for sixth-most in the country, and the Beavers' 30 forced turnovers are tied for 12th. Seven of the Longhorns' 15 turnovers this season came in their last two games, including five interceptions. Texas' defense struggled through the first seven games, allowing 35.0 points per game and 472.1 yards, but improved late, trimming those numbers to 21.6 and 328.4 in the final five contests. The Longhorns' secondary will be tasked with slowing down Markus Wheaton, who ranks 11th nationally with 100.6 receiving yards per game. Wheaton caught 12 passes against Nicholls State, bringing his career total to 224 and surpassing James Rodgers' school record of 222, set last year.

To stay perfect against Oregon State, the Longhorns will have to win without one of their co-offensive coordinators. Bryan Harsin has been named coach at Arkansas State, leaving Major Applewhite to handle the play calling.

One team has underachieved with a roster chalked full of five-star talent. The other has overachieved with excellent coaching and a fundamentally sound gameplan. The crowd should be tilted heavily towards the home-state Longhorns, but the Beavers are the much more disciplined team. They will take advantage of any mistakes Ash makes. It won’t be as high-scoring as last year’s Alamo Bowl, but Oregon St should be able to make more plays to pull away from Texas late. Comfortable lean to over 57.5.

The pick: Oregon St -3 (bought half):
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jimmythegreek Posts:11456 Followers:384
12/29/2012 01:45 AM

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl:
TCU vs. Michigan St
Expectations were high for Michigan State and TCU after each posted 11 victories during the 2011 season. For one reason or another, neither lived up to the hype. The Spartans and Horned Frogs will look to end disappointing campaigns on a positive note when two strong defensive teams meet in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium.

The Spartans began 2012 ranked 13th and reached as high as No. 10, but the losses of last year's stars - quarterback Kirk Cousins and receivers B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin - proved difficult to overcome as Michigan State (6-6) ranked ninth in the Big Ten gaining an average of 370.3 yards. Junior Andrew Maxwell threw for 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions and was inconsistent while replacing Cousins. His receiving corps also struggled, with drops among the reasons he completed a Big Ten-worst 52.9 percent of his passes. The Spartans beat then-No. 24 Boise State to open the season Aug. 31 and won at Rose Bowl-bound Wisconsin for the first time in 11 years Oct. 27, but they dropped five Big Ten games by a combined 13 points.

Their only loss by more than four was a 20-3 home defeat to Notre Dame, but they needed a 26-10 win at Minnesota in their regular-season finale Nov. 24 to become bowl eligible. TCU was confident after going 11-2 overall and 7-0 in the Mountain West in 2011, but it dealt with its own adversity during its first season in the Big 12. Junior quarterback Casey Pachall guided the team to victory in its first four contests and a No. 15 ranking before being arrested on suspicion of DWI on Oct. 4.

Pachall eventually entered an inpatient program and withdrew from school, leaving the starting job to freshman Trevone Boykin. The Horned Frogs (7-5) dropped four of their final six games, but they did win at West Virginia and Texas, and coach Gary Patterson said Boykin earned some valuable experience. Boykin finished with 15 TD passes and nine INTs, also rushing for 380 yards as TCU wound up eighth in the 10-team conference averaging 397.0 total yards.

The running game struggled at times - TCU was last in the Big 12 with 3.9 yards per carry - and the Horned Frogs may have a tough time moving the ball against a Michigan State defense that ranked fourth in the FBS allowing only 274.5 yards per game. The Spartans' five rushing touchdowns allowed were tied for the second-fewest in the country behind Notre Dame's two. Junior linebacker Max Bullough and defensive backs Johnny Adams and Darqueze Dennard were named to the All-Big Ten first team.

TCU's defensive unit was no slouch, leading the offensive-minded Big 12 and ranking 18th in the nation giving up an average of 332.0 yards. Freshman defensive end Devonte Fields was the AP's Big 12 defensive player of the year after leading the conference in tackles for loss (17 1/2) while adding nine sacks. The Horned Frogs will try to contain first-team All-Big Ten selection Le'Veon Bell, who led the conference with 137.3 rushing yards per game. Bell ran for a career-high 266 yards and scored his 11th rushing touchdown in the season finale.

TCU adjusted well to playing in the Big 12 and the future is bright for the Horned Frogs, but the Spartans had one of those seasons where they lost a lot of close games. This one could come down to who dares to make the bigger plays on offense, as there may be not too many gratifying moments since the defenses match up very similarly. While the total seems low, most would expect an under but I will lean ever so slightly to the over 40 especially if either team can cash in on turnovers and/or special teams


The pick: TCU -2
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