Last Updated: 2017-12-29
This is the time of the year when all of the college football bowl games feature teams that at one point or another had a shot at the national championship. It may have been one loss that derailed their pursuit or something more. Now they have to regain their focus and play in a bowl game.
That is the case on Saturday December 30th in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. This bowl game features two prominent football programs that are highly listed in the college football rankings. This game will kick off at 4 p.m. eastern standard time and will be televised on ESPN. The game will be played at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale Arizona.
This year the Fiesta Bowl will feature a team from the Big Ten and a team from the Pac 12 conference in what should be one of the better matchups of the bowl season. The game will feature the Washington Huskies and the Penn State Nittany Lions.
The Washington Huskies looked to return to the college football playoffs but fell short with a 10-2 overall record. They were 7-2 in the Pac 12 but did not beat about the Stanford Cardinal for the North division title. They had some big wins against Washington State and UCLA, but untimely losses to Stanford and Arizona State ruined the run for a championship.
The Huskies were a decent team against the spread as they finished 7-5 against the spread (ATS) on the season. They were just 2-3 ATS on the road and won six of the last ten games ATS overall.
Penn State also had their championship run ruined although they notched a 10-2 regular season record. They went 7-2 in Big Ten play but fell one game behind the Ohio State Buckeyes in the standings. They ended the season on a three game winning streak scoring at least 35 points in every game. They had big wins against the Michigan Wolverines and at Iowa, but conference losses to Ohio State and the Michigan State Spartans in back to back weeks assured Penn State that they would not go to the college football playoffs.
At the betting window Penn State was 7-4 ATS on the season overall and they also won six of their last ten games against the number to end the season.
The Fiesta Bowl is an evenly matched game which is evident by the point spread. Penn State opened up as a (-2) point favorite and that number has dipped and can now be found at (-1.5) at several of the most trusted online sportsbooks. This movement goes against the public according to the latest college football consensus report. Currently it shows that over 70 percent of the money coming into this game is on the same side with Penn State at the betting counter.
The over / under in this game has been right around 55 since its opening when the bowl matchups were announced. The public is betting on this to go over that posted total as 57 percent of the wagers coming in on this game are on the over. This line could start to drift up as game time approaches.
These teams have never met before in a game and that should make this meeting even more special.
The Huskies are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in December and 20-7-1 ATS in their last 28 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game. However they are also Huskies are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games on grass and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
The Nittany Lions are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games and 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. The positive trends do not stop there either as the Nittany Lions are 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game and 10-2-1 ATS in their last 13 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
On the football field the X’s and O’s are incredible as this is a quality matchup between two very good teams.
The Penn State offense is led by Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley who can move the ball down the field and put up the points. Barkley is slightly distracted by talk of playing in the National Football League and he is announced that he will not make that decision until after the bowl game. He should not be focused on the NFL, but the Huskies run defense that is ranked first in defending rush explosiveness.
That Huskies defense has a real shot to exploit a Penn State offensive line that has some issues protecting the quarterback at times. This should be the matchup to watch as Vita Vea and the Huskies defensive front will be forcing pressure all night long. The Huskies defense not only allowed the fewest rushing yards in the nation, but they also ranked fifth in total defense, 21st against the pass and sixth in the country in scoring.
The Huskies should be proud as well as they have an incredible trio on offense with Dante Pettis, Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin. This offense averages 36.9 points per game and over 400 yards per game. Browning leads the way with over 2500 yards and 18 touchdowns. This offense will challenge a Penn State defense that allows opposing teams to only put up 15 points a game.
This game will be very close and come down to the last few minutes, but the Huskies have the edge. They are more balanced on both sides of the ball. They can pressure Penn State with their defense while piling up points with their offense. The public is on the wrong side of this game and the Huskies will win the Fiesta Bowl.
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