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AIR FORCE vs. RICE
Saturday, Dec. 29, 11:45 am
Rice has only been “bowling” four times in the past 50 plus years and once endured a 43-year stretch without qualifying for the postseason! Thats pretty crazy. Meanwhile, Air Force has been a bowl regular for three decades and makes its sixth straight postseason visit. While Air Force is admittedly more familiar with bowl surroundings this was not a vintage Falcon edition in 2012. At 6-6 the Force was barely bowl-eligible, and lost its highest profile games vs. Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy rivals Navy & Army. While its run option ranked second among the nation’s rushing leaders, the change-of-pace passing dimension was mostly absent in 2012. As is often the case in Air Force games, how the opponent copes with its unorthodox option is crucial, and the undersized Rice rush “D” was not exactly robust vs. the run. But unlike the regular season, the Owls will have had nearly a month to prepare for the option. And Rice can play some ball-control, too, with an infantry that gained a nice amount of yards over the last six outings in 2012, winning five of those to become bowl-eligible.
At the end of Oct Rice was sitting at 2-6 having to sweep the board to have a shot to get to a bowl and they did just that. Of the 4 teams they beat, none have a winning record. AF dropped its last 3 games away from home but the last 2 losses were against two teams that shared the Mountain West crown with Boise. It’s no secret that to beat Air Force, you need to stop the run but Rice has struggled. Rice hasn’t faced an option offense this year but still allowed a bunch of yards. Rice’s defense only starts 1 Sr and when facing the option you must be disciplined and stay home or else they will break numerous long plays. I feel this very young defense will have trouble doing that and call for the Falcons to win their 3rd bowl game in the last 4 years in a very close game. I have Air Force winning this game by less than a field goal so right now will hold off on a selection but leaning towards Air Force at a pick em. With the line moving in our favor as happened last night with Virginia Tech will make a very small play on Air Force and even buy a point since the line went all the way down to a pick em. Not a strong play but that never stopped me.