Last week ATS: 4-3 (4-3 National, 0-0 B1G)
Season ATS: 97-96-2 (47-43-2 National, 48-53-2 B1G)
Not the worst start to the bowl season, but there wasn’t much to write home about after the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday, aside from Lane Kiffin laying it on Akron. Still plenty of bowl games left to boost the record for the year.
Gasparilla Bowl: Temple (-7) v. Florida International - 8:00 PM EST - ESPN
This is probably my least favorite bowl game of the year. The main reason I hate this game so much is because it is played in the dump that is Tropicana Field. Also, what are Bad Boy Mowers? Is P. Diddy selling lawn mowers now? What happened to the days when we have a good sponsor for this game, like Beef ‘O’ Brady’s or Bitcoin?
Just take Temple to cover. The Owls finished the season strong, and their defense should hold Butch Davis’ team in check.
Temple 28, Florida International 17
Bahamas Bowl: UAB v. Ohio (-7) - 12:30 PM EST - ESPN
At least we won’t have to wait all that long to wash the stink of the Gasparilla Bowl off us, since we have a 12:30 kickoff on Friday. UAB is one of the best stories of the year in college football, as the Blazers posted an 8-4 record after they didn’t field a team the last two years. What a reward for the Blazers in getting to go to the Bahamas for this game.
This is quite the reward for Ohio as well, especially after having to spend recent bowl games in exotic locales like Alabama and Boise. Ohio could have had a better record than the 8-4 that they posted, as the Bobcats lost three of their four games by seven points or less.
Both teams are going to be happy to be playing on Friday, and I think this one will come down to the wire. Unlike some of the games that they have lost this year, Ohio will win, but UAB will give a strong effort in their first bowl game in 13 years.
Ohio 34, UAB 31
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Central Michigan v. Wyoming (-3.5) - 4:00 PM EST - ESPN
Can they just rename this the Josh Allen Bowl? There is no doubt that Allen is going to be at least 85% of what is talked about on Friday’s broadcast in Boise. The Wyoming quarterback has been hampered by injury most of the year, which has limited him to just 13 touchdowns passes after throwing 28 touchdown passes last year.
Bet you didn’t think you would ever hear from Shane Morris again. The former Michigan quarterback didn’t have to go all that far after transferring, landing with the Chippewas for the final year of his college career. After falling out of favor with the Wolverines, Morris showed his talents by tossing 26 touchdowns this year.
I think Central Michigan is a little more of a complete team than Wyoming right now. Even though the Cowboys have Allen, they haven’t been able to get much done in the running game. Allen will have his moments, but Morris and the Chippewas will be too much in the end.
Central Michigan 30, Wyoming 23
Birmingham Bowl: Texas Tech v. South Florida (-3) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
Saturday should be a solid day of college football with quite the contrast in the first two contests. The first game of the day will see plenty of passing, and probably very little defense.
Texas Tech’s latest quarterback to put up big numbers is Nic Shimonek, who tossed 30 touchdowns this year. The Red Raiders were also able to incorporate a little more of a running game than in years past, as they averaged 141.6 yards per game on the ground.
South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers will suit up for the Bulls for the last time in his career, and he has quite the laundry list of achievements. In three years as starter, not only has Flowers thrown for at least 20 touchdowns in each year, but the Miami native has ran for at least 900 yards in each of those three seasons.
This is the best defense that Texas Tech has fielded under Kliff Kingsbury, but that isn’t saying much at all. While Shimonek will put up some big numbers, the dual-threat that Flowers brings to the table will be too much for the Red Raiders to handle.
South Florida 44, Texas Tech 35
Armed Forces Bowl: San Diego State (-7) v. Army - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN
These two teams don’t like to pass the ball at all. It’s hard to blame San Diego State and Army for wanting to keep the ball on the ground when you are as successful at running the football as they are. These two teams have combined for over 7,200 yards rushing this year, with Army accounting for 4,270 yards rushing.
San Diego State has the only 2,000 yard rusher this year, as Rashaad Penny rushed for 2,027 yards in his senior season. Penny finished off the regular season in style, eclipsing 200 yards rushing in each of the last four games. The key for San Diego State is to get Penny over 100 yards rushing, as the Aztecs lost the two games in which Penny didn’t reach triple digits.
I really want to take Army to keep things close, but I think San Diego State will wear the Black Knights down. The Aztecs have one of the better rushing defenses in the country, and it’ll show as they’ll be able to handle Army’s rushing attack enough to win by double digits.
San Diego State 31, Army 17
Dollar General Bowl: Appalachian State v. Toledo (-7) - 7:00 PM EST - ESPN
Toledo has to have revenge on their mind after losing to Appalachian State last year in the Camellia Bowl. The Rockets never led in last year’s contest, but also never trailed by more than a touchdown. Toledo was a juggernaut on offense this year, scoring at least 30 points in 10 of 13 games behind the trio of Logan Woodside, Terry Swanson, and Diontae Johnson
Appalachian State has a standout quarterback of their own in Taylor Lamb, who tossed 27 touchdowns this year, and has thrown the most TDs in Sun Belt history. The Mountaineers looked lost after falling to UMass and Louisiana-Monroe, but finished the season with three straight wins.
I was tempted to lay the points with Toledo, but after closer inspection I think we are in for another close contest between the two teams. Unlike last year when the Mountaineers won in Montgomery, Toledo secures a bowl win in Mobile.
Toledo 41, Appalachian State 38
Hawai’i Bowl: Fresno State v. Houston (-2.5) - 8:30 PM EST - ESPN
Look at how Jeff Tedford has changed things in just one year in Fresno. After suffering through a 1-11 record last year under Tim DeRuyter, the Bulldogs have posted a 9-4 record in 2017. Defense has been how Fresno State has sparked their turnaround, with the Bulldogs holding their opponents to 21 points or less in 10 of their 13 games this year.
Houston has a new coach of their own, but Major Applewhite didn’t have quite as much success as Tom Herman. After years of 13-1 and 9-4 under Herman, Houston only went 7-4 this year. The Cougars have to be wondering what might have been, as three of their four losses were by four points or less.
Houston did find some success with D’Eriq King under center to close the regular season, but the sledding will be a lot tougher on Sunday night. I think Fresno State picks up the win with their defense, and they are already familiar with traveling to Hawai’i, as they were on the island in November.
Fresno State 27, Houston 20