The BCS portion of College Bowl Season kicked off yesterday with Stanford and Florida State defeating Wisconsin and Louisville respectively.
Ahead of the Discover BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7, Casino Review takes a look at the remaining two BCS games on the schedule; tonight’s Sugar Bowl and tomorrow’s Fiesta Bowl.
All State Sugar Bowl
#21 Louisville vs. #3 Florida
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Wednesday, 8:30 PM ET
After narrowly missing out on a place in the SEC championship game and a potential crack at the BCS championship, #3 Florida (11-1, 7-1 SEC) will look to finish the season with a Sugar Bowl victory.
Meanwhile, #21 Louisville (12-2, 5-2 Big East) – one of four sides to share the Big East title this season – will be hoping to defy expectations and come home with the Sugar Bowl at the first time of asking.
The Cardinals should be buoyed by the knowledge that Florida is 3-5 all-time in the Sugar Bowl. That being said, the Gators won the last time they appeared in the game – a 51-24 drubbing of Cincinnati following the 2009 season – and have won six of their last seven bowl games, including four straight.
Louisville hasn’t been quite so efficient. The Cardinals have lost seven of their last 11 bowl games, including last season’s Belk Bowl.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the Cardinals will be up against a Florida side that allowed just 12.9 points per game. Only Notre Dame (10.3 PPG) and Alabama (10.7) conceded fewer points per game. Solid pass and rush defenses, which ranked 13th and sixth in the nation respectively, led to such stingy statistics.
If Louisville is to get a win in New Orleans it will need to make the most of its passing offense, particularly as the Cardinals’ running game averaged just 127.1 yards per game, ranking 100th in the country.
Odds: Florida opened as 14½-point favorites, a number that has slipped to 14. The total opened at 47 and has also slipped, in this case to 46.
Take: Florida – Were it not for a loss against Georgia, the Gators would be playing for a national championship this coming Monday. There’s no doubting that defense brought Florida to the dance, and there’s no reason to think that Louisville has enough to stop the Gators. The school hasn’t stopped Florida the two times they’ve met previous (1980, 1992) and don’t expect it to tonight. Take Florida to cover the spread, with the total going under.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
#5 Kansas State vs. #4 Oregon
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Thursday, 8:30 PM ET
Lovers of the type of defense Florida plays might want to look away as #4 Oregon and #5 Kansas State clash at the Fiesta Bowl on Thursday night.
Both sides ranked in the nation’s top ten in scoring, with Oregon grabbing second place (to Louisiana Tech) with 50.8 points per game. The Ducks ran for a storming 323.3 yards per game, second only to Army (369.8 YPG). The big difference between Oregon and Army was that the Ducks could throw the ball also.
Kansas State utilized the dual threat of quarterback Collin Klein, a Heisman candidate until the very end. The Wildcats averaged 40.7 points per game, en route to winning the Big 12, by way of a tiebreaking win over Oklahoma.
Oregon fell short in its quest to win the Pac-12, suffering its only defeat of the season to divisional rival Stanford. That same week, Kansas State lost its only game of the season to Baylor. Until that point both sides had been in contention for a place in the national championship game.
Whilst offense was undoubtedly the name of the game for both sides, both Oregon and Kansas State managed to look impressive on the defensive side of the football. The Wildcats gave up 21.1 points per game (24th) whilst the Ducks gave up 22.1 (26th). One thing that will certainly be interesting to watch in this one is whether Kansas State’s rush defense – which allowed just 1190.2 yards per game (18th) – can stifle the prolific Oregon running game.
Kansas State will be looking to win its first bowl game in five attempts. In fact, the Wildcats have lost five of their last six bowl games. The Ducks were victorious in last year’s Rose Bowl, putting the halters on a two-game bowl losing streak.
Odds: Oregon opened as favorites. The spread has gone from eight at opening to 8½ ahead of kickoff. The total has fallen from 79 to 75.
Take: Oregon – Kansas State may have been somewhat closer on the spread had it not been for that huge loss to Baylor, a team with a high-scoring offense similar to Oregon. The Wildcats will need to have studied a lot of film from that Stanford-Oregon game in order to keep this one close. Oregon though has proven it can score points in abundance, and will likely finish of the year with another win. Take the Wildcats (9-2-1 ATS) to cover the spread and make this a one touchdown game. Although both teams can score in droves, take the total to go under as both teams display reasonable defense.