We’ve already seen the craziness of bowl season and we are just getting started. Colorado State came from 35-13 down to beat Washington State 48-45 in the New Mexico Bowl last week. Tulane also rallied in their bowl game as they were down by a score of 21-0 to Louisiana-Lafayette in the New Orleans’ Bowl. Unfortunately, the Rajun Cajuns hung on for a 24-21 victory.
Tonight on this day after Christmas we have two more bowl games to consider. One comes from the indoor confines of Ford Field in Detroit while the other comes from very nice San Diego. Let’s get to it shall we?
Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green (-4.5) – Bowling Green is getting awfully comfortable with visiting downtown Detroit and Ford Field. They were there just a few weeks ago and upset Northern Illinois for the Mid-American Conference title. Now they get a chance to put one final feather in their cap with a win over ACC team Pitt.
One important difference for the Falcons does exist though and that’s the fact head coach Dave Clawson has left for Wake Forest. The interim coach for the bowl game will be assistant Adam Schiere. Other than that, I expect things to roll right along for the Falcons as usual. Bowling Green follows the lead of quarterback Matt Johnson who has over 3,100 yards passing and 23 touchdown passes.
He leads an offense that scores about 35 points per game. In their way will be a Pitt Panther defense led by one of the top defensive linemen in America. Aaron Donald won four different individual awards at the recent college players’ awards show and he was every bit deserving. Despite his presence, the Panthers still gave up 27 points per game and that’s a major issue.
When Pitt is on offense, they are led by QB Tom Savage who has NFL size and an NFL caliber arm as well. He has thrown for over 2,800 yards and 21 touchdown passes. His favorite target is Tyler Boyd who has electrified Panthers’ fans all season with 77 catches and over 1,000 receiving yards. The Falcons feature a very fast and athletic defense that gave up just over 14 points per game this year.
That could be bad news for Savage who was sacked 41 times this season. Pitt is 4-8-1 against the spread in their last 13 games while the Falcons are 5-0 straight up in their last five games. The over/under is 51 and I like the over in this one and I also like Bowling Green to cover.
Utah State vs. Northern Illinois (-1.5) – Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch will close out his outstanding career by leading Northern Illinois into San Diego to play the Utah State Aggies. The Huskies were BCS busters last season as they went to the Orange Bowl, but lost to Florida State. This year, the Huskies entered the MAC Championship unbeaten but were upended by a very good Bowling Green team.
Utah State opened the season without Gary Anderson as its head coach. Anderson left for Wisconsin following last year. With Matt Wells at the helm, the Aggies had to overcome the loss of their starting quarterback early in the season. They were able to do just that behind freshman Darrell Garretson who led the team to five wins and an 8-5 finish. This is the Aggies’ third straight bowl game and third against a MAC school.
Lynch enters needing 119 yards to become the only quarterback ever to rush and pass for 2,000 plus yards in a season. It will not be easy because Utah State offers the Mountain West Conference’s best defense. This is where the game will be won or lost. USU has seen the over/under total go under for their last five games while NIU has seen just the opposite.
I expect a very close game and with the over/under at 58, I really like the over. I also like the Huskies to cover as well.