December 22nd College Bowl Game Predictions
Western Kentucky’s win propelled us to 4-2 on the bowl season. Yes I said “us” because I know you’re riding with me on the picks!
Today we have the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (I have no clue what makes it famous) and the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Akron (7-5, MAC) vs Utah St (6-6, Mountain West)
Akron comes into bowl season having won 4 in a row. After starting the season 3-5, the Zips rebounded in the closing weeks to become bowl eligible. They are led by their defense which touts MAC Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Jatavis Brown. The Zips are ranked 17th in total defense.
On offense, the Zips are going to try to run the ball against the stout Aggie defense. Akron didn’t have a 1,000 yard rusher but they’ll depend on Connor Hundley (883 yards rushing) and quarterback Thomas Woodson (554 yards rushing)
Like Akron, Utah St. is led by their defense which is ranked 22nd in the country. The Aggies defense is led by two all-Mountain West linebackers, Kyler Fackrell and Nick Vigil. It will be imperative for the defense (51st nationally against the run) to stop the Zips running game.
Offensively, Utah St. mirror their season in the way of being up and down. They will probably rotate the quarterback position today despite the fact that you could argue that sophomore Kent Myers has been better than senior Chuckie Keeton.
Prediction: Utah St. -7
With both defenses being as good as they are, it comes down to team whose offense doesn’t turn the ball over. The Aggies offense is a little more dynamic than Akron’s so that’s where the lean is.
Marmot Boca Raton Bowl
Temple (10-3, AAC) vs Toledo (9-2, MAC)
The Temple Owls spent the half of the year being one of the biggest surprises in the country. Being undefeated going into the Notre Dame game raised some eye brows. Playing Notre Dame as tough as they did opened some eyes. When you get unexpected success like that, it comes down to how the team responds to the bullseye being on them. The Owls response turned out to be a mixed bag.
After the Notre Dame game, the Owls went 3-2 including a loss to Houston in the AAC championship game.
The defense leads the charge ranking 16th in defensive scoring and 18th in yards given up. They are led by linebacker, Tyler Matakevich. Matakevich garnered first time All-America honors along with the Bronko Nagurski and Chuck Bednarik awards.
The stat that jumps out about the Rockets is that they were undefeated on the road this season. Yes, this is a neutral field game but it shows they are comfortable on the road.
A loss to Western Michigan is the final game of the season prevented Toledo from going to the MAC Championship game so you have to wonder if there will be some hangover.
Unlike Temple, Toledo is led by their offense. They are led by a balanced attack that has scored almost the same amount of touchdowns rushing as they have passing. The Rockets use running back by committee as Kareem Hunt (4th all-time leading rusher in Toledo history) and Terry Swanson have combined for over 1,700 yards.
Prediction: Toledo +3
Both teams are good ATS (Temple 9-4; Toledo 8-2-1) so this comes down to Toledo’s ability to score and control the clock. The Rockets have only given up 4 sacks all year and should be able to do enough defensively to cover the field goal.
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