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Thread: The Bums 2017 College Football Bowl Games Trends-Stats-Best Bets !

  1. #76
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    [B]1:30 PM EST
    229 UTAH -4.5 -6.5 -15 / -7 / -7 -15 -7.5 -05 -290
    230 WEST VIRGINIA 54 56.5 / 56 / 56.5 56 +237
    UTA-QB-Tyler Huntley-Probable | WVU-QB-Will Grier-Doubtful | WVU-RB-Justin Crawford-OUT | TV: ESPN, DTV: 206. Heart of Dallas Bowl


    5:15 PM EST
    231 NORTHERN ILLINOIS 47.5 47.5 / 47 / 47u13 47 +211
    POWER
    232 DUKE -4.5 -4.5 / -5.5 / -6 -6.5 -15 -255
    TV: ESPN, DTV: 206. Quick Lane Bowl


    9:00 PM EST
    233 KANSAS STATE PK -04 -6.5 / -6.5 -11 / -6.5 -15 -7 -05 -265
    FREE
    234 UCLA 63.5 61.5 / 61.5o14 / 61.5o15 62 +218
    KSU-QB-Jesse Ertz-OUT | UCL-QB-Josh Rosen-Doubtful | UCL-WR-Darren Andrews-OUT | TV: ESPN, DTV: 206. Cactus Bowl
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #77
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    NCAAF

    Tuesday, December 26


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Heart of Dallas Bowl Betting Preview and Odds: Utah vs. West Virginia
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Utah Utes vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (+6.5, 55.5)

    Game to be played at Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas

    When the Big Ten couldn’t fulfill its allotted slot opposite the Big 12’s West Virginia, Heart of Dallas Bowl officials still wanted a matchup of Power Five teams for the Dec. 26 contest in Cotton Bowl Stadium and found what they needed in Utah of the Pac-12 Conference. The Utes needed a 34-13 win over visiting Colorado in their regular-season finale to become bowl eligible, giving the Pac-12 nine postseason teams. It will be the 36th bowl for the Mountaineers and 21st for Utah, and although it will be at least the fourth Texas-based bowl game for each school, both will be making their debuts in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, which is in its eighth season.

    While both teams will be making their fourth straight bowl appearance and the two head coaches – West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen and Utah’s Kyle Whittingham – have coached in a combined 16 postseason contests between them, it’s the latter’s historic bowl success that’s garnering the pregame spotlight. The Utes own an impressive 16-4 all-time bowl record, and Whittingham has accounted for 10 of those wins for an NCAA-best postseason record of 10-1, including victories in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl over Pittsburgh (as a co-head coach) and the 2009 Sugar Bowl over Alabama. “Our secret formula is our players prepare hard and do it the right way, and that’s what it’s all about,” Whittingham said in the Dec. 3 bowl media conference call. “We don’t have a routine or a process that’s top secret. It’s just our guys in the program taking a lot of pride in bowl games, and they prepare the right way.”

    The availability of both starting quarterbacks is in question for the game. West Virginia’s Will Grier, the nation’s seventh-ranked passer in terms of efficiency with 3,490 yards and 34 touchdown passes, had surgery after breaking the middle finger on his throwing hand in the first quarter of the Mountaineers’ loss to Texas on Nov. 18, and Holgorsen said the chances of the Florida transfer playing against Utah are “not good.” Meanwhile, dual-threat sophomore starter Tyler Huntley was a surprise pre-game scratch from Utah’s Nov. 25 regular-season finale with an unspecified injury, but Whittingham classified the QB’s bowl prognosis as “looking very positive” in an early-December interview with the Salt Lake Tribune.

    TV:
    1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    Utah opened as 4.5-point favorites and heading into game day that number is up to 6.5. The total hit betting boards at 54 and has been bet up to 55.5.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Utah - DE K. Fitts (Probable, Undisclosed), QB T. Huntley (Probable, Undisclosed), WR D. Carrington II (Questionable, Undisclosed), DB J. Johnson (Out, Undisclosed), DB M. Blair (Out For Season, Leg), LB C. Drews (Out For Season, Undisclosed), DB T. Smith (Out For Season, Ankle), RB A. Shyne (Out Indefinitely, Leg).

    West Virginia - OL J. Buccigrossi (Questionable, Knee), K M. Molina (Questionable, Hip), OL K. Bosch (Out, Undisclosed), QB W. Grier (Out, Finger), RB J. Crawford (Out, Personal), LB B. Ferns (Out For Season, Shoulder).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    41and overcast - 8 to 10 mph winds and 30% chance of precipitation

    ABOUT UTAH (6-6 SU, 8-3-1 ATS, 6-6 O/U):
    Huntley also did miss starts on Oct. 7 and 14 with a shoulder injury, but went 5-4 as a starter with a combined 19 passing and rushing TDs while ranking second in the conference and 15th nationally with an average of 302.9 yards of total offense per game. If Huntley can’t play, the Utes have a capable backup in senior Troy Williams, who is 10-6 as a starter over the last two seasons, including a 9-4 mark a year ago. Whomever is throwing passes will frequently target senior wide receiver Darren Carrington II, an Oregon transfer who ranked second in the Pac-12 with 83.5 receiving yards per outing, while the defense (ranked third in the conference in rushing, total and scoring defense) and special teams (kicker Matt Gay and punter Mitch Wishnowsky both garnered multiple All-America honors) are the Utes’ unquestioned strengths.

    ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (7-5 SU, 5-6-1 ATS, 7-4-1 O/U):
    With Grier sidelined, redshirt sophomore Chris Chugunov started the Mountaineers’ regular-season finale against Oklahoma and went 10-of-20 for 137 yards in the 59-31 road loss, but the team made strong use of the Wildcat formation, featuring reserve tailback Kennedy McKoy who ran for a career-high 137 yards and three TDs in the contest. Starting tailback Justin Crawford, who rushed for a team-high 1,061 yards and seven TDs, announced Dec. 14 he will skip the bowl to focus on NFL Draft preparations, leaving wide receivers Gary Jennings, David Sills V and Ka’Raun White as the top offensive play-makers after they combined for 212 receptions, 2,988 yards and 30 receiving TDs. Defensively, senior linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton led the way with 102 total tackles, including 13 for losses, but the Mountaineers struggled for the most part, allowing 31.6 points (92nd nationally) and 452.5 yards (110th) per game.

    TRENDS:


    * Utes are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 bowl games.
    * Mountaineers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
    * Over is 4-1 in Utes' last 5 games overall.
    * Under is 7-1 in Mountaineers' last 8 games in December.

    CONSENSUS:
    The public is siding with the underdog West Virginia Mountaineers at a rate of 65 percent and the Over is getting 62 percent of the totals action.


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------


    NCAAF

    Tuesday, December 26


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Quick Lane Bowl betting preview and odds: Duke vs. Northern Illinois
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Duke Blue Devils vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (+5.5, 47.5)

    Game to be played at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.

    Northern Illinois and Duke, teams that had lengthy bowl streaks interrupted last season, will each bring a standout defender and stingy defense to the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26 at Ford Field in Detroit. The Huskies, who had a streak of eight consecutive bowl appearances snapped last season, are led by sophomore defensive end Sutton Smith, the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year and first Huskie since 1993 to be named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation All-America first team. Sophomore linebacker Joe Giles-Harris, who was a first team All-ACC and second team All-American pick after leading the Blue Devils in tackles (117) and tackles for loss (15), helped Duke return to a bowl game for the fifth time in six years after a 17-year absence.

    Smith leads FBS in sacks (14), tackles for loss (28.5), pressures (73) and defensive touchdowns (two) - all school records - and is 3.5 tackles for loss away from the NCAA single-season record of 32 set by Western Michigan's Jason Babin in 2003. With Sutton wreaking havoc in the backfield, the Huskies enter ranked in the top 25 in FBS in nine defensive categories, including first in tackles for loss (106), second in sacks (41), 11th in rushing defense (112.3 yards per game) and 18th in total defense (328 yards per game). The 6-2, 230 pound Giles, who ranks third in the ACC and tied for 20th in the nation in tackles per game (9.8), heads a unit that ranked first in the ACC in opponent completion percentage (50.3), second in pass defense (174.8 yards per game) and third in interceptions (15), with four returned for touchdowns.

    Northern Illinois finished in a tie for second place in the West Division of the MAC with its signature victory a 21-17 decision at Big Ten-member Nebraska. The Huskies are no strangers to Detroit and Ford Field, playing here in six consecutive MAC championship games from 2010-15, winning three times. Duke won its first four games this season by a combined 101 points, dropped its next six contests before rebounding with consecutive wins to close out the regular season, including a 31-23 triumph over Wake Forest on Nov. 25 behind a career-high 346 passing yards and three total touchdowns from Daniel Jones.

    TV:
    5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

    LINE HISTORY:
    The Blue Devils opened as 4.5-point favorites but are now 5.5-point chalk. The total opened at 47.5 and dropped a half point to 47.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Duke - LB Ben Humphreys (Leg, Probable), K Austin Parker (Disciplinary, Out).

    NIU - TE Shane Wimann (Foot, Out), RB Jordan Huff (Ankle, Out), CB Shawun Lurry (Wrist, Out), QB Daniel Santacaterina (Personal, Left team).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    13 degrees and mostly cloudy - 5 to 7 mph winds and negligible chance for precipitation

    ABOUT NORTHERN ILLINOIS (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS, 6-6 O/U):
    Quarterback Marcus Childers, the MAC Freshman of the Year, took over the reins in early October after Ryan Graham suffered an elbow injury in Week 1 and Daniel Santacaterina battled turnover issues. Childers completed 57.3 percent of his passes for 1,440 yards with 15 touchdowns against five interceptions and picked up an additional 454 rushing yards with five more TDs. Senior Jordan Huff (740 yards in nine games, 5.8 per carry), will miss this game because of a season-ending ankle injury while Childers has five receivers that caught between 28 and 39 passes, but four of the five averaged less than 12 yards per catch.

    ABOUT DUKE (6-6 SU, 6-5-1 ATS, 3-9 O/U):
    Prior to the big outing against the Demon Deacons, Jones (2,439 passing yards, 12 TDs; 432 rushing yards, six TDs) had passed for more than 200 yards only twice in his seven previous games, a big reason why the Blue Devils ranked last in the ACC in passer efficiency rating (110.3) and 12th in scoring offense (25.8 points per game). Senior Shaun Wilson (743 yards, five TDs) and freshman Brittain Brown (660, six) will split carries and junior wideout T.J. Rahming (61 receptions, 733 yards, one TD) will be Jones’ main target downfield. Duke sophomore kicker Austin Parker, who made 17-of-21 field goal attempts and averaged 42.1 yards per punt, was dismissed from the program for violation of university academic policy.

    TRENDS:


    *The Blue Devils are 13-1 ATS in their last 14 games on fieldturf.
    *The Blue Devils are 19-6-1 ATS in their last 26 non-conference games.
    *The Huskies are 0-4 ATS in their last four bowl games.
    *The under is 9-1 in Duke's last 10 games overall.

    CONSENSUS:
    Nearly 55 percent of contest players are backing the Blue Devils to cover as 5.5-point chalk and 59 percent like the game to play over the 47.5-point total.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    NCAAF

    Tuesday, December 26


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cactus Bowl betting preview and odds: Kansas State vs. UCLA
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    Kansas State Wildcats vs. UCLA Bruins (+6.5, 60.5)

    Game to be played at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona.

    Will he or won't he? UCLA starting quarterback Josh Rosen stated over the weekend that he wants to play in the Cactus Bowl, but he's yet to clear concussion protocol following a second injury to his head in the regular season finale. He finished the campaign 10th in the FBS in passing yards with 3,717, but the junior has been slowed by injuries the past two seasons and twice was unable to finish a game this fall.

    He was replaced against California after getting sacked three times in the first half, but he has since returned to practice and appears ready to go against Kansas State, which has the second-worst pass defense in the FBS at 310.3 passing yards surrendered per game. Rosen's other postseason appearance came in the Foster Farms Bowl two years ago, when the Bruins were defeated by five-win Nebraska 37-29 in Santa Clara, Calif.

    UCLA interim coach Jedd Fisch will try to send he and the Bruins out a winner when they face Kansas State in the Cactus Bowl on Dec. 26 at Chase Field in Phoenix. UCLA hired Chip Kelly on Nov. 25, six days after Jim Mora was fired following a 28-23 loss to crosstown rival USC, but Kelly won't officially take over until this season's over. Fisch guided UCLA to a 30-27 victory against California in the final regular-season game on Nov. 24, making the Bruins bowl-eligible after they missed out on the postseason a year ago.

    Kansas State ended the regular season on a high note Nov. 25, defeating Iowa State 20-19 on a last-second touchdown pass which came a week after the Wildcats toppled then-No. 13 Oklahoma State 45-40 as 19 1/2-point underdogs. Kansas State met UCLA in the Alamo Bowl on January 2, 2015, and the 40-35 victory by the Bruins was somewhat overshadowed when Mora pulled his hand away from Kansas State coach Bill Snyder during their postgame handshake because he didn't like the way the Wildcats remained physical as the Bruins tried to run out the clock. Mora won't get that opportunity again, but the 78-year-old Snyder is still winning games for Kansas State.

    TV:
    9 p.m. ET, ESPN

    LINE HISTORY:
    The Bruins opened as 2.5-point underdogs but are getting 6.5 points because of Rosen's questionable status. The total opened at 62 and dropped to 60.5.

    INJURY REPORT:


    UCLA - QB Josh Rosen (Concussion, Doubtful), QB Devon Modster (Thumb, Questionable), DL Jaelan Phillips (Undisclosed, Questionable), LB Lokeni Toailoa (Ribs, Questionable).

    Kansas State - WR Dalton Schoen (Collarbone, Questionable), DB AJ Parker (Undisclosed, Questionable), QB Alex Delton (Concussion, Questionable), DB D.J. Reed (Undisclosed, Questionable), TE Dayton Valentine (Undisclosed, Questionable), DB Kendall Adams (Foot, Questionable).

    ABOUT KANSAS STATE (7-5 SU, 5-6-1 ATS, 6-6 O/U):
    The Wildcats are on their third quarterback this season, but they might be playing their best football behind freshman Skylar Thompson, who only threw two passes the first seven games but is a combined 25-for-34 passing in the past two games with four touchdown throws and no interceptions. Jesse Ertz started the first five games before he sustained a season-ending knee injury, and Alex Delton started the next four before he was sidelined with a concussion. Thompson has a nice choice of receivers in deep-threat Byron Pringle, who is averaging 25.2 yards on his 28 receptions, or Isaiah Zuber, who has caught a team-high 51 passes for 510 yards and four touchdowns.

    ABOUT UCLA (6-6 SU, 4-8 ATS, 8-4 O/U):
    The receiving corps for the Bruins took a couple major hits when leading receiver Darren Andrews sustained a season-ending knee injury on Nov. 3 against Utah, a month after sure-handed tight end Caleb Wilson was lost for the season with a foot injury. Rosen still has a great option in junior wide receiver Jordan Lasley, who's coming off back-to-back 200-yard receiving efforts while significantly improving his NFL Draft stock. The challenge for Rosen will be finding other receivers, as Lasley is sure to draw consistent double coverage, even against Kansas State's weak pass defense.

    TRENDS:


    *The Bruins 1-7 ATS in their last eight non-conference games.
    *The Wildcats are 2-7 ATS in their last nine bowl games.
    *The Bruins are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games overall.

    CONSENSUS:
    About 60 percent of players are backing the Wildcats to cover as 6.5-point chalk and 59 percent like the game to play over the 59.5-point total.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  3. #78
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    Tuesday's Bowl Tip Sheet
    December 24, 2017


    **Utah vs. West Virginia**

    Heart of Dallas Bowl History


    -- The Utah Utes (6-6 straight up, 8-3-1 against the spread) of the Pac-12 Conference meet the West Virginia Mountaineers (7-5 straight up, 5-6-1 against the spread) of the Big 12 Conference in a Power 5 matchup in the Cotton Bowl in the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl. It's a meeting between two teams who have much loftier goals before the season began. Utah is fairly lucky to be bowling anywhere after a late-season swoon, while the Mountaineers enter on a much higher note. Vegas expects rather moderate scoring in this one, with the total holding steady around 56.

    -- The Utes won their regular-season finale on Nov. 25 against Colorado by a 34-13 score to gain bowl eligibility on the final day of the season, covering in back-to-back games for the first time since opening the season 4-0 ATS in the first four weekends. The Utes fired out of the box with a 4-0 SU/ATS record, but a stunning 23-20 loss to Stanford really kicked them off track back on Oct. 7. They followed that up with a narrow 28-27 loss at USC on Oct. 14, and then they had their doors blown off 30-10 at home against Arizona State. After winning their first four, they endured a four-game losing streak with a 41-20 setback at Oregon back on Oct. 28. They were fortunate enough to face UCLA without pro prospect QB Drew Rosen on Nov. 3, and they went on to a 48-17 win to snap their drought.

    -- When the Utes are on offense, the Mountaineers should expect to see a heavy dose of RB Zack Moss. He was this season's version of Joe Williams (man, I love that guy!). Moss rolled for 1,023 yards on 194 attempts, averaging 5.3 yards per tote while punching in nine touchdowns. When Moss wasn't running the ball, it was dual-threat QB Tyler Huntley doing his thing. He completed 65.4 percent of his pass attempts for 2,246 yards, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while also running for 480 yards and four scores. He missed the regular-season finale due to an unspecified injury, giving way to QB Troy Williams. However, Huntley is fully expected to suit up for this one. Devonta'e Henry-Cole is also a bruiser who averaged 5.0 yards per attempts while finding the end zone twice.

    -- In the pass game it was WR Darren Carrington II showing his playmaking ability, leading the team with 66 receptions, 918 yards and six scores. WRs Raelon Singleton and Siaosi Wilson proved that the Utes aren't a one-trick pony in the receiving corps, as Singleton found the end zone four times with 14.1 yards per reception, whileWilson was good for 20 grabs, 393 yards and a touchdown, gathering nearly 20 yards on every catch. WR Demari Simpkins is another speedster from South Florida who found his way to Salt Lake City, and he has a bright future. He showed glimpses of brilliance with 27 grabs, 337 yards and a score.

    -- Utah was right down the middle in most offensive and defensive categories. They ranked 48th in the nation in total yards (417.7 per game), while accounting for 256.4 passing yards game to rank 44th. They also averaged 29.5 points per game (PPG) to check in 57th in the country. Their field-goal efficiency was one of the better percentages in the nation, converting 84.4 percent of their tries to check in 15th. On defense, Utah was stingy, finishing 32nd in the country in total yards allowed (353.5 yards per game), and they yielded just 138.5 yards per game on the ground to finishing 38th in the country in that category. They also allowed just 23.9 PPG, ranking 43rd overall.

    -- For West Virginia, they were humming along nicely until QB Will Grier suffered a broken middle finger on his throwing hand in the Nov. 18 game against Texas. It was an injury which required corrective surgery. While he has yet to be ruled out for the game, head coach Dana Holgorsen has said it doesn't look good that Grier will be able to play. As such, expect to see QB Chris Chugunov under center for West Virginia.

    -- The Mountaineers finished 14th in the country in total yards (485.5 yards per game), including 324.8 passing yards per game to rank 12th in the nation. However, that's mostly with Grier at the helm. When the team needed to run the ball they were rather middling, averaging 160.8 yards per game on the ground. Justin Crawford wasn't terrible, going for 1,060 yards on 5.5 yards per tote, scoring seven touchdowns. Kennedy McCoy also scored seven rushing touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards per carry, so there is talent there. Chugunov completed just 54.8 percent of his passes while posting 407 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in his appearances this season. While Grier has some mobility, Chugunov will never be confused with a dual-threat QB, either.

    -- West Virginia's defense is among the worst of all bowl teams, as they allowed 452.5 yards per game to rank 111th in the nation, while finishing exactly 100th in the country in passing yardage allowed (247.8 yards per game) and 105th in rushing yards (204.8 yards per game). Utah should be able to move the ball early and often against a defensive unit which struggled all season, yielding 23 or more points in each of the final three outings, and eight of their final nine matchups.

    -- The Mountaineers have some talented receivers, lead by Gary Jennings. He gathered 94 balls for 1,030 yards, but he managed just one score. A majority of the scoring was done by WRs David Sills V and Ka'Raun White. Sills had just 60 receptions, but 18 of them were good for touchdowns. White posted 58 grabs for 978 yards, but 11 of his receptions resulted in a score, too. WR Marcus Simms also got into them mix with 32 receptions, 630 yards and five touchdowns, so West Virginia has the players to take it to the house on most every play.

    -- As a single-digit favorite this season, Utah finished 4-1 SU/ATS, winning and covering in their past two instances as 9 1/2-point favorites both against Colorado and UCLA. The only time they failed to cover as a single-digit favorite was at Oregon on Oct. 28 as a three-point fave.

    -- As a single-digit underdog this season, West Virginia failed in each outing by going 0-2 SU/ATS. They dropped their opener 31-24 against Virginia Tech as a five-point 'dog, and they were tripped up 50-39 at home back on Oct. 28 against visiting Oklahoma State as an 8 1/2-point underdog.

    -- Utah has posted a 9-3 ATS mark over their past 12 bowl games, and they're 9-3 ATS in their past 12 neutral-site battles, too. The Utes have also posted an impressive 18-7-1 ATS mark over their past 26 against teams with a winning overall record. Outside the Pac-12, Utah has posted a 44-21-2 ATS mark over the past 67 non-conference games, while going 4-0 ATS in their past four against Big 12 foes.

    -- Dating back to the Las Vegas Bowl in 1999, the Utes are on quite the roll when it comes to the postseason. They're a whopping 13-1 SU in their past 14 bowl appearances, falling only to Boise State in the 2010 Las Vegas Bowl. Last season they pushed past Indiana by a 26-24 score in the Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, Calif. These teams actually have met in a bowl game, too, squaring off in the 1964 Liberty Bowl at the Atlantic City Convention Hall. It was Utah winning by a 32-6 score in front of 6,059 fans.

    -- The Mountaineers haven't been very good against the number lately, going 1-4-1 ATS over their past six, and 0-4 ATS in their past four bowl games. They're also a dismal 0-5 ATS in their past five neutral-site appearances.

    -- West Virginia was tripped up by Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl last season, falling 31-14 in Orlando. They were victorious in their most recent bowl appearance against a Pac-12 side, topping Arizona State in the Cactus Bowl on Jan. 2, 2016 in Phoenix. However, Holgorsen is 2-3 SU in his five games as coach in a bowl game.

    -- Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

    **Duke vs. Northern Illinois**

    Quick Lane Bowl History

    -- In the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich., the Duke Blue Devils (6-6 straight up, 6-5-1 against the spread) from the Atlantic Coast Conference locks horns with the Northern Illinois Huskies (8-4 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) from the Mid-American Conference.

    -- Both teams should be rather happy to be bowling, especially Duke. They shot out of the chute with four wins to open the season, including an impressive 41-17 victory over Northwestern back on Sept. 9. They also opened 4-0 ATS. However, the Blue Devils endured a six-game losing streak which just about ended any chances of bowl eligibility. They came alive in the final two games, posting a 43-20 win against Georgia Tech, and an impressive 31-23 victory at Wake Forest in the regular-season finale to get their elusive sixth win and go bowling for a fifth time in the past six seasons, quite the feat for the Blue Devils.

    -- Duke didn't pass the ball well this season, ranking 81st in the country with 210.2 yards per game through the air. They also didn't pile up the points, posting a meager 25.8 PPG to finish 84th overall in the land. The reason the Blue Devils are bowling is mostly because of their defense. Duke allowed just 338.8 yards per game to rank 25th in the country, and they were even stingier in pass defense by allowing just 174.8 yards per game, finishing 11th overall. They yielded just 20.8 PPG, too, finishing 26th in the nation.

    -- QB Daniel Jones wasn't terribly effective up top, completing just 55.7 percent of his pass attempts for 2,439 yards, 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He did good work on the ground, however, rushing for 432 yards while tying for the team lead with six rushing scores. RB Shaun Wilson led the way with 743 yards and five touchdowns, while Brittain Brown gobbled up 660 yards with a team-high 5.6 yards per total and a team-high tying six rushing scores.

    -- The top three receivers on this team each had just one touchdown grab, so that's an area of concern for Duke. WR T.J. Rahming is this year's version of Conner Vernon or Jamison Crowder, posting 61 receptions for 733 yards and 12.0 yards per grab. The next best receiver was Johnathan Lloyd, who hauled in 37 balls for 364 yards and a score. RB Shaun Wilson came out of the backfield to snag 32 receptions for 241 yards and five scores, while TE Daniel Helm totaled 188 yards and two scores while going for 11.1 yards per grab.

    -- Like Duke, NIU is rather marginal on the offensive side of the ball. They averaged 388.1 yards per game, finishing 82nd in the land, while rushing was their biggest area of success. The Huskies posted 190.0 yards per game to finish 37th overall in the country. That will be the key to this game - NIU's rushing offense vs. Duke's rushing defense. On defense, the Huskies were sharp. They gave up just 328.4 yards per game to check in 18th in the country, and they ranked 11th in the nation with 112.2 yards per game allowed. They also yielded just 20.8 PPG to finish 27th.

    -- The offense is led by freshman QB Marcus Childers, who is rather green, but he has tremendous upside. The frosh completed just 57.3 percent of his throws for 1,445 yards, 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also scampered for 459 and five touchdowns, a mark which actually led the team. When Childers wasn't running it was Jordan Huff leading the charge. He averaged a robust 5.8 yards per game, compiling 740 yards with four scores. Marcus Jones is also one to watch, as he racked up 347 yards and two touchdowns.

    -- WR Spencer Tears won't make anyone cry, but he was pretty effective with 39 receptions for a team-high 461 yards and four touchdowns. Like Duke, the Huskies also like to use their tight end, and it was TE Shane Wimann leading the team with seven receiving TDs, posting 30 grabs for 283 yards and 9.4 yards per receptions. WR Christian Blake, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla. product, tied for the team lead with 39 grabs while adding 421 yards and four scores.

    -- Duke posted a dismal 2-5-1 ATS over their past eight games overall, but they're 19-6-1 ATS in their past 26 non-conference tilts. They re also an impressive 13-1 ATS across their past 14 games on a fieldturf surface. The 'over' has also cashed in each of the past four bowl games for the Blue Devils, although the 'under' was 9-1 over their past 10. The under is also 9-4 in Duke's past 13 non-conference tilts and 5-1 in their past six against teams with a winning overall record.

    -- NIU hasn't been as good against the number recently, posting a 1-4 ATS mark over their past five overall, and 1-6 ATS in their past seven games in the month of December. They're also 0-4 ATS in their past four bowl appearances, while going 5-15-1 ATS across the past 21 neutral-site games. However, they have covered four in a row outside the conference while going 4-1-1 ATS in their past six tries against ACC foes.

    -- Duke won a thrilling Pinstripe Bowl in their most recent postseason appearance, topping Indiana 44-41 back on Dec. 26, 2015. That was their first bowl victory since the 1961 Cotton Bowl when they edged out Arkansas by a 7-6 score. The Blue Devils also have the honor of hosting the 1942 Rose Bowl in their home stadium back in North Carolina, a loss to Oregon State. That Rose Bowl was moved from California to North Carolina due to World War II and the threat to the west coast.

    -- This will be NIU's first bowl appearance since Dec. 23, 2015, a 55-7 spanking from Boise State in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Huskies have been on the short end of their past four bowl appearances, including the 2013 Orange Bowl when they were basically a Group of Six team facing off against Florida State. Their last bowl win was Jan. 8, 2012 in the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, Ala. against Arkansas State, 38-20.

    -- Kickoff is slated for 5:15 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

    **Kansas State vs. UCLA**

    Cactus Bowl History


    -- The latest installment of the Cactus Bowl at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz. features two more Power 5 Conference teams battling each other. The Kansas State Wildcats (7-5 straight up, 5-6-1 against the spread) from the Big 12 battle the UCLA Bruins (6-6 straight up, 4-8 against the spread) from the Pac-12.

    -- The Bruins will be led by interim head coach Jedd Fisch, who keeps the seat warm until Chip Kelly is ready to take over in the offseason. Fisch is in there because the team elected to can Jim Mora Jr. after the team's loss against USC. He steered them to a 30-27 victory against California in the regular season finale back on Nov. 24, helping the team secure bowl eligibility when it looked rather grim.

    -- UCLA ranked 19th in the nation in total yardage with 465.7 yards per game, and they were fifth in the nation with 345.3 yards per game through the air. That's because of NFL prospect Drew Rosen airing it out early and often. The run game wasn't much to write home about, ranking a dismal 114th in the nation with just 120.3 yards per game. On defense, the Bruins were dinged for 488.8 yards per game, ranking 123rd in the country. That's an area they'll need to shore up if they're to have success. They couldn't stop anyone on the ground, yielding a dismal 282.7 yards per game to check in 129th.

    -- The offense is all about Rosen, and he will play in the bowl game. The trend for pro prospects lately has been to skip the team's bowl game, but he vowed to play. He completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 3,717 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for two scores, but he'll never be confused with Michael Vick or Cam Newton. Bolo Olorunfunmi gave the team some semblance of a run game down the stretch, posting a team-best 542 yards with five scores, while Soso Jamabo scored a team-best six rushing touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

    -- WR Jordan Lasley is Rosen's favorite target, hauling in 61 balls for 1,136 yards and eight scores. He also led the team with a sparkling 18.6 yards per reception. WR Darren Andrews is right there with 773 yards and 12.9 yards per grab, while leading the team with 10 touchdown grabs. TE Caleb Wilson also served as a nice tertiary receiving option, posting 38 grabs, 490 yards, 12.9 yards per catch and one score. Jamabo has the best hands of the receivers out of the backfield, catching 16 balls with 12.4 yards per reception.

    -- K-State struggled on the offensive side of the ball, at least in the passing game. The Wildcats were able to muster just 181.7 yards per game through the air, ranking 97th in the country. Their bread was buttered in the run game, posting 186.7 yards per game, which was good for 41st in the country. They're also decent in the kick game, should the game be decided by a late field goal. On defense, they lock it down against the run, giving up just 121.8 yards per game to check in 19th. That makes it likely UCLA runs even less than they usually do, especially since the Wildcats allowed 310.2 yards per game through the air to rank 129th in FBS. Not good against a QB like Rosen and a pass-first offense.

    -- QB Jesse Ertz was lost for the season in late November to a knee injury, and QB Alex Delton (head) is a question mark for the bowl game. QB Skylar Thompson is likely to start, and he posted a team-best 63.2 completion percent with 662 passing yards, five touchdowns and just two interceptions while running 64 times for 263 yards and three scores. RB Alex Barnes topped the charts with 702 rushing yards and six touchdowns, and Delton was second on the team with 342 yards and five scores, so he could help out if cleared.

    -- With a hodgepodge at quarterback this season, you would think the receiving game struggles, but WR Byron Pringle is a talented playmaker in the mold of a Darren Sproles or Tyler Lockett, two former K-State alumni. He had just 28 grabs, but went for a team-high 705 yards or 25.2 yards per receptions while finding the end zone six times. He is also a big-time threat in the special teams department, so watch for that. WR Isaiah Zuber is a possession receiver who is a go-to guy when trying to move the sticks. He had by far the most catches (51), while posting four scores. WR Dalton Schoen posted 20.4 yards per reception with three scores.

    -- The Wildcats limp into this game with a 2-7 ATS mark over their past nine bowl games, and they're just 2-5 ATS across the past seven neutral-site battles. They're also just 1-5 ATS in their past six tries against teams from the Pac-12 Conference.

    -- The Bruins haven't exactly lit the world afire against the number, either, going 1-7 ATS in their past eight non-conference battles, 4-10 ATS in their past 14 overall and 7-16 ATS in the past 23 on grass surfaces. The Bruins like to go 'over', posting a 5-1-1 mark in their past seven non-conference tilts, and an 11-4 'over' mark in the past 15 vs. teams from the Big 12.

    -- If this seems like a familiar bowl matchup, these two teams did meet in the 2015 Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. The Bruins came away with a 40-35 victory. It's a familiar result for the Wildcats, as they're a dismal 2-7 SU over their past nine bowl games.

    -- UCLA is bowling for the first time since Dec. 26, 2015 in the Foster Farms Bowl, a 37-29 loss in a thriller against Nebraska. Their last bowl victory was that win against K-State in the Alamo Bowl, and they're 2-1 in their past three, but just 6-11 SU over their past 17 postseason appearances.

    -- Kickoff is slated for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    TUESDAY, DECEMBER 26
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    UTAH at WVU 01:30 PM
    UTAH -7.0
    U 56.0

    DUKE at NIU 05:15 PM
    DUKE -6.5
    U 47.0


    KSU at UCLA 09:00 PM
    KSU -6.5
    O 61.5
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Bowl roundup: Jones carries Duke past NIU
    December 26, 2017

    DETROIT -- Sophomore quarterback Daniel Jones accounted for 338 yards and three touchdowns to lead Duke to a 36-14 win over Northern Illinois in the Quick Lane Bowl on Tuesday.

    Jones finished 27 of 40 for 252 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries for the Blue Devils (7-6), who ended the season on a three-game winning streak after losing six in a row.

    Duke, which amassed 465 yards of total offense, scored four touchdowns in the first half to take a 26-14 lead at halftime.

    Marcus Childers threw for 234 yards and a touchdown for the Huskies (8-5). Northern Illinois' Jauan Wesley caught two passes for 109 yards and a score.

    Utah 30, West Virginia 14

    DALLAS -- Zack Moss ran for 150 yards, and Utah's defense held West Virginia to six first downs in a victory at the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

    Quarterback Tyler Huntley added a pair of 2-yard touchdown runs and Matt Gay made three field goals for the Utes (7-6), who improved to 11-1 in bowl games under coach Kyle Whittingham.

    West Virginia (7-6), its offense decimated by injuries to three starters and the decision by 1,000-yard rusher Justin Crawford to skip the bowl, ended the season on a three-game losing skid. All three losses occurred after starting quarterback Will Grier sustained a dislocated finger on his throwing hand against Texas on Nov. 18. Grier was on the sideline in sweats this time as the Mountaineers managed only 153 yards.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Kansas State beats UCLA 35-17 in Cactus Bowl
    December 26, 2017


    PHOENIX (AP) Alex Delton ran for 158 yards and accounted for four touchdowns, leading Kansas State to a 35-17 Cactus Bowl victory over UCLA on Tuesday night in what could be the final game of coach Bill Snyder's career.

    Delton replaced Skylar Thompson late in the first quarter and scored on runs of 68 yards, 3 yards and 1 yard. Alex Barnes added 117 yards and a touchdown for the Wildcats, who rushed for 345 yards.

    Kansas State (8-5) struggled in the first half against UCLA's potent offense, but shut down the Bruins in the second to give Snyder his 210th - and possibly final - win with the Wildcats.

    UCLA (6-7) played without top NFL prospect Josh Rosen, who's recovering from a concussion, and built a 10-point halftime lead without its star quarterback.

    The Bruins' offensive success didn't carry over into the second half and their defense had a hard time containing Delton, saddling interim coach Jedd Fisch with a loss in his last game before Chip Kelly takes over the program.

    Snyder turned around one of the nation's worst programs after taking over in the Little Apple in 1989. He returned from a three-year retirement in 2008 and led the Wildcats to eight straight bowl appearances.

    Snyder has not decided whether he will return for a 27th season or retire again to spend time with his family.

    The 78-year-old coach made a quarterback change in the first quarter of the Cactus Bowl, replacing Thompson after an interception. Delton had an immediate impact with his legs, bursting through a hole in the middle, making a tackler miss and racing 68 yards for a touchdown.

    Snyder took a gamble in the third quarter, opting to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1. Delton came through again, bulling his way through a massive pile - with some help from his teammates - for a hard-earned score.

    Kansas State recovered Bolu Olorunfunmi's fumble at the Bruins 24-yard line on the next play from scrimmage, and Delton hit Dominique Heath for an 8-yard touchdown to give the Wildcats the lead.

    UCLA turned it over on downs - after a successful fake punt - and Kansas State turned its fourth-down try into a touchdown, with Alex Barnes putting the Wildcats up 28-17 with a 41-yard run.

    Kansas State gave UCLA no hope of a comeback with a drive that lasted more than eight minutes and ended with Delton's final TD run.

    Rosen, expected to leave for the NFL after his junior year, was in uniform at Chase Field and warmed up before the game, but Devon Modster trotted out to the huddle for UCLA.

    The Bruins still had their big-play game going even without Rosen, building a 17-7 halftime lead on two long TD passes by Modster.

    UCLA's offensive roll ended with halftime. The Bruins had 100 total yards and three first downs in the second half.

    THE TAKEAWAY

    If this was the final game of Snyder's career, the Wildcats sent him out on a high note with a dominant second-half performance.

    UCLA's defense, a sore spot all season, had no answer for Delton, and its offense could have used Rosen in the second half.

    UP NEXT

    Kansas State: The Wildcats should be in good shape on offense next season whether Snyder returns or not. Kansas State has no seniors on its two-deep roster on offense, though there are five on defense.

    UCLA: Kelly will likely have to replace Rosen when he takes over, but will have plenty of firepower returning. He's also one of the nation's top recruiters, so the Bruins should be well-stocked with talent.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 27

    Matchup Skinny Edge


    SOUTHERN MISS vs. FLORIDA STATE (Independence Bowl)...FSU 1-3 vs. line last four bowls, also 2-9 vs. spread this season. USM 8-4 vs. line in 2017, 10-4 last 14 vs. number since late 2016, and 5-1 last six as dog.
    Southern Miss, based on team trends.

    BOSTON COLLEGE vs. IOWA (Yankee Pinstripe Bowl)...BC closed this season on 8-0-1 spread tear. Addazio now 7-1-1 last 9 as dog. Ferentz no covers last three or four of last five bowls, and Iowa just 1-4-1 vs. line last six away from Iowa City.
    Boston College, based on team trends.

    MISSOURI vs. TEXAS (Texas Bowl)...Mizzou closed hot covering 7 of last 8 this season, but Tom Herman 4-1 as dog this season, and his Houston and Texas teams are 9-1 as a dog since 2015. Horns were 7-3-1 vs. line themselves down stretch in 2016.
    Slight to Texas, based on Herman dog trends.

    PURDUE vs. ARIZONA (Foster Farms Bowl)
    ...Brohm covered bowls the past two seasons at WKU, and his Tops and Purdue teams are 28-15-1 vs. spread their last 44 games on the board. Brohm teams also 5-2-1 last eight as dog. Arizona 1-5 vs. line last six bowls, Rich-Rod 1-3 vs. points in bowls with Cats. Arizona closed season 0-4 vs. spread and is 7-19 last 26 on board since late 2015.
    Purdue, based on team trends
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Wednesday's Early Bowl Tips
    December 26, 2017


    **Southern Mississippi vs. Florida State**

    Independence Bowl History


    -- The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (8-4 straight up, 8-4 against the spread) of Conference USA meets the Florida State Seminoles (6-6 straight up, 3-7-2 against the spread) from the Atlantic Coast Conference in Shreveport, La. for the Walk On's Independence Bowl. For most of the season it looked like the Seminoles would not be eligible for a bowl game, and it took a make-up game in December to get them over the finish line. But they're in Shreveport, and happy to get those extra few weeks of practice, as interim head coach Odell Haggins works one final game before the Willie Taggart Era begins in Tallahassee.

    -- The Seminoles lost QB Deondre Francois in the opener against Alabama back on Sept. 2, and in stepped true freshman James Blackman. After struggles for a good chunk of the season, including a narrow loss to North Carolina State in his first start, a last-second loss to rival Miami and another disappointment against Louisville in Tallahassee, the team turned it around on Nov. 4. They topped Syracuse 27-24, and ended up 4-1 SU with three straight covers to close out their season. The offense picked up in the final three outings, too, averaging 52.3 PPG while the defense yielded just 12.7 PPG. That's what FSU fans have grown accustomed to seeing, although two of the wins were against Louisiana-Monroe and FCS Delaware State, not exactly a murderer's row.

    -- The offense ranked 107th in the nation with just 343.6 yards per game, while checking in 92nd in the country with 192.8 passing yards per outing. They were also 84th in the country with 150.8 rushing yards per contest, while posting a rather middling 26.7 points per game to rank 79th in scoring. Defense held the Seminoles together this season, ranking 23rd in total yards (337.0), 36th in passing yards (201.0), 33rd in rushing yards (136.0) and 33rd in points allowed (21.9).

    -- Blackman completed 155 of his 271 pass attempts (57.2 percent) with 1,997 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He improved as the season went on and looks to have a bright future, regardless if Francois is able to return or not. The passing game features two wide receivers who will be vital pieces in Taggart's 'Gulf Coast Offense' when he officially takes over. WR Nyqwan Murray reeled in a team-best 40 receptions while posting 604 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 15.1 yards per snare. WR Auden Tate was able to find the end zone seven times, posting 464 yards on 13.3 yards per grab. RB Cam Akers came out of the backfield with 15 grabs for 102 yards, and he led the team with 931 rushing yards and seven touchdowns while gobbling up 5.1 yards per tote. Jacques Patrick posted 687 yards with six touchdowns, including 155 yards and two scores in the finale vs. ULM.

    -- USM was a lot more balanced this season, ranking 34th in total yards at 438.3 yards per game, while ranking 48th in passing yards (249.3) and 39th in rushing yards (189.0). They were also a decent 50th overall with 30.5 points per outing. On the defensive side they rivaled FSU with 321.9 yards per game allowed, 17th in the country, while ranking 26th in passing yards allowed (189.8), 27th in rushing yards allowed (132.2) and 39th in scoring defense (23.0 PPG).

    -- Like Florida State, the Golden Eagles won their final three games of the season, averaging 45.7 PPG while covering the final two against Charlotte and Marshall. The Golden Eagles are more than two-touchdown underdogs in this one, and they have excelled in the role this season. USM is 2-2 SU/3/1 ATS as an underdog this season, including a straight-up win as a 10 1/2-point underdog at Texas-San Antonio back on Oct. 7, and a victory as a two-point 'dog in the final at Marshall on Nov. 25.

    -- Kwadra Griggs had some injury issues this season, limiting him to 1,793 passing yards, but he had a 15-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio when he was in there. His hand is all healed up and he did not show any ill effects down the stretch. If needed, however, Keon Howard proved to be a valuable contributor. RB Ito Smith is a dangerous tailback that Florida State will have to corral if they hope to win. He posted 5.7 yards per rush every time he touched the ball, running for 1,321 yards and 13 touchdowns, including 150 or more yards in each of the final three games this season. In the final three wins the senior rushed for 453 yards and six touchdowns. WR Korey Robertson was the stud among receivers, racking up 72 receptions for 1,070 yards and 11 touchdowns while posting 14.9 yards per reception. WR Allenzae Staggers is a nice complement to Robertson, posting 43-469-5, while Ito Smith showed soft hands out of the backfield with 370 yards and two scores on 36 grabs. Freshman WR Quez Watkins is also a star in the making with 337 yards and two scores, posting 14.7 yards per snare.

    -- The Golden Eagles have posted a 10-4 ATS mark over their past 14 overall while going 4-1 ATS in their past five games outside of the conference. USM is also 6-2 ATS in their past eight outings following a cover, and 4-1 ATS in their past five games after a straight-up win. However, they're a dismal 1-3-1 ATS in their past five neutral-site games, and 1-3-1 ATS in their past five bowl appearances. The 'under' is also 5-0-1 in the past six non-conference tilts for USM.

    -- The Seminoles have posted an impressive 7-1 ATS mark in their past eight games outside of the conference, and they're 9-2-1 ATS in the past 12 bowl games. While they were an awful 3-7-2 ATS in 12 games overall, they have covered the past three in a row. They're also 7-3 ATS in their past 10 games following a straight-up win, while going 5-0 ATS in their past five after a cover. FSU is just 2-6 ATS in their past eight neutral-site games, however, including 0-1 ATS this season, while posting a dismal 0-4-2 ATS mark in the past six against teams with a winning overall mark.

    -- The 'under' is 4-1-1 in the past six for FSU against teams with a winning overall record, while going 8-3-1 in their past 12 games overall. The under is also 5-2 in their past seven bowl appearances, though the 'over' is 6-1 in their past seven neutral-site games. That 'under' came earlier this season against Alabama in the opener.

    -- USM is making its third straight bowl appearance, winning last season against Louisiana-Lafayette in the New Orleans Bowl by a 28-21 count. However, they're just 11-13 overall in bowl games. The Golden Eagles have scored at least 21 points in each of their past 10 bowl appearances.

    -- Florida State snapped a two-game bowl losing streak last Dec. 30 with a 33-32 win against Michigan. However, they're 7-2 SU over their past nine bowl trips. This is their first-ever bowl game against a Conference USA foe, and first trip to the Independence Bowl.

    -- These teams last met Nov. 16, 1996, and it was the Seminoles annihilating the Golden Eagles by a 54-14 score/

    -- Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

    **Iowa vs. Boston College**

    Pinstripe Bowl History


    -- In the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y. it will be Iowa (7-5 straight up, 5-6-1 against the spread) of the Big Ten squaring off against Atlantic Coast Conference representative Boston College (7-5 straight up, 8-3-1 against the spread).

    -- The Eagles of BC showed vast improvement as the season wore on. They kicked off their season with a 23-20 win on the road against bowl team North Illinois, but lost three straight against bowl teams Wake Forest, Notre Dame and at Clemson. It's rather amazing, but 10 of the 12 teams the Eagles faced this season were bowl teams, and BC posted a 5-5 SU record and 6-3-1 ATS mark against such teams. That includes a 35-3 shellacking of Florida State back on Oct. 27 in the annual 'Red Bandana Game', as well as an impressive 45-42 win at Louisville back on Oct. 14.

    -- The overall numbers are rather deceptive, as the Eagles check in 87th in the country in total yards per game (387.0), while posting just 162.8 yards per game (115th in the nation). They made their money running the ball this season, piling up 224.2 yards per outing to rank 24th in the country. On the defensive side of the ball, the Eagles had issues stopping the run, ranking 101st in the nation with 198.6 yards per game allowed. However, they were strong against the pass, checking in 32nd with 199.3 yards per game. Their scoring defense allowed just 22.5 points per game, finishing a respectable 35th in the land.

    -- QB Anthony Brown (knee) was lost for the season due to a knee injury suffered in the North Carolina State game on Nov. 11, so it's Darius Wade taking over. He didn't skip a beat, posting a 2-0 record with the offense averaged 40.5 PPG in two wins on the road against Connecticut (at Fenway Park) and at Syracuse. He threw for 248 yards and a touchdown in the game against the Orange. RB A.J. Dillon is the stud on offense, posting 1,432 yards with 13 touchdowns and 5.3 yards per rush. Jon Hilliman is the short-yardage hammer, finishing with 622 yards with five touchdowns, while Thaddius Smith was good for 287 yards and two scores. WR Kobay White led the team with 396 yards and two scores, while TE Tommy Sweeney managed 29 grabs for 375 yards and three touchdowns, a team high.

    -- Iowa had a rather up-and-down season, but there were some impressive points. They won their first three games, all against bowl teams (Wyoming, Iowa State, North Texas), before a narrow 21-19 loss at home against Penn State on Sept. 23. Most will remember their 2017 season for a 55-24 thrashing of Ohio State back on Nov. 4 which really shook up the national title and playoff picture, however.

    -- The Hawkeyes had their issues on offense, finishing 109th in total yards with 339.8, while ranking 89th in passing yards (197.4) and 93rd in rushing yards (142.4). They were middle of the road with 28.3 points per game to rank 66th in the nation. They were much more impressive on defense, ranking 34th with 356.2 yards per game allowed, 49th in pass defense (213.2 yards per game), 40th in rushing defense (143.0 yards) and 18th in points allowed (19.9 PPG).

    -- QB Nathan Stanley handled the quarterback duties for almost the entire season, completing 56.0 percent of his passes for 2,333 yards, 25 touchdowns and six interceptions. RB Akrum Wadley led the way with 1,021 yards and nine rushing touchdowns on 4.4 yards per carry, and he added 329 receiving yards with three more scores. TE Noah Fant led the team with 10 receiving scores, while WR Nick Easley (undisclosed) led the way with 50 catches and 498 yards while adding four scores. He is questionable for the game. WR Matt VandeBerg would need to step up if Easley is out or limited. He posted 27 grabs for 375 yards and two touchdowns this season.

    -- Iowa has posted an 0-3-1 ATS mark over their past four neutral-site games, they're 1-4 ATS in the past five bowl games and 1-4 ATS in their past five outside of the conference. The 'under' is also 5-1 in Iowa's past six non-conference battles, while going 9-3 in their past 12 neutral-site appearances.

    -- BC has been on fire against the number lately, going 8-0-1 ATS in their past nine overall, including 4-0-1 ATS in the past five against teams with a winning overall mark. They're also 3-0-1 ATS in the past four neutral-site games. However, the Eagles are 2-6 ATS in their past eight bowl games, 1-4 ATS in their past five against the Big Ten while going 1-8 ATS in the past nine games in December.

    -- The 'under' is 24-10-1 in Boston College's past 35 games overall, 35-16-2 in their past 53 against teams with an overall winning record and 31-12 in their past 43 outside of the ACC.

    -- The Hawkeyes are looking to snap a five-game bowl losing streak, including a 30-3 spanking in the 2016 Outback Bowl against Florida. Their last bowl victory came in the 2010 Insight Bowl against Missouri.

    -- The Eagles are making a bowl appearance for the second straight season, and they're looking for a second straight win after topping Maryland at Ford Field on Dec. 26, 2016 in the Quick Lane Bowl. This will be their second appearance in the Pinstripe Bowl, and they hope it's better than 2014 when they dropped a 31-30 overtime decision against Penn State. It's a third straight bowl appearance against a Big Ten team, too.

    -- This will be the first-ever meeting between these two institutions.

    -- Kickoff is slated for 5:15 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Wednesday's Late Bowl Tips
    December 26, 2017


    **Missouri vs. Texas**


    -- The Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 will collide Wednesday at NRG Stadium in Houston, where Missouri will take on Texas in the Texas Bowl. As of early Tuesday, most betting shops had Missouri (7-5 straight up, 7-5 against the spread) listed as a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 60.5. The Longhorns were +120 on the money line (risk $100 to win $120).

    -- Missouri brings a six-game winning streak to the Longhorn State. The Tigers won by at least 29 points in the first five games of this current surge, although we should note quite a few cupcakes on that victim list. Nevertheless, Barry Odom went from a rapidly-warming seat in terms of his job security to a contract extension following his second regular season as head coach.

    -- Since losing three home games in a row by 107 combined points to South Carolina (31-13), Purdue (35-3) and Auburn (51-14), Missouri has produced a 7-1 spread record. The lone non-cover came in the regular-season finale, when the Tigers defeated Arkansas 48-45 but failed to take the cash as 10-point road ‘chalk.’ Tuck McCann, who buried a 37-yard field goal to give Missouri a 31-28 lead with seven ticks left in the second quarter, hit a 19-yard field goal with five seconds remaining to lift his team to a victory.

    -- Missouri had a 696-446 advantage in total offense over Arkansas, in addition to a 35-19 edge in first downs. Ish Witter rushed for 170 yards and one TD on 39 carries. Drew Lock threw for 448 yards and five touchdowns, but he was intercepted twice. J’Mon Moore had 10 receptions for 160 yards and one TD, while Emanuel Hall had a pair of catches for 111 yards and two TDs. Albert Okwuegbunam had five grabs for 63 yards and two TDs.

    -- Witter has run for a team-best 992 rushing yards and five TDs while averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Larry Rountree III has run for 629 yards and six TDs with a 5.6 YPC average.

    -- Missouri is ranked eighth in the nation in total offense, ninth in scoring with a 39.3 points-per-game average, 14th in passing yards and 35th in rushing yards. Missouri’s defense is ranked 89th in total defense, 110th out of 130 FBS teams at defending the pass and 94th in scoring ‘D’ (31.8 PPG).

    -- Lock earned first-team All-SEC honors by completing 58.2 percent of his throws for 3,695 yards with a 43/12 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The junior signal caller has thrown 33 TD passes compared to six interceptions in his team’s past eight games. Moore has 60 receptions for 1,017 yards and 10 TDs, while Hall has 33 catches for 817 yards and eight TDs. Johnathon Johnson has 38 grabs for 639 yards and five TDs, while Okwuegbunam has 25 receptions for 372 yards and 11 TDs.

    -- Missouri is winless against the five foes it has played that qualified for the postseason. The Tigers are 2-2 ATS in their four games as single-digit ‘chalk.’

    -- Texas (6-6 SU, 7-4-1 ATS) owns a 4-1 spread record with one outright win in five games as an underdog this season. During Tom Herman’s three seasons as a head coach, including two years at Houston, his teams are 9-1 ATS with six outright victories.

    -- How bad has the Texas running game been this year? Well, a true freshman QB that’s only played in parts of eight games is the team’s leading rusher. Sam Ehlinger has run for 364 yards and a pair of TDs with a 3.5 YPC average. He has completed 56.5 percent of his passes for 1,803 yards with a 10/7 TD-INT ratio.

    -- Texas enjoyed a 5-0-1 ATS run from early September through October, but the Longhorns struggled to a 1-3 spread record in their last four contests. They were gunning for a third straight SU win in their regular-season finale vs. Texas Tech in Austin. However, the Red Raiders rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to capture a 27-23 win as 7.5-point road underdogs. Ehlinger threw for 239 yards and one TD, but he had a pair of costly interceptions. True freshman RB Daniel Young rushed 13 times for a team-high 55 yards, including a nine-yard TD run that gave UT a 17-10 lead midway through the second quarter.

    --Texas has all sorts of personnel issues right now. Leading tackler Malik Jefferson, a junior LB, is listed as ‘doubtful’ with a toe injury. Jefferson has 110 tackles, four sacks, six tackles for loss and five QB hurries. The Longhorns will also be without three players due to suspensions and two players who aren’t playing to stay healthy for the upcoming NFL Draft. The biggest loss is that of OT Connor Williams, who was a first-team All-American as a true sophomore in 2016. He and junior starting safety DeShon Elliott won’t play with eyes on their futures on Sunday. Elliott is the Longhorns’ second-leading tackler with 63 tackles, six interceptions for 127 return yards and two TDs, 1.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss, nine passes broken up and three forced fumbles. As for the suspensions, they apply to TE Garrett Gray, RB Toneil Carter and WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Carter has run for 252 yards and three TDs while averaging 4.8 YPC. Humphrey is the team’s second-leading receiver with 38 catches for 439 yards and one TD. The Dallas Southlake Carroll High School product also rushed for 41 yards and one TD on six attempts. Gray had four receptions for 18 yards.

    -- Herman named sophomore QB Shane Buechele the starter ahead of Ehlinger vs. Missouri a few days ago. Buechele has connected on 65.8 percent of his passes for 1,350 yards with a 6/4 TD-INT ratio. He has a pair of rushing TDs. Buechele was given the starting nod vs. Texas Tech, only to be relieved by Ehlinger after two series.

    -- Collin Johnson is UT’s leading receiver, hauling in 51 receptions for 725 yards and two TDs. Armanti Foreman has 27 catches for 261 yards and a team-best four TD grabs.

    -- The ‘under’ is on a 6-1 run for Texas to improve to 9-3 overall. UT has seen its games average combined scores of 50.8 PPG.

    -- The ‘over’ is 7-5 overall for the Tigers, but the ‘under’ is 3-2 in their last five outings. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 71.1 PPG.

    **Purdue vs. Arizona**


    -- Purdue and Arizona will square off Wednesday night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA., in the Foster Farms Bowl. As of early Tuesday, most spots had Arizona listed as a three-point favorite with a total of 66. The Boilermakers were +140 on the money line (risk $100 to win $140).

    -- Purdue (6-6 SU, 8-4 ATS) is in the postseason for the first time since getting pounded 58-14 by Oklahoma St. as a 17-point underdog at the 2012 Heart of Dallas Bowl. Jeff Brohm did an outstanding job in the first year of his tenure since coming to the Big Ten after winning three straight C-USA titles at Western Ky. Remember, the Boilermakers won merely nine total games during four seasons of Darrell Hazell’s tenure.

    -- Purdue won three of its past four games both SU and ATS to garner a bowl berth. The Boilermakers closed the regular season with a 31-24 win over Indiana as one-point home ‘chalk.’ They had a 31-10 advantage with six minutes left, only to allow the Hoosiers to score a pair of TDs late in the final stanza to kill my ‘under’ (51) wager. Sophomore QB Elijah Sindelar completed 15-of-29 passes for 159 yards and two TDs without an interception. Markell Jones rushed for 217 yards on 31 carries, while Anthony Mahoungou had a pair of catches for 88 yards and one TD.

    -- Purdue went 3-4 against teams that made the postseason, posting victories over vs. Ohio (44-21), at Missouri (35-3) and at Iowa (24-15). The Boilermakers lost four one-possession games, and two of those defeats came by three combined points. In a 17-9 loss at Wisconsin, they were in the red zone threatening to tie at crunch time before a turnover ended their comeback hopes. Purdue also played Louisville tough in the opener before dropping a 35-28 decision in Indianapolis.

    -- Purdue owns a 4-2 spread record with a pair of outright victories in six games as an underdog this season.

    -- Sindelar became the starter in October when David Blough was injured. Blough briefly returned to the lineup to start Nov. 4 vs. Illinois, but he sustained as season-ending injury vs. the Illini. Sindelar played particularly well in the last four games, throwing eight TD passes compared to just one interception. For the season, Sindelar completed 55.6 percent of his throws for 1,703 yards with a 14/6 TD-INT ratio. He threw for a career-high 376 yards and two TDs in a 23-13 loss at Northwestern.

    -- Jones missed all of September injured and played only in spurts through much of October. He was the primary ball carrier in the last two games, rushing for 74 yards on 14 carries at Iowa. Jones finished the season with a team-high 480 yards and one TD with a 5.2 YPC average. He also had 11 catches for 50 yards. Tario Fuller, the team’s third-leading rusher, went down with a season-ending injury in November. He had run for 261 yards and two TDs with a 6.1 YPC average. RB Richie Worship is also done for the year after rushing for 257 yards and three TDs with a 4.8 YPC average.

    -- Sindelar’s favorite target is Mahoungou, who has 33 receptions for 560 yards and six TDs. Jackson Anthrop has 44 catches for 391 yards and five TDs, while Brycen Hopkins has 23 grabs for 324 yards and three TDs. Cole Herdman has 19 receptions for 316 yards and three TDs. Hopkins, a sophomore TE, is ‘questionable’ vs. Arizona due to a back injury.

    -- Purdue is ranked 16th in the nation in scoring defense, giving up only 19.3 points per game. This unit is 29th in the country in rushing defense. Senior LB Ja’Whaun Bentley is the leader, recording 89 tackles, one pick-six that covered 76 return yards, 9.5 TFL’s, three PBU and a pair of forced fumbles.

    -- The ‘under’ is 9-3 overall for Purdue. It had cashed in six straight before IU’s late fourth-quarter TDs sent that game ‘over’ the total. The Boilermakers have seen their games average combined scores of 43.5 PPG. If the total remains at 65, it will be the third-highest for Purdue this year. Brohm’s team had totals of 66 vs. U of L (‘under’ the 63 combined pts.) and 76 at Missouri (‘under’ the 38 pts.).

    -- Arizona (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS) started the season 2-2 before going to Khalil Tate as its starting QB. Tate immediately led UA to four consecutive victories and into Pac-12 South contention. Trailing 28-6 at Southern Cal midway through the third quarter of a crucial conference clash, Tate exploded in a span of less than 13 minutes of playing action. During this stretch, he had a 32-yard TD run and TD passes of 30 and 16 yards, as the Wildcats pulled even at 35-35 with 8:23 remaining. It wasn’t to be, though, as the Trojans answered with back-to-back scoring drives and won a 49-35 decision.

    -- UA bounced back with a 49-28 win over Oregon St. as a 20.5-point home favorite, only to lose its last two regular-season games. Nevertheless, the Wildcats are back in the postseason after a one-year absence. During Rich Rodriguez’s six-year tenure, they own a 3-1 SU record and a 1-3 ATS mark in four bowl games. They beat New Mexico 45-37 in a true road game at the 2015 New Mexico Bowl, only to fail to cover as nine-point ‘chalk.’

    -- Arizona is ranked third in the nation in rushing yards (324.8 YPG), 11th in total offense and sixth in scoring with a 41.8 PPG average. On the flip side, UA is ranked 117th out of 130 FBS teams in total defense, 122nd vs. the pass and No. 109 in scoring ‘D’ (34.1 PPG).

    -- Tate will be on the list of Heisman Trophy candidates in 2018. He started eight games and played sparingly in two others. The true sophomore completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 1,289 yards with a 9/8 TD-INT ratio. Most notably, Tate ran for 1,353 yards and 12 TDs while averaging 10.2 YPC.

    -- When Tate isn’t keeping the ball himself, most of the touches go to RBs J.J. Taylor and Nick Wilson. Taylor has run for 827 yards and five TDs, averaging 6.1 YPC. Wilson has 585 rushing yards, six TDs and a 4.9 YPC average.

    -- Shun Brown has team-highs in receptions (39), receiving yards (511) and TD catches (five). Tony Ellison has 33 catches for 496 yards and three TDs.

    -- Arizona went 0-2 ATS in a pair of single-digit ‘chalk’ spots. UA went 2-5 both SU and ATS in seven games against foes who made the postseason.

    -- The ‘over’ is 8-4 overall for Arizona, but the ‘under’ cashed in each of its past two regular-season games. Those were brutal beats for ‘over’ backers, however. The Wildcats had second and goal from the one late in the fourth quarter at Arizona State, which held a 42-30 lead (for 72 combined pts.) with the total closing at 75.5. UA came up empty in three plays needing to get one yard into the end zone. In the 48-28 loss at Oregon the week before, I played the ‘over’ at 74.5 points early in the week. The total was still 75 early Friday, only to move up to 77 by Friday afternoon. Therefore, those who took the ‘over’ Friday afternoon or later lost by one point. The ‘over’ hit in six straight games when QB Khalil Tate was initially inserted into the starting lineup. The Wildcats have seen their games average combined scores of 75.9 PPG.

    -- FOX will have the telecast at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.
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    FSU meets So. Miss in Independence
    December 26, 2017

    SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) Florida State's season started with national championship aspirations but will instead end in relative obscurity against Southern Mississippi in the Independence Bowl on Wednesday.

    The Seminoles freely acknowledge it's been a tough few months. They're also adamant the disappointment won't carry over to the field when they face the Golden Eagles.

    ''We are here to win,'' Florida State defensive end Brian Burns said. ''We've got to dig down deep and get that win.''

    Florida State (6-6, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) will be playing without some of its top defensive players, including second-team AP All-American safety Derwin James, who declared for the NFL draft and opted not to play in the bowl game.

    The Seminoles will try to slow a Southern Miss offense that's led by running back Ito Smith. The 5-foot-9, 195-pound senior has run for nearly 4,500 yards in his career, including 1,323 this season.

    ''We're not expecting one person to try and (stop Smith), we're expecting everybody,'' Florida State interim coach Odell Haggins said. ''We're a team. We play team defense. We're going to play together.''

    Florida State has won four of its past five games since starting the season with a 2-5 record.

    Southern Miss (8-4, 6-2 Conference USA) gets a prime opportunity to knock off a team from a power conference. The Golden Eagles regularly play teams from the Power Five conferences, losing to Kentucky (24-17) and Tennessee (24-10) earlier this year.

    Southern Miss earned one of the biggest wins in program history in 1989 when a team led by quarterback Brett Favre beat No. 6 Florida State 30-26. The Golden Eagles hope for a similar result on Wednesday.

    ''It's great to have an opportunity to show who we are,'' Smith said.

    Here are a few more things to watch when Florida State faces Southern Miss:

    WATCHING FOR AKERS:
    Florida State's Cam Akers has emerged as the top option in the Seminoles' backfield, running for 930 yards and seven touchdowns this season. Akers - who was one of the top-rated recruits in the nation last year - is familiar to several players and coaches on the Southern Miss roster. Akers played in high school in Clinton, Mississippi, which is less than two hours from the Southern Miss campus.

    TAGGERT'S WATCHING: The Independence Bowl will be a prime opportunity for Florida State players to impress Willie Taggart, the program's new coach. Taggart replaces Jimbo Fisher, who left earlier this month to take the Texas A&M job. Taggart won't coach in Wednesday's game but has been around the program during bowl workouts.

    BOWL STREAKS: Florida State is making its 36th consecutive bowl appearance, which is the longest streak in the nation. The Seminoles have won seven of their past nine in the postseason. Southern Miss has played in a bowl game during 13 of the last 16 seasons.

    SMITH WRAPS UP STELLAR CAREER:
    Southern Miss RB Ito Smith will finish his stellar career on Wednesday. Smith has 6,344 all-purpose yards, which is the most in school history. He's run for at least 100 yards in 23 games and is one of just 10 players in NCAA history who has at least 4,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in his career.

    WINNING STREAKS: Southern Miss won three straight games to end the regular season, beating Rice, Charlotte and Marshall. Florida State also comes into the Independence Bowl on a three-game winning streak, beating Delaware State, Florida and Louisiana-Monroe. The Seminoles have scored 157 points over the past three games, which is the highest scoring three-game stretch for the program since 2013.


    *******************


    Iowa, BC on deck for Pinstripe Bowl
    December 26, 2017


    Iowa has gone bust in bowl games.

    The Hawkeyes have become the worst program in football this decade when it comes to winning bowl games. Coach Kirk Ferentz has lost the late-season mojo of his early years and Iowa has struck out in bowl season since 2010. The Hawkeyes have lost five straight bowl games, including the Rose Bowl two years ago, and the seniors could close their careers without a signature bowl victory.

    ''Just trying to get the program back on page with winning a bowl would be awesome,'' lineman Nathan Bazata said.

    It's time for Iowa to take its cuts again: Take them out to the bowl game! The Hawkeyes (7-5) and Boston College Eagles (7-5) are on deck in the Pinstripe Bowl on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

    The Hawkeyes haven't just lost bowl games - they've never been a threat during the winless streak. They've trailed at one point 21-0 to Oklahoma (2011 Insight Bowl), 14-0 to LSU (2014 Outback Bowl), 28-0 to Tennessee (2015 TaxSlayer Bowl) and 38-0 to Stanford (2016 Rose Bowl). Last year, the Hawkeyes were thumped 30-3 by Florida.

    Iowa is the only team in the nation to lose a bowl game in each of the last four seasons.

    ''I'd like to send all our seniors out with a win,'' Ferentz said.

    Good luck with that.

    Win or lose, who will watch in New York? The recent string of bowl defeats and a lackluster season - highlighted by a 55-24 win over Ohio State on Nov. 24 that knocked the Buckeyes out of the College Football Playoff - will likely lead to a thin crowd of Iowa fans at Yankee Stadium.

    That could lead to a New York stadium overrun by cheering Boston fans.

    ''Our fan base, from what I understand from the Yankees, has really come through, selling our boxes and selling our tickets,'' BC coach Steve Addazio said. ''The playoff games and the top bowl games will be sold out. So when you get to the next rung of games and they have that kind of energy to them, I think it makes it all that much better. So my anticipation in New York will be we'll have a great following from Boston College who will be there and be excited, and it will energize our team.''

    With temps expected in the 20s, any supposed home-field edge may not matter. And that's good news for the Hawkeyes, who are 2+-point favorites.

    This is not the Rose Bowl and the Eagles are certainly not 2016 Stanford. If you love seven-win programs mired in mediocrity, then pull on a Boston College cap.

    Under Addazio, the Eagles have had four seven-win seasons in his five years at BC. He lost the 2014 Pinstripe Bowl to Penn State but could get the program to eight wins for the first time since 2009. He's also the first coach to ever lead the Eagles to four bowl games in five years.

    Here are some other things to know about the Pinstripe Bowl:

    TIE FRY:
    Ferentz is one victory away from matching former coach Hayden Fry atop Iowa's career wins list with 142.

    ''I'd be really happy to tie him because that means we're going to win this game,'' Ferentz said.

    Fry hired Ferentz as his offensive line coach in 1981. Ferentz was named head coach in 1999 following Fry's retirement and has won at least 10 games five times and finished in the AP top 10 five times. He is the longest-tenured coach in FBS football.

    STAY OR GO: Iowa junior cornerback Josh Jackson said he is 50-50 on whether he will come back for his senior season.

    Jackson's numbers, along with his 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame and his abundance of physical gifts, have left many NFL draft pundits pegging him as a possible first-round pick in 2018.

    ''I've thought both ways, both perspectives,'' said Jackson, who redshirted his first season and is set to graduate in May.

    SITTING OUT: Iowa will play without starting offensive tackle Alaric Jackson (violation of team rules) and starting strong safety Miles Taylor (injured).

    PLAYERS TO WATCH:

    Iowa: RB Akrum Wadley ran for nine touchdowns and 1,021 yards and became only the fourth Hawkeye to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

    Boston College: RB AJ Dillon was named the ACC rookie of the year and had 1,432 yards rushing and 13 TDs.

    NICE TO MEET YOU: The Hawkeyes and Eagles have never played each other.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Tigers aim for 7th straight in Texas Bowl
    December 26, 2017


    HOUSTON (AP) Missouri is on a six-game winning streak after starting the season 1-5.

    A win over Texas in Wednesday night's Texas Bowl would make the Tigers (7-5) only the second team from a Power 5 conference to finish with eight wins after opening the year 1-5 and the first since Rutgers did it in 2008.

    Such a remarkable turnaround has many asking second-year coach Barry Odom what he did to get the team on track.

    ''I'm going to sell it for $19.99 and if you call now, you can buy one, get one free. We'll see how that goes in the offseason,'' Odom joked.

    Then he got serious.

    ''Really, we didn't change much,'' he said. ''We've got a really good group of kids that were bought in together; that cared about each other; that knew that we were doing a lot of things in our program the right way and we were getting so close to breaking down the wall. We just weren't playing really good on Saturdays.''

    The Tigers, who are in a bowl for the first time since 2014, have not only won six games in a row, they have done it in impressive fashion, winning those games by an average of 30 points. They have also scored 45 points or more in each of those wins, to set a school record.

    Texas is back in a bowl for the first time since the team also played in the Texas Bowl in 2014. They're coming off a loss to Texas Tech that capped another disappointing season in the first year under coach Tom Herman. The Longhorns (6-6) need a victory to give them their first winning season since finishing 8-5 in Mack Brown's final season in 2013.

    Herman said this year has been a challenge in changing the culture on the team.

    ''That three straight losing seasons takes its toll on kids, really does,'' he said. ''It's difficult for them, especially when you ... deal with adversity, it can be a: `here we go again syndrome.' So that has been an ongoing challenge of re-establishing the right way to handle adversity and the right way to compete and the right way to go about our daily business.''

    Some things to know about the Texas Bowl.

    SITTING OUT


    The Longhorns will be without several players on Wednesday night for a variety of reasons. Safety DeShon Elliott and offensive tackle Connor Williams are skipping the game after declaring for the NFL draft. Cornerback Holton Hill, who missed the last three games of the season for violating team rules, will also miss the game after declaring for the draft. Defensive tackle Chris Nelson won't play after injuring his elbow in practice and tight end Garrett Gray, receiver Lil'Jordan Humphrey and running back Toneil Carter will miss the game after being suspended for violating team rules.

    LOCK(ED) IN

    Missouri quarterback Drew Lock threw 43 touchdown passes this season to set school and Southeastern Conference records. Lock's touchdown passes were the most in the nation, marking the first time an SEC quarterback led the country in that category since Florida's Danny Wuerffel in 1996 when he won the Heisman Trophy.

    Lock threw for 3,695 yards and has thrown three or more touchdown passes in each of his last eight games, highlighted by a six-touchdown game in a win over Idaho.

    ''He's playing with a lot of confidence,'' Herman said. ''He's getting the ball out of his hands quickly and accurately. But I also see guys, supporting cast, that are making plays for him, too.''

    TWO QUARTERBACKS

    Herman said that both Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger will get time at quarterback against the Tigers.

    Ehlinger is a freshman who appeared in eight games and was 147 of 260 for 1,803 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Buechele is a sophomore who also played in eight games. He was 131 of 199 for 1,350 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions.

    ''Neither of these quarterbacks have done anything so egregious that you would say that a guy is behind the other one, but neither of them have done anything really to take the bull by the horns,'' Herman said. ''So we'll figure out who is playing better and who is in a rhythm and who is seeing the defense better and playing the game better and ride that guy for as long as we can.''

    DEFENSIVE TURNAROUND

    After the 1-5 start, Missouri's defense made a major turnaround to help get the Tigers on the right track. Through their first six games the Tigers allowed 42.2 points a game, but have allowed just 21.3 points a game since then.

    The Tigers have a knack for getting in the backfield and are tied for 14th in the nation with 92 tackles for losses.

    **********************


    Purdue seeks bowl win over Arizona
    December 26, 2017


    SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Purdue's first bowl win in six years would give the Boilermakers a winning record and a perfect capper to coach Jeff Brohm's first season.

    Brohm helped engineer an impressive turnaround at Purdue, taking a team that won just nine games combined in the previous four seasons all the way to the Foster Farms Bowl on Wednesday night against Arizona.

    A win by the Boilermakers (6-6) over the Wildcats (7-5) would give Purdue a winning record for the first time since 2011 and its first bowl victory over a major conference team since beating Washington in the 2002 Sun Bowl.

    ''It would be huge for our program and our guys,'' Brohm said. ''We made some progress this year. It's meant a lot to them. It's been a while since we've been in this environment. To be able to extend the season was huge for us.''

    Brohm didn't know quite what to expect from his team as it struggled in summer practices, but he was encouraged after the team proved to be competitive in a season-opening loss to Louisville. The Boilermakers then bounced back from three straight losses by eight or fewer points midway through the season to close strong with three wins in four games.

    The highlight of that stretch was a 24-15 win at then-No. 25 Iowa that set the stage for Purdue to become bowl eligible by beating rival Indiana in the regular-season finale.

    Purdue will get another tough test in the bowl game against dynamic quarterback Khalil Tate and the Wildcats. Tate rushed for 1,353 yards and 12 touchdowns and passed for 1,289 yards and nine TDs after taking over the team early in the fifth game of the season, which was against Colorado.

    ''He can make all the throws,'' coach Rich Rodriguez said. ''He's a dynamic runner and he's a big strong guy. He has as good a throwing motion, arm and touch as any quarterback I've had. But we can do more with our offense.''

    Here are some other things to watch:

    GOOD TEST:
    The Boilermakers got a good warmup for what they will see in Tate when they played 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in the opener. They weren't able to slow Jackson down much. He ran for 107 yards and threw for 378 more and two TDs to rally Louisville from a third-quarter deficit to a 35-28 win. Brohm said it could be a big help having faced a playmaker like Jackson, although he did give a caution.

    ''The only part that's discouraging is we worked all spring, all summer and all fall camp to beat Lamar Jackson and that first game he almost single-handedly beat us so it didn't work,'' Brohm said. ''I think we can learn from it.''

    STOUT D: Purdue's strength defensively is on run defense, where the Boilermakers allowed just 3.6 yards per carry this season. Purdue held four of its final five opponents to under 100 yards with play that caught the attention of Rodriguez.

    ''I don't know if I've seen any missed tackles,'' Rodriguez said. ''The big guys up front are very active, well coached. I've been really impressed. They've played some really talented teams this year and done a tremendous job.''

    HOMECOMING: Brohm will have good memories in his return to the Bay Area. He spent three seasons as a backup for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1990s and had one memorable performance in 1996 when he took over early in a game at Houston when Steve Young got hurt. Brohm threw for 176 yards, including a go-ahead 20-yard TD pass to Terrell Owens in the fourth quarter to give San Francisco the win.

    ''It was a great accomplishment,'' he said. ''It was something that made you feel like you did something good for the team. That earned respect from my teammates and helped my career extend quite a bit just from that one game.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    2017 CFB Bowls Record:..............( BASED ON 5 UNITS )

    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

    12/26/2017 4-2-0 66.67% +9.00
    12/23/2017 2-4-0 33.33% -12.00
    12/22/2017 2-2-0 50.00% -1.00
    12/21/2017 1-1-0 50.00% -0.50
    12/20/2017 2-0-0 100.00% +10.00
    12/19/2017 0-2-0 0.00% -11.00
    12/16/2017 5-5-0 50.00% - 2.50

    Totals...............16 - 16.........50.00%.....-8.00


    Best Bets:..............ATS...............Units........ ..... .....O/U..................Units

    12/26/2017....................3 - 1.................+15.00...............0 - 1.................-5.50
    12/23/2017....................1 - 2..................-6.00.................1 - 2.................-6.00
    12/22/2017....................1 - 1..................-0.50.................1 - 1.................-0.50
    12/21/2017....................0 - 1..................-5.50.................1 - 0................+5.00
    12/20/2017....................1 - 0.................+5.00.................1 - 0................+5.00
    12/19/2017....................0 - 1.................- 5.50.................0 - 1.................-5.50
    12/16/2017....................3 - 2............,....+4.00.................2 - 3.................-6.50

    Totals.............................9 - 7..................+8.50................6 - 8.................-14.00
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    NCAAF

    Wednesday, December 27


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Walk On's Independence Bowl betting preview and odds: Southern Miss vs. FSU
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Florida State true freshman quarterback James Blackman showed some signs of improvement in the Seminoles' winning streak to end the season. Will he be the difference for FSU in the Independence Bowl?

    Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at Florida State Seminoles (-17, 49)

    Game to be played at the Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana

    Odell Haggins will continue to serve as interim head coach, keeping the seat warm for the newly hired Willie Taggart, when Florida State meets Southern Mississippi in the Independence Bowl at Shreveport, La., on Dec. 27. Haggins and Taggart are the first two African-American coaches in Seminoles football history, and Taggart - a Bradenton, Fla., native and lifelong Florida State fan - aspires to be the first African-American coach to win a national championship.

    “When we looked at a number of candidates, we knew Willie would rise to the top because of his passion about Florida State, and (having) the same vision that I have about the athletics department that he runs within his football program,” Seminoles athletic director Stan Wilcox, also an African-American, told the Orlando Sentinel. "The fact he happens to be an African-American is just icing on the cake. … It really is heartwarming to know over my career in fighting to open the doors for more minority head coaches in football and basketball, I finally got an opportunity to do that.”

    Florida State needed to win its last three games, including a 38-22 victory at Florida on Nov. 25, to become bowl-eligible for the 36th straight season. The Seminoles erupted for 157 points during that span with wins over Delaware State 77-6 on Nov. 18 and Louisiana Monroe 42-10 on Dec. 2 after scoring 163 in their first nine games. Haggins ran the team against ULM after Jimbo Fisher resigned Dec. 1 to take the job at Texas A&M and the $75 million for 10 years that came with it, while Taggart will continue to evaluate the coaching staff since leaving his post as Oregon coach.

    Southern Miss, which defeated ULM 28-17 on Sept. 16, is riding a three-game winning streak after a 28-27 victory over Marshall on Nov. 25. The Golden Eagles are led by senior running back Ito Smith, who has rushed for 453 of his 1,321 yards and six of his 13 touchdowns this season during the winning streak. Southern Miss will play in a bowl game for the third straight season, defeating Louisiana 28-21 in the 2016 New Orleans Bowl and losing to Washington 44-31 in the 2015 Heart of Dallas Bowl.

    TV:
    1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    FSU opened as low as a 14-point fave and the spread has grown a full field goal since. Some shops opened the total at 50 but just about all locations are dealing 49 as we inch closer to kickoff.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Southern Miss - LB Sherrod Ruff (Undisclosed, Questionable)

    Florida State - LB Matthew Thomas (Undisclosed, Questionable), DB Ermon Lane (Undisclosed, Questionable), DE Josh Sweat (Left team, Out), DB Tarvarus McFadden (Left team, Out), DB Derwin James (Left team, Out), TE Alex Marshall (Hand, Questionable), OL Brady Scott (Foot, Questionable), DB Calvin Brewton (Knee, Questionable), DT Darvin Taylor II (Shoulder, Questionable), OL David Robbins (Undisclosed, Questionable), WR Malique Jackson (Hamstring, Questionable), LB DeCalon Brooks (Knee, Questionable), LB Delvin Purifoy (Ankle, Questionable).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    Game-time temperature is expected to be around 41 degrees with overcast skies. The wind will be blowing 10 mph from the Northeast.

    ABOUT SOUTHERN MISS (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS, 6-6 O/U):
    Junior quarterback Kwadra Griggs (15 touchdowns, two interceptions) matched a career high with three TD passes versus Marshall. Griggs' favorite target is junior wide receiver Korey Robertson, whose 1,070 yards and 11 touchdowns lead C-USA. Smith accounted for 58.2 percent of the Golden Eagles rushing yards and 72.2 percent of their ground TDs.

    ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (6-6 SU, 3-7-1 ATS, 3-8 O/U):
    The Seminoles' winning streak coincides with the improved play of freshman quarterback James Blackman (57.2 percent completion rate, 15 touchdowns, 11 interceptions), who has thrown six TDs and three INTs while completing 60.3 percent of his passes during that span. Running back Cam Akers (930 yards, seven TDs) needs 79 yards to break the school record for rushing yards by a true freshman set by Dalvin Cook in 2014. Junior running back Jacques Patrick (687 yards, six TDs), who rushed for a season-high 155 yards and two touchdowns versus ULM, is another strong threat out of the backfield.

    TRENDS:


    *FSU is 9-2-1 ATS in its last 12 bowl games.
    *Southern Miss is 1-3-1 ATS in its last five postseason appearances.
    *The under is 5-0-1 in the Golden Eagles' last six non-conference games.
    *FSU is 0-4-2 ATS in its last six games against teams with winning records.

    CONSENSUS:
    Players are split on this matchup with a slight 51 percent backing the Golden Eagles. Bettors seemed to like the Seminoles when the spread was at 14 and now like Southern Miss with the spread up to 17. There isn't the same type of division on the total. Close to 65 percent of players like the game to go over the 49-point total.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  14. #89
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    NCAAF

    Wednesday, December 27


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    New Era Pinstripe Bowl betting preview and odds: Iowa vs. Boston College
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Freshman running back AJ Dillon is the engine behind Boston College's offense. He piled up 1432 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground during the regular season for the Eagles.

    Iowa Hawkeyes at Boston College Eagles (+2.5, 45.5)

    Game to be played at the Yankee Stadium in New York, New York.

    Boston College enters its second straight bowl game and fourth in five years under coach Steve Addazio with loads of momentum as it takes on Iowa in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 27. The Eagles finished the regular season with five wins in their last six games, scoring at least 35 points in each victory, and freshman running back AJ Dillon was the catalyst with 1,432 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. Addazio, whose 1-2 bowl record includes a loss in the Pinstripe Bowl in 2014, is aiming for his first eight-win campaign after finishing with seven victories in three of his first four seasons at the helm.

    Addazio has a long way to go to match Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, whose 142 victories leaves him one shy of matching Hayden Fry on the all-time list at the school. Ferentz's current unit scored a mammoth victory over then-No. 3 Ohio State with a 55-24 triumph at home Nov. 4, but the Hawkeyes followed that up with back-to-back losses to sink to the middle of the pack in the Big Ten West. Ferentz is 6-8 in bowl games and has dropped five in a row.

    Iowa has a 1,000-yard rusher of its own in senior Akrum Wadley, a New Jersey native who has reached that plateau in consecutive seasons and owns 34 career touchdowns - 27 on the ground.

    "Akrum is our marquee player from this area, and he is really excited, and he's had about 120 ticket requests," Ferentz told the media.

    Sophomore quarterback Nathan Stanley has 25 touchdowns against just six interceptions for the Hawkeyes, while the Eagles will be relying on senior Darius Wade, who took over under center after starter Anthony Brown suffered a season-ending injury Nov. 11 against North Carolina State and had his best game (16-of-20, 248 yards) in a 42-14 victory at Syracuse to end the regular season.

    TV:
    5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    Iowa opened as a 3-point favorite but the line has come down to 2.5 as the game date approaches. There hasn't been much movement on the total. It's gone as high as 46 and as low as 45. Most shops are dealing 45.5.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Iowa - DB Miles Taylor (Leg, Probable), OL Alaric Jackson (Undisclosed, Out), OL Cole Banwart (Undisclosed, Questionable), DB Michael Ojemudia (Undisclosed, Questionable), WR Nick Easley (Undisclosed, Questionable), DB Nick Easley (Knee, Probable).

    Boston College - DE Harold Landry (Out, Ankle), RB Doroland Dorceus (Undisclosed, Questionable), DB Jonathan Cook (Undisclosed, Questionable), DB Josh Perry (Undisclosed, Questionable), DL Ernest Suttles (Suspension, Out).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    25 degrees and partly cloudy at kickoff - 10 mph winds throughout the game

    ABOUT IOWA (7-5 SU, 5-6-1 ATS, 5-7 O/U):
    The Hawkeyes feature a dynamic duo on defense in senior linebacker Josey Jewell and junior cornerback Josh Jackson, who are piling up the postseason accolades. Jewell, a three-time captain, led the Big Ten in tackles with 123 while Jackson is tied with Boston College's Lukas Denis and one other for the national lead with seven interceptions. Iowa has been outscored 75-19 in its last two bowl games.

    ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (7-5 SU, 8-3-1 ATS, 4-7-1 O/U):
    Although most of the roster has turned over since the Eagles lost 31-30 in overtime to Penn State in the 2014 Pinstripe Bowl, Addazio thinks that result can provide some motivation this time around. "They'll get a chance to enjoy the atmosphere of the city during the holiday season and we come back to the Pinstripe Bowl with a little added motivation," he told reporters. "We were part of one of the most exciting bowl games that season, but it didn't end the way we wanted. We have some unfinished business." Boston College piled up 581 yards of total offense in the win over the Orange and enters bowl season ranked 24th in the nation in rushing with 224.2 yards per game.

    TRENDS:


    *Boston College is 8-0-1 ATS in their last nine games overall.
    *The under is 24-10-1 in BC's last 35 games.
    *The under is 5-1 in Iowa's last six non-conference games.
    *Iowa is 1-4 ATS in its last five bowl games.

    CONSENSUS:
    About 63 percent of players are betting the Hawkeyes to cover as 2.5-point chalk while 54 percent are on the under.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  15. #90
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    NCAAF

    Wednesday, December 27


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Betting Preview and Odds: Texas vs Missouri
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Missouri quarterback Drew Lock has thrown an SEC-record 43 touchdown passes this season – the most in the country – and has helped the Tigers put up at least 45 points in six straight games.

    Texas Longhorns vs. Missouri Tigers (-2.5, 60.5)

    Game to be played at NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

    Former Big 12 rivals reconnect when Missouri faces Texas in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 27 in Houston. The Longhorns own a 17-6 record against the Tigers and have captured 15 of the last 17 meetings, but Missouri won the most recent clash 17-5 at home in 2011 – its last season in the Big 12. Both teams are back in bowl games for the first time in three years.

    Missouri possessed one of the nation’s most prolific offenses this season, particularly during its current six-game winning streak. Quarterback Drew Lock has thrown an SEC-record 43 touchdown passes this season – the most in the country – and has helped the Tigers put up at least 45 points in six straight games. The big question is whether or not Missouri can sustain that success with someone else calling the plays after offensive coordinator Josh Heupel was named the new head coach at Central Florida.

    Texas already knows it will be without one key player on each side of the ball, as safety DeShon Elliott and offensive tackle Connor Williams have announced they will skip the game to prepare for the NFL draft, and linebacker Malik Jefferson has yet to make a decision. Elliott ranked second on the team in tackles (63) and tackles for loss (8.5) and led the Longhorns with six interceptions and three forced fumbles while Williams is the team’s top offensive lineman. It would be an even bigger loss if Jefferson, the Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year, elects to declare for the draft and skip the game.

    TV:
    9 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    Missouri opened as one-point favorites and heading into game day that number is up to 2.5. The total hit betting boards at 60 and is up slightly to 60.5.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Texas - OL E. Rodriguez (Probable, Ankle), DB P. Locke III (Probable, Ankle), OL P. Vahe (Probable, Knee), DB B. Jones (Questionable, Head), LB J. McCulloch (Questionable, Undisclosed), LB M. Jefferson (Questionable, Toe), TE G. Gray (Out, Suspension), RB T. Carter (Out, Suspension), WR L. Humphrey (Out, Suspension), DL C. Nelson (Out, Elbow), OL C. Williams (Out, Draft Prep), DB D. Elliott (Out, Draft Prep), TE C. Brewer (Out For Season, Knee), WR D. Leonard (Out Indefinitely, Foot), DB H. Hill (Out For Season, Suspension), RB K. Johnson (Out Indefinitely, Hamstring), OL P. Hudson (Out For Season, Knee), TE A. Beck (Out For Season, Foot).

    Missouri - RB D. Crockett (Probable, Shoulder), TE J. Reese (Questionable, Back), DB C. Holmes (Out Indefinitely, Shoulder), DL N. Howard (Out Indefinitely, Suspension), WR O. Clark (Out Indefinitely, Suspension).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    Dome.

    ABOUT TEXAS (6-6 SU, 7-4-1 ATS, 3-9 O/U):
    The Longhorns lean on an excellent defense that ranks 31st in the nation in scoring (21.7 points) and 42nd in total defense (363.6 yards) despite playing in the offense-dominated Big 12. The team's weakness is its secondary, particularly with Elliott leaving and cornerback Holton Hill suspended, so the Longhorns might have trouble with Lock and the Tigers’ potent passing game. The offense has been inconsistent, resulting in Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger splitting time at quarterback, and coach Tom Herman hasn’t committed to a starter for the bowl game.

    ABOUT MISSOURI (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS, 7-5 O/U):
    The Tigers are trying to join the 2008 Rutgers squad as the only teams in college football history to win eight games after starting 1-5. They emerged from their early-season struggles thanks to an offense that can hurt opponents in myriad ways – Missouri ranks 14th nationally in passing (311.9 yards) and 35th in rushing (199.6). The Tigers had their share of trouble on defense, especially against the pass, but they rank 13th in the country with 92 tackles for loss.

    TRENDS:


    * Longhorns are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
    * Tigers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
    * Under is 4-0 in Longhorns' last 4 games in December.
    * Over is 4-0 in Tigers' last 4 bowl games.
    * Favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.

    CONSENSUS:
    The public is siding with the underdog Texas Longhorns at a rate of 54 percent and the Over is getting 66 percent of the totals action.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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