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

  1. #91
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    NCAAF

    Wednesday, December 27


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Foster Farms Bowl Betting Preview and Odds: Arizona vs. Purdue
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Arizona Wildcats vs. Purdue Boilermakers (+3, 66)

    Game to be played at Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California

    Purdue and Arizona didn't figure to be in contention for a bowl game at the start of the season, but they'll go head-to-head in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 27 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Arizona was picked to finish last in the Pac-12 South, but ended up third after winning five of six conference games from Oct. 7 to Nov. 11. Purdue lost its final seven games last year for its fifth consecutive losing season, and then lost starting quarterback David Blough to a knee injury Nov. 4 against Illinois, but the Boilermakers rallied to win their final two games and qualified for a bowl game for the first time since 2012.

    Arizona has one of the most exciting players in the nation in sophomore quarterback Khalil Tate, who finished the regular season with 1,353 rushing yards at a nation-leading 10.17 yards per carry. Tate didn't take over full time until the fifth game against Colorado, when starter Brandon Dawkins was injured on a late hit on the opening drive of the game, and the California native proceeded to rush for 327 rushing yards in the 45-42 victory - an FBS rushing record by a quarterback. Tate would total 1,207 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns over a six-game span before Oregon and Arizona State found ways to contain him during the final two games, resulting in losses by the Wildcats.

    Injuries in the Purdue offensive backfield have opened the door for junior Markell Jones to emerge as the primary ball carrier, and he was exceptional in the final regular-season game, rushing for a career-high 217 yards on 31 carries in the 31-24 victory against Indiana. Jones surpassed D.J. Knox as the leading rusher on the season, and Knox is expected to be limited against Arizona after undergoing thumb surgery shortly after the Indiana game. Tario Fuller and Richie Worship have also played big roles in the running game at various times during the season, but Fuller (ankle) and Worship (knee) are both out for the season, further solidifying Jones as the clear-cut No. 1 ball carrier.

    TV:
    8:30 p.m. ET, FOX.

    LINE HISTORY:
    Arizona opened as 4.5-point favorites and that number has been pushed down to 3. The total hit betting boards at 59.5 and has been bet way up to the current number of 66.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Arizona - DL J. Belknap (Probable, Knee), DL L. Bruno (Probable, Concussion), QB K. Tate (Probable, Shoulder), LB J. Brown (Questionable, Ankle), LS N. Reinhardt (Out For Season, Knee), DE J. Harris (Out Indefinitely, Shoulder), S I. Hayes (Out For Season, Shoulder), LB C. Vaughn (Out For Season, Knee), WR C. Denson (Out Indefinitely, Foot), T B. Cain (Out For Season, Ankle).

    Purdue - LB J. Bentley (Probable, Undisclosed), TE B. Hopkins (Questionable, Back), QB J. Sparks (Questionable, Ankle), RB D. Knox (Questionable, Knee), RB R. Worship (Out For Season, Knee), RB T. Fuller (Out For Season, Ankle), QB D. Blough (Out For Season, Ankle), OL G. Hermanns (Out Indefinitely, Knee), DT K. Jones (Out For Season, Knee), S C. Parker (Out For Season, Knee).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    53 dropping to 46 and clear during the game - winds 2 to 4 mph

    ABOUT ARIZONA (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS, 8-4 O/U):
    Colin Schooler wasn't a big-time recruit out of Mission Viejo High School in Southern California last year, and didn't receive a Pac-12 scholarship offer until the Wildcats came forward on Dec. 14, 2016. Schooler has rewarded the Wildcats with a fantastic season that resulted in him earning Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors. Schooler finished 13th in the conference tackles and second among freshmen at 7.3 a game, and his 13.5 tackles for loss also tied for fourth in the Pac-12.

    ABOUT PURDUE (6-6 SU, 8-4 ATS, 3-9 O/U):
    The Boilermakers will count on senior linebackers Ja'Whaun Bentley and Danny Ezechukwu to help contain Tate, and they should be especially motivated in their first bowl-game experience. Bentley, who was fifth in the Big Ten and tops on Purdue at 8.1 tackles a game, sat out the final regular-season game against Indiana with a bad ankle, but is expected to be 100 percent against Arizona. Ezechukwu was second on the team with five sacks and tied for the Big Ten lead with three fumble recoveries.

    TRENDS:


    * Wildcats are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games in December.
    * Boilermakers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Bowl games.
    * Over is 4-0 in Wildcats' last 4 bowl games.
    * Under is 6-1 in Boilermakers' last 7 games overall.

    CONSENSUS:
    The public is siding with the favorite Arizona Wildcats at a rate of 52 percent and the Over is getting 59 percent of the totals action.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #92
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    WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 27
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    SOMIS at FSU 01:30 PM
    SOMIS +14.0
    O 49.0


    IOWA at BC 05:15 PM
    BC +2.5
    U 45.0


    ARIZ at PUR 08:30 PM
    PUR +3.0
    O 64.5

    TEX at MIZZ 09:00 PM
    MIZZ -3.0
    U 61.0
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  3. #93
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    Bowl roundup: Florida State crushes Southern Miss
    December 28, 2017


    SHREVEPORT, La. -- Freshman quarterback James Blackman threw for an Independence Bowl-record four touchdowns Wednesday and Florida State's defense stoned Southern Mississippi most of the day in a 42-13 blowout at Independence Stadium.

    The Seminoles (7-6) flashed a balanced attack, passing for 238 yards and running for another 214. Blackman was efficient, completing 18 of 26 passes for 233 yards and spraying his completions to six different targets.

    He made good use of tight end Ryan Izzo, who caught six balls for 59 yards, and even better use of Auden Tate, who had five catches for 84 yards, including touchdowns of 20, 10 and 17 yards.

    Quarterback Kwadra Griggs completed 13 of 25 passes for only 86 yards for the Golden Eagles (8-5), who collected only 260 total yards and 12 first downs. Ito Smith rushed 16 times for 92 yards.

    Purdue 38, Arizona 35

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- A 38-yard touchdown pass from Elijah Sindelar to Anthony Mahoungou with 1:44 left in the fourth quarter provided the winning points in Purdue's victory over Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl.

    Sindelar completed 33 of 53 passes for 396 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Gregory Phillips had 14 catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns for the Boilermakers (7-6), who finished the year with a three-game winning streak to post its first winning season since 2011.

    Khalil Tate had only 58 yards on 20 carries, but completed 17 of 26 passes for 302 yards and five touchdowns with the one interception for the Wildcats (7-6), who ended the season on a three-game losing streak. Arizona had a season-low 128 yards on the ground.

    Texas 33, Missouri 16

    HOUSTON -- Texas scored two passing touchdowns in the first 11:02 and then turned over the game to its defense and college football's best punter, doing just enough to beat Missouri in the Academy Sports + Outdoor Texas Bowl.

    It was the Longhorns' first appearance in a bowl game since 2014 and first win in the postseason since the 2012 Alamo Bowl. It also granted Texas (7-6) its first winning season since 2013, the last campaign coached in Austin by Mack Brown.

    Longhorns punter Michael Dickson, the Ray Guy award winner, had 10 punts downed inside the 20-yard line, becoming the first punter in the country this year to accomplish that feat. Texas forced four turnovers and a safety and held Tigers quarterback Drew Lock to 269 yards passing and one touchdown.

    Iowa 27, Boston College 20

    NEW YORK -- Drake Kulick scored the tiebreaking touchdown on a 1-yard run with 3:09 remaining in the fourth quarter as Iowa beat Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl.

    Akrum Wadley finished with 171 yards on five kickoff returns, including a 72-yard return that set up Iowa's first touchdown early in the second quarter. He also gained 88 yards on the ground, including a 27-yard scamper down the left sideline that set up fullback Drake Kulick's tiebreaking 1-yard plunge with 3:09 remaining in the fourth.

    The Hawkeyes' Nate Stanley completed 8 of 15 passes for 99 yards, connecting with Noah Fant on a TD in the first half for Iowa (8-5). Darius Wade finished 16 of 27 for 208 yards while AJ Dillon ran for 157 yards and a score for the Eagles (7-6).
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  4. #94
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    2017 CFB Bowls Record:..............( BASED ON 5 UNITS )

    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

    12/27/2017 4-4-0 50.00% -2.00
    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...............20 - 20.........50.00%.....-10.00


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

    12/27/2017....................1 - 3.................-11.50................3 - 1.................+9.50
    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.............................10 - 10..............-3.00.................6 - 8.................-4.50
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  5. #95
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    Thursday's Early Bowl Tips
    December 26, 2017


    **Virginia at Navy**

    Military Bowl History


    -- The Virginia Cavaliers (6-6 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) of the Atlantic Coast Conference meets the Navy Midshipmen (6-6 straight up, 5-5-2 against the spread) from the American Athletic Conference in Annapolis, Md. for the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman. It is a home game for the Middies, but can they pull out of their late-season slump to make playing in front of their home fans mean something?

    -- The Midshipmen started out like a ball of fire, running through their schedule with a 5-0 SU/3-2 ATS mark through the first five games, including a win at Florida Atlantic, the Boca Raton Bowl winner. But, that was one of only two wins against bowl teams this season, and they ended up 2-6 SU/3-3-2 ATS against the eight bowl teams on their schedule. Their slide started in mid-October in a narrow 30-27 loss at Memphis, and they never really pulled out of the nosedive. They lost at home as a 10-point underdog to UCF, 31-21, and they fell at Temple on Nov. 2 by a 34-26 count despite entering as a 6 1/2-point favorite. The Middies posted a spirited 43-40 win over SMU on Nov. 11, and they covered the following week at Notre Dame in a 24-17 loss as 21-point 'dogs. However, losses at Houston and against Army in their annual rivalry game sent them to three straight losses and two non-covers in a row to close out the regular season.

    -- The Middies continued to run the football better than almost any team in the country. They ranked 42nd in the country in total yards (426.8 yards), while ranking second in the nation with 343.0 yards per game. Of course, they rarely passed, totaling just 83.8 yards per game to check in 129th, but no one really expects the vertical game from Navy. The Midshipmen ranked 60th in the country with 28.9 points per game. Struggles in the kicking game did not help this team, as they were 113th in FBS with just 58.8 percent of field goals converted.

    -- On the defensive side of the ball, the Middies were, well...rather middling. They ranked 59th with 386.6 total yards per game allowed, 60th in passing yards allowed (221.7) and 64th against the rush (164.9). Their points allowed (27.9) was good for 74th in the land, or lower echelon, especially for a bowl participant.

    -- If they're going to pass, it's QB Zach Abey at least attempting to get it done. He completed just 43.7 percent of his attempts (31-of-71) for 805 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. That looks like the Mouse Davis run-and-shoot compared to fellow military institution Army, but it really is not much in terms of today's college football. But they're still success in the triple-option, and Abey led the way with 1,325 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 4.7 yards per tote. Malcolm Perry racked up 1,068 yards on the ground with nine touchdowns, and he gathered 8.8 yards per attempt to lead the charge. Chris High (125-520-2) and Anthony Gargiulo (71-383-3) are also very capable when they get their mitts on the pigskin.

    -- Virginia wasn't terribly prolific on offense, but they have the pass game to get back into the game should they fall behind. They ranked just 100th in total offense (356.2 yards per game), but they totaled 257.3 yards per game through the air to rank 43rd in passing offense. Still, their points scored (23.8) ranked just 101st. In defense, UVA ranked 36th in the nation with just 358.7 yards per game allowed, but they were hard on the pass (16th in the country) while struggling at times against the run (82nd in the nation, 179.1 yards per game). A struggling run defense is not what you want when facing down against the triple-option of Navy, especially on their home turf with weeks of preparation.

    -- The Cavaliers started out 5-1 SU/4-2 ATS, including a surprising road win at Boise State back on Sept. 22 by a 42-23 score. Things started going sideways for the Hoos after a 41-10 beatdown from Boston College at Scott Stadium on Oct. 21, and that touched off a 1-5 SU/2-4 ATS slide to finish the regular season. Only a win against Georgia Tech on Nov. 4 saved bowl eligibility. The Cavs wrapped up their season with an uninspiring 10-0 loss against Virginia Tech on Thanksgiving weekend.

    -- QB Kurt Benkert completed 59.6 percent of his pass attempts to finish with 3,062 yards, 25 touchdowns and just eight interceptions, but Navy will not have to worry about the opponent's QB running. That's the job of RB Jordan Ellis, who led the team with 799 yards and six touchdowns, but just 3.9 yards per attempt. Olamide Zaccheaus provided relief with 6.7 yards per attempt in limited work. He was the team's leading receiver with 80 grabs for 833 yards and five touchdowns, which is rather unique seeing a running back leading a team in receptions and receiving yardage. When going vertical, WRs Andre Levrone (31-662-7) and Doni Dowling (48-632-5) are the best of the lot. TE Evan Butts (30-256-2) is also a good short-yardage option when looking to move the sticks.

    -- The Midshipmen are a perfect 4-0 ATS over their past four bowl games, and they're 7-2-1 ATS across their past 10 following a non-cover. They certainly had that in their straight-up loss to Army last time out. The Middies are also an impressive 16-6-1 ATS in their past 23 at home, and, for what it's worth, they're 5-2 ATS in their past seven appearances on a Thursday.

    -- For the Hoos, the 'under' is 13-6-1 across their past 20 games on the road, but the 'over' has connected in four straight bowl appearances and five of their past seven on field turf.

    -- For the Middlies, the 'under'is 6-2 in their past eight non-conference tilts, and five of the past seven overall. The 'over' has hit in 11 of their past 15 home games, however, while going 12-5-1 in their past 18 tries against ACC foes.

    -- Virginia is making its first bowl appearance since the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31, 2011, and they haven't won a bowl game since taking care of Minnesota in the Music City Bowl back on Dec. 30, 2005.

    -- Navy is making a bowl appearance for the sixth consecutive season, losing 48-45 in the Armed Forces Bowl last Dec. 23. The last time they played in the Military Bowl at home, they treated Pittsburgh rather rudely with a 44-28 win on Dec. 28, 2015. The Middies are 3-1 SU over their past four bowl appearances, and they 1-2 SU in three bowl games vs. ACC opponents.

    -- These teams last met Sept. 10, 1994, with Virginia spanking Navy by a 47-3 score.

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

    **Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma State**

    Camping World Bowl History


    -- In the Camping World Bowl in Orlando, Fla. it will be the Virginia Tech Hokies (9-3 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) of the ACC facing off against the Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-3 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) from the Big 12 Conference.

    -- Virginia Tech fire out of the box with a 7-1 SU/5-3 ATS start through the first eight outings, with just one loss to Clemson by a 31-17 score on Sept. 30 at home. Things went south in Miami, falling 28-10 on Nov. 4, and they followed that up with a 28-22 setback at Georgia Tech, a non-bowl team. The Hokies had a three-game non-cover streak going into the regular season finale against rival Virginia, but they posted a 10-0 win as a touchdown favorite in Charlottesville to end on a high note.

    -- The Hokies were balanced, but marginal across the board on offense. They ranked 60th in the nation in total yards (404.1), 61st in passing yards (236.9), 61st in rushing yards (167.2) and 63rd in scoring offense (28.8 PPG). They were able to grind out nine victories because of their defense. Va. Tech ranked 11th in total yards allowed (305.2), 24th agaisnt the pass (186.4) and 15th against the run (118.8). The Hokies were fifth in the nation in points allowed, too, giving up just 13.5 points per game, and somehow they held opponents to just 41.7 percent on field goal tries, ranking No. 1 in the land.

    -- QB Josh Jackson showed some glimpses of brilliance, and he is a dual-threat option for the Hokies. He completed 60.3 percent of his attempts for 2,743 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions while running for 274 yards and four scores, which led the team. RBs Travon McMillian (104-439-2) and Deshawn McClease (90-406-3) were very effective as a one-two early punch, while Coleman Fox averaged 5.7 yards per game in a reserve role. WR Cam Phillips posted 71 receptions for 964 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the way, while WR Sean Savoy is a nice secondary option (39-454-4).

    -- Oklahoma State opened with a 3-0 SU start with at least 44 points per game, while also going 3-0 ATS. Expectations were sky high, and there were even murmurs this could be a team to challenge for a playoff spot, QB Mason Rudolph could be a Heisman Trophy candidate, etc. Well, a 44-31 loss at home against Texas Christian changed all of that talk, although it also spurred them on to four straight wins, including a thrilling 13-10 overtime win in Texas, and a 50-39 road win at West Virginia on Oct. 28. That had the Cowboys riding high into their Bedlam rivalry game on Nov. 4. Playoff talk was back on, Heisman talk was back on...and then, they lost 62-52 to the rival Oklahoma Sooners. The Cowboys still had a successful season with nine victories, and a 10-win season will help with recruits in a state which does house the current Heisman winner and one of the four playoff teams.

    -- The Cowboys ranked No. 2 in the country in total yards per game (578.9), while leading the nation in passing yards per game (392.3). They were adequate in rushing yards, going for 186.6 yards per outing to rank 42nd, which going for 46.2 points per game to check in second in the country. Defense is an issue, ranking 75th in yards allowed (400.2), while going a dismal 119th in the country with 268.5 yards per game allowed. They were able to shut down the run, but passing is the strong suit for the Hokies.

    -- Rudolph put up video game-like numbers, completing 65.0 percent of his pass attempts for 4,553 yards, 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The Cowboys had two 1,000-yard receivers with WRs James Washington (69-1,423-12) and Marcell Ateman (54-1,049-8) combining for 20 receiving scores. Don't sleep on WRs Jalen McCleskey (49-633-5) and Dillon Stoner (40-541-5), either. The Cowboys like to use plenty of four- and five-receiver sets to spread the field and make things a nightmare for opposing pass defenses. RB Justice Hill also gouged opposing defenses for 1,347 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns, while Rudolph ran it in for 10 more scores. This team can score early and often.

    -- Virginia Tech is 6-1 ATS over the past seven non-confernce games, and 8-3 ATS in their past 11 games in the month of December. They're also 5-2 ATS in their past seven following a straight-up win, too. The 'under' is 4-1 in their past five overall, while going 6-0 in their past six against teams with a winning overall record, and 3-1-1 in the past five agaisnt non-conference teams.

    -- For Oklahoma State, they're 5-0 ATS in their past five against non-conference teams, and 5-2 ATS in their past seven neutral-site tilts. OK State is 1-4 ATS in the past five against teams with a winning record, however. The 'over' is 5-0 in the past five overall for the Cowboys, while going 4-1 in the past five against teams with a winning overall mark. The over is also 20-7 in their past 27 games on a fieldturf surface.

    -- Va. Tech rolls in on a three-game bowl winning streak, topping Arkansas by a 35-24 count in last season's Belk Bowl in Charlotte. The Hokies have scored at least 33 points in each of the past three bowl wins, too. The last time they faced a Big 12 squad in a bowl game, they were on the short end of a 24-21 score against Kansas in the 2008 Orange Bowl.

    -- Oklahoma State clubbed Colorado in the Alamo Bowl last season by a 38-8 score, and they are an impressive 5-2 over the past seven bowl appearances. This is actually their first meeting with an ACC member in a bowl game.

    -- 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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    Thursday's Late Bowl Tips
    December 27, 2017

    **Stanford vs. Texas Christian**

    -- Stanford and TCU are set to collide Thursday night at the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas from the Alamodome. As of Wednesday night, most betting shops had TCU installed as a three-point favorite with a total of 49. The Cardinal was +130 on the money line (risk $100 to win $130). For first-half wagers, the Horned Frogs were favored by 1.5 points with the total at 24 or 24.5.

    -- Stanford (9-4 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) won the Pac-12 North thanks to a three-game winning streak to close the regular season. Most important, the Cardinal beat Washington 30-22 in Palo Alto to give it the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Huskies. David Shaw’s team won eight of its last nine regular-season games, with the only loss coming at Washington State (24-21) when star RB Bryce Love was playing with an injured ankle.

    -- Stanford lost a 31-28 decision to Southern Cal at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA., in the Pac-12 Championship Game. However, the Cardinal hooked up its backers (my hand is raised!) as a four-point underdog thanks to a spectacular touchdown catch in traffic by redshirt freshman tight end Kaden Smith. Smith’s roommate K.J. Costello found him on a pair of TD connections against the Trojans, both of which were highlight-reel material. Trailing by three early in the fourth quarter and facing a fourth-and-goal play at USC’s one yard line, Shaw elected to go for it rather than take the short field goal for the tie. This move backfired when USC’s defense produced the stop. Smith’s 28-yard TD grab from Costello with 2:09 remaining secured the backdoor cover. Love ran 22 times for 125 yards and one TD, but he had to leave the game several times with his ankle bothering him.

    -- Love is listed as ‘probable’ due to the lingering ankle injury, but he’s had nearly a month to recover and is expected to be at full speed. Love had a sensational season despite missing one game and parts of others due to the injured ankle. The junior RB has rushed for 1,973 rushing yards and 17 TDs, averaging an eye-popping 8.3 yards per carry.

    -- Smith had four receptions for 80 yards and two TDs vs. USC. Despite not getting many chances in September and early October, Smith still garnered first-team All Pac-12 honors thanks to his stellar play in November. The Marcus High School product (Dallas area) was the nation’s No. 2 ranked TE in the 2016 class, but he had to redshirt while recovering from a knee injury sustained in high school. Smith had 10 catches for 188 yards and four TDs in his team’s last three contests. Look for Costello to look for his roomie early and often vs. TCU.

    -- Costello became the full-time starter in October. He has completed 59.8 percent of his throws for 1,386 yards with an 11/2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Costello, another RS freshman, has three rushing scores. He has six TD passes without a pick in the last two games.

    -- Stanford owns a 3-1 spread record with a pair of outright victories in four games as an underdog this year.

    -- Stanford is ranked 77th in the nation in total offense and 73rd in the country in total defense. Nevertheless, the Cardinal is ranked 39th in the nation in scoring with a 32.0 points-per-game average. They’re also solid in scoring defense, limiting opponents to only 21.5 PPG, which ranks 29th in the country.

    -- Stanford senior DE Eric Cotton is ‘questionable’ with a foot injury. Cotton has recorded 30 tackles, three sacks, 1.5 tackles for loss and two QB hurries. The Cardinal’s stop unit is led by senior DT Harrison Phillips, who has 99 tackles, seven sacks, 9.5 TFL’s, six QB hurries, two forced fumbles and one blocked kick.

    -- Stanford has won three straight bowl games while going 2-0-1 ATS. The Cardinal pushed past North Carolina at last year’s Sun Bowl, winning a 25-23 decision as a two-point ‘chalk.’

    -- TCU (10-3 SU, 6-7 ATS) has posted a 4-1 record both SU and ATS in five games as a single-digit ‘chalk.’

    -- TCU started the season 7-0 before dropping a 14-7 decision at Iowa State. The Horned Frogs recovered to beat Texas 24-7 as 7.5-point home favorites the following week, but they went down 38-20 at Oklahoma on Nov. 11. With back-to-back victories at Texas Tech (27-3) and vs. Baylor (45-22), Gary Patterson’s team secured a spot in the inaugural Big 12 Championship Game for a rematch with OU.

    -- The results were no different at AT&T Stadium in Arlington than they were in Norman. OU captured a 41-17 triumph over TCU to win the Big 12 title as a 7.5-point favorite. In the losing effort, TCU quarterback Kenny Hill connected on 27-of-37 passes for 234 yards and two TDs with one interception. Hill also rushed for a team-best 51 yards on 13 attempts. John Diarse had five receptions for 66 yards and one TD. Kyle Hicks had five catches for 58 yards, in addition to rushing for 32 yards on eight carries.

    -- TCU faced nine teams that made the postseason, going 6-3 SU with impressive road victories at Oklahoma State (44-31), at Kansas State (26-6) and at Texas Tech (27-3).

    -- Hill has completed 67.2 percent of his throws for 2,838 yards with a 21/6 TD-INT ratio. The transfer from Texas A&M has also rushed for 266 yards and four TDs. His favorite target is Diarse, who has 33 receptions for 543 yards and three TDs. Jalen Reagor has 28 catches for 407 yards and four TDs, while Desmon White has 38 grabs for 390 yards and four TDs.

    -- TCU’s leading rusher is Darius Anderson, who is listed as ‘questionable’ vs. Stanford due to a foot injury that kept him out of his team’s past three contests. Anderson has run for 768 yards and eight TDs with a 6.0 YPC average. Hicks (4.5 YPC) has run for 597 yards and four scores, while Sewo Olonilua has 272 rushing yards and seven TDs with a 4.6 YPC average. Hicks has 22 catches for 266 yards and one TD.

    -- TCU is ranked 18th in the nation in total defense, fourth versus the run and 11th in scoring ‘D’ (17.6 PPG). The Frogs struggled defending the pass, however, ranking No. 72 in the country (228.7 YPG).

    -- TCU’s stop unit is led by senior LB Travin Howard, who has registered a team-best 98 tackles, one sacks, six TFL’s, one interception for a 19-yard TD return, five PBU and one QB hurry. Senior DE Mat Boesen has produced 57 tackles, 11.5 sacks, three TFL’s, five QB hurries and three forced fumbles.

    -- TCU is bowling for a fourth straight season. The Frogs pulled the greatest comeback in postseason history in their 47-41 triple-overtime win over Oregon at the 2015 Alamo Bowl, so they’re returning to friendly confines here. However, they lost a 31-23 decision to Georgia at last year’s Liberty Bowl.

    -- The ‘under’ is 8-5 overall for Stanford, going 7-2 in its last nine games. The Cardinal has seen its games average combined scores of 53.5 PPG.

    -- The ‘under’ is 10-3 overall for TCU, 8-1 in its last nine outings. The Frogs have seen their games average combined scores of 50.8 PPG.

    -- Kickoff is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

    **Washington State vs. Michigan State**

    -- The Pac-12 and Big Ten will collide Thursday night at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Washington State will bid farewell to its all-time leading passer in Luke Falk when it takes on Michigan State in Southern California. As of Wednesday night, most spots had the Spartans favored by two points with a total of 47. The Cougars were available for a +105 return if they win outright.

    -- This line has been on the move in the last 48 hours. Back in early December, Washington State opened as a three-point favorite. The number moved to 2.5 one week later and was down to two by Dec. 18. The line shifted to 1.5 and then one over the next 5-6 days before hitting pick ‘em on Christmas Day. Then on Dec. 26, MSU became the one-point ‘chalk’ and was 1.5 or two by Wednesday. The total has slowly slithered up to 47 from 45.5.

    -- Washington State (9-3 SU, 7-5 ATS) is seeking its first 10-win season during Mike Leach’s six-year tenure and just the fifth in the program’s history. Leach’s club had a chance to make the Pac-12 Championship Game for the first time, but it lost 41-14 at Washington in the Apple Cup regular-season finale. Falk threw for 369 yards and one TD, but he had an uncharacteristic three interceptions. The Cougars lost the turnover battle by a 4-0 margin.

    -- Washington State went 5-2 SU and 4-3 ATS in seven games against foes who made the postseason. The Cougars posted a 2-1 record both SU and ATS in three games as underdogs.

    -- WSU is bowling for a fourth time in Leach’s six years at the helm. The Cougars are 1-2 both SU and ATS in those three previous bowl games, including last year’s 17-12 loss to Minnesota at the Holiday Bowl as 10-point favorites.

    -- Falk won’t have his two best WRs vs. MSU because junior Tavares Martin and sophomore Isaiah Johnson-Mack were both dismissed from the program earlier this month. Martin had 70 receptions for 831 yards and nine TDs during the regular season, while Johnson-Mack had 60 catches for 555 yards and five TDs.

    -- Falk has connected on 66.9 percent of his passes for 3,593 yards with a 30/13 TD-INT ratio. For his career, Falk has thrown for 14,481 yards with a 119/39 TD-INT ratio.

    -- The loss of Martin and Johnson-Mack certainly hurts, but it isn’t a deal breaker for potential Washington State backers. The Cougars are deep at the WR position with six other players (not counting Martin or Johnson-Mack) making at least 31 catches. Renard Bell has 36 receptions for 525 yards and three TDs, while Kyle Sweet has 50 grabs for 481 yards and two TDs.

    -- Senior RB Jamal Morrow has a team-best 522 rushing yards and four TDs with a 6.1 YPC average. He also has 56 receptions for 479 yards and five TDs. James Williams has run for 381 yards and one TD with a 4.3 YPC average. Williams can also catch it out of the backfield, making 61 grabs for 417 yards and three TDs.

    -- Washington State has its best defense under Leach. This unit is ranked 13th in the nation in total defense and eighth versus the pass. However, this unit could be without a pair of LBs in Nate DeRider and Derek Moore. DeRider, who is listed as ‘questionable,’ had 21 tackles and 1.5 TFL’s in the team’s first six games. Moore, who is also a question mark, had 11 tackles, 0.5 sacks, two QB hurries and 2.5 TFL’s in WSU’s first seven outings. Also, junior DE Hercule Mata’afa must sit out the first half after being flagged for targeting in the second half of the loss at UW. Mata’afa has 43 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 12 TFL’s, four QB hurries and two forced fumbles.

    -- Michigan State has been a single-digit ‘chalk’ five times, posting a 4-1 SU record and a 3-2 ATS mark. The Spartans have faced six opponents who made the postseason, going 3-3 both SU and ATS in those six outings.

    -- Mark Dantonio did a remarkable job in 2017, leading his team to a six-win improvement after limping to a 3-9 record last season. Making it more impressive is the fact that the Spartans returned only eight of 22 starters. They lost at home vs. Notre Dame and on the road at Northwestern (in triple overtime) and at Ohio State. MSU’s best wins came at home over Iowa and Penn State, and it also won 14-10 at Michigan in a driving rainstorm.

    -- Michigan State is led by its defense that’s ranked ninth in the country in total ‘D,’ fifth at defending the run, 31st in pass defense and 25th in scoring ‘D’ (20.2 PPG). This unit’s leading tackler is sophomore LB Joe Bachie, who has 94 tackles, three interceptions, 3.5 sacks, five TFL’s, two forced fumbles and two PBU.

    -- MSU sophomore QB Brian Lewerke had a solid campaign, completing 58.8 percent of his throws for 2,580 yards with a 17/6 TD-INT ratio. He can also run it, producing 489 rushing yards and five TDs. L.J. Scott is the primary ball carrier, rushing for 785 yards and six TDs with a 4.3 YPC average.

    -- Lewerke’s favorite target is Felton Davis III, who has 51 receptions for 658 yards and eight TDs. Darrell Stewart Jr. has 48 catches for 486 yards and two TDs, while Cody White has 32 grabs for 449 yards and two TDs.

    -- The ‘under’ is 7-5 overall for the Cougars, but the ‘over’ has hit in back-to-back games and three of their last four. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 55.8 PPG.

    -- The ‘under’ is 7-5 overall for the Spartans, but the ‘over’ is 3-2 in their last five outings. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 43.3 PPG.
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    Thursday's Bowl Action
    December 27, 2017


    Is Mason Rudolph First Round Worthy?


    If you’ve read my stuff this year, you know I’m more of an NFL guy than a college man. Part of it is that I just prefer the consistency of the NFL brand, but the bowl season offers a glimpse in to the potential future of the professional league and it’s impossible for me not to have a long view on these types of things as a fan. That’s why I love it when the schedule makers provide us with perfect matchups for potential first rounders that will face defences that are built to stop them.

    The Thursday slate of NCAAF bowl games features two of the best players in the country statistically, and each are receiving terrific matchups to shine. Mason Rudolph goes up against one of the best defences in the country to improve his draft stock, while Bryce Love will try to run rampant against a stingy TCU front-seven. In the other night game for Thursday, we get to see if Michigan State can really build some goodwill heading in to a 2018 season as a young team. Three great games and all are worth some hefty investing.

    CAMPING WORLD BOWL (5:15 p.m. ET)

    #22 Virginia Tech Hokies +4.5 over #19 Oklahoma State Cowboys

    Perhaps nobody has more riding on Thursday’s outcomes than quarterback Mason Rudolph. At one point in October, he was the leading Heisman candidate but fell off the map when he was severely overshadowed in a heads up matchup with Baker Mayfield and didn’t play all that well. He led the country by throwing for a staggering 4,553 yards and led the highest ranked passing offence in the country but is also coming from a system that is absolutely viscious at putting up big numbers.

    That’s generally what people expect from the Big 12 overall. This conference has produced elite play makers at the college level like Robert Griffin III, Vince Young, Brandon Weeden, Sam Bradford and Ryan Tannehill. That is not a filtered list. All of those guys are not only some of the most prolific in recent conference history, they are also all first round picks that have all had roughly similar trajectories in the NFL. In case you were wondering, “rough” is the operative word there.

    So where does Mason Rudolph fit in to all of this? It’s very hard to say that he’s the trend buster. Rudolph receives a terrific matchup to prove naysayers wrong in a quarterback heavy draft that’s already being argued about with the likes of Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen in the mix. The Cowboys quarterback has a lot of work to do to leapfrog any of those guys, but gets a chance against a Virginia Tech defence that ranks well against the pass and allowed just 305.2 yards total against per game (11th).

    The truth about Rudolph is that he may just be a big time Big 12 quarterback. His footwork is terrible, and he can get away with that at the college level, but not at the pro level. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds he is a prototypical unit of a human being at the position, and he’s a pleasure to watch when he gets fired up. Who doesn’t love touchdowns? Rudolph has thrown multiple touchdowns in every game this season except for one against Texas at mid-season.

    Make no mistake about what this matchup is. The Hokies are out to ruin Rudolph’s NFL draft stock and win this game with a defensive iron fist that they have wielded well all season. Their biggest loss of the season came when they were defeated 17-31 by Clemson at home as +7.0 point dogs. Truthfully, the Hokies haven’t played that well against ranked opponents but they are also 6-1 ATS when playing out of conference and are also a blissful 8-3 ATS when playing December.

    There are a lot of reasons to lean away from Oklahoma state here, but the biggest is that they don’t generally perform well against equal competition. The Cowboys are just 1-4 ATS when playing winning teams, which is a trend I count on more than any other in college football when grading favorites. Personally speaking, I’m also just not a fan of the Big 12 teams running head first in to defensively minded teams from conferences that play a more rugged brand of football.

    Virginia Tech is also not allergic to scoring points. They love winning fist fights, which has been their penchant for much of the season. I’m counting on quarterback Josh Jackson having a bounce back game here after showing some early promise.

    As for Rudolph, he deserves a storybook ending to his incredible college career. He also deserves a shot at the NFL to at least rid Oklahoma State of the stink that Brandon Weeden’s career created in terms of quarterback prospects. I just don’t think he’s as next level as others might, and I’m willing to bet that the Hokies expose the offensively minded Cowboys in a big way.

    VALERO ALAMO BOWL (9:00 p.m. ET)
    Stanford Cardinal +2.5 over #15 TCU Horned Frogs

    The Horned Frogs are tight favorites in a game against two college football darlings and the public is streaming them pretty heavily. TCU is getting nearly two-thirds of the love here. They’re the better team. That all makes sense.

    But TCU is not the better time by a landslide margin. In fact, TCU is just 2-6 ATS when playing it he postseason, 2-9 ATS when playing at neutral locations and 2-5 ATS when playing out of conference. These are all bad things. By comparison, Stanford is 6-2 ATS when playing in bowl games and are also 4-0 ATS when playing against the Big 12 specifically. It’s a titular matchup for Stanford in general.

    The player to watch here is undoubtedly Bryce Love, the running back for Stanford who was a Heisman finalist who rushed for 1,973 yards and 17 touchdowns while electrifying the nation. It’s a great matchup for Love to show off his dynamic play making, especially given that TCU is known for its big front-seven that ranked 4th in rush defence.

    Love is elite enough to be the difference in this game and Stanford has enough weapons to use him as a decoy if need be. Unlike McAffery, who was an established superstar in the making, Love needs a bit of a stock push for NFL draft purposes and I’m gambling that he makes the most of this incredible opportunity against a highly regarded defensive front.

    SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION HOLIDAY BOWL (9:00 p.m. ET)


    #16 Michigan State Spartans -1.5 over #18 Washington State Cougars

    This may not be a matchup with much NFL draft impact, but it’s a pivotal momentum generator for the Michigan State Spartans. Quarterback Brian Lewarke is a sophomore stud in the making and while he hasn’t had many “big” games, he’s been steady and leaned on a balanced offence around him. Where Michigan State thrives is defensively, which is what you’d expect from this program overall. They’re also terrific on special teams.

    Both schools are brutal when playing each other’s conferences, reflecting 1-5 ATS records, but this matchup is more about the ability to play in a big time game than anything else. Michigan State is 4-1 ATS when playing in bowl games. The Cougars are…I don’t know what they are to be honest. They’re not even a real up and coming program.

    Where Washington State made a big impact was in the passing game. Quarterback Luke Falk was relatively magnificent for the most part, leading the 2nd ranked passing offence in the country. But as the season wore on, Falk was terrible and threw 11 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. That’s bad news against a team that ranks 9th overall in total defence.

    I just don’t believe that the Cougars have the guts to survive a blood bath, and Michigan State thrives in those moments. Against the top tier, the Spartans faultered as a young team. But with Lewerke emerging as a promising pivot in the last few weeks, the Spartans are the team to bank on with a tight line.
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    Virginia, Navy compete for winning year
    December 27, 2017

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) Virginia has already accomplished plenty this season, tripling its win total from a year ago and reaching a bowl game for the first time since 2011.

    That's not quite enough for second-year coach Bronco Mendenhall, who won't be satisfied unless the Cavaliers defeat Navy on Thursday in the Military Bowl.

    ''It's one thing to qualify,'' Mendenhall said. ''It's a whole different thing to perform well and win the game.''

    Virginia (6-6) hasn't won a postseason game since defeating Minnesota in the Music City Bowl under Al Groh in 2005. The Cavaliers are also seeking their first winning season in six years.

    ''The postseason was something we were shooting for,'' Mendenhall said. ''Now we're looking to get our seventh win.''

    A victory over the Midshipmen at the illustrious Naval Academy could mark the beginning of something special for a program that owned a collective 17-43 record from 2012-16.

    ''In this type of game, in this type of setting with this type of an opponent, it's a foundational piece for us moving forward,'' Mendenhall said.

    Navy (6-6) will be making its 14th bowl appearance over the last 15 years. But it's been an up and down season for the Midshipmen, who have lost six of seven following a 5-0 start and are coming off a disheartening 14-13 loss to Army.

    Navy desperately wants to avoid being saddled with a losing record for the first time since 2011. Playing at home should help.

    ''From a preparation standpoint, you can't beat this,'' coach Ken Niumatalolo said. ''You've got everything like you would in a normal game.''

    ---

    Some things to know about the 10th Military Bowl:

    FAMILIAR FOES


    This will be the 40th meeting between the two schools, but the first since 1994. Though Navy leads the series 28-11, the Cavaliers have won five straight.

    A common thread in the rivalry is coach George Welsh, who guided Navy from 1973-81 before spending 19 years at Virginia and becoming the school's all-time leader in wins. Welsh won 55 games at Navy, second on the career list behind Niumatalolo.

    Welsh, a 1956 Navy graduate, went 4-1 against Virginia with the Midshipmen and 7-3 against Navy while on the Virginia sideline.

    STAND YOUR GROUND

    Virginia's task on defense will be to stop Navy's triple option, the driving force behind the nation's second-ranked rushing attack at 343 yards per game.

    The Cavaliers surrendered 36 points in November to Georgia Tech, which also runs the option. To stop the three-pronged attack, each player must adhere to his assignment.

    ''You've got to trust the people around you to do their job,'' Virginia linebacker Jordan Mack said. ''You can't try to do too much.''

    Sophomore Malcolm Perry, who ran for 250 yards and a touchdown against Army, will start at quarterback for Navy.

    AIR BENKERT

    Cavaliers quarterback Kurt Benkert has thrown for 25 touchdowns and a school-record 3,062 yards, including a four-TD, 384-yard performance against Miami.

    The 6-foot-4 senior needs three touchdown passes Thursday to tie Matt Schaub for the most in UVA history (28).

    Olamide Zaccheaus leads Virginia with 80 catches for 833 yards and five touchdowns. Doni Dowling has 48 receptions for 632 yards and five scores.

    COACHING CONNECTION

    When Mendenhall left Brigham Young for Virginia in 2015, Niumatalolo interviewed for the vacancy at BYU before deciding to stay put at Navy.

    To carry the connection further, Niumatalolo's son, Va'a, is a senior at BYU and played under Mendenhall for two seasons.

    ''I know my son learned a lot from him and his staff,'' Ken Niumatalolo said. ''As a dad, I was very appreciative and grateful that my son got to play for someone like Bronco.''

    SCORING DROUGHT

    Both teams carry potentially prolific offenses that are looking to get back on track.

    Virginia was blanked by Virginia Tech in the regular season finale, and Navy has scored only 44 points in its last three games - its lowest output over three straight since 2006.
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    RB Love to lead Stanford against TCU
    December 27, 2017


    SAN ANTONIO (AP) Another season, another Stanford player as a Heisman Trophy finalist. With Cardinal players making the trip to New York five times since 2009, it's become as predictable as anything in college football.

    Running back Bryce Love is the latest. But unlike his predecessor Christian McCaffrey, Love will be joining his teammates for what could be his last bowl game.

    McCaffrey, a Heisman finalist in 2015, bolted for the NFL after his junior season in 2016, opting to skip his bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft. Love, a junior, will lead the Cardinal (9-4) into Thursday night's Alamo Bowl (10-3) against TCU.

    Love hasn't decided yet if he will return to Stanford for his senior season, Cardinal coach David Shaw said Wednesday.

    ''He's just thought about the bowl game. After the bowl game I'm sure he'll talk to his family ... He's just excited to go and play,'' Shaw said.

    Even with 1,973 yards and 17 touchdowns - he needs just 57 against TCU to break McCaffrey's school record set in 2015 - Love's season still has a flavor of what might have been. Love has been dogged by a sprained ankle since midseason.

    He still piled up huge numbers and ended the season with four consecutive 100-yard games, somehow running for 125 yards despite being barely able to walk in a loss to USC in the Pac-12 title game. The Doak Walker Award winner averaged a stunning 8.3 yards this season.

    Love has said this week his ankle feels ''amazing'' and the ''best it's felt in a while.''

    ''I'm really excited about that,'' TCU coach Gary Patterson said with a tinge of sarcasm. ''Four weeks of rest. A healthy Bryce Love.''

    Pity TCU. For the second consecutive game, the Horned Frogs faces a Heisman finalist. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield - the Heisman winner - shredded TCU in the Big 12 title game, and now they get to face the best running back in the country.

    TCU had arguably the top defense in the Big 12, but Love brings something special behind a punishing offensive line, Horned Frogs linebacker Ty Summers said.

    ''To be able to run for almost 2,000 yards like he did, it just shows he's got grit,''" Summers said. ''I mean, his skill, he's shifty, really elusive. You can't go in there and break him down. He'll make you miss.''

    ---

    Alamo Bowl, San Antonio

    Stanford (9-4) vs. TCU (10-3), Thursday, 9 p.m. Eastern (ESPN)


    CARDINAL QB

    The Stanford offense revolves around Love. But if his ankle gives him problems again, that puts more pressure on the arm of redshirt freshman quarterback K.J. Costello. He's a move-the-chains QB who wasn't called on to put up big numbers in a grinding offense. He averaged 174 yards passing with seven touchdowns and two interceptions over the last five games as Love was battling the ankle problem.

    LONG RUN LOVE

    If the ankle is in good shape, Love's big-play ability is unmatched. Love had 12 runs of 50 yards or more, and 11 of them went for touchdowns.

    SWAN SONG FOR ''TRILL''

    TCU quarterback Kenny Hill started his career at Texas A&M where a quick start earned him the nickname ''Trill.'' The fun with the Aggies didn't last, however, and he transferred to TCU, where he's been the starter the last two seasons without the nickname. Hill passed for 21 touchdowns and threw six interceptions this season. His final game is his last chance for the same sort of fireworks and highlights his career started with.

    SPEEDY TURPIN

    The Horned Frogs' most dangerous player might be do-it-all KaVontae Turpin, if they can get him the ball. Turpin has exceptional speed and his 38 catches rank second on the team. He also has 15 punt returns with one for a touchdown. Get Turpin in space and he can get to the end zone in a hurry.

    ''A very explosive player,'' Stanford safety Justin Reid said. ''They just try to find unique ways to get him the ball so he can do what he does and try and create yards ... Going against him will be fun.''

    EYES ON THE NFL

    Stanford defensive tackle Harrison Phillips, the Cardinal's leading tackler, hinted strongly he'll be leaving the program for the NFL after the bowl, and could make a big statement for scouts with a big game.. Phillips has 100 tackles, and also leads the defense in sacks (7 +) and tackles for loss (17).
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    Leach mum on QB Luke Falk's injury
    December 27, 2017


    SAN DIEGO (AP) The first question for Washington State coach Mike Leach during Wednesday's pre-Holiday Bowl news conference was about the cast on quarterback Luke Falk's non-throwing left wrist.

    The seventh question was about the pet raccoon Leach had when he was a kid, which he mentioned in an article he wrote for the Players' Tribune.

    Naturally, Leach was much more forthcoming about the raccoon, which was named Bilbo Baggins after the character in ''The Hobbit'' and ''The Lord of the Rings,'' than he was about his quarterback's health.

    ''He's doing great. You can use your imagination all you want about the cast,'' Leach said about Falk, who despite whatever's going on with his wrist is still expected to lead No. 21 WSU (9-3) against No. 18 Michigan State (9-3) on Thursday night. ''He has had something on his hand all year and hence we named him `the Kingslayer.' Beyond that you're on your own.''

    Falk and the Cougars are looking for a better Holiday Bowl than a year ago, when their normally high-powered Air Raid offense was shut down by Minnesota in a 17-12 dud.

    Here are some things to look for in the 40th Holiday Bowl:

    FALK


    The Washington State senior quarterback, who threw for 3,593 yards and 30 touchdowns, was photographed Tuesday with a cast on his non-throwing left wrist. During an appearance later that day, Falk was careful to keep the wrist out of view. In last year's Holiday Bowl, Falk was held to 264 yards - 86 below his average - on 30-of-51 passing. Falk didn't crack 200 yards until the final minutes.

    Leach praised Falk's work ethic, saying the former walk-on ''has had a tremendous impact on our program.''

    THE RACCOON


    ''I don't remember when I did that article, but, yeah, I did have a pet raccoon,'' Leach said. ''Yeah, I kind of would like to have a pet raccoon again, but, you know, bouncing around the country it makes it tough. Then, you know, there's the time when they, you know, they hit kind of raccoon teenage years and it's time for them to head off into the sunset. It was a lot of fun, and in some ways every bit as maintenance free as a dog or a cat, you know?''

    Toward the end of Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio's session, the moderator asked if there was one more question.

    ''Is it a raccoon question? I trapped one once,'' Dantonio said.

    TURNAROUND SEASON

    The Spartans have gone from playing in the national championship semifinal in 2015 to 3-9 last season to 9-3 this season. So it was an emotional moment when the seniors went through their final practice this week.

    ''I think any time you take the jersey off for the last time or practice with your teammates you start to go through emotions, you've got to get closure,'' Dantonio said. ''We try to make that special for them at the end of our practice and it becomes an emotional experience for some of our guys. Those guys have had some great moments here and we're just looking for another life moment for them.''

    MILESTONES IN REACH

    Dantonio is 99-45 (.688) in 11 seasons as Spartans coach. A victory in the Holiday Bowl would make him the eighth active FBS coach to own 100 wins at his current school. MSU is looking for double-digit wins for the eighth time in program history.

    DUAL THREAT


    MSU sophomore QB Brian Lewerke threw for 2,580 yards and 17 touchdowns against seven interceptions, and ran for 486 yards and five touchdowns.
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    Oklahoma State, V-Tech to square off
    December 27, 2017


    Mike Gundy and Justin Fuente have plenty in common. They were both born in Oklahoma. Both were recruited by Oklahoma State. And both had virtually the same assessment of what awaits them in the Camping World Bowl.

    ''An interesting challenge,'' Gundy said.

    ''A tremendous challenge,'' Fuente said.

    Both coaches are right. Gundy and high-octane Oklahoma State (9-3) will face off with Fuente and airtight Virginia Tech (9-3) on Thursday in a bowl matchup that will be an ultimate clash of styles - one of the best offenses in America versus one of the best defenses. The Cowboys score an average of 46.3 points per game; the Hokies give up an average of 13.5.

    ''This could very well be the best defense that we've competed against,'' Gundy said of Virginia Tech. ''You know, there's different ways to make that opinion. Sometimes you do it on athleticism. Sometimes do you it on scheme. But when you look at what they've accomplished with the group that they have in the end, it comes down to, `Do you keep them from scoring or not?'''

    And with the Hokies, the answer to that is usually yes.

    The overwhelming majority of FBS teams this season posted no shutouts; Virginia Tech led the nation with three. The Hokies have given up 162 points in 2017, which is 37 fewer than the Cowboys scored in November alone.

    But when Fuente looks at Oklahoma State on film, he doesn't see a whole lot of weakness.

    ''The thing that stands out about Oklahoma State, I think, are their skill players,'' Fuente said. ''You look at wide receivers, running backs, a big NFL quarterback, push the tempo and, you know, scored points in bunches. That's not to say that they aren't good in the other phases of the game. They are. They're very sound and well prepared and have done a fantastic job.''

    ---

    Here's some of what to know going into the Camping World Bowl:

    SCORING POKES:
    Oklahoma State is the first Big 12 team to have a 4,000-yard passer (Mason Rudolph), a 1,000-yard rusher (Justice Hill) and two 1,000-yard receivers (James Washington and Marcell Ateman). Washington is this season's Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's top receiver, with 69 catches for 1,423 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He leads the nation with 17 catches for 30 yards or more, and he needs 68 yards for the school career receiving yards mark.

    DEFENSIVE LEADERS:
    Virginia Tech is fifth in points allowed per game this season, along with second in third-down conversion defense and third in red zone defense. It also helps that the Hokies aren't penalty-prone (4.6 per game as a team for 40 yards) and control the ball (averaging 32 minutes per game on offense). And no one runs it up on the Hokies; they allowed 31 points only once this season, while Oklahoma State scored at least 31 in 11 of its 12 games.

    AT STAKE:
    Both teams are chasing a 10-win season, which would be a school-record third straight for Oklahoma State and the second straight for Virginia Tech - which is also bidding to a bowl game for the fourth consecutive year. Hokies quarterback Josh Jackson could become the first freshman in Blacksburg to win 10 games as a starter since Michael Vick did in 1999.

    COMMON OPPONENTS:
    The teams have two common opponents this season, both going 2-0 against West Virginia and Pitt. Virginia Tech won those two games by a combined 13 points; Oklahoma State won by a combined 49 points.

    UNCOMMON OPPONENTS:
    This is only the third time the programs have faced off. The Hokies and Cowboys split two games in 1971 and 1972, both winning at home.
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    NCAAF

    Thursday, December 28


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Military Bowl Betting Preview and Odds: Virginia vs. Navy
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Virginia Cavaliers vs. Navy Midshipmen (-1.5, 54)

    Game to be played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland

    It may be difficult for Navy to bounce back from an emotional loss to Army when it meets Virginia on Dec. 28 in the Military Bowl at Annapolis, Md. The Midshipmen, though, will at least be playing in the friendly confines of what could be a sold-out Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, but the Cavaliers should be well-represented in the stands with their campus some 150 miles away and the Virginia border less than 50 miles from the venue. Navy started the season 5-0, but limps into the contest with three straight losses and six in its last seven games after its 14-13 setback to Army on Dec. 9 when Bennett Moehring missed a 48-yard field goal on the final play amid snowy conditions.

    The Cavaliers are also moving in the wrong direction with three straight losses and five in their last six games, including a 10-0 setback to Virginia Tech on Nov. 24, but coach Bronco Mendenhall won't let that dampen the enthusiasm of their first bowl appearance in six years. “This is a defining moment for those players who have worked tirelessly to accomplish this goal of returning Virginia to a bowl game,” Mendenhall said in a prepared statement. "Seeing the joy on the faces of these players when they became bowl-eligible after the Georgia Tech win was an incredible moment. The only members of our team who have been to a bowl game are three graduate transfers.” Virginia makes its first bowl appearance since a 43-24 loss to Auburn in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl while Navy plays in its sixth straight bowl and 14th in the last 15 seasons after losing to Louisiana Tech 48-45 in the 2016 Armed Forces Bowl.

    The teams haven't met since 1994, but there is plenty of admiration as Mendenhall coached Va'A Niumatalolo -- the son of Midshipmen coach Ken -- while the two were at BYU. “I’ve known Kenny (Niumatalolo) and his family and what they stand for … for a long time and he’s all that’s right with college football in my opinion and runs a class program,” Mendenhall told reporters. “I couldn’t think of a more fitting and worthy opponent.” At the top of Mendenhall's to-do list is to figure out a way to stop Navy's No. 2 rushing offense (343 yards per game) with his 80th-ranked run defense that allows an average 178.3 yards.

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

    LINE HISTORY:
    Most sportsbooks opened Navy between -1 and the current number of -1.5. Some oddsmakers opened Navy as a 1-point underdogs early on, but most shops now have the Midshipmen as slight faves.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Virginia - LB M. Kiser (Probable Thursday, thumb).

    Navy -LB J. Thompson (Questionable Thursday, arm), FB A. Gargiulo (Questionable Thursday, ankle).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    It should be a beautiful, but chilly day in Annapolis. Clear skies are in the forecast with temperatures in the mid 20's and a cross field wind blowing at 8-10 miles per hour.

    ABOUT VIRGINIA (6-6, 6-6 ATS, 5-7 O/U):
    Senior quarterback Kurt Benkert (25 touchdowns, eight interceptions) passed for 186 yards against Virginia Tech and has 3,062 this season, breaking Matt Schaub's school record of 2,976 set in 2002. Junior running back Jordan Ellis (team-high 799 yards, six TDs) could be the key in the Cavaliers' offense using ball control to keep Navy's strong ground attack off the field while junior H-Back Olamide Zaccheaus (club-most 80 catches, 833 yards, five TDs) is Benkert's favorite target. Senior linebacker Micah Kiser leads the ACC and is tied for fifth nationally with 134 tackles and his 385 since the start of the 2015 season are the most in the country, while senior safety Quin Blanding's school-record 474 career tackles are the most among active FBS players.

    ABOUT NAVY (6-6, 5-5-2 ATS, 4-8 O/U):
    Sophomore Malcolm Perry rushed for 250 yards and a touchdown against Army while playing quarterback for the second time this season after running for 282 and four scores in a 43-40 victory over SMU on Nov. 11 in his first contest as the signal-caller. Perry replaced junior Zach Abey, who has been slowed by a shoulder injury and rushed for 123 yards in his last three games after totaling 126 or more in each of his first seven games this season. The Midshipmen have attempted only 101 passes this season but the element of surprise has yielded an average reception of 23.2 yards.

    TRENDS:


    * Midshipmen are 16-6-1 ATS in their last 23 home games.
    * Under is 13-6-1 in Cavaliers last 20 road games.
    * Over is 11-4 in Midshipmen last 15 home games.

    CONSENSUS:
    Bettors are backing the defacto home team in this bowl game, with 63 percent of wagers on Navy. When it comes to the total, 54 percent of wagers are favoring teh Under.


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


    NCAAF

    Thursday, December 28


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Camping World Bowl Betting Preview and Odds: Virginia Tech vs Oklahoma State
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Virginia Tech Hokies vs Oklahoma State Cowboys (-4.5, 63)

    Game to be played at Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida

    Mason Rudolph, who was once recruited by Virginia Tech, will take the nation’s top passing attack in No. 17 Oklahoma State to Orlando on Dec. 28 to challenge the 22nd-ranked Hokies in the Camping World Bowl. Rudolph completed 65 percent of his 457 attempts with 35 touchdowns against nine interceptions and led FBS in passing yards (4,553) and points responsible for per game (22.5). “We tried to recruit him,” longtime Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster told reporters. “He’s big, got a live arm. Very accurate. Strong. … I think the NFL guys will like him a lot because he’s in that 6-4, 6-5 range, and he’s a drop-back guy. … Just a lot of game experience, and it shows by his completion percentage, where he throws the ball, how quickly he gets rid of it, all those things.”

    The Hokies, however, have seen numerous up-tempo, spread offenses this season and haven’t allowed 400 yards passing in any game this season and only two 300-yard games. Opposing quarterbacks completed 46.9 percent of their passes for an average of 187.2 yards per game with 14 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. “I have a ton of respect for (Bud Foster). He's been around there forever and he's one of the most well-thought of guys in the country,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy told reporters. “Obviously they're only giving up 13 points a game, so we'll have our hands full on offense. I've watched them play a lot through the years. I know that he's got them in the top-20 in total defense and pass defense, and the top five in scoring and third-down defense, so he's doing well like always.”

    Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, once a highly recruited quarterback in the state of Oklahoma, was recruited by Gundy, who was then a graduate assistant with the Cowboys. Hokies offensive line coach Vance Vice played with Gundy in Stillwater from 1986-88 where the two won the 1987 Holiday Bowl and 1988 Liberty Bowl alongside Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders. "Vance and I were pretty good buddies in college and lived across the hall from each other in the dorms during the time that we were playing,” Gundy recalled. “We've been friends for a long time. He was kind of a tough guy back in the day as one of those very physical tight ends in our offense.”

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

    LINE HISTORY:
    Oklahoma State opened as 6.5-point favorites however that number has been bet down to 4.5. The total hit betting boards at 62.5 and has been bet up slightly to 63.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Virginia Tech - WR S. Savoy (Probable, Undisclosed), TE D. Deiuiis (Questionable, Hamstring), K J. Slye (Questionable, Hamstring), OL Y. Nijman (Questionable, Leg), DB M. Reynolds (Questionable, Lower Body), WR C. Phillips (Out, Hernia), DE V. Mihota (Out For Season, Knee), S T. Edmunds (Out For Season, Shoulder), DB D. Deablo (Out For Season, Foot), WR C. Farley (Out For Season, Knee).

    Oklahoma State - OL L. Williams (Out For Season, Ankle), LB K. Henry (Out For Season, Knee).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    67 and cloudy at game time - 11 mph winds throughout the game

    ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS, 3-8-1 O/U):
    Freshman quarterback Josh Jackson, who completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 2,743 yards with 19 TDs against eight interceptions, will attack a Cowboys' defense that yielded nearly 30 points per game and 400 total yards. Running back Travon McMillian, who led the Hokies in rushing (439 yards), decided to transfer and will not play. The Hokies have a decided edge in the kicking game, as they rank in the top 30 nationally in all four major special teams categories – punts, punt returns, kickoffs and kickoff returns - with Greg Stroman returning two punts for a touchdown and Virginia Tech yielding only 42 total yards on punt returns this season.

    ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS, 9-3 O/U):
    Rudolph will certainly be targeting wide receiver James Washington, the ninth unanimous All-American in school history and recipient of the 2017 Biletnikoff Award presented to the nation's top receiver. He finished the regular season with 69 catches for an FBS-high 1,423 yards and 12 touchdowns, and the senior led all FBS players with 17 catches of 30 yards or longer, 10 catches of 40 yards or longer and seven catches of 50 yards or longer. Sophomore running back Justice Hill ran for 1,347 yards – the most by a Cowboy in five years – and 14 TDs.

    CONSENSUS:
    The public is siding with the favorite Oklahoma State Cowboys at a rate of 71 percent and the Over is getting 68 percent of the totals action.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NCAAF

    Thursday, December 28


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Valero Alamo Bowl Betting Preview and Odds: Stanford vs Texas Christian
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Stanford Cardinal vs Texas Christian Horned Frogs (-3, 49)

    Game to be played at Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

    TCU’s elite run defense faces its toughest test of the season when the team faces Stanford and running back Bryce Love in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28 in San Antonio. Love finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting after leading Power 5 running backs in rushing yards (1,973), rushing yards per game (164.4), yards per carry (8.3) and runs of 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards. “I don’t know if you could ask anything more of a football player,” Cardinal coach David Shaw told reporters.

    Stanford bounced back from a loss at Washington State to win the Pac-12 North Division but fell 31-28 in the conference title game despite strong efforts from Love and sophomore quarterback K.J. Costello, who passed for 192 yards and two touchdowns. TCU closed with back-to-back wins over Texas Tech and Baylor to secure a spot in the Big 12 championship game, where it was outscored 17-0 in the second half of a 41-17 loss to Oklahoma. TCU is 5-0 against Pac-12 opponents under coach Gary Patterson, including two wins over Stanford.

    TCU has limited opponents to 3.2 yards per carry (eighth in the nation) behind defensive ends Mat Boesen and Ben Banogu, who led the Big 12 in sacks with 11.5 and 8.5, respectively. Making their second appearance in the Alamo Bowl over the last three seasons, the Horned Frogs rallied from a 31-0 halftime deficit to defeat Oregon 47-41 in triple overtime in their last visit on Jan. 2, 2016. This year’s trip could be just as dramatic, considering that eight of TCU’s last nine bowl games have been decided by seven points or fewer.

    TV:
    9 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    LINE HISTORY:
    TCU opened as two-point favorites and have been bet up slightly to -3. The total hit betting boards at 46.5 and has been bumped up to 49.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Stanford - T W. Little (Questionable, Undisclosed), DE E. Cotton (Questionable, Foot), CB T. Alexander (Out Indefinitely, Forearm), CB A. Holder (Out For Season, Knee), LB S. Barton (Out For Season, Knee).

    Texas Christian - RB D. Anderson (Questionable, Foot), LB M. Wilson (Questionable, Undisclosed), PK J. Song (Questionable, Groin), QB S. Robinson (Questionable, Undisclosed), CB J. Lewis (Out For Season, Undisclosed0.

    WEATHER REPORT:
    46 and cloudy at kickoff - 5 mph wind throughout the game

    ABOUT STANFORD (9-4 SU, 6-6-1 ATS, 5-8 O/U):
    The Cardinal's offense was fairly one-dimensional before Costello took over as the starter late in the season and finished with a total of 11 touchdowns against three interceptions. Costello’s favorite targets are wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside (six touchdowns) and tight end Dalton Schultz, an All-Pac-12 First-Team selection. Senior defensive lineman Harrison Phillips had 17 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries to lead a unit that has allowed 21.5 points per game and owns a plus-15 turnover margin, which tied for second in the nation.

    ABOUT TCU (10-3 SU, 6-7 ATS, 3-10 O/U):
    Senior quarterback Kenny Hill accounted for 25 touchdowns while completing 67.2 percent of his passes to lead a balanced offense that averaged 33.2 points per contest but struggled in the Big 12 title game. TCU had five All-Big 12 First-Team selections on defense, including the duo of Boesen and Banogu, linebacker Travin Howard, safety Nick Orr and cornerback Ranthony Texada. Howard’s 83 tackles, including seven for loss, have him on pace to become the first player to lead the team in stops in three consecutive seasons.

    CONSENSUS:
    The public is siding with the favorite TCU Horned Frogs at a rate of 61 percent and the Over is getting 54 percent of the totals action.


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


    NCAAF

    Thursday, December 28


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Holiday Bowl Betting preview and Odds: Washington State vs. Michigan State
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Washington State vs. Michigan State (-1.5, 47)

    Game to be played at SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, California

    No. 19 Michigan State takes on No. 21 Washington State in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 28 in a game that matches one of the nation's top defenses against one of its top offenses. The Spartans are ninth in the country in total offensive yards allowed per game with 298 - including just 101.3 on the ground, which ranks fifth in the nation. Meanwhile, Washington State is second in the country in passing yards per contest with 392.3 behind quarterback Luke Falk's 3,593 yards and 30 touchdowns.

    Despite going to a bowl game in 10 of the last 11 campaigns and making an appearance in the national semifinals just two seasons ago, Michigan State and coach Mark Dantonio still feel a bit slighted nationally, so when unranked Michigan - the school's biggest rival which lost to the Spartans this year - was selected for a New Year's Day bowl rather than MSU, it didn't sit well. Dantonio got into a bit of a Twitter war with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh about the perceived snub, and many of the Michigan State players made their unhappiness known as well. But the best way for the team to prove it belonged in a different game than the Holiday Bowl is to play great against the Cougars - which will be some extra motivation for the young Spartans, who are looking to build on a four-game winning streak in bowl games.

    Washington State's passing game has been prolific this season, but the team will be without two of its top three receivers after Tavares Martin Jr., who led the club in catches, was dismissed from the team and Isaiah Johnson-Mack left the program. Martin had 70 receptions for 831 yards and nine touchdowns this season, while Johnson-Mack recorded 60 for 555 yards and five scores. That doesn’t mean the team won’t continue to go to the air, especially with seven players remaining that have caught 24 or more passes this season - including running back Jamal Morrow (56 catches, 479 yards, five TDs) and wide receiver Kyle Sweet (50, 481, two).

    TV:
    9 p.m. ET, FS1.

    LINE HISTORY:
    The Cougars opened this bowl matchup favored by a field goal, but since then it's been a Sparty money, with the line jumping the fence to the current number of MIchigan State -1.5. The total meanwhile, opened at 45.5 and is up to the current number of 47.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Washington State - LB D. Moore (Questionable Thursday, undisclosed), RB G. Wicks (Questionable Thursday, leg), LB N. DeRider (Out indefinitely, knee).

    Michigan State - S A. Andrews (Out Thursday, suspension), DE L. Paulino-Bell (Out Thursday, suspension), DL M. Hunt (Out for season, knee).

    WEATHER REPORT:
    61 and clear at kickoff - 4 to 5 mph winds throughout

    ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE (9-3, 7-5 ATS, 5-7 O/U):
    While the Cougars are known for their offense – and any team coached by Mike Leach likely is going to be – the team’s success also is based on its defense as it ranked second in the Pac-12 in total defense, allowing 313.6 yards per game. Junior defensive end Hercules Mata’afa has been named a consensus All-American after leading the conference in tackles for loss (21.5) and sacks (9.5) this season, and the Cougars were No. 1 in the Pac-12 in pass defense, allowing an average of 167.4 yards and just eight scores this season. The Cougars also topped the conference in first downs allowed per game (15.7) and opponents’ third-down conversions (24.8 percent), proof that the team is more than just a high-powered passing machine.

    ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (9-3, 7-5 ATS, 5-7 O/U):
    The Spartans have been up and down offensively this season in that they go from being a run-heavy squad to a pass-happy bunch and back again seemingly from game to game, which is hard on the team’s consistency but tougher for defenses to read. Quarterback Brian Lewerke has registered 2,580 passing yards and 17 touchdowns this season, though he had 845 of those yards and six of the scoring passes over a two-game span bridging October and November. Likewise, leading rusher LJ Scott has a season total of 788 yards with six scores, but 341 and three were in two contests, and the junior finished with fewer than 40 yards rushing in four games this season.

    TRENDS:


    * Washington State is 1-5 ATS in their last six games vs. Big Ten opponents.
    * Michigan State is 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight neutral site games.
    * Under is 5-1 Washington State's last six non-conference games.
    * Over is 4-1 in Michigan State's last five vs. Pac-12 opponents.

    CONSENSUS:
    The majority of bettors like Sparty in this matchup, with 58 percent of public wagers on Michigan State. When it comes to the total bettors are on the Over, with 62 percent of wagers expecting the game to eclipse the number.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    THURSDAY, DECEMBER 28
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    UVA at NAVY 01:30 PM
    NAVY -1.5
    O 51.5

    VT at OKST 05:15 PM
    OKST -5.5
    O 61.5


    STAN at TCU 09:00 PM
    STAN +3.0
    O 48.5

    WSU at MSU 09:00 PM
    MSU -2.5
    O 47.5
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Bowl roundup: Rudolph, Oklahoma State KO Virginia Tech
    December 28, 2017


    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Mason Rudolph threw for 351 yards and two touchdowns Thursday as No. 19 Oklahoma State took advantage of its limited offensive opportunities to down No. 22 Virginia Tech 30-21 in the Camping World Bowl.

    Rudolph, a senior quarterback who is considered to be a potential early-round pick in next spring's NFL Draft, completed 21 of 32 passes for the Cowboys (10-3).

    Leading 13-7 at halftime, Oklahoma State leaned on Rudolph to gain separation against the Hokies. He threw to a sliding Dillon Stoner for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 11:22 left in the third quarter, then answered a Virginia Tech touchdown with a 65-yard bomb to James Washington at the 5:37 mark that upped the lead to 13 points.

    The Cowboys' defense survived more than it dominated. The Hokies (9-4) rushed for 248 yards and possessed the ball for more than 38 minutes but made a series of mistakes that halted three potential scoring drives.

    Navy 49, Virginia 7

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Backup quarterback Zach Abey scored five touchdowns to lead Navy past Virginia in the Military Bowl.

    Malcolm Perry started the game at quarterback and ran for 114 yards with two touchdowns before leaving with a foot injury in the third quarter. Abey took over and finished with 88 yards on 13 carries. His five rushing touchdowns are the most in the Military Bowl history and tied an FBS bowl record.

    Navy (7-6) entered the game with the nation's No. 2 running attack, averaging 343 yards per game, and finished with 452 yards in the ground, also setting a record for the bowl. Virginia (6-7) was led by Kurt Benkert who finished 16 of 36 for 145 yards with an interception. Benkert threw for a school-record 3,062 yards this season

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

    TCU tops Stanford 39-37 in Alamo Bowl
    December 28, 2017


    SAN ANTONIO (AP) Kenny Hill passed for two touchdowns, ran for another and even caught one as No. 13 TCU rallied from a big early deficit to beat 15th-ranked Stanford 39-37 in the Alamo Bowl on Thursday night.

    Cole Bunce's 33-yard field goal with just over 3 minutes to play won it for the Horned Frogs (11-3), who trailed 21-3 before storming back behind big plays from Hill and a 76-yard punt return from Desmon White. TCU rallied from 31 down in to beat Oregon in the 2015 Alamo Bowl.

    Stanford (9-5) running back Bryce Love, a Heisman Trophy finalist, rushed for 145 yards and had a 69-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. K.J. Costello had three touchdown passes to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, the last one giving Stanford a 37-36 lead.

    Hill then drove TCU to Bunce's game winner. The Horned Frogs defense sealed it with an interception by Innis Gaines with 2:01 left.

    Hill finished with 314 yards passing, a team-high 60 yards rushing and caught a 27-yard TD pass from White in his final game.

    Love finished with the season with 2,118 yards rushing, the school's single-season record.

    THE TAKEAWAY

    TCU: The Horned Frogs defended Love about as well as anyone this season despite the long touchdown run. Most important, they didn't let him take over the game in the second half, which let Hill and the offense rally. When the running game wasn't working, the TCU defense could get after Costello, who struggled under pressure after his quick start.

    Stanford: The Cardinal were doomed by the big play just when they had a chance to put the game away. After pinning TCU deep, Hill connected with Jalen Reagor on a 93-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. White, who earlier had a costly fumble, then gave TCU its first lead with his punt return touchdown.

    ON TO NEXT YEAR

    TCU: Coach Gary Patterson has his program humming with 40 wins over the last four seasons, and the Horned Frogs expect to remain Big 12 title contenders even as Hill moves on after his final game. The Horned Frogs will have to find a new quarterback to do it, but Patterson's teams always play some of the best defense in the league.

    Stanford: Love will have to decide his future and whether that will mean another year of school for the biology major and aspiring pediatrician with an interest in stem cell research, or a jump to the NFL. The trend has seen top players leave early, but Love already bucked the latest fad by choosing to play in his team's bowl game as he ponders his decision.

    Coach David Shaw said this week hopes Love will return next season. If he does, pencil in the Cardinal as a Pac-12 favorite again.

    UP NEXT

    Stanford hosts San Diego State on Sept. 1, 2018.

    TCU hosts Southern in its 2018 opener.

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

    Spartans roll past Cougs in Holiday Bowl
    December 28, 2017


    SAN DIEGO (AP) Brian Lewerke threw for 213 yards and three touchdowns, and LJ Scott ran for 110 yards and two scores for No. 18 Michigan State, which took advantage of Luke Falk's absence to rout No. 21 Washington State 42-17 in the Holiday Bowl on Thursday night.

    Lewerke also rushed for 73 yards for Michigan State (10-3), which rebounded from a dismal 3-9 record last year to reach double digits in wins for the eighth time in program history.

    Falk, who was photographed earlier in the week with a cast on his left wrist, went through warmups but came out in street clothes at game time. He was replaced by redshirt sophomore Tyler Hilinksi, who made his first start and eighth appearance of the season. It's unclear precisely when Falk injured the wrist on his non-throwing hand, but he had issues with it throughout the season. Coach Mike Leach refused to give specifics during the week.

    Hilinski led WSU (9-4) to a 45-yard field goal by Erik Powell on the Cougars' second drive, but the Cougars were overpowered by the Spartans.

    Lewerke threw the first of two TD passes to Cody White, a 7-yarder midway through the second quarter, when he was flushed to the left but found the receiver in the back of the end zone.

    On MSU's next possession, Lewerke took the snap and glanced at his running back, which froze the secondary and allowed Felton Davis III to get wide open for a 49-yard scoring pass.

    Scott scored on a 3-yard run to give the Spartans a 21-3 halftime time.

    Early in the third, Lewerke rolled left and had his pass tipped, but a sliding White caught it for a 7-yard touchdown.

    Lewerke, who finished 13 of 21, was hit hard on a keeper in the third quarter and came out for a few plays. His backup, Damion Terry, scored on a 6-yard keeper to make it 35-3.

    The Cougars closed the gap when Hilinski threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tay Martin late in the third quarter and a 15-yarder to Tay in the fourth quarter.

    Scott scored on a 28-yard burst up the middle with about six minutes left to play.

    Hilinski was 39 of 50 for 272 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.

    THE TAKEAWAY

    Washington State: It was the second straight lackluster Holiday Bowl for Leach's Cougars, who lost 17-12 to Minnesota last year. Besides being without Falk, leading receiver Tavares Martin Jr. was kicked off the team after the regular season and third-leading receiver Isaiah Johnson-Mack left the squad.

    Michigan State: Scott had his third 100-yard game of the season and ninth of his career. Felton had four catches for 118 yards.

    UP NEXT

    Washington State: Falk will move on to the NFL Draft while Hilinski will take over the Air Raid offense. It was Hilinski who led the Cougars to a comeback victory against Boise State in triple overtime on Sept. 9 after Falk was knocked out of the game.

    Michigan State: The young Spartans appear to be in good hands with Lewerke, who was just a redshirt sophomore this season. All the other starting skill position players return.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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