Saturday's Bowl Action
December 20, 2013
By Brian Edwards
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Las Vegas Bowl
Matchup: Fresno State vs. Southern California
Venue: Sam Boyd Stadium
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
-- As of Friday afternoon, most books had USC (9-4 straight up, 6-7 against the spread) installed as a six-point favorite with a total of 62. Gamblers can back the Bulldogs on the money line for a +210 return (risk $100 to win $210). For first-half bets, USC is favored by 3 ½ with a total of 31 ½.
-- Fresno St. (11-1 SU, 5-7 ATS) is in its first underdog situation of the season. Any disappointment of not getting to a BCS bowl was most likely forgotten by the Bulldogs when they saw their name next to that of USC’s. I would expect FSU to play with a chip on its shoulder due to the fact that most of its players were bypassed by the Trojans in the recruiting process.
-- Fresno St. went unbeaten until suffering a 62-52 loss at San Jose St. on Nov. 29. The Bulldogs recovered the following week to win the Mountain West Conference title game by a 24-17 count over Utah St. They hooked up their betting supporters as 2.5-point home ‘chalk.’ Derek Carr threw for 404 yards and three touchdowns against the Aggies.
-- Carr has enjoyed a sensational senior campaign and will have NFL scouts galore on hand to watch him in Vegas. He has completed 70.1 percent of his throws for 4,866 yards with a 48/7 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Carr’s favorite target is Davante Adams, who has hauled in 122 receptions for 1,654 yards and 23 TDs. Josh Harper, who missed the MWC title game with a groin injury, has 79 catches for 1,011 yards and 13 TDs.
-- USC has hired a new coach in former assistant Steve Sarkisian, but it will be without Ed Orgeron after he led the team to six wins in its last eight games. Oregeron bolted town after not getting the head job. Therefore, you have to wonder what the mindset is for this team going into the postseason. Remember, USC completely no-showed the Sun Bowl last year by losing 21-7 to a seven-loss Ga. Tech squad.
-- USC had won five consecutive games before getting thumped 35-14 by UCLA in its regular-season finale. Brett Hundley paced the Bruins with 80 rushing yards and a pair of TD scampers. Javorious Allen ran for 123 yards and one TD. Allen, a product of Tallahassee Lincoln High School that has produced the likes of former Florida OT Zach Pillar, former UF defensive end Kevin Carter and former FSU cornerback Antonio Cromartie, has 10 rushing scores in USC’s last five games.
-- Southern Cal has been a single-digit favorite four times this year, going 2-2 ATS.
-- USC will be without two starting offensive linemen. OT Aundrey Walker and center Marcus Martin are both out after sustaining knee injuries.
-- The ‘under’ is 9-4 overall for the Trojans. Meanwhile, totals have been an overall wash for the Bulldogs (6-6).
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Matchup: Buffalo vs. San Diego State
Venue: Bronco Stadium
Location: Boise, Idaho
Time/TV: 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
-- These teams will meet in the Idaho Potato Bowl on the smurf turf in Boise. Buffalo will have to venture across country, but it will be familiar with the cold conditions in Idaho. San Diego St. won’t have to travel as far, but the weather won’t be to its liking.
-- As of Friday afternoon, most spots had San Diego St. (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS) listed as a 1 ½-point favorite with a total of 51.
-- Before laying an egg in a 45-19 loss at UNLV in its regular-season finale, Rocky Long’s squad had won seven of its eight previous games. The lone defeat during that span came to Fresno State in overtime.
-- San Diego St. is by RB Adam Muema, who rushed for 1,015 yards and 12 TDs during the regular season. QB Quinn Kaehler threw for 2,796 yards with a 17/9 TD-INT ratio.
-- Buffalo (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS) has one of the nation’s premier players in LB Khalil Mack, who won the Lambert Award for the country’s top linebacker. Mack has 94 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks and three interceptions this season. He returned two of those picks for TDs and he has 15 career forced fumbles.
-- Buffalo produced a seven-game winning streak before dropping two of its last three games. The Bulls lost a 24-7 decision at home to eventual MAC champ Bowling Green in their regular-season finale.
-- Buffalo QB Joe Licata had a solid season, throwing 2,628 yards with a 21/7 TD-INT ratio. Brandon Oliver ran for a team-high 1,421 yards and 15 TDs.
-- San Diego St. compiled a 3-1 spread record in four games as a single-digit favorite.
-- Buffalo went 2-3 ATS in five games as an underdog.
-- ESPN will have the telecast at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Three SEC quarterbacks won’t play in the postseason – Georgia’s Aaron Murray, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Vandy’s Austyn Carta-Samuels.
-- In Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN, Washington St. is favored by 5 ½ vs. Colorado St. The ‘over’ is 8-3 for the Rams, who have gone 3-2 ATS in five games as underdogs.
-- Tulane is favored by 1 ½ or two vs. UL-Lafayette in Saturday night’s New Orleans Bowl at the Superdome. The Ragin’ Cajuns will most likely be without starting QB Terrance Broadway, who has an injured wrist. Without Broadway, UL-Lafayette got smashed 30-8 at South Alabama in its regular-season finale.
-- Tulane has covered the number at a 7-1 clip in its last eight games. On the flip side, the Ragin’ Cajuns are in the midst of a 0-5 ATS slide.
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