Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM

Wednesday's Bowl Tips

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Boston College vs. Boise State

First Responder Bowl History

-- The Boston College Eagles (7-5 straight up, 7-5 against the spread) of the Atlantic Coast Conference will battle the Boise State Broncos (10-3 straight up, 7-5-1 against the spread) from the Mountain West Conference in the First Responder Bowl, formerly the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

-- The Eagles haven't had a lot of success in bowl games lately. They won the 2016 Quick Lane Bowl over Maryland by a 36-30 count, but that was their only victory in the past seven postseason games dating back to 2008. This will be their first appearnce in the First Responder Bowl, and their first postseason appearance in the state of Texas since they won the 1985 Cotton Bowl over Houston by a 45-28 score.

-- The Broncos have had a much better measure of success in bowl games recently, posting victories in seven of their past nine appearances, including last season over Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl, 38-28. Under head coach Bryan Harsin they're 3-1 in four bowl games in each of the past four seasons. This will be Boise State's first appearance in the First Responder Bowl, and their first bowl game in the Lone Star State since dropping TCU 34-31 in the Fort Worth Bowl back on Dec. 23, 2003.

-- B.C. had an exciting season and they outperformed expectations like they usually do. The fired out of the box with three wins against UMass, Holy Cross and at Wake Forest to start 3-0 SU/ATS with an 'over' in each outing. They were humbled at Purdue Sept. 22 by a 30-13 count, but they beat fellow bowl team Temple 45-35 on Sept. 29. A narrow loss and cover at N.C. State was a tough pill to swallow, but they rattled off three straight ACC wins against Louisville, Miami and at Virginia Tech to easily attain bowl eligibility. The Eagles finished on a three-game slide and non-cover streak with losses to Clemson, Florida State and Syracuse, all bowl teams.

-- The Eagles were rather marginal in all aspects, ranking 66th in the country in total yards (404.4 yards per game), 80th in passing yards (215.2 YPG) and 51st in rushing yards (189.2 YPG). Defensively they were just 71st overall in total yards allowed (403.2 YPG), and 96th against the pass (247.8 YPG). They were slightly better in rushing defense (155.3 YPG) and points allowed (25.7 PPG), ranking 53rd overall in both areas.

-- Boise opened with an emphatic 56-20 win at Troy on Sept. 1, and they squashed UConn 62-7 as 34-point favorites in Game 2. However, they were overmatched by Power 5 Conference member Oklahoma State, and they were tripped up at home on the Smurf Turf against San Diego State to sit 3-2 SU/ATS through five games. That's when their run started, posting seven straight wins to qualify for the MWC title game. They were tripped up by Fresno State in overtime by a 19-16 score in a snowstorm. The 'under' ended up 5-0 in their final five ames, and 7-2 in the final nine.

-- The Broncos ranked 23rd in total yards (459.5 YPG), while ranking 18th in the nation with 292.0 passing yards per outing. They also checked in 24th in the land with 35.4 points per game. Defensively, Boise State was 38th overall with 355.9 YPG allowed, and they were tough against the run at 23rd in the nation with 122.9 YPG. They also yielded just 22.1 PPG, 31st overall.

 -- Top RB A.J. Dillon (ankle) is listed as questionable due to an ankle injury he has been hampered with in the second half of the season. He piled up a team-best 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.

-- B.C. is 9-3-1 ATS in the past 13 against winning teams, 3-1-1 ATS in the past five neutral-site games and 15-6-1 ATS in the past 22 overall. They're just 2-7 ATS in the past nine bowl games, however, and 1-9 ATS in their past 10 appearances in the month of December.

-- Boise is 7-3 ATS across their past 10 bowl appearances, while going 9-4 ATS in the past 13 neutral-site battles. However, they're just 3-7 ATS in the past 10 games played in December.

-- The over has hit in each of B.C.'s past four bowl appearances while going 5-1 in their past six non-conference tilts. The under is 4-1 in their past five games overall, however.

-- The under has cashed in five straight for Boise State, and is also 5-0 in their past five against winning teams. However, the over is 5-2 in their past seven bowl contests.

-- These teams last met Dec. 28, 2005 in the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise, with Boston College coming away with a 27-21 win.

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

Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech

Quick Lane Bowl History

-- In the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit we get the Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6 straight up, 7-5 against the spread) from the Big Ten Conference squaring off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-5 straight up, 5-7 against the spread) from the ACC.

-- Minnesota appeared in this game in 2015, winning 21-14 while covering (-6) against Central Michigan. Georgia Tech is making its first appearance in the game.

-- After an ugly seven-game bowl losing streak, that Quick Lane appearance in 2015 kicked off a two-game bowl win streak which also incluced a 17-12 win over Washington State in the 2016 Holiday Bowl.

-- The Yellow Jackets also had their own streak of misery in bowl games, dropping seven in a row from 2005-11. However, they're 3-1 in their past four postseason games, including a 33-18 slaying of Kentucky in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl. Neither of these teams appeared in a bowl game last season. 

-- The Gophers started out 3-0 SU/ATS, including an impressive 21-14 win over Group of 5 contender Fresno State back on Sept. 8. They dropped four in a row from Sept. 22-Oct. 20, including lopsided losses to Maryland, Iowa, Ohio State and Nebraska, and things appeared to be going off the rails. They recorded a 38-31 win over Indiana to cover as 2 1/2-point 'dogs, but a 55-31 loss at Illinois put their bowl eligibility in doubt. However, they humbled Purdue 41-10 and beat the pants off of Wisconsin 37-15 in Madison to punch their ticket to the postseason in emphatic fashion.

-- The Yellow Jackets didn't get their first win against an FBS foe until Sept. 29, stomping Bowling Green 63-17. They pled up the points at Louisville the following week, winning 66-31 against a bad Cardinals side. Perhaps their most impressive win came Oct. 25, going to Blacksburg to push aside Virginia Tech 49-28. They gained bowl eligibility Nov. 10 with a 27-21 win over Miami, and topped Virginia 30-27 in overtime on Nov. 17 for good measure. They weren't up to the task against rival Georgia in Athens to close out the season, losing 45-21.

-- The Ramblin' Wreck ranked No. 1 in the country with 335.0 yards per game, and they were 21st in points scored with 35.6 PPG. They don't really pass the ball, as Paul Johnson's club uses the triple-option. Defensively they were adequate, ranking 45th in the country (367.8 YPG), while ranking 55th in passing yards allowed (217.9 YPG) and 50th in rush defense (149.8 YPG). 

-- Ga. Tech QB TaQuon Marshall passed for just 824 yards while completing only 44.0 percent of his passes. That's not his thing. Running is his thing, and he led the team with 897 yards on the ground while piercing the end zone 11 times. TB Tobias Oliver had a team-high 12 rushing touchdowns with 807 yards on the ground (5.6 YPC). RBs Jordan Mason also had seven rushing scores and 6.2 yards per tote, and eight different Jackets had at least two rushing scores (45 total).

-- Minny had difficulty on offense, ranking 68th in the country in points scored (28.5 PPG). They also were just 89th in total yards (379.0 YPG). They'll have their hands full against the run, and they ranked just 74th in the nation in that category with 170.7 YPG. They also gave up 27.9 PPG to check in 75th in the nation.

-- For the Gophers, WR Tyler Johnson is the most dangerous player on offense, gathering 74 receptions for 1,112 yards and 10 touchdowns (15.0 average).

-- The Golden Gophers are 5-0 ATS over the past five non-conference games, but they're just 2-5-1 ATS in the past eight games following a straight-up victory. They're also 0-4 ATS in the past four following a cover.

-- The Jackets have an impressive 4-0-1 ATS mark over the past five neutral-site battles, but they're just 1-4 ATS in the past five outside the ACC. They are 5-1 ATS in the past six games played in the month of December, however.

-- The under has connected in six of the past eight non-Big 10 games for Minnesota, while going 4-0 in their past four against teams with a winning record.

-- For Ga. Tech, the over is 6-2-1 across their past nine games overall, but the under has hit in six of the past eight bowl appearances.

-- This is the first-ever meeting between Minnesota and Georgia Tech.

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

Texas Christian vs. California

Cheez-It Bowl History

-- In the Cheez-It Bowl (the bowl formerly known as the Cactus Bowl), takes place at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz. The game features the Texas Christian Horned Frogs (6-6 straight up, 4-8 against the spread) of the Big 12 Conference facing off against the California Golden Bears (7-5 straight up, 7-5 against the spread) of the Pac-12 Conference.

-- The Horned Frogs have appeared in bowl games in six consecutive seasons, and they have won nine of their past 12 postseason tilts. However, they were edged 17-16 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl by Michigan State on Dec. 29, 2012 in their most recent bowl appearance in the state of Arizona. Since 2000, Gary Patterson has led his team to 17 bowls, going 10-6 heading into this one. They're also 3-0 all-time in bowl games against current Pac-12 members.

-- The Golden Bears won their most recent bowl appearance on Dec. 29, 2015 aginst Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl, 55-36. Cal is also 5-2 SU in the past seven bowl games, and 9-4 SU in the past 13. They won the Insight Bowl on Dec. 26, 2003 in this stadium, topping Virginia Tech 52-49 in a thriller. They also won the Copper Bowl on Dec. 31, 1990 in Tucson against Wyoming in their only other appearance in a bowl game in Arizona.

-- TCU opened 2-0, including a 42-12 drumming of SMU on the road. They lost a 40-28 game in Arlington, Tex. against Ohio State, and followed that up with a 31-16 loss at Texas to fall to 2-2 SU/ATS. The Horned Frogs picked up a 17-14 win on Sept. 29 against a good Iowa State side, but lost three in a row to Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Kansas to put their bowl eligibility in danger. The loss to the Jayhawks was the real head-scratcher. However, they won three of their final four, including a 31-24 decision against Oklahoma State on Nov. 24 to secure their postseason ticket.

-- TCU was 93rd in total yards (374.6 YPG), while ranking 95th in rushing offense (148.5 YPG) and 98th in points scored (24.7 PPG). On defense, they're 28th in yardage allowed (344.4 YPG), while ranking 40th against the pass (202.6 YPG), 42nd against the rush (141.8 YPG) and 45th in points allowed (24.4 PPG). 

-- Cal fired out of the gate with a 3-0 SU/1-1-1 ATS mark, including a nice 21-18 victory at BYU. They fell in three in a row from Sept. 29-Oct. 13, including a bad loss to previously winless UCLA. However, they impressed with a 12-10 win against Washington on Oct. 27, lost a narrow (but covered!) game at Washington State on Nov. 3, and won at USC on Nov. 10 for the first time at L.A. Coliseum since 2000, and first time in the series since 2003 when QB Aaron Rodgers was under center in Berkeley. They lost a rescheduled game at home Dec. 1 against Stanford after entering 'The Big Game' on a 4-1 SU/5-0 ATS run.

-- The Golden Bears offense was rather atrocious in 2018, as they ranked just 111th in the country in total yards (350.2 YPG). If they do anything well, it's run the ball, ranking 75th with 162.5 YPG, but they managed just 22.8 YPG to finish 108th overall. Defensively the Golden Bears are strong, allowing just 319.4 YPG to finish 16th in the nation, they're 23rd overall with 21.2 PPG allowed and 23rd against the pass, too.

-- TCU has quarterback issues, as QBs Shawn Robinson (shoulder) and QB Justin Rogers (knee) were lost for the season, and QB Michael Collins (foot) is listed as doubtful. The signal-caller duties will fall on QB Grayson Muehlstein, who threw for 328 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions this season, including 180 yards and two TDs in the final against OK State.

-- Cal enters 5-1 ATS over the past six games, and they're 5-2-1 ATS in the past eight non-conference battles. However, they're 1-5 ATS in the past six neutral-site games and 1-5 ATS in the past six in the month of December.

-- TCU is just 2-7 ATS in their past nine overall and 3-10 ATS in the past 13 neutral-site games, including earlier this season against Ohio State. They're 2-8 ATS in the past 10 against teams with a winning record and 2-7 ATS in their past nine bowl games.

-- The under has cashed in seven of the past eight for California, while going 5-0 in their past five games on a grass surface. The over is 9-2 in their past 11 neutral-site games and 7-2 in the past nine bowl games.

-- The over is 4-1 in TCU's past five neutral-site games and 4-1 in their past five outside of the conference. The under is 8-3-1 in their past 12 bowl games, however, and 7-3 in the past nine played in December.

-- This is the first-ever meeting between Cal and TCU on the gridiron.

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

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