Auburn (-3.5, O/U 55) vs. Purdue, 1:30 PM, E***:
The story of Tyler Trent has been phenomenal. The Purdue student battling cancer has become a rallying point for not only Purdue football, but all of college football. His story isn’t finished yet, as he’ll be at the game today:
Tyler would be enough motivation for Purdue, but the Boilermakers have gotten another boost during bowl season thanks to Jeff Brohm telling Louisville “nah” and staying in West Lafayette.
They’ll be going up against Auburn, a team that had one of the most disappointing seasons in America backed by a coach that is certainly on a weird hot seat. Their top defensive player, Nick Coe, will be out for this game. I can’t see the Auburn Tigers being that motivated to play in this game.
I’m predicting a big day for Rondale Moore. Auburn ranks 87th defending against explosive plays, Purdue ranks 7th in producing such plays. Expect the freshman from Purdue to put up some big numbers. That will be the difference in this game and the edge is pointing in Purdue’s direction….plus we get points?!
Pick: Purdue +3.5
Syracuse (-2, O/U 66) vs. West Virginia, 5:15 PM, E***:
West Virginia will be:
-without Will Grier
-without NFL LT Yondy Cajuste
-playing 2 QBs
Syracuse will be:
-looking to cap off a historic season
-playing with a roster of players who have never been in a bowl game (outside of transfers)
-motivated by this guy:
Last year, West Virginia played in a similar bowl game without Will Grier. They lost to a 6-6 Utah team, 30-14.
West Virginia’s edge coming into this game was their offense. They were explosive and efficient with Will Grier. How big of an edge still exists? Not much if you ask me. Will Grier was this entire offense and for good reason. Now they’ll be going up against Syracuse’s pass rush (28th in adjusted sack rate) without their top pass blocker and two backup QBs (if you have two QBs you don’t have one, folks!). West Virginia will depend on the run, something they haven’t done all season. Their rushing attack isn’t awful, but Syracuse has put up decent numbers defending the run (58th overall, 51st in line yards, 50th in opportunity rate, 57th in power success rate, 54th in stuff rate).
Dungey & Co. will be able to put up points on a West Virginia defense that has struggled for most of the season. Their #1 ranked special teams unit will come into play as well. Give me Cuse.
Pick: Syracuse -2
Washington State (-3, O/U 56.5) vs. Iowa State, 9:00 PM, E***:
Mike Leach’s air raid offense is all about rhythm and when his team is on extended rest/opening the season, the air raid isn’t as effective. Throughout his tenure at Wazzu, Leach has been hitting around 60% ATS, but look at these numbers:
Bowls: 1-3 ATS at Wazzu, 0-4 ATS at TTU
Season Openers: 2-5 ATS
Wazzu will be going up against a sturdy Iowa State defense that ranks 31st in defensive S&P+. Looking a bit more under the hood, you’ll see Iowa State ranks 23rd against the pass, which means good things going up against an offense that throws the ball more than anybody else in America. Iowa State is not a stranger to the air raid offense coming from the Big 12. Matt Campbell’s defense is built to go up against teams who sling the ball around the field.
On the other side of the ball, you’ll see an offense that has been transformed since Brock Purdy took over. In Iowa State’s first 4 games, they were averaging 4.8 yards per play, since Purdy took over that number is 6.06. Washington State has struggled against the run all season and I could see David Montgomery having himself a big game, although Iowa State hasn’t been as successful running the ball as they though they were going to coming into the season.
Iowa State is coming into this game winning 7 of their last 8. Washington State is not only bummed they missed out on the Pac-12 championship but also disappointed in not getting a NY6 bid. Give me the Cyclones plus the points.
Pick: Iowa State +3
Jack Mac’s Stay In The Black Picks:
2018: 85-74-4, +4.55 units
Bowls: 6-9 (Leans: 1-2)
5 game losing streak at the moment. You just hate to see that. Hard times create strong men, right? At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
Iowa State +3