Saturday, December 16, 2017

College Football Preview: Dear God, Not Another Weekend Without Army Football!

Am I right?
Alas, we must soldier on.  Despite the lamentable fact that the Brave Old Army Team is even now taking Term End Exams, life continues.  Outside of Star Wars, I don’t know what to do with myself.

It is perhaps worth noting that ESPN/Disney now owns and operates a goodly portion of the college bowl infrastructure.  I’ve listed the networks here, but *Spoiler Alert* they’re mostly all on ESPN.  A few are on ABC or CBS Sports.  
All betting lines per Oddsshark.Com.  Schedule per 506Sports.Com.

Saturday, December 16
1:00 pm.  The New Orleans Bowl: Troy vs North Texas (ESPN)
The line opened at Troy (-5) but has since moved to Troy by a touchdown.  I find that hard to believe.  The part I believe is the Over/Under.  It’s sitting at 62.
Smash the Over.

2:30 pm.  Cure Bowl: Western Kentucky vs Georgia State (CBS Sports)
Game takes place in Orlando.  The line is Hilltoppers (-6.5), Over/Under sits at 53.5.  I haven’t watched either of these teams play, but Oddsshark says that “Georgia State is an Under Machine”.
With that, I will probably take G. State (+6.5) to cover.

3:30 pm. Las Vegas Bowl: #25 Boise State vs Oregon (ABC)
As a fan of the little guy, I probably ought to root for Mountain-West Boise State, no?  But who cares?  The Ducks are favored by 7.5, and I’ll take them to cover.  
The Over/Under is at 61.  I expect we’ll go Over as well.

4:30 pm.  New Mexico Bowl: Marshall vs. Colorado State (ESPN)
My favorite matchup of the day.  Regular readers may already know that I was looking for Army to take on Marshall in the Armed Forces Bowl.  We wound up doing a little better than I anticipated in terms of bowl matchups, but I still think this would have been a good contest and would like to see the Academy add Marshall at some point as a regular season game.
Marshall has a decent defense and a legit running game.  Colorado State is all in the air.  That’s how Air Force beat them, and I’ll take the Thundering Herd (+5.5) to do the same, especially since they’re 8-4 against the spread.
Over/Under is 58.  Gimme the Under.

8:00 pm.  Camellia Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs Arkansas State (ESPN)
They’re playing this one in Montgomery, Alabama.  What’re the odds of Roy Moore riding up to the ticket office on a horse named Fancy?
The line says Arkansas State (-3.5), and that’s probably right, but I’ll still take the Blue Raiders.  That’s another team I’d like to put on Army’s schedule.  My folks were from that part of Tennessee.

Tuesday, December 19
7:00 pm.  Boca Raton Bowl: Akron vs Florida Atlantic (ESPN)
Alas, the Kiffinettes are going to vaporize Akron.  The line says FAU (-23), and I would still take FAU to cover.  Heh.  There are still a couple of books offering FAU (-22.5) if you look.  That half-point might make all the difference.
Shit, Oddsshark is predicting that the Owls hang 50 on the Zips.  Ugh.

Wednesday, December 20
8:00 pm. Frisco Bowl: Louisiana Tech vs Southern Methodist (ESPN)
SMU just lost their coach.  Have I mentioned that they recruited me?  For swimming, not football.  Anyway, the line is Mustangs (-5) in what’s probably going to be one of the better games of the week.  Oddsshark says LA Tech 35.1, SMU 31.1.  Over/Under is 70.
I feel vaguely disloyal, but there’s obvious value in taking LA Tech (+5).

Thursday, December 21
8:00 pm.  Gasparilla Bowl: Temple vs Florida International (ESPN)
The game is in Tampa/St. Pete.  That makes it almost a home game for FIU, but I expect the Owls will pound the Golden Panthers regardless.  Temple is a much, much better team now than they were even halfway into the season.  How they managed to dig themselves such a deep hole before realizing which quarterback and running back ought to be their starters is one of the mysteries for the ages.
The line is Temple (-7), and you really shouldn’t ever take a road favorite giving that many points, but fuck it.  The Owls roll, and in particular, QB Frank Nutile throws for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Also: the Owls have one of the best social media departments in all of college sports.

Friday, December 22
12:30 pm. Bahamas Bowl: UAB vs Ohio (ESPN)
Dude, seriously, who the Hell is gonna be home at noon on Friday to watch this game?
Oh yeah.  Me!
Line is Ohio (-7).  That sounds about right.  UAB has had a good season, but they’ve also benefited from a uniquely well-timed schedule.  By comparison, Ohio is a slightly better version of Eastern Michigan with a penchant for winning close games.

4:00 pm. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Central Michigan vs Wyoming (ESPN)
Would you believe that the line on this game is even?  Man, no one believes in the MAC.  At all.  Central Michigan is 5-0 straight up and against the spread in its last 5 games.
That’s all I need to hear.  Gimme the Chippewas!
* * *
Happy Saturday, folks.  Enjoy the weekend.

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