Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The bowl season began last week and we saw two underdogs win outright and one favorite win. The biggest upset was Wyoming, a 12-point dog – the second largest spread of the bowl season – handing Fresno State a 35-28 double-overtime loss.
For the next three days beginning Tuesday with the Las Vegas Bowl, we’ll get to witness some of the better bowl games, at least on paper. The first two pair top end teams from the Pac-10 and Mountain West. BYU matches up with Oregon State and then Utah squares off against Cal.
As exciting as the Mountain West teams have been, look for the Pac-10 to begin their bowl reign similar to the way their teams did last season when they went 5-0. This season they have six teams in bowls with only Stanford being an underdog in a game which the sharps have already bet against Oklahoma, dropping the Sooners from 9-point favorites to the current line of 7½.
Nevada has the largest spread of the bowls but it has been plummeting from a high of 16½-points to a low of 13½ over SMU, due to the academic suspension of the Wolfpack’s leading rusher Vai Taua. The Pack was already without 1,000 yard rusher in Luke Lippencott due to toe surgery.
The two will be missed but they still have another 1,000 yard rusher in quarterback Colin Kaepernick and two eager performers waiting for their chance to shine in Lampford Mark and Mike Ball. Mark had one 100 yard game this season while Ball put up 184 yards against UNLV. The system in place is still good enough to validate the large spread despite the loss of Taua.
I must admit, I did lose the pool I had going which asked what school would have the first starter to drop out due to failing grades as usually happens just prior to the Bowl games. I laid the chalk with Florida State, who seems to win that mythical pool 80% of the time.
On Saturday the MAC gets to try their first attempt in a Bowl game after going 0-5 as a conference in bowl play last season. Ohio has jumped from a 1½-point favorite to 3 over Marshall.
North Carolina and Pittsburgh face off in the Meinke Bowl, which so far hasn’t generated any action. It’s one of the few games that hasn’t moved all bowl season since the line came at Pitt -3.
USC’s line has been dropping against Boston College in the Emerald Bowl from an opener of USC -9 to 7½.
Sunday we get to see the first of a record 10 SEC teams play when Clemson takes on Kentucky. It’s followed by a Monday game with another SEC squad, Georgia, taking on Texas A&M. Kentucky is a 7-point dog while Georgia is a 7-point favorite.
Everyone will have to wait until next week to pick on the Big-10 teams who went a combined 1-6 in bowl games last season. Not much has changed in the perception of the conference since then.