The regular season was a shaky one for me and as I result I called it quits about a month ago… that is until bowl season anyway. After some time to regroup I’m ready to hop back in there for what is a degenerates heaven, Bowl Season! Here’s how I start things off on Saturday….
Georgia State (+6.5): I’m going to take a shot here with what should be a pretty hungry Georgia State team. The Panthers joined FBS in 2013 and since joining are 0-1 in bowl games so Saturday they’ll be looking for that first ever FBS bowl win. WKU on the other hand has won a bowl game in 3 straight years and after a ho-hum 6-6 season I’m not sure how fired up they’ll be for this one. Or at least not to the level I expect Georgia State to be. White at QB is a stud and he’s an NFL prospect, but there are some big problems around him. As a team WKU is only averaging 66.1 yards rushing per game which is dead last in FBS. They also have allowed 42 sacks which is 2nd worst among 80 bowl teams this season. Georgia State isn’t as dynamic as WKU is and Manning isn’t at the level of White at QB but what they do have is a bit more balance. They’ll mix in the run and do what they can to ease the burden put on Manning. WKU on the other hand will just drop back White all game to throw with little help from his run game or offensive line. I’m not sure Georgia State can pull off the outright upset but I do think they’ll be able to hang around throughout.
Oregon (-7.5): Coaching changes can work both ways going into bowl games but I think Oregon is going to come into this one very fired up. Willie Taggart left for Florida State last week and in steps co-offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal. Cristobal is very well liked by this roster as many of them took to Twitter to lobby for him to get the job in the days after Taggart left. Cristobal is saying all the right things going into this game and I truly expect he’ll have a team that’s more than ready to go. Leading the way will be QB Justin Herbert who is already getting a bit of 2018 Heisman talk. In Herbert’s 7 starts the Ducks were 6-1 and averaged 51.2 points per game, that compared with a 1-4 record and only 15.0 points per game when he was out with injury. Needless to say he’s quite the difference maker for the Ducks and him being healthy and ready to go is huge. Boise State found their way to 10 wins and we all know their bowl history and propensity of pulling off big upset wins. This years team however isn’t even close to some of the elite teams they had roughly a decade ago. There’s just nothing explosive or scary about this Boise offense. They are good but not great in the air, and it’s pretty much the same story on the ground. As a team they average 400 yards a game which is a pretty pedestrian 64th in FBS. It’s Oregon (especially with Herbert playing) that’s the big play, explosive offense. I just think they have too much for Boise to handle here and they’ll win by double digits.
Colorado State (-5.5): Similar to the Oregon play I’m going to lay the points here with what’s clearly the more explosive offense. Colorado State averaged 501 yards per game this year and with Senior QB Nick Stevens looking to go out with a bang I think they light up the scoreboard on Saturday. Stevens threw for 3479 yards this year with 27 TD’s and only 10 INT’s. His main target is Michael Gallop who was a Biletnikoff finalist for best WR in the nation. That duo has been hell on opponents all year and it’ll likely continue on Saturday. In addition to that the Rams average 211 yards per game on the ground so there is plenty of balance there. They aren’t a team that’s one dimensional and will just drop back and chuck the rock all game long. Marshall on the other hand limps into this game having lost 4 of their last 5 and they have a pretty weak offense that’s 94th in FBS with only 370 yards per game. I’ll admit they have a nice defense and that’s clearly the strength of this team but overall they (and especially the offense) is really struggling and I don’t think they have the firepower to hang around in this game. The Rams should be able to pull out a double digit win.