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Rose Bowl Preview

Rose Bowl – Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California Thursday, January 1, 2015 @ 5:00 PM EST (ESPN) #3 Florida State Seminoles (13-0, Atlantic Coast) vs Oregon Ducks (12-1, Pac 12) Current Line: Oregon -9, O/U: 72.0 Florida State Seminoles (Head Coach Jimbo Fisher): Welcome to the inaugural Championship Playoffs. It seems befitting that the first game should feature the 2013 Heisman Trophy Winner versus the reigning Heisman winner Marcus Mariotta. For the Seminoles, they ran the table to a perfect record in 2014, but it wasn't always as pretty as people would think. In fact, they finished behind both #1 Alabama and #2 Oregon despite the fact both those two teams each loss a game. Part of the problem with this year's edition of the Seminoles was the diminishing play of last year's Heisman winner Soph QB Jameis Winston who found himself mired in personal issues that may have affected his ability to concentrate. He still threw for 3,559 yards and 24 TDs, but those numbers paled in comparison to last year. He also threw for 17 interceptions, which created problems with momentum. With Winston performing below expectations, it was incumbent on players like Sr WR Rashad Greene (1,306 yards receiving and 7 TDs) to step up and contribute to the cause. Florida State is 1-8 ATS in road games vs. poor passing defenses – allowing a comp. pct. of 58% or worse over the last 3 seasons.  Florida State is 16-5 under versus excellent rushing teams – averaging >=5.25 rushing yards/carry since 1992. Oregon Ducks (Head Coach Mark Helfrich): Ten years ago, the Ducks program was considered a...

Citrus Bowl Preview

Citrus Bowl – Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida Thursday, January 1, 2015 @ 1:00 PM EST (ABC) #16 Missouri Tigers (10-3, Southeastern) vs #25 Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-4, Big Ten) Current Line: Missouri -5, O/U: 47.5 Missouri Tigers (Head Coach Gary Pinkel): For the 2014 season, the Tigers settled in very nicely into the SEC with a 10-3 record. While sustaining a narrow loss to Indiana at home was devastating to the team's Championship hopes, the other two losses, #13 Georgia and #1 Alabama, relegated them to a New Years day bowl, which isn't a half-bad consolation prize. There was absolutely nothing flashy about this Tigers' team. They were solid on both sides of the ball, but failed to generate numbers that would scare an opponent. The only eye-catching stat was 100 penalties for 800 yards, which is certainly something to be concerned about. The offense was led by the passing combination of Soph QB Maty Mauk (2,551 yards passing and 23 TDs) and Sr WR Bud Sasser (935 yards receiving and 10 TDs). The Tigers Defense was led by All-American Jr DE Shane Ray who accounted for 61 tackles, 21 TFL and 14 sacks. The Tigers are 26-4 ATS in their last 30 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game.  Missouri is 29-14 ATS in their last 43 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game. Minnesota Golden Gophers (Head Coach Jerry Kill): The Gophers may have been the surprise team in the Big Ten. Many experts thought the team had overachieved in 2013 with an 8-5 record, but...

Cotton Bowl Preview

Cotton Bowl – AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas Thursday, January 1, 2015 @ 12:30 PM EST (ESPN) #8 Michigan State Spartans (10-2, Big Ten) vs #5 Baylor Bears (11-1, Big 12) Current Line: Baylor -2.5, O/U: 72.5 Michigan State Spartans (Head Coach Mark Dantonio): The Spartans only two losses of the season came versus #2 Oregon in Eugene and at home against #4 Ohio State. This makes the Spartans the only team in the country to have played against and lost to two teams that are part of the inaugural Championship playoffs. For the rest of its opponents, Michigan State was a juggernaut that just destroyed the competition. The Spartans' offense ended the season as the 7th best scoring offense in the country at 43.1 PPG. Combined with a defense that allowed a scant 19.9 PPG and 293.5 YPG, it's hard to believe they ever lost a game. The offense was led by a three-pronged attack that featured Jr QB Connor Cook (2,900 yards passing and 22 TDS), Sr RB Jeremy Langford (1,360 yards rushing and 19 TDs) and Sr WR Tony Lippett (1,124 yards receiving and 11 TDs). The offense operated at-will while the defense held opponents at bay with the help of a balanced squad that played with great tenacity. Michigan State is 9-1 ATS vs. good passing teams with a completion pct. of 58% or better. over the last 2 seasons.  Michigan State is 10-2 ATS in games played on turf over the last 3 seasons. Baylor Bears (Head Coach Art Briles): Any thoughts that the Baylor team would fall back to also-ran status several years...

Outback Bowl Preview

Outback Bowl – Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida Thursday, January 1, 2015 @ 12:00 PM EST (ESPN2) #19) Auburn Tigers (8-4, Southeastern) vs #18 Wisconsin Badgers (10-3, Big Ten) Current Line: Auburn -6.5, O/U: 63.0 Auburn Tigers (Head Coach Gus Malzahn): The NCAA defending Champion Auburn Tigers entered the season as the only team with a chance to go back-to-back. After the first five games, the Tigers were looking good at 5-0 and had already defeated #11 Kansas State and #23 LSU. Unfortunately, the also had #1 Alabama, #7 Mississippi State, #13 Georgia and Texas A&M on the schedule and lost all four games, dashing the team's hopes of a repeat. At 489.2 YPG, the Tigers' offense certainly had the firepower to compete with anyone. The reality is the Tigers played a tough schedule and just fell short of last year's performance. Sr QB Nick Marshall was at the controls of this high-powered offense and responded with 2,315 yards passing and 18 TDs, added to 780 yards rushing with 11 more TDs. The running game was additionally potent behind the efforts of Sr RB Cameron Artis-Payne who rushed for 1,482 yards and 11 TDs. Auburn is 9-1 ATS after scoring 42 points or more last game over the last 2 seasons.  Auburn is 15-4 ATS after gaining 575 or more total yards in their previous game since 1992 Wisconsin Badgers (Head Coach Barry Alvarez): Fans may do a double take seeing Alvarez listed as Head Coach. The interim coaching duties went to the Athletic director and former coach after Gary Andersen accepted the head coaching job at Oregon...

Orange Bowl Preview

Orange Bowl – Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida Wednesday, December 31, 2014 @ 8:00 PM EST (ESPN) #7 Mississippi State Bulldogs (10-2, Southeastern) vs #12 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-3, Atlantic Coast) Current Line: Mississippi State -7, O/U: 62.0 Mississippi State Bulldogs (Head Coach Dan Mullen): After opening the season with nine straight victories, the Bulldogs had risen to the top of the rankings. After losing a showdown with current #1 Alabama, they tried to hang on to get themselves into the mix for the Championship playoffs. All they had to do was handle #9 Mississippi in order to get a spot. They lost that game and had to settle for an Orange Bowl bid, not a bad consolation prize. The Bulldogs were able to average 506.2 YPG with an offense that displayed amazing balance. Thanks to the talent of Jr QB Dak Prescott, they proved to be equally adept with the run or the pass. Prescott threw for 2,996 yards and 24 TDs. He also ran for 939 yards and scored 13 TDs with his legs. A big assist in the backfield goes to Jr RB Josh Robinson who ran for 939 yards and 11 TDs. On defense, the Bulldogs relied on a variety of individuals, including Sr DL Preston Smith who had 44 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss and 9 sacks. The Bulldogs are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games overall.  Mississippi State is 6-0 UNDER vs. poor passing defenses – allowing a comp. pct. of 58% or worse over the last 2 seasons. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Head Coach Paul Johnson): The...

Fiesta Bowl Preview

Fiesta Bowl – Cardinal Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona Wednesday, December 31, 2014 @ 4:00 PM EST (ESPN) #20 Boise State Broncos (11-2, Mountain West) vs #10 Arizona Wildcats (10-3, Pac-12) Fiesta Bowl Odds: Arizona -3, O/U: 68.0 Boise State Broncos (Head Coach Bryan Harsin): Year after year, the Broncos prove themselves to be one of the most consistent and efficient teams in the country. In 2014, they lost the season opener to a powerful #9 Mississippi and added a mid season loss against Air Force. Otherwise, they ran a muck on the blue carpet and beat up on the rest of its opposition. The Broncos have relied upon a balance offensive attack for years now. The 2014 season followed suit. They weren't the most disciplined squad on the field (penalties and turnovers), but they still managed to rack up almost 500 YPG on offense. Leading the way for the Broncos was All-American Jr RB Jay Ajayi who has 2,300 all-purpose years and 30 TDs. Combined with Sr QB Grant Hedrick, the formed on of the most explosive backfields in the nation. Hedrick passed for 3,387 yards and 22 TDs and ran for another 563 yards and 8 TDs. The Broncos are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.  Boise State  is 33-15 ATS  vs. good passing teams averaging 250 or more passing yards/game. since 1992. Arizona Wildcats (Head Coach Rich Rodriguez): The Wildcats put a good team on the field week after week. Unfortunately, they ended up just a cut below the best as evidenced by its losses to...