Last week we went 6-5 on our predictions and were exactly correct on zero games (again). We missed almost half of the games, including wins by Oklahoma, Northern Illinois, Fresno State, Middle Tennessee, and the surprisingly resilient UCF. The closest we got to an exact prediction was the SEC Championship game which was missed by just four points.
By Steve Wright
Last week’s record: 6-5
Overall record: 91-31
Exact score predicted: 0
Here are some score predictions for the first weekend (and a bit) of Bowl season:
Saturday, December 15
Tulane (6-6) vs. Louisiana (7-6) – The Ragin’ Cajuns have been very productive at home in 2018 but the 7-6 squad has found it much tougher on the road. This is an all-Louisiana bowl that should have the crowd interested, but the Tulane run defense and their ability to capitalize on turnovers will be the difference as the green Wave win. Tulane 22, Louisiana 20.
New Mexico Bowl
Utah State (10-2) vs. North Texas (9-3) – Keeping head coach Seth Littrell is a huge deal for the Mean Green after he was courted by Kansas State. It is hard to tell exactly Utah State will approach this game after their head coach Matt Wells was poached by Texas Tech. The team that kept it’s coach out of the clutches of the Big 12 wins here. North Texas 31, Utah State 21.
Las Vegas Bowl
Arizona State (7-5) vs. (21) Fresno State (11-2) – The best bowl of the first day sees MWC Champions Fresno State look for its 12th win of the season against Arizona State. The Bulldogs are one of the most efficient and balanced teams in the country with their offense and defensive units both ranking in the top 30 of total production. The big news is that All-American level wide receiver N’Keal Harry is skipping this on the Sun Devils side to prepare for the NFL. Without him, Arizona State doesn’t have a shot. Fresno State 31, Arizona State 20.
Georgia Southern (9-3) vs. Eastern Michigan (7-5) – This we be fun for those that like ground based football. The battle of the Eagles will see GSU drive the option up and down the field, holding onto the ball against what is an aggressive Eastern Michigan defensive unit. Option teams sometimes struggle in bowl games as their tendencies are figured out, but Georgia Southern is very good at what it does. Georgia Southern 35, Eastern Michigan 14.
New Orleans Bowl
Middle Tennessee (8-5) vs. Appalachian State (10-2) – This will be an intriguing battle as MTSU quarterback Brett Stockstill, in what seems like his 20th year of eligibility, will face a pass defense ranked second in the nation that allowed just 5.3 yards per attempt. How much of what the Mountaineers achieved this year was down to the work of head coach Scott Satterfield who left the program for the bowl game to take over at Louisville? Middle Tennessee 24, Appalachian State 20
Tuesday, December 18
UAB (10-3) vs. Northern Illinois (8-5) – Defense, defense, defense in this one. UAB allows 17.3 points per game while NIU allows 21.5 points per contest. Those numbers bother rank inside the top 25 in the nation. The way that bowl shake out mean that this will probably turn into the offensive explosion no one saw coming, but if it holds to a defensive battle then we will take the Blazers. UAB 20, NIU 13.
Wednesday, December 19
San Diego State (7-5) vs. Ohio (8-4) – Ohio can score plenty of points while San Diego State is the king of eking out close wins. The Bobcats will win this behind a solid day from dual-threat quarterback Nathan Rourke (35 total touchdowns on the season) as one of the most fun teams in the country to watch that no one knows about finally gets its chance to shine on the national stage. Ohio 38, San Diego State 27.