Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 8:50 AM
You know what they say about the College Football Bowl Games ... It's the most wonderful time of the year (and who are we to disagree, right?) and so let's roll out the Thursday-after-Christmas Bowl tripleheader including the Military Bowl, the Belk Bowl and the always-popular Holiday Bowl:
On Thursday, December 27, it's ...
MILITARY BOWL - at RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.
#24 SAN JOSE STATE (10-2) vs. BOWLING GREEN (8-4) - 3 p.m. ET, ESPN
Here's the major skinny on this tilt in our nation's capital: San Jose State enters this bowl on a six-game SU (straight-up) winning streak but without its head coach as Mike MacIntyre said bye-bye a couple of weeks back to take the head coaching job at Colorado - good luck there, coach! - and so interim boss Kent Baer steers the Spartans' ship here and the key for the touchdown-favorite WAC crew here is to bring major heat on veteran Bowling Green signal-caller Matt Schilz who was prone to the interception this year (threw a dozen of 'em to go along with 14 TD passes).
So, keep an eye on San Jose State senior DE Travis Johnson (12 sacks and 19 tackles for losses) who copped the WAC Defensive Player of the Year award in 2012.
If the BG Falcons are gonna spring the upset surprise here than DT Chris Jones - the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year with 12 ½ sacks (third-best in the land) - must be a star player for a defense that held opponents to just 290 yards a game (that's seventh-best nationally) and keep in mind that Bowling Green held seven of its final eight regular-season opponents to 14 points or less.
Spread Notes - San Jose State rang up a nifty 10-2 ATS (against the spread) record this past year and that included pointspread wins against the likes of Rose Bowl-bound Stanford and BYU. Overall, the SJSU Spartans are 7-2 versus the vig as betting favorites this year after compiling a crummy 0-5 ATS mark as chalk sides from 2009-thru-2011. On the flip side, Bowling Green is 8-4 against the odds this year and note that included a mid-season six-game ATS winning streak. Overall, Dave Clawson's Bowling Green club is a neat 16-11 ATS away since the coach's arrival back in 2009.
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THE LAST 3 MILITARY BOWL GAMES
|2011||Toledo||- 3||Air Force||42-41|
|2010||Maryland||- 7.5||East Carolina||51-20|
BELK BOWL - at Bank of America Stadium; Charlotte, NC
CINCINNATI (9-3) vs. DUKE (6-6) - 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Another bowl game - and another head coach who's gone with the wind. The Cincinnati Bearcats accepted the resignation of boss-man Butch Jones back on December 6th and faster than you can say Oscar Robertson they hired Texas Tech's Tommy Tuberville - presto!
Here it'll be defensive line coach Steve Stripling serving as Cincy's bowl head coach and his immediate goal is to get hard-charging RB George Winn (Big East-leading 1,204 yards rushing with 12 TDs) to sledgehammer his way against a Duke defense that ranks a rotten 99th nationally in rush defense (allowing nearly 201 ground yards per game).
On the flip side, Duke QB Sean Renfree - who threw just one INT in his final four regular-season games this year - must hook up for some "chunk plays"with standout WR Conner Vernon who has 955 receiving yards this year plus Blue Devils' boss-man David Cutcliffe (the one-time mentor to both Peyton and Eli Manning in their college days) has to find ways for Renfree to have success throwing on the run 'cause this Cincinnati defensive line figures to overpower the Duke O-line more times than not.
It's the Big East versus the ACC for bowl bragging rights - one of only two Big East/ACC showdowns this bowl season (the other being Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech in Friday's Russell Athletic Bowl).
Spread Notes - Cincinnati is a rock-solid 8-4 versus the Las Vegas prices this year but the Bearcats have failed to cover four of their last five bowl tilts dating back to the 2006 campaign. Duke, meanwhile, is a dead-even but vig-losing 6-6 spreadwise this season but note the Blue Devils stagger into this post-season affair on a four-game ATS losing skein. In all, the Dookies failed to cover 6-of-8 games this year when placed in the point-grabbing role.
THE LAST 3 BELK BOWL GAMES
|2011||N.C. State||- 1.5||Louisville||31-24|
|2010||South Florida||+ 5.5||Clemson||31-26|
|2009||Pittsburgh||- 1||North Carolina||19-17|
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will light it up with the NFL Week 17 card this coming Sunday plus get all the NBA and NCAA Basketball Winners each and every day too - and make you're all aboard right now with America's #1 Handicapper to cash in big with all the College Football Bowl Games that roll on all week long with Wednesday's prime-time battle in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky) up next followed this Thursday tripleheader ... so don't get left out in the cold! Hey, there's still lots of College Football Bowl Games on the upcoming docket -- so click here to cash with 'em now and all throughout this holiday season! Check in with us on Game Days either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the winners and note the check-in times are after 1 p.m. ET for weeknight action and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays.
Here's the final Thursday bowl bash with a reminder we'll bring you Friday's Bowl Previews in the next Jim Sez ...
HOLIDAY BOWL - at Qualcomm Stadium; San Diego, CA
BAYLOR (7-5) vs. #17 UCLA (9-4) - 9:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
Hey, it's been awhile since we really had one of those wild-and-crazy Holiday Bowl games that we seemingly used to get each/every year and so maybe this showdown - one that comes with a totals price tag of 81 ½ points at last glance - will satisfy our craving and keep in mind that the Baylor Bears enter play here with the country's third-ranked passing attack ... in the first year after Heisman Trophy-winning QB Robert Griffin III lit up the college football skies.
Nowadays, it's gritty QB Nick Florence (4,121 yards passing with 31 TDs and 13 INTs) who triggers this aerial attack that averages 353.3 passing yards a game and note there are three Baylor pass-catchers who nabbed 50-plus strikes this year led by WR Terrence Williams (95 receptions worth 1,764 yards and 12 TDs).
If UCLA - ranked a rotten 87th nationally in pass defense (255.4 aerial yards per game yield) -- has a real counter to this Baylor passing game than it's to control the ball and the clock with a sound rushing attack that averages better than 202 yards a game - and that ranks the Pac-12 guys 27th-best nationally on the ground.
Pay attention to Bruins' RB Johnathan Franklin who rushed for an eye-popping 1,700 yards with 13 ground scores to go along with 32 receptions - if UCLA's redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley (3,411 yards passing with 26 TDs) has a game plan here, it's to feed Franklin - a Doak Walker Award finalist - at least 25 times here.
Note that this marks bowl debut of UCLA's first-year head coach Jim Mora who is looking to lead the Bruins to their first bowl win since a 30-21 triumph over Temple in the 2009 Eagle Bank Bowl ... remember that frosty day in D.C.?
Spread Notes - Baylor banged out a snazzy 8-4 ATS mark this 2012 season and that included a five-game spread winning streak while heading into this prime-time bowl clash. In all, the Baylor Bears are 6-3 ATS in their final overall game the past nine years and that includes last season's wild 67-56 "RG3"-led win/cover against 8-point dog Washington in the Alamo Bowl. Meanwhile, UCLA is 8-5 against the juice this year but did you know the Bruins are 4-2 ATS away this year after compiling a shabby 3-11 spread mark away the two previous seasons?
THE LAST 3 HOLIDAY BOWL GAMES
Next Up on the Bowl docket: Three games on Friday - the Independence Bowl (UL-Monroe vs. Ohio); the aforementioned Russell Athletic Bowl (pitting Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech); and the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (that's Minnesota vs. Texas Tech). Hey, we won't miss a single bowl game and so make sure you're here and with Jim Hurley for all the games!
NOTE: Get more NCAA Football Bowl Previews this weekend and next week right here in Jim Sez and get our NFL Week 17 previews later this week in future must-read columns!