Submitted by Jim Feist on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 at 12:00 AM
by Jim Feist
Happy Holidays! It's the final week of 2016, but before we get to the national title showdown there are several bowls to keep football on the national radar.
Texas Bowl (Wed, Dec. 28): Texas A&M runs a wide open spread attack, but faces s Kansas State ball control offense and a super defense. Texas A&M got to No. 4 in the nation during a 6-0 start, but is 2-4 SU, 0-6 ATS since. The Aggies have a speedy RB in Trayveon Williams (1,024 yds, 7.0 ypc) and a star defensive player in Myles Garrett, likely headed to the NFL draft.
Kansas State has one of the best coaches in the country in Bill Snyder and a strong defense that finished #20 in the nation in points allowed (21.8 pg). Three QBs threw just nine TDs, so they will go to the ground behind mobile QB Jesse Ertz, who led the team in rushing with 945 yards. K-State faced an SEC team in a bowl one year ago and lost to Arkansas, 45-23, as a +13 dog.
Alamo Bowl (Thurs., Dec. 29): A great matchup as Oklahoma State and Colorado battle in the Alamodome in San Antonio. Oklahoma State carries a 7-1 SU, 5-3 ATS run into this game behind QB Mason Rudolph (25 TDs, 4 INTs). Speedy WR James Washington (1,209 yds) averages 19.5 yards per catch. They have impressive wins over Pitt, Texas, West Virginia, Kansas State and TCU, to offset an early season loss to Central Michigan as -18 chalk.
Colorado (10-3 SU/ATS) has taken quickly to Mick Macintrye's system. They hope to have QB Sefo Liufau (ankle) fully healthy for this one, while RB Phil Lindsay (1,189 yds) provides offensive balance. The defense struggled against speedy offenses, giving up 45 to Michigan, 38 at Oregon and a 41-10 loss in the finale to rival Washington. Think Colorado will be up for this one? The Buffaloes haven't won a bowl game since 2004 or played in a bowl since 2007.
Arizona Bowl (Fri., Dec. 30): Michigan comes in 1-2 the last three games, losing at Iowa (14-13) and at Ohio State (30-27) after starting 9-0. The powerhouse defense is second in the nation behind Alabama in points allowed (12.5 pg), while the offense is #12 in scoring (41 pg). the Wolverines are loaded on both sides of the line and made a statement in last year's bowl, whipping Florida, 41-7.
Florida State is strong on defense, too. They have held six opponents this season to under 100 rushing yards, including the past three, part of a 6-2 run under the total. However, they gave up 37 to North Carolina and Clemson, plus lost 63-20 to Louisville. And they failed to show up for last year's bowl, losing 38-24 to Houston as a 7-point favorite.
Peach Bowl (Saturday, Dec. 31): #2 ranked Ohio State locks horns with #2 Clemson. The Tigers were here last year and are led by junior QB Deshaun Watson (37 TDs, 15 INTs). He torched none other than Alabama for 478 total yards and four touchdowns in last year’s championship game loss. And the defense finished #12 in the nation in points, #22 in rush yards allowed (122).
Ohio State has an experienced mobile QB of its own in J.T. Barrett (24 TDs, 5 INTs), who ran for 847 yards, while RB Mike Weber averaged 6.1 ypc. Ohio State's defense is third in points allowed (14.2 pg). The Buckeyes’ pass efficiency defense (91.43 rating for opposing quarterbacks) leads the nation. The Clemson defense had only one meltdown but it was ugly, giving up 464 yards in a 43-42 loss at home to Pitt. The Tigers held Pitt to just 3-of-12 on third down but the offense turned it over 3 times. You don't want to do that against the Buckeyes!