Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets DEC. 21-24
Colorado St over Washington St by 6
As ESPN likes to say, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” – and it certainly will be if this year’s 35-game bowl schedule gets off to as rollicking a start as what we witnessed in last season’s New Mexico Bowl.
Arizona edged Nevada, 49-48, in a shootout that saw both teams combine for 1,234 yards of total offense. The Wildcats trailed 45-28 in the 4th quarter before pulling within 6 points with just 46 seconds to play. Then,
after UA recovered an onside kick, QB Matt Scott engineered a 3-play, 51-yard touchdown drive for the game-winning score. Could we see another thriller in Albuquerque today? Considering Washington State’s
aerial attack ranks 4th in the nation (364.5 YPG) and Colorado State averages over 200 YPG both rushing and passing, we say YES. We’ll resist embarking on our annual rant about 6-6 teams getting bowl invitations
and instead congratulate the Cougars on making it to the postseason after suffering 9 straight losing campaigns. WSU’s 2nd-year HC Mike Leach continues to make strides in Pullman, doubling his 3-win total from
2012 as he fi ghts to keep the Cougs competitive in the loaded Pac-12.Colorado State’s Jim McElwain, also in his second year as a head coach, worked similar wonders with his Rams, improving to 7-6 after a 4-8 debut
in 2012. McElwain’s squad is the only team in the nation to boast a 3,000-yard passer in Garrett Grayson and a 1,500-yard runner in Kapri Bibbs (led the nation with 28 rushing TDs). CSU fi nished the regular season on
a strong note, going 5-2 SUATS and ITS (needed 7 wins to get bowling shirts with its 13-game schedule). Even more impressive, the Rams won the stats by +129 net YPG from Game Seven out – while the Cougars lost
the stats by -98 net YPG over the same span. Wazzu QB Connor Halliday is no slouch himself but our reliable database informs us that 6-6 bowlers who allow 31.2 or more PPG are a Grinch-like 1-6 SUATS. The
favorite is also just 2-6 ATS in the Cougars’ last eight bowl games, and Leach himself owns an identical 2-6 ATS mark as bowl chalk. The boys from Fort Collins currently stand 3-0 SUATS as bowlers off a SUATS win
but we can’t ignore the fact that the Rams have not fared well against Pac-12 opposition, going just 2-8 SUATS in their last 10. Despite that lone negative, we still prefer backing an elated underdog with both the
better ‘O’ and ‘D’ against a WSU team that may be content just to be here. Toss in CSU’s familiarity with the venue (Rams play annual series with New Mexico) and it looks like today’s result might be a bit ‘upsetting’ for
Leach and this Cougar cubs. In the fi rst meeting ever between these schools, Colorado State comes out on top. The Clincher from our well-oiled machine: bowl favorites off at least 3 ATS wins with a win percentage of
less than .750 that won 6 or fewer games last season are 2-14 ATS since 1985.
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets DEC. 5-8
Thursday, December 5
CINCINNATI over Louisville by 3
When we get to these early December contests, teams are either playing for all the marbles or there is very little on the line; rarely does the importance of the contest fall anywhere in between. For the Cardinals, it’s basically option #2. While QB Teddy Bridgewater’s name comes up occasionally in Heisman discussions since Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, and Bryce Petty imploded down the stretch, the invitations to the trophy ceremony will have been distributed by kickoff; thus, even a huge performance tonight will not get him to the party. As for his Cards, they have no shot at the first-ever AAC crown – the loss to Central Florida basically took care of that. Still, an 11-1 mark and a finish in the Top 20 are strong accomplishments, and a win over a rival school less than 100 miles away can do wonders during the approaching recruiting season. Unfortunately for Charlie Strong, his offense is in serious decline since the UCF loss, averaging just 348 YPG in the last three contests (down over 100 YPG from their 455 YPG season average). Meanwhile, the Bearcats are one of the hotter teams in college football and have plenty to play for – they’ve won six straight contests (making that early October loss to South Florida a real headscratcher). and since they didn’t play UCF this season, they still have a slim chance of winning the conference title if the Knights lose to SMU. This will also be an interesting matchup between two of the nation’s top defensive units (Louisville is #2 while Cincy is #10) and while the Bearcats are 11-3 ATS as an underdog with rest, the Cards are just 1-4 ATS coming off a bye. Also, while Louisville has not covered in any of their three weekday games this season, Cincinnati is 4-1-1 ATS versus the number with the extra zzz’s recently. The most important call of all comes from the tag-team of the SMART BOX (‘Puttin’ On The Stats’ from Issue 12) and the AWESOME ANGLE (on page 2), who put their heads together and come up with a no-doubt call on the Bearcats.