Nov 28, 2014; Colorado Springs, CO, USA; Air Force Falcons react to the win over the Colorado State Rams at Falcon Stadium. The Falcons defeated the Rams 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
College Bowl Picks, December 20: Idaho Potato Bowl
Western Michigan vs. Air Force (PK) | Boise, ID | 5:45pm ET (ESPN)
Someday, the players in this contest will tell their grandchildren that they played in the 2014 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and that the governor of Idaho personally presented them with a sack of potatoes as their NCAA-sanctioned gift.
Short of that actually happening, picking a winner here will be difficult. Vegas could not even do it, as the line is even between the Broncos and the Falcons.
In an ironic twist, Air Force is actually dreadful through the air and highly effective on the ground. Their offense resembles that of Boston College, near the bottom of the nation in passing yards (151.3/g) and near the top in rushing yards (272.2/g). They capped off a very good 9-3 season with a win over the aforementioned Colorado State Rams and were by far the best of the service academies this year.
Western Michigan looks like it has been the more consistent team, shredding up the MAC with a 6-2 conference record. MACtion is where the offense happens, though the Broncos defense went on a good run late in the season against the lesser teams in their conference.
The Broncos’ run defense looking as good as it does statistically is probably more a function of who they played in the MAC than actual ability. Air Force can run on this team in what should be a reasonably competitive, possibly high-scoring game.
College Bowl Picks, December 20: Camellia Bowl
South Alabama (-2.5) vs. Bowling Green | Montgomery, AL | 9:15pm ET (ESPN)
And here’s your Saturday night primetime game. It may be in Alabama, but there are no Crimson Tide or Tigers in sight.
The prior game might end up being the most entertaining of the day; this would be amongst the more uninteresting of the whole bowl schedule.
South Alabama got into a bowl game with a 6-6 record in the Sun Belt, having lost four out of their last five. Clearly, getting a bowl game in their home state against a barely mediocre opponent in Bowling Green means someone hooked them up with a sweet deal. That USA are favored in this game when they score about 22 per game tells you something about who they’re playing.
Bowling Green does fine with the scoring part, all things considered, but their defense is horrible. They gave up 59 points to Western Kentucky, 68 to Wisconsin, 42 to UMass, and 51 to Northern Illinois.
Did I mention both these teams are near the bottom of the nation in giveaways? Look for a sloppy, somewhat low-scoring game. Oh, I have to pick it? U-S-A, U-S-A, I guess.
South Alabama -2.5