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Late December: The Best Time For Bowling

   by Jim Feist - 12/21/2010

As 2010 draws to a close, we find ourselves smack in the middle of the bowls. You shouldn't be bowled-out, either, as the bowls slowly build to the crescendo that is the Oregon/Auburn showdown. Las Vegas Bowl (Wed., Dec. 22): Utah (10-2 SU, 7-4-1 ATS) has a strong team, but is on a 2-2 SU/1-3 ATS run. The offense (35.6 ppg) is loaded and returns two QBs in senior Terrrance Cain (6 TDs, 2 INTs) and soph QB Jordan Wynn (17 TDs, 10 INTs). The ground game averages 156 yards behind senior RBs Eddie Wide (683 yards) and Matt Asiata (673) while the passing game strikes for 248 yards per game. They have one a pair of defeats to TCU (47-7) and Notre Dame (28-3). Utah is on a 15-8 run over the total and 6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS the last 6 years in bowls. Boise State (11-1 SU/8-4 ATS) has a super-talented team, but comes into the bowl a few weeks off a shocker, blowing any chances of a national title appearance with a 34-31 OT loss at Nevada. The Broncos have junior QB Kellen Moore (33 TDs, 5 INTs, 3,506 yards) and top targets senior WR Titus Young (1,151 yards) and Austin Pettis (804 yards). The Broncos rank second nationally averaging 46.7 points a game, 200 yards rushing and 319 passing. Poinsettia Bowl (Thurs., Dec. 23): This one is in San Diego, so the Aztecs are in their backyard, though there is a huge naval base here. Navy (9-3 SU, 7-4 ATS) has speed all over, with senior QB Ricky Dobbs (12 TDs, 5 INTs). He has a team leading 860 rushing yards, and combines with junior RB Alexander Teich (825 yds, 6.2 ypc) and sophomore Gee Gee Greene (459 yds). Navy is 1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS the last 4 bowls, upsetting Missouri a year ago, 35-13, as a +6 dog. San Diego State (8-4 SU, 5-5-1 ATS) is playing well under second-year Coach Brady Hoke with a potent, balanced attack. Hoke prefers the passing game averaging 297 yards in the air and 35 points, though the ground game (151 yds rushing pg) has been very good behind freshman RB Ronnie Hillman (1,304 yds). Junior QB Ryan Lindley (26 TDs, 14 INTs, 3,554 yards) leads SDSU to its first bowl since 1998. Hawaii Bowl (Fri., Dec. 24): The bowl reps had fun with this one, matching up two sensational offenses has Tulsa and Hawaii meet. Tulsa (9-3 SU/7-4 ATS) has a wide open offense (39.7 ppg) behind Junior QB G.J. Kinne (28 TDs, 10 INTs, 3,307 yards). They average 284 yards passing and 219 rushing with three outstanding WRs in Damaris Johnson (771 yards), Charles Clay (488) and Trae Johnson. Damaris Johnson leads the nation in all-purpose yards for the second consecutive season at 191.8 yards per game. But the defense (29.9 ppg allowed) has been awful, on a 9-6 run over the total. Tulsa went 6-0 at home, but 3-3 SU, 4-2 ATS on the road. Hawaii (9-3 SU, 9-2 ATS) has home field and is still chuckin’ it all over under third-year coach Greg McMackin, tops in the country in passing with 387 yards per game (39.9 ppg) led by junior QB Bryant Moniz (36 TDs, 11 INTs, 4,629 yards). They have a pair of dynamite WRs in senior Greg Salas (1,675 yards, 12 TDs) and senior Kealoha Pilares (1,306 yards, 15 TDs), plus senior RB Alex Green ran for 1,168 yards, a whopping 8.8 yards per carry and 17 TDs! The surging Warriors are on a 9-1 SU, 8-1 ATS run. Despite what you might think, Hawaii is on a 7-3 run under the total. Little Caesar’s Bowl (Sun., Dec. 26): Florida International (6-6 SU/ATS) surprised the experts by winning the Sun Belt title. Junior QB Wesley Carroll (15 TDs, 13 INTs) is mobile and leads that way after transferring from Mississippi State and sat out last year. The offense averages 28 points, 189 yards rushing. They made a bowl after a 0-4 start. They face a balanced Toledo (8-4 SU/7-5 ATS) offense that averages 27.6 points, 203 passing and 156 yards rushing behind junior RB Adonis Thomas (905 yards, 6.0 ypc) and star sophomore WR Eric Page (1,081 yds). Sophomore QB Austin Dantin (7 TDs, 8 picks) didn’t play down the stretch because of a bad shoulder, but redshirt freshman Terrance Owens (12 TDs, 2 INTs) has been terrific. Toledo is on a 15-8 run over the total (5-2 over the last 7 games). Independence Bowl (Mon., Dec. 27): Georgia Tech and Air Force collide, the battle of the Triple Option offenses! Air Force (8-4 SU, 4-7 ATS) is bowl bound for the 4th straight season (1-2 SU/ATS the last three bowls). They gave Oklahoma a game before losing 27-24. Georgia Tech (6-6 SU, 5-5-1 ATS) is a run-oriented team (327 yards rushing per game, No. 1 in the nation) for Coach Paul Johnson, with senior RB Anthony Allen (1,225 yards, 5.6 ypc). A problem is a key injury, on a 1-4 SU/2-2-1 ATS run without senior QB Josh Nesbitt (7 TDs, 4 INTs), who broke his right forearm late in midseason. Nesbitt could be back, but sophomore QB Tevin Washington (2 TDs, 2 INTs) has stepped in, running for 383 yards.

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