College football - 3 bowl games

Dec 26, 2009 5:49 PM

College Football Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

 

Ohio -3 vs. Marshall (Total 49½): Ohio brings its 9-4 record into Detroit’s Ford Field to face the 6-6 Marshall Thundering Herd, although MAC teams are a dismal 1-11 in their last 12 bowl games. The Bobcats are here because they lost to Central Michigan in the MAC title game, while some might say Marshall backed in after losing three of their last four games, including an embarrassing blowout to UTEP, 52-21. Nonetheless, Marshall played a much tougher schedule in Conference USA, in which they lost squeakers to bowl teams Central Florida and Southern Miss. Plus they already own a win over a MAC squad, Bowling Green, 17-10. The Herd will play hard in this spot and their running attack should keep them in this game. Marshall +3 Meinke Car Care Bowl

North Carolina vs. Pittsburgh -2½ (Total 44): Both these teams are coming off bitterly disappointing ends to their regular season, so we can expect their top efforts here. North Carolina, after stringing together four straight wins against Virginia Tech, Duke, Miami (FLA) and Boston College, lost a heart-breaker to North Carolina State, 28-27. Pittsburgh had a shot at the Big East title, but lost its last two games to West Virginia and Cincinnati by a combined 3 points. Pittsburgh owns the better rushing attack, which they will probably use to control the clock. But it won’t be easy as North Carolina ranks third in the nation in stopping third-down conversion, a key defensive stat. However, the Pittsburgh offense more balance, and even though they probably won’t reach their season average of 33 points, should post enough to eke out a tightly-contest win. Pittsburgh -2 ½ and UNDER the total of 44. Emerald Bowl

Boston College vs. USC -7 (Total 43½): This game opened with the Trojans a clear-cut 9-point favorite, but steady action on the Eagles has driven it down to just a touchdown. Part of the problem for USC is they’ll be missing some key players, either due to injuries or other off-field reasons. Beyond that, the Trojans are coming off their worst season in eight years, finishing the year losing three of their last five games for an 8-4 overall mark. Boston College could be considered a middle-of-the-road ACC team, unable to beat the top-tier conference teams (Clemson, Virginia Tech and North Carolina), but breaking through for nice wins against Florida State and Wake Forest. The strength of each team is on defense (thus the low total of 43½); Boston College has held opposing offenses to just 3 yards per carry while USC has kept runners to just 3.7 yards/carry. This match-up figures to be a low-scoring contest with points at a premium. Thus, BC should be able to hang tough against the Trojans with a chance to steal it at the end. Boston College +7