One of the first bowl games coming up this Saturday is the New Mexico Bowl – Wyoming at Fresno State, with Fresno State an 11.5-point favorite. I can understand if you don’t know much about this pair, as neither of them lit it up this year, but here’s the deal. Wyoming was a straight .500 in the Mountain West Conference, going 6-6 on the year and 4-4 in conference, losing handily to the only three ranked teams they faced. Fresno State fared better, going 8-4, 6-2, and only losing by 8 to the one ranked team they faced this year.
FS can get the job done through the air behind Colburn (QB), so look for them to take that approach early to establish themselves, and then sneak in the running game behind Mathews (17 Tds during the year). Wyoming’s offense was pretty poor in the regular season, no running back had more than six touchdowns, and they passing game only yielded 7 TD’s all year – making you wonder why these teams go to bowl games. Anyway, the line is probably generous, but it’s not big enough, and I’d safely bet Fresno State to cover.
Then on Sunday, Dec. 20, we get the New Orleans bowl (yeah, the first few are always the worst, you know it’s true). This one pits Middle Tenn. State as a 4.5-point dog at Southern Mississippi. MTS has actually carved out a nice season in the Sunbelt conference, finishing second only to Troy (and losing to them). They didn’t play a ranked opponent all year, though. However, their defense held strong in most contests, keeping their competition under 25 points all but 4 times, three of those during losses. Southern Miss. was only 4-3 in Conference USA standings, and lost to Kansas and Houston, the only two ranked teams they faced. And, let’s just say their defensive numbers were not as impressive. I like the upset here. I prefer MTS’s defense to SM’s rather uninspired offense and below average defense. Either way it goes, plan to see the fireworks through the air, which also could put the stronger defense in the spotlight. I’m betting MTS, and I’m taking the over.