Tag Archives: Florida State

Beating Vegas: Bowl Locks, Pt.3

Independence Bowl (played in Shreveport, Louisiana) on Dec. 27th

Southern Mississippi +15 versus Florida State

At the start of the season, Florida State was looked upon as a National Title contender.  Now at season’s end, they look like an average program, whose coach has abandoned them for Texas A&M.  .  . Most thought Jimbo Fisher would be a “lifer” at Florida State and the move to the Aggies shocked just about everyone, but now the Seminoles must gather the pieces and try to wrap up this forgettable season with a bowl win.  During the season, Florida State had a knack for losing to the good teams and beating / barely beating the below average squads.  They racked up three wins in a row to finish off the season, but those blowout wins came against competition like Delaware State, Louisiana-Monroe and Florida. . . The early injury to quarterback Deondre Francois pretty much de-railed their season early, but gave experience to James Blackman.  Blackman’s play this year has been pretty inconsistent throwing 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.  He should find some spots to do damage though in this match up against Southern Miss because the Eagles give up 13 yards a catch which is the second worse in Conference USA.  But defense is not the calling card for Southern Miss, it’s their offense, led by running back Ito Smith who is averaging 5.7 yards a carry and has rushed for over 1300 yards.  Although Ito is the focal point, quarterback Kwadra Griggs has done well in keeping his mistakes to a minimum (15 touchdowns and 2 interceptions).  Florida State will be without their best defensive players, most notably safety Derwin James – as they are preparing for the NFL draft, making things a little easier for this offense to work.  Florida State is waiting for this season to end, and with a lame-duck coach, the players are already thinking about what their fates will be next season.  As for Southern Miss, a win against Florida State does wonders for this program.  No matter the current state of the Seminoles.

The Pick: Southern Miss +15

Foster Farms Bowl (played in Santa Clara, California) on Dec. 27th

Purdue +3 versus Arizona

Jobs were saved and life had been reignited into the Arizona Wildcats football program all because of one young man: Khalil Tate.  As the team’s quarterback, he ran for over 1300 yards and averages 10 yards a carry.  His running back mate J.J. Taylor has added in over 800 rushing yards of his own (6 yards per carry).    Arizona finished behind only Army and Navy in total rushing yards this season, but were number one in the country in yards per rush with 6.8.  The points total in this game has an over/under at 65.5 – Arizona has only gone under that number twice this year while Purdue did not go over that total once all year.  Purdue is 6-6 but has been playing below-average all year long.  They had a three game skid in the middle of the season, where they played Wisconsin tough but lost, and then loss to Rutgers (14-12) and Nebraska (25-24) in back to back weeks.  They finished the season off strong with a road win in Iowa and the victory over their rival, Indiana.  Purdue is very balanced on offense – nothing crazy, but very modest and respectable (4.4 yards per carry; and completing 59% of their passes).  This bodes well for the Boilermakers who are playing a very high powered, yet one dimensional offense in Arizona – but the Arizona Wildcats are just pitiful on defense (hence most of their came totals going over 65.5 points).  The Boilermakers have a good run defense that only allows 3.6 yards a rush and because Tate isn’t half the threat throwing the ball as he is running with it – Purdue can bring more help in from their secondary to slow down this rush attack.

The Pick: Purdue +3

Sun Bowl (played in El Paso, Texas) on December 29th

N.C. State -6.5 versus Arizona State

 

Nobody knows why Arizona State fired head coach Todd Graham who finished the season with a 7-5 record.  Graham is a pretty good coach that recruits well and gets the most out of the players he gets, but he was fired and replaced by ESPN personality and former football coach, Herm Edwards.  Edwards hasn’t coached a football game in nearly 20 years, but here he is, head coach of a college football team.  Arizona State, stood in the middle of the Pac-12 this year with 31 points per game, completion percentage of over 61% and averaging more than four yards a carry.  The problem for the Sun Devils was on the defense end, where they couldn’t do much to stop the pass or the run and gave up 31 points per game. . . N.C. State has been a favorite for “Beating Vegas” the last two years.  The Wolfpack are just well coached and do everything on the field above-average, pretty consistently.  Quarterback Ryan Finley has thrown for over 3200 yards this year, but more impressive than  that, he has only six interceptions in 450 pass attempts this year. Running back Nyheim Hines rushing for over 1000 yards this year and has been a very well kept secret in college football this year.  After their bye-week, the Wolfpack lost a tough back to back at Notre Dame and then a loss at home to Clemson (which they had a chance to take the win).  They then had a another tough two games ahead of them against Boston College and Wake Forest, only beating Boston College in that run.  . .  The bottom line is, N.C. State isn’t a team that takes anything for granted and they play smart and well coached football for the entire four quarters.  Most of the players on Arizona State only know Herm Edwards as the crazy old guy on ESPN who has some pretty funny sound-bites.

The Pick: N.C. State -6.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: “ACC On Fleek”

Welcome back to Beating Vegas!  This is the weekly column on NGSCSports.com that helps you gives you the edge over Vegas during the football season!  Last season we went just below sixty percent against the spread and this season we’re only looking to help you out even more!

Tulane +17 at Wake Forest

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The Green Wave of Tulane are looking at a new head coach in Willie Fritz.  There are questions at quarterback and in their defensive secondary but this is a game that will be won and lost at the point of attack.  Fritz is a coach that loves smash mouth football and came out of practices raving about all four of his running backs.  On the other side of things the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest looked better than their record shows but when watching the tape it’s not as much their effort that kept them in some games, but their opponents lack of effort.  Wake Forest is a doormat in the ACC and it’s opponents treat them that way, usually day dreaming their way to a victory.  Wake had three wins last year: a three point win over Army, a three point win over Boston College and a 41-3 win over ELON (whoever they are) so seeing them beat a good coach by 17 points is a ridiculous notion.  — Last year Tulane covered against Navy, Memphis and Army as  road underdogs – this should be no problem.

 

The Pick: Tulane +17

 

Georgia Tech -3 at Boston College

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This match up features the Yellow Jackets against the Eagles in Dublin, Ireland.  Boston College was one of the three college sleepers I wrote about earlier this Summer on NGSCSports.com
and folks should expect to see A LOT of them in “Beating Vegas” this year. . .  Paul Johnson has been at Georgia Tech for 19 years now and his time may be coming to an end.  Last year they pulled off only three wins, although somehow managing a  win against Florida State in there but they could never shut the door on close games.  Boston College had the same issue but the reason was a lot more clear.  The Boston College defense is a top ten group, but the offense might’ve been the absolute worst.  This year they have Kentucky transfer Patrick Towles, who isn’t breaking any records, but should have the ability to stretch the field and add some other dimension to the Eagles’ attack.  The Eagles will win about 8 games this year and this will be one of the them.

The Pick: Boston College +3

 

North Carolina +2.5 at Georgia

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Sure, Georgia is loaded with NFL talent and sure Georgia is expected to make some kind of noise.  And yes, we all understand this is a new regime, this isn’t the Mark Richt era where “choking” had become tradition.  BUT – We’ve heard this story before.  Things to expect?  Georgia will win.  Things not to expect? Georgia’s QB (Grayson Lambert) to all of a sudden look like a possible first-round draft pick.  Lambert is limited, the offensive line has been juggled around and this team’s offense is predicated on running back Nick Chubb being 100% at the start of the season.  Georgia’s strength is in it’s defense which will be going up against a Tar Heel squad that is no stranger in putting up points.  New quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been waiting for his turn and it’s now.   He’s got weapons at his disposal and the Tar Heels will not go quietly in this one.  This one will be a second half where the Tar Heels get some garbage time touchdowns and make the OVER happen.  It’s okay to feel confident in saying the Tar Heels will put up 28 points in a loss to Georgia.

The Pick: The Over at 56

 

Ole Miss +4.5 at Florida State

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Why couldn’t this game be LAST season?  It would’ve had better match ups all down the line ups, but this year we get an Ole Miss team that is missing some first round talent and missing a lot of key talent from last year’s squad.  Quarterback Chad Kelly has some promise, but he’ll be going up against a Florida State defense that is quick and nasty.  The Seminoles are like Alabama in how they recruit now.  It doesn’t matter who they lose, they are able to reload quickly.  This game is on Monday Night which will be fun, but the Seminoles will be the ones having all the fun.  Expect Florida State to ROLL in the second half.

The Pick: Florida State -4.5

If You Must: Kansas State versus Stanford – the Under at 48.5 is the way to go here “if you must.”  Two good defenses, Stanford will keep it on the ground, especially with a new quarterback under center, while Kansas State might hang around with tough nose play for at least the first half.  Pretty uneventful to watch, so yeah – the under seems legit

4 Game Teaser: Louisville -26.5, Alabama +.5, Florida State +7.5 and UCLA +15

 

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

College Bowl Game Predictions, Pt. 2

Liberty Bowl – West Virginia Mountaineers vs Texas A&M Aggies

Texas A&M made all of us scratch our heads this year.  A year removed from “Johnny Football” we all thought a new sun had risen in Texas with quarterback Kenny Hill.  After Hill found himself benched they turned to Kyle Allen and after starting out 5-0 they finished 7-5.  West Virginia is a good team who was dealt a tough hand with their schedule.  Quarterback Clint Trickett is questionable, and no disrespect to his fantastic season but his back up Skyler Howard looked tremendous against (albeit) Iowa State.  Texas A&M is pass happy and going against a very good pass defense.  The pick here is West Virginia -3.

Russell Athletic Bowl – Clemson Tigers vs Oklahoma Sooners

I kind of thought I was the only one who knew Russell Athletic was still around. Good for them they have their own bowl game.  It’s amazing they’ve stood the test of time with athletic apparel companies like Nike and Under Armour clearly holding weight in not just college athletics but all areas of sporting.  Oh, this game?  Both of these teams disappoint their fan bases every year – never take the favorite when it comes to Clemson or Oklahoma.  The pick here is Clemson +3 (but I might just take the over at 54).

Texas Bowl – Texas Longhorns vs Arkansas Razorbacks 

It was an up and down season for Texas’ first year head coach Charlie Strong, but that was expected.  Making any bowl game was a success to be honest and a win in the national spot light in their home state can be huge for recruiting.  Arkansas is a team who’s offensive line is massive.  They can control games at their own pace and although losing to Missouri was tough, this is a program on the rise.  The pick here: Texas +6.

Music City Fiesta Bowl – Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs LSU Tigers

This game has the potential to be very long and sloppy.  Coach Brian Kelly of Notre Dame was visibly frustrated towards the end of the season with the play of his defense and the carelessness of his quarterback Everett Golson.  LSU has a good running game and doesn’t try throwing the ball at all because they flat out can’t.  The pick here is REALLY the under at 52.5

Belk Bowl – Louisville Cardinals vs Georgia Bulldogs

Once again Georgia coach Mark Richt proved that he can recruit and make his team look good on paper – but he can’t win when it matters.  On the other side of things Bobby Petrino proved that it doesn’t matter the character of the man, he can flat out coach a winner.  No reason why Georgia should be a -7 favorite against a pretty well balanced Louisville team.  The pick here is Louisville +7.

Foster Farms San Francisco Bowl – Maryland Terrapins vs Stanford Cardinal

This game is interesting because the Terps think they’re on a program on the come-up, when in truth they are pretty terrible and Stanford is a team that has looked disinterested in playing football for most of this season.  Stanford will squeak by in one that – on paper – should be a walk in the park.  The pick here is Maryland +14.

Chick-Fil_A Peach Bowl – Ole Miss Rebels vs TCU Horned Frogs 

In what should be one of the more exciting match ups of this bowl season.  Ole Miss took a shot to the gut after losing to LSU and Auburn and TCU took the massive head shot after getting bumped from  the college football playoffs.  Both teams are coached well and will play up to the level of it’s competition.  As good as TCU’s offense is, this is an Ole Miss defense that has the speed to keep up.  Both quarterbacks, TCU’s Trevor Boykin and Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace will have to be careful with the football in what will be one of the most watched bowl games of the year.  The pick here is Ole Miss +3.

Bo+Wallace+Mississippi+v+Texas+yye48UrPhTVl

Fiesta Bowl – Boise State Broncos vs Arizona Wildcats

Arizona really wet the bed against Oregon in the Pac 12 Championship game.  Linebacker Scooby Wright is one of those players who is everywhere all the time, and has helped make this Wildcats defense tougher.  Boise though can score at will it seems and is back to their home away from home the Fiesta Bowl.  The pick here is Boise State +3.5.

Orange Bowl – Georgia Tech Yellowjackets vs Mississippi State Bulldogs

What’s the record for the number of teams called “the bulldogs” in bowl games?  Because this year, there’s been a bunch.  This game is for those that love smash mouth football.  The over/under in total pass attempts should be around 20 combined by both teams.  Even when Mississippi was ranked #1 they weren’t blowing people out by 50.  The pick here is Georgia Tech +7.

Outback Bowl – Wisconsin Badgers vs Auburn Tigers

Wisconsin is still licking their wounds after being thoroughly embarrassed by Ohio State in the Big 10 championship game.  That game made us forget how amazing Melvin Gordon ran the ball this year.  Auburn has failed to cover in six of their last seven games and Vegas has the spread shrinking more and more. The pick here is Auburn -6.5.

Melvin+Gordon+Minnesota+v+Wisconsin+yrkAA1XKStPl

Cotton Bowl – Michigan State Spartans vs Baylor Bears

The hope here is that neither team comes Arlington, Texas in “let down” mode.  Regardless, this will be the game that shows how the committee was correct in keeping out the Baylor Bears and how Michigan State is one of the most balanced teams in college football today.  The pick here is Michigan State +3.

Citrus Bowl – Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Missouri Tigers 

Missouri has proved that the jump from Big 12 to SEC was nothing for this program but they ultimately can’t wear the SEC crown. . . yet.  Minnesota is coming into this one as a considerable underdog for a team that was ranked nationally late in the season.  “Respect” for the Gophers and “disappointment” for the Tigers will play the biggest roles in this game.  The pick here is Minnesota +5.

Armed Forces Bowl – Pittsburgh Panthers vs Houston Cougars

Nobody knows how the Panthers beat Miami after for the most part having a pretty non-eventful season, but running back James Connor is going to touch the ball about 30 times in this game and help wear down a Cougars team that isn’t like the ones we’ve seen in recent history.  The pick here is Pittsburgh -3.

Taxslayer Bowl – Iowa Hawkeyes vs Tennessee Volunteers 

Nobody expected coach Butch Jones to have a 10 win season at Tennessee but 6-6 is a disappointment so having the chance to finish above .500 will keep them engaged for all four quarters.  The Hawkeyes bring a very experienced bunch to the table, most who will be playing their last game here.  The pick here is: Tennessee -3.

Alamo Bowl – UCLA Bruins vs Kansas State Wildcats

This will be the last time for UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley to try to impress on a big stage.  As he enters the draft this year he brings along his 29 total touchdowns but all in all a disappointing season for the Bruins.  The Bruins are capable of beating good teams, and Kansas State is very well balanced team.  Wideout Tyler Lockett of Kansas State will certainly get his against a UCLA defense who’s secondary has been shown out of position time and time again.  The pick here is Kansas State (Vegas currently has this game as a “pick ’em.”

Cactus Bowl – Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Washington Huskies

Who knows where Oklahoma State pulled that win against Oklahoma from to end the season.  It was the sharpest they’ve looked all season but it took them to play their hated rival to do it.  Washington “ain’t got no beef” with the Cowboys but they do bring to the table a very good defense to keep this game close for a while.  The pick here is Oklahoma State +5.5.

Birmingham Bowl – East Carolina Pirates vs Florida Gators

Watching the Gators this year was straight torture.  Yes they have a good defense but they can’t score at all.  Ever.  They’ll get a couple of stops against this Pirate offense, but won’t be able to contain them for four quarters.  Field position will be key for the Pirates.  The pick here is East Carolina +7.

Go Daddy.Com Bowl – Toledo Rockets vs Arkansas State Red Wolves

The best part of any GoDaddy.Com bowl is seeing the numerous adds that feature Danica Patrick all dolled up and looking adorable with other dolled up and adorable females who are appealing to the eye.  I won’t even pretend as if I know anything about Toledo and Arkansas State.  The pick here is the over at 67.

Rose Bowl (Playoff Semifinal) – Florida State Seminoles vs Oregon Ducks

Last year’s Heisman trophy winning quarterback verses this year’s Heisman trophy quarterback.  This can be the game that separates the gap between Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariotta when it comes to the upcoming pro draft.  Florida State has been living off second half comebacks this season but try giving Oregon a 14 or 21 point lead and coming back. . .  This game ends the reigning champs undefeated streak.  The pick here is Oregon -9.5.

SEC+Football+Championship+Florida+v+Alabama+UkUBcn5kn07l

Sugar Bowl (Playoff Semifinal) – Ohio State Buckeyes vs Alabama Crimson Tide

The best two coaches in the last 10 years of college football square off as it’s Urban Meyer against Nick Saban.  Nick Saban kept his cool throughout the season and has found himself ranked number one in the final polls.  Ohio State is one of the few teams that can match up with Alabama both physically and athletically – Urban Meyer may coach in the Big 10 conference, but he’s been recruiting SEC talented players.  Having a third string quarterback against a Nick Saban run defense is a tall task to over-come.  Whoever wins this game, ultimately becomes the National Champion because these two teams are just better than the teams in the Rose Bowl.  The pick here is Ohio State +9.5.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio