Colin Kaepernick completes the final chapter in his historical collegiate career with an opportunity to win his first bowl game against the Boston College Eagles in the 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Can the Nevada Wolf Pack outdo the Eagles defense?
The early spread on this game is Wolf Pack (-9.5). Here are nine of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for when betting. All lines from Cooper’s Picks.
#1 Strength v. Strength
The Wolf Pack have the third highest rushing total as they average 305 yards rushing per game. Their fifty-two rushing touchdowns led all of FBS football, along with their 6.3 rushing average. Few rushing attacks are more prolific than the Wolf Pack
If any defense can stop it, it’s the Eagles. The Eagles rushing defense ranked #1 in total rushing yards allowed at 962. They’re one of only five teams who gave up less than 100 yards per game, and their rushing average allowed (2.7) is tied for the best.
#2 Quality Victories
The Wolf Pack ended the BCS championship dreams of the Boise State Broncos in the second to final game of the regular season via a 34-31 overtime victory. Despite a few kicking mishaps that cost the Broncos an 11-0 record, the Wolf Pack outplayed the Broncos. They also defeated the WAC’s Fresno State Bulldogs (8-4) and came within six of Hawaii Warriors (10-3).
The Eagles best victory was a road win against the Syracuse Orangemen in the regular season finale. They did play the Maryland Terrapins and Florida State Seminoles, combined 17-8 records, to a combined eight point defeat.
#3 Similar Opponents
No similar opponents available.
#4 Eagles Defense
During the Eagles five game winning streak, the Eagles have only allowed 59 points. They also compliment their rushing defense with an opportunistic defense whose 19 interceptions are tied for fifth most in FBS. Overall, they’ve only surrendered over 24 points twice this season.
#5 How good are the Eagles?
The Eagles had a fine defense and a weak offense. They had a five game losing streak against higher caliber opponents before finishing the season with a five game winning streak against lesser competition. They did appear better in the final two losses of that losing streak against Florida State and Maryland, however.
#6 Bowl Game Success
Neither team has had much success after reaching a bowl game. The Eagles have qualified for twelve consecutive bowls, but they haven’t been victorious since 2007. The Wolf Pack have qualified for six consecutive bowls, but haven’t won one since 2005.
#7: Weakness vs. Weakness
The Wolf Pack have allowed the tenth most passing yards in FBS football, giving up over 250 yards per game. Behind freshmen QB Chase Rettig, the Eagles passing offense averages just over 175 yards per game (93rd), and their rushing offense isn’t much better (87th).
Overall, the Eagles offense hasn’t scored more than 23 points since their first two games against the Weber State Wildcats and Kent State Golden Flashes.
The Eagles have seven players listed as out and three more that are questionable. The Wolf Pack lost RB Mark Lampford as of 12/10, but nothing too significant.
#9 Third Down Conversion
The Wolf Pack have the second highest third down success in FBS at 56.2%. The Eagles have the fifteenth worst at 33.3%
Too many things going against the Eagles here. Freshmen QB vs. Kaepernick, no rushing game, a third down difference of nearly 23%,and injuries favor the Wolf Pack. Wolf Pack should win.
The spread is tricky because the Eagles defense can keep this close. Nevada lost to Hawaii by 6, defeated Fresno State by 1, and beat Boise State by 3 in overttime, and I think a 7-5 ACC team with that defense could play them within ten, also. It’s really going to depend on Rettig and how many turnovers the Eagles can create.
As a bonus, the total is currently 54.5. Like I mentioned, the Eagles haven’t scored more than 23 points since Week 2, and they’ve only surrendered more than 24 points twice. That’s 47. Add on Nevada’s ability to run clock with the rushing game & third down conversion, and I’d lean toward under.
Predictions against the Spread: – Boston College Eagles (+9.5)
Straight: – Nevada Wolf Pack
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Cooper’s Picks, December 15 2010.
College Football Statistics, Rivals.com. December 15, 2010.
College Football Injuries Via covers.com. December 15, 2010.
Nevada Wolf Pack ESPN Clubhouse. December 15, 2010
Boston College Eagles ESPN Clubhouse, December 15, 2010.