Pirates and uncomfortably obsessed pirate lovers, or perhaps the unexpected lack of them, highlight the feature as Frumpzilla tackles 3 of today’s 5 bowl games. We’re above .500 for the first time, sitting at 6-5-1, and looking for continued success in the PapaJohns.com, Liberty and Alamo Bowls. Frump it here for a quick preview and Frump’s smart playmoney picks.
PapaJohns.com Bowl, South Carolina vs. UConn. 2 PM ET, ESPN. Current Line: South Carolina -4, O/U 52
Before I looked more closely at this one, I felt confident that even a middle of the pack SEC team would likely have little trouble handling a team like UConn at legendary Legion Field. Now, I’m actually pretty confident that the Huskies will cover in this one (can’t believe I’m typing that).
UConn brings a nice one-two punch into this one with RB’s Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon combining for over 2,300 rushing yards this year. Unfortunately, the Huskies appear to be somewhat one dimensional given their inability to get a consistent passing game going this year, and, against a South Carolina defense that ranks 15th nationally, Randy Edsal will have to get a big run game out of his Huskies today to stay competitive.
The Gamecocks appear to be somewhat of a mirror image of their foe today, bringing the SEC’s worst rushing game into today’s contest, but complimented by one of league’s better passing attacks led by, much improved, QB Stephen Garcia. Spurrier’s Cocks probably hold a significant advantage in terms of overall talent here, and, as alluded to above, if the defense can shut down UConn’s run game, this one has the potential to be lopsided.
Still, there’s quite a bit on UConn’s side from a gambling perspective. The Huskies are on a 11-2 ATS run, and are 7-2 ATS against teams with winning records during that stretch. UConn is also 6-0 ATS as an underdog this year, and 6-1 the past three years when playing with at least 2 weeks rest. That said, getting 4 points, I guess I have to go with UConn ATS here, but don’t be surprised if the Gamecocks win SU.
Liberty Bowl, Arkansas vs. East Carolina. 5:30 PM, ESPN. Current Line: Arkansas -7.5, O/U 63.5
In yet another matchup between a mid-level SEC team and one of the heavier hitters from a different conference, the East Carolina Pirates, the only back to back winner of Conference USA titles, head out to Memphis to take on Bobby Petrino’s Arkansas Razorbacks.
Arkansas’s Ryan Mallett has developed nicely under Petrino’s tutelage, and the Razorback QB will be looking to showoff the SEC’s best passing attack against the Pirates. East Carolina presents more of a balanced system burgeoned by a nice offensive nucleus of QB Patrick Pinkney, RB Dominique Lindsay and WR Dwayne Harris. Both defenses, however, leave a lot to be desired. Arkansas ranks 90th in the land, while ECU only fares so much better at 76th.
Naturally, this leads me to lean towards the Over here, despite the fact we’re gonna need a lot of points. Arkansas has been Over in 4 of its last 5, and the Pirates have been the same in 5 of 7. Both teams have also posted at least 30 points in 10 of their last 14 combined games while giving up at least 20 in 9 of those 14. Read: if this one doesn’t make playing the Over at least little interesting, it will be nothing short of uncanny.
There’s a slight ATS trend towards the Razorbacks here as well, having gone 6-1 ATS against teams with winning records and being on a 12-5 ATS run overall, but I’m worried that the Pirates might be out to prove to everyone in Memphis that there’s more to be found in Eastern North Carolina than just the world’s best barbecue. Stick with the Over.
Alamo Bowl, Michigan State vs. Texas Tech. 9 PM ET, ESPN. Current Line: Texas Tech -7.5, O/U 60
From Pirates to funerals for pirate enthusiasits, we now turn to Texas Tech’s first game in 10 years without Mike Leach at the helm.
Not much to say here other than this: What we have here is the best passing offense in the Big 10 versus the best passing offense in the entire country. Oh, and Michigan State has suspended 11 players for this game, including Chris L. Tucker, their best cover corner, and several other starters, for having a good, old fashioned dorm room slugfest. Read: Big 10 Defensive Player of the year, LB Greg Jones, and the Spartans are going to have their hands full with the Red Raiders passing attack led by a rejuvenated Taylor Potts.
Michigan State is 1-7 ATS this year when they don’t have 11 players out via suspension, so don’t hesitate to take Texas Tech and eat the points…despite the absence of Captain Leach.