Frumpzilla kicks off its 11 Days of Bowling feature, where we take you, our dozens of beloved readers, paw in hand, through the final days of the 2009 college football season (and, of course, give you unprofessional, highly irresponsible play money betting advice on select games of the day). Frump it here for analysis on the only game on tap tonight: Kentucky vs. Clemson in the Music City Bowl. ESPN, 8:30 pm.
Current Line: Clemson -6.5, O/U 53
Normally I’d stay far away from a game like this (just not much to work with here), but, hey, the feature is called 11 Days of Bowling, and we have to start on the 27th to make that work. That said, however, this still sizes up to be a solid SEC vs ACC matchup, even if we’re, again, handed an all too familiar pairing of a middle of the pack SEC team with an ACC outfit that fared much better in its league (Clemson being the ACC runner-up in this case).
Statistically, these feline foes are quite evenly matched, and even have similar team profiles: suspect rushing defenses coupled with dynamic ground games on the other side of the ball. Read: The prospect of watching C.J. Spiller shred the field in his last college performance is enough on its own to warrant tuning this one in (not to mention some other guy I’ll get to in a minute).
Both teams are also coming off somewhat disappointing losses to end the regular season. Clemson dropped two stright, @ bitter rival South Carolina and then in the ACC Championship game against BCS bound Georgia Tech, while the Wildcats suffered a hearbreaking overtime defeat to their own bitter enemy, Tennessee, to end their season.
On the Vegas angle, Kentucky is 6-5 ATS this year. Clemson, 7-5. No edge. I do like this a lot, however: Kentucky is 8-2 ATS the past 3 seasons against non-conference opponents. The Wildcats have also compiled 4 straight post season victories, two of which have come in the last two Music City Bowls, so this is relatively familiar territory for them. Combine that with the fact that Clemson is trying to avoid losing its 5th straight bowl game, and I think we might see a slight edge developing here.
Just to hammer it home, I’ll add this: Clemson just lost to ACC Champion Georgia Tech, who got pounded by Georgia in Atlanta the week before that, who lost to Kentucky in Athens the week before that. Moreover, both Clemson and Kentucky played the Gamecocks in Columbia this year. Kentucky lost by 2, Clemson by 17. Now, since the logic of such comparative results is utterly flawless and couldn’t possibly ever face a reasonable challenge, it should be obvious which way to go in this one. After all, who really wants to argue with Ashley Judd over there?
Look for Spiller, his 5.7 yards per carry and special teams prowess to provide some excitement tonight, but don’t expect it to be enough for Clemson to cover. Mike Hartline possibly being out for Kentucky doesn’t help the Wildcats’ cause at all, obviously, but it’s Kentucky RB Derrick Locke, and his 6.7 yards per carry, that may end up having more of an impact this year under the Nashville skyline (even more than Spiller, that is). Take Kentucky and the points, and don’t be too surprised if that Over 53 gets smashed as well.