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12/12/2013 11:30:00 AM
East meets West in the middle of the Lower 48
for this year's AdvoCare V100 Bowl that pits the Boston College Eagles against
the Arizona Wildcats, the first time these two teams have met. ESPN will carry the broadcast beginning at 12:30
PM (ET) on New Year's Eve afternoon.
I honestly didn't know what AdvoCare was until
seeing that outfit had naming rights to the old Independence Bowl. Must be some good money in energy drinks and
weight-loss products is all I can say.
We are starting to see a little movement to the college
football odds for this game after the Wildcats started at -7. That spread is now up to 7.5 at many sports
books, and 57.5 is the earliest scoreboard hurdle we have seen set at this
Arizona Stumbles Into The Bowl Season
Rich Rodriguez's second season in Tucson
soured at the end with three losses in the final four games, but the Wildcats
are going to their second straight bowl under the former West
Virginia and Michigan
head coach. Arizona
(7-5 straight up, 5-6-1 against the spread) did pull off a big upset vs. Oregon, but followed that up with a humiliating defeat to
Arizona State, the Sun Devils' second straight
in that series.
The thorough demolishing of the Ducks before Thanksgiving
came as 19.5 point underdogs as Ka'Deem Carey and the 'Cats ground game had
control from the outset. Arizona State,
however, turned the tables on a mistake-prone Arizona team that was getting 10 on the
road, and the Wildcats couldn't have covered with three times that many points.
Arizona lost its two
previous bowl appearances in convincing fashion to Oklahoma
State and Nebraska
before getting an Invite to Albuquerque
last December. If this game is anything
like the Wildcats' thriller in last year's New Mexico Bowl, we're in for a
treat. Favored by nine and trailing by
17 entering the final quarter, Arizona rallied
with a pair of touchdowns in the final minute to beat Nevada, 49-48.
BC Makes Quick
Turnaround From 10-Loss Season
A year ago, Boston
College was lamenting a
10-loss campaign that resulted in Frank Spaziani getting his walking
papers. Enter Steve Addazio, the former Temple head coach and Florida assistant, and the Eagles are back
in the postseason.
Boston College (7-5 SU & ATS) dropped its season finale
at Syracuse, 34-31, snapping a 4-game win streak in the process to end tied
with the Orange for third place in the ACC's Atlantic Division. The Eagles will be looking for their first
bowl victory since topping Michigan
State in the 2007 Champs
Sports Bowl, enduring three postseason losses since then but standing 8-4 in
the last 12 bowl appearances.
Addazio and the Eagles have some question marks on the
offensive line where center Paul Gaughan and tackle Win Homer are dealing with
a knee injury and concussion, respectively. Plus backup tight end Brian Miller is questionable with knee trouble.
But the good news is tailback Andre Williams should be
available. The Heisman Trophy finalist
suffered a shoulder injury late in the loss to Syracuse,
but is currently listed as probable against Arizona. Williams led the nation this season with 2,102 yards rushing, the first
back to top the 2K mark since UConn's Donald Brown in 2008.
College Football Bowl Picks & Predictions
You can find all sorts of weather conditions in Shreveport this time of
year, from sunny and the 70s to snow or ice and the 20s. Fans heading to Independence Stadium should
prepare for both extremes, perhaps with 24 hours of each other, and college
football bettors should check the forecast before making their wagers.
I'm curious if Rodriguez might turn quarterback BJ Denker
loose early to test what was a porous Eagles pass defense. The Wildcat senior is coming off a bad game
against ASU, but some early success would open up the ground game a bit.
More than likely, this matchup will be decided by which team
establishes its running game first and which of the two talented backs has the
better game. I'm not sure any Rich
Rodriguez-coached team is worth laying more than a touchdown on, so BC plus the
points will be my free college football pick.
My pick: Boston College
+7.5 at Bet365