College Football Pick - Aztecs To Run Over Cougars In Las Vegas Bowl

San Diego State Aztecs players celebrating

Willie Bee

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 9:00 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 9:00 PM UTC

Can Houston end a disappointing season on a winning note against San Diego State? Seems far-fetched. Join us as we preview the Las Vegas Bowl with a free college football pick.

Season: 25-23-3 (+0.40)

It all started with such promise for the Houston Cougars. On the heels of a 13-1 campaign and Peach Bowl win over Florida State, the Cougars shot to a 5-0 record this season that began with a 33-23 upset of preseason No. 3 Oklahoma in Week 1.

But even a late upset of Louisville can't keep it from ending in very disappointing fashion, with no New Year's Six trip this time and the best invite extended coming from the Las Vegas Bowl against the San Diego State Aztecs. ABC carries the December 17 telecast starting at 3:30 PM (ET) from Sam Boyd Stadium.

Houston opened as 3 point chalk at Bookmaker, a total for the contest yet to be released.


Aztecs Bring Strong Ground Game To Sin City

Adding to the disappointment of what ended in a 9-3 record is the bitterness many of the Houston (9-3 straight up, 5-6-1 against the spread) players must feel towards former head coach Tom Herman who bolted for Texas after the regular season finale. Rumors were swirling that would happen, and the speculation seemed to distract the Cougars who fell behind Memphis early before losing 48-44 as 4 point favorites in the NCAA football odds.

Failing to cover spreads was something that plagued Houston backers in the second half of the campaign. The Cougars produced losing tickets in their final six games as favorites, their only cover after September coming in a 36-10 win over Louisville as 17½ point underdogs.

If interim head coach Todd Orlando and Houston feel they deserved better than the Las Vegas Bowl, they might want to keep that to themselves and not give a good San Diego State (10-3 SU, 7-6 ATS) squad extra incentive in this one. Rocky Long's lads won the Mountain West by taking down Wyoming in the conference Championship, 27-24. The Aztecs dropped their final two regular season games, but avenged the setback to the Cowboys in the title game.

The win over Wyoming never reached the total to stop a string of five consecutive SDSU 'overs.' The Aztecs did not stop using their strong ground attack, however, running for 242 yards to leave them seventh in the nation (273 ypg). Donnel Pumphrey went over 2,000 rushing yards in the win, while Rashaad Penny fell just short of the 1,000-yard plateau.


Cougs, Aztecs Meet For 1st Time In 43 Years

The only series history between the two took place more than 40 years ago, Houston winning the only get-togethers in 1972-73. The winner of this game will even their all-time bowl record; the Cougars as 11-12-1 while San Diego State checks in 7-8.

Forecasting the weather this far in advance is a real crapshoot, that reference intended since it's Las Vegas. But since it is Las Vegas where Mother Nature runs consistent from season to season, expect a few clouds and the thermometer climbing into the low-60s at kickoff.

Just what frame of mind UH players are in at kickoff is the key to making a winning free college football pick. Personally, I believe this program will take a step back in the near future which is why I'm stepping up to take the Aztecs plus the points.

Free College Football Pick: San Diego St. +3Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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