Controversy Surrounding Holiday Bowl Impacting The Odds - Minnesota vs Washington St.

Minnesota Golden Gophers Press Conference

Willie Bee

Sunday, December 18, 2016 9:26 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 9:26 PM UTC

Will Minnesota show up to take on Washington State in the Holiday Bowl? That's the big question as we explore the current NCAA football odds for the matchup.

Season: 25-23-3 (+0.40)

There are worse places to be this time of year than San Diego, California, and while the Holiday Bowl might not have been the postseason target for both the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Washington State Cougars, it should still make for a great game between the Big Ten and Pac-12 foes.

Like I said, it should be a great game though it may not be played at all now that Minnesota players are boycotting all football activities following 10 players being suspended for unspecified reasons. There has already been talk that if Minnesota drops out, Northern Illinois would take the Gophers' place and the bowl game would go on, but only assuming the situation is worked out very quickly.

The contest is currently scheduled for 7 PM (ET) on December 27 at Qualcomm Stadium, and the spread has jumped to -9½ on Washington State after opening four points lower. BetOnline has 60 points for the total.

 Wazzu Enters Bowl Off Two Losses

Minnesota (8-4 straight up, 4-5-3 against the spread) announced the 10 suspensions earlier this week. The suspensions stemmed from an incident earlier this season that initially led to 3-game bans for four players, and a new investigation into the alleged sexual assault prompted the new punishments. Among those on the naughty list are safeties Antoine Winfield Jr. and KiAnte Hardin who rank fourth and sixth, respectively, in tackles.

There is a definite split at the university between the athletic office and head coach Tracy Claeys who tweeted he had "never been more proud of (the players)" for the boycott.

Washington State (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS), meanwhile, is sort of stuck in limbo trying to prepare for the contest. Mike Leach's club finished second in the Pac-12 North after losing their final two regular season games to Colorado and Washington, the two eventual participants in the conference championship game. The Cougars began the season with two losses to Eastern Washington and Boise State, the 45-42 setback to the Eagles coming as 27½ point chalk on the NCAA football odds.


Gophers, Cougars Meeting For 1st Time In 28 Years

Assuming the game is played, it would be the sixth meeting between Minnesota and Washington State with the last coming in 1988. The Cougars hold a 3-2 edge in the series after walloping the Golden Gophers in that last 1988 clash, and each of the five previous contests were played in Minneapolis.

It's a good thing they won't be in Minnesota for this one given the weather forecast that predicts snow and highs in the low-20s for December 27. That's a far cry from the clear skies and temps in the low-to-mid 60s in the long-range San Diego forecast.

The uncertainty surrounding the game right now makes for a tough task to come up with a free college football pick. I'm counting on cooler heads to eventually prevail, and will be taking the 'over' for my play.

Free College Football Pick: Over 60 Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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