Independence Bowl: Emotion of Beamer’s Final Game Makes Virginia Tech -13 the Pick vs. Tulsa

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 10:11 PM GMT

Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015 10:11 PM GMT

Our handicapping analyst provides us with an early betting preview on the Independence Bowl matchup between Tulsa and Virginia Tech and his college football pick.

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College Football Pick: Virginia Tech -13
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

2015 Independence Bowl
The Virginia Tech (6-6) and Tulsa (6-6) will square off on Saturday 12/26 in the 2015 Independence Bowl. The opening kickoff at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana is slated for 5:30 PM ET. Current college football odds at Bookmaker indicate that Virginia Tech is a 13.0 point favorite, and the posted total is 62.0.

 

The Frank Beamer Factor
This upcoming bowl game will be the last for long time head coach Frank Beamer. He’ll be retiring after 29 years of being in charge of the Hokies football program. His career record at Virginia Tech is 235-120-2. This will be the Hokies 23rd consecutive bowl appearance with Beamer in charge. They’ve gone 10-12 in those previous 22 bowl appearances. The pinnacle of his success at Virginia Tech came in the 1999 and 2000 seasons when his teams went a combined 22-2. That 1999 team lost in the Sugar Bowl to Florida State in a game which determined the national champion for that season. Their quarterback in that contest was future NFL star Michael Vick.

You can be rest assured that this 2015 Virginia Tech team will play with plenty of emotion. After starting this season 3-5, they went 3-1 in their last four games, and its only loss came in overtime to North Carolina (11-2) by a score of 23-20. As a result of that finishing run, they were able to extend Beamer’s career by one more game.

Must Read: A Brief Primer on Handicapping Bowl Games

Plenty of Offense and not much Defense
First year head coach Philip Montgomery did a terrific job of getting the Tulsa football program headed back in the right direction. Despite finishing the regular season just 6-6, it was a far cry from a team that went a combined 5-19 during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. The Golden Hurricane offense was an integral part of this year’s turnaround, averaging 35.9 points, and 502.7 yards per game. Unfortunately their defensive unit didn’t follow suit, allowing an average of 38.6 points, and 531.5 yards per contest. They surrendered 44 points or more on five separate occasions this season, allowed 30 points or more in ten of their twelve games, and that included in each of their previous seven contests.

 

Final Thoughts and Pick
I hate to lay this many points in a bowl game, but there’s an exception to every sports handicapping belief. I just can’t see Virginia Tech being flat in this spot with all things considered. In addition, the Hokies have one of the best college football defensive coordinators in Bud Foster. He’ll have 28 days to prepare between games for the high powered offensive attack of Tulsa. There’s a high degree of probability that his defensive unit well be dialed in. I’m going to lay the big number in this game for one of my college football picks.

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