Pick 'Over' as Central Michigan & Minnesota Meet in Quick Lane Bowl

Willie Bee

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 8:01 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015 8:01 PM GMT

Despite a losing record in the regular season, Minnesota is favored on the college football odds to take down the Central Michigan Chippewas in the Quick Lane Bowl.

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College Football Pick: Over 49
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

Has the college football bowl season finally jumped the shark? This year's fixture includes 40 games, 41 counting the CFP National Championship, and of the 80 teams participating, three sport losing records.

With just 77 teams reaching the minimum 6-win mark, that means three squads are heading off to bowl games with 5-7 records, that trio selected based on something called an Academic Progress Rate, whatever the hell that is. One of those three is Minnesota, the Golden Gophers headed to the Quick Lane Bowl to face the Central Michigan Chippewas who come in with a 7-5 record. The game takes place at Detroit's Ford Field on Monday, December 28.

It should be a tough sell to get fans to come to Motown the Monday after Christmas, and it also shouldn't draw much interest from a television audience. We're not too concerned with that, focusing our attention instead on the college football odds where the Gophers can be found as 5-5½ point favorites. 5Dimes lists a 49½ point total, up a half-tick from the opener.

The schools have gotten together on a gridiron just once before, that matchup taking place in Minnesota way back in 1987. The Golden Gophers scored a 30-10 victory in what was the first game against a Big Ten school for the Chips.

 

Chippewas Boast Top Defense In MAC
Central Michigan (7-5 straight up, 9-3 against the spread) has since taken on teams from the Big Ten 27 times, winning six of them and half of those dubyas coming against the Michigan State Spartans who are among the four outfits in this year's College Football Playoffs. All but two of those games took place in Big Ten stadiums, the exceptions being a 2012 home loss to the Spartans and 2007 Motor City Bowl setback vs. Purdue.

That the Chippewas finished with a winning record and made it to a bowl game is something of a minor miracle considering they got off to a 1-3 start, a loss at Michigan State among the early defeats. John Bonamego's team did manage to cover its first seven games and went 6-2 from October on in MAC play behind a pretty fair passing attack. Junior Cooper Rush directs the offense, throwing for more than 3,700 yards and 25 scores in 2015, his receiving corps boasting five sets of hands with at least 33 catches for more than 500 yards each.

The defense also did its job, ranking tops in the MAC and 16th in the country allowing a little more than 328 yards a contest. The unit could be without cornerback Stefon Armstead who is questionable with an unspecified injury.

 

Midseason Coaching Change Dogs Gophers
Winning at least six games wasn't supposed to be any trouble this year for Minnesota (5-7 SU, 6-6 ATS). The Golden Gophers were picked to be in a dogfight with Wisconsin and Nebraska for the Big Ten West title, but after a 4-2 start to the campaign, they tailed off with a 1-5 record.

Some of that can be attributed to a change on the sidelines due to former head coach Jerry Kill's health that forced him to retire in late-October. Kill's longtime assistant Tracy Claeys stepped in once again for his longtime boss, the team 1-4 after the switch.

Minnesota can also play some defense, the Gophers 35th nationally allowing 354 YPG and 15th vs. the pass (182 ypg). The defensive backfield might be without Jalen Myrick, the junior tied for the team lead with three picks and questionable with a rib injury. They are expected to have defensive tackle Steven Richardson, the team leader with 3½ sacks and probable after missing a couple of contests with a calf strain.

Weather won't be a factor since the game is being played indoors on the carpet at Ford Field. Both teams also play on similar FieldTurf surfaces at their home parks, so neither should be at a disadvantage there. Despite the strong stop units, my college football pick will be on the final hopping past the total.

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