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2022-23 College Football Bowl Season Picks and Predictions (PT.1) | NCAA Football Odds & Analysis

The NCAAF Show

Gary Segars:

Welcome in to the BetUS College Football Show and it is time to attack bowl season. That’s right. We have got seven bowl games that we are going to hit today. We will, of course, be back tomorrow. I am your host, Gary Segars. You can follow me on Twitter, @GaryWCE. Let me go ahead and bring in the experts here. On the left side of the screen, we have got Parker Fleming, @statsofwar on Twitter. He is the numbers guy, the numerical guru as I call him, our analyst here at BetUS.

Parker, good into the season, of course, went one and one last week, but we’ll get to the recap here in a minute. Things are going well, thus far. The numbers appear to be pretty good. How are you feeling going into bowl season?

Parker Fleming:

Yeah, stabilizing a little bit there and happy with that and certainly excited about the off-season I like as much as the on-season where I get to tinker and back test and everything. We will say doing my prep for this show, we might be just tossing blind darts on some of these games for who’s going to play and who’s going to, but we’ll still stick to some processes and try to do the best with the information we have. But I like some of these matchups. Bowl season is weird and I’m ready to watch the MAC team win a game they shouldn’t at 11:00 a.m. on a Tuesday. So it’s going to be a good couple weeks.

Gary Segars:

That’s exactly what I’m looking forward to as well. Let me bring in the right side of the screen. Of course, Kyle Hunter, our award-winning professional handicapper, @KyleHunterPicks. Kyle, doing well, of course, in your picks as well. What Parker said about bowl season is correct. With the way that the college football calendar is set up currently, we really have no idea until game day who is actually going to play in these games, what the spread should be, I guess. I mean, it’s going to be a weird one. We’re going to do our best, obviously, but how are you feeling going into this?

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah, it’s going to be a different one. Some of the rules that we knew from years ago with handicapping bowl games don’t really apply anymore. And I would say, be careful. If you’re in the chatter or listening to this, don’t go crazy on these bowl games because you could see some wild line moves right before the game, and that’s going to be indicative of somebody missing the game right at the last second. So, yeah, looking forward to the bowl games. I have to say, I think Parker won the one he should have lost and then lost the one he should have won for his picks last week, but that’s how it goes, right? Sometimes your better bets lose and it’s just interesting how that game finished.

Gary Segars:

It’s why we preach responsible gambling. Don’t bet the mortgage on a bunch of football players. We try and be as responsible as possible, but, yes, I’m with you. I guess the people that are listening currently, one, we appreciate you guys in the chat. Of course, Ballard Sports Media, Yari V, Steve Campbell, Julius James, et cetera. You guys are always here. First off, we thank you. Second, be responsible this year. Stay informed on what is going on in these games. If you have interest in a game, make sure that you are following on all the different websites on Twitter everywhere else so that you know exactly who was playing, who was coaching in the game. That’s become a very big thing. Of course, there’s a lot of information that you got to be able to dissect heading into these things, and we’re going to do our best here, of course, to get through these games.

Let’s go on and do a quick recap on what our records are thus this season, thus far this season, excuse me. Last week, Parker went one and one. He got the army cover. He did not get the under. That’s right, for the first time in 17 years or I guess the 17th year, the over actually hit in army navy. So what we are looking at currently is I am sitting at 48 wins, 35 losses, and three pushes. Kyle is 29 and 27. Parker, 40, 44, and one. That gives us a total record of 117, 106, and four. That is 52.47%, so not too shabby there.

Of course, let me go on and remind you, we are here every Tuesday and Wednesday all the way through bowl season, and we will see what the post season looks like after that. But make sure that you are subscribed and that you have hit the notification bell. It’s going to let you know when we go live. Again, I’ll go ahead and tell you, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time right here. And if you cannot be here live, that’s okay. You can always join in with the podcast, that is the BetUS Football Show. That is both the college football feed and the NFL feed so you can get all of your picks, all of your breakdowns right here on the same podcast feed. So make sure that you are subscribed and leave a nice five star review with that.

Let’s see. Let me go through, make sure we got all the notes. Oh, jump in the chat. That’s right. You have to be subscribed to get into the chat and you can toss in Q&A questions, et cetera. Now, before you ask a bunch of questions about bowl games that are not on the docket for today, we are going to hit every single bowl game this year.

Again, every Tuesday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, we will be right here. So make sure and say or make sure and jump in with questions about these games specifically or just about college football and the current landscape, et cetera, recruiting whatever you want to, and just try and keep it limited to not questions about the games that we’re not going to hit today. We’re going to hit more tomorrow and then, of course, the next week and next week. So just tossing that out there.

All right. Gentlemen, let’s go ahead and make sure that we jump into these games because we’ve got quite a few of them. We’ve got seven. First one on the docket, the Bahamas Bowl. That’s right, this one is in Nassau. It is Miami of Ohio and UAB, UAB and 11-point favorite. The total sits at 44 and a half currently. Of course, latest numbers at BetUS. It’s 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time on ESPN Friday, December 16th. Gentlemen, Parker, I want to start off with you on this one, Miami of Ohio, four and 0 against the spread in their last four bowl games. However, this season they are two and four against the spread down the stretch in their last six overall. UAB, four and 0 against the spread in their last four neutral site games. Of course, they got a big bowl win last year over BYU, where there were substantial underdogs in that one. They are one in six against the spread in their last seven overall.

There’s a lot to dive into with this game because, of course, UAB has hired a new coach, Trent Dilfer. It is going to be Bryant Vincent’s last game with the team and this is the team. These are the players that wanted Bryant Vincent to be their head coach. They pinned a letter to the president, et cetera. This could be some extra motivation for UAB. Miami of Ohio, on the other hand, I mean, Chuck Martin’s been doing this a long time, this team is hardnosed, right? They are really, really fun and really, really tough. This is an interesting ballgame. What do you see happening here, Parker?

Parker Fleming:

Certainly an interesting question of the competing motivations with … Miami’s going to have Brett Gabbert out who’s entered the transfer portal. They’re starting quarterback and-

Gary Segars:

Oh, hey, let me interrupt you right there. Brett Gabbert, I don’t know if he’s going to be out, but he has recommitted to Miami of Ohio. Now, he was dealing with some injuries, but there’s a chance that he plays. So let’s start it off with that.

Parker Fleming:

I love that that happened on the first game because, again, we’re drinking from the fire hose trying to keep track of all these left people. So that could be good for Miami. And then, of course, you would be with the coaching transition and all of that. I think that when I look at a game like this, I think about one thing is, who does something well? In games like this between teams who necessarily aren’t amazing this season, who does one thing well? Miami really doesn’t do either side of the ball well, running or passing well. They’re 118th in EPA offense, 81st in EPA defense, 120th in the pass on offense, 106th in the rush on defense, excuse me, 106th in the rushing offense, 90th passing defense, 55th rushing defense. So maybe we’re saying, “Hey, their rushing defense is better than their atrocious passing defense.” But what UAB has done all season has been consistently successful and explosive.

Their 10th in offense of EPA per play, 21st in offensive success rate, 28 in EPA per pass, sixth in EPA per rush. I really feel like they’ll be able to move the ball here. Uncharacteristic to what we think of UAB teams in the past, who have been much more defensive forward, this UAB team really relies on a pretty stellar duo in the backfield to make these explosive plays and to move the ball consistently. And I feel like they’ve got a good system that highlights multiple athletes. So I like UAB’s offense as the best unit in this game. And even though Miami’s defense is slightly better against the rush, UAB is so much better against the rush that it almost washes that out entirely. They’re sixth in EPA per rush.

The one thing that you could knock UAB for is their rushing defense has been very, very bad, 119th in EPA per play, 107th in rushing success rate, but it’s not like Miami of Ohio has rushed the ball very well at all. 106th EPA per rush and they’re 120th in rushing success rate. 32.5 rushing success rate is not exactly establishing the run there from a team that is rushing 5.8 percentage points more than the average team.

So overall, two teams where normally when you get a MAC team in a bowl, the talent differential, it matters a whole lot here. It’s not huge, but it is substantial. And UAB is good at one thing, has an elite unit, their offense, which is the best unit on either side of the game. And so I certainly like them to win this and win this handily. You start talking about the number of points and pacing because both teams run so much. You have a low total here and you have a really big spread. I think that there’s absolutely a reason to say UAB should win this convincingly, but I would lean towards Miami covering here, especially with this many points.

Gary Segars:

That would certainly be my lean as well. Kyle, let me bring you in on this. That Miami of Ohio offense, as part of what we’re talking about, can’t really sustain drives. The defense is number 44 in success rate allowed over the last eight weeks and they’re number eight in turnover margin. Oh, excuse me, over the last six weeks, excuse me. They’re number eight in turnover margin in that time as well. You look at turnover margin. At UAB, the number’s not great, but they were minus four in turnovers when Hopkins was out. Hopkins is, obviously, back now. McBride, as Parker was talking about, 7.35 yards per rush on the season, which is mind-blowing.

But since week eight, Miami of Ohio is number 10 in PPA per rush defense. It’s an interesting matchup that Parker brings up because the UAB offense is, obviously, the best part of a team that is going to be on the field in the Bahamas. We’ve seen the Bahamas Bowl do some crazy, crazy things that we would not expect, especially with it being the first bowl game of the season. What do you see between these two, Kyle?

Kyle Hunter:

I mean, I got bad memories about this game from multiple times. The worst beat I’ve ever taken was Western Kentucky, and I’m not going to go through all this again because a couple of weeks ago when we talk-

Gary Segars:

I was trying to not bring it up pre-show, Kyle. I didn’t want to rub salt in the wound, but I’m glad you brought it up.

Kyle Hunter:

Right. But remember when we were talking about the Utah State a couple weeks ago. I was like, “Ah, that can’t match the Western Kentucky one from back then.” It’s the bar and it’s a tough bar to reach. I will say I think the Bahamas Bowl, like Gary just said, has had some wild games in general, not just that game. Weird things happen in this game. I’d be careful betting this one. I think both teams are excited to go to the Bahamas. I mean, who would not be excited to go there? So it’s not a question of whether you want to be there or not, but some teams take it as a business trip more and some teams are going to be just partying. The MAC is not done well in bowl games long term. And I do think that’s something to keep track of as conference records ATS in bowl games year by year.

The MAC is 35 and 47 or 42.7% ATS since 2006. I think Aveon Smith will probably be the starter here because Brett Gabbert has been injured. I think Gabbert will come back, but probably Smith will play in this game. I don’t know that for sure and that’s always dangerous betting on something you don’t really know. UAB was four and eight against the spread this year. UAB defensively much weaker this year than they have been in the past. Bill Clark ain’t there anymore and they definitely miss him a lot. They’re 103rd against the run. Miami can probably run the ball at least some here in this game. Aveon Smith more of a runner, he completed less than 50% of his passes for the season, so I think Miami’s run defense has been pretty good, 22nd in rushing play success rate allowed.

I think this is the type of game that you might want to live bet rather than bet something ahead of time that you might be able to get something on each side. We see wild things happen in this game. In general, I lean toward taking Miami in the points because I question if UAB really should be favored by double digits. This is the UAB team that’s good, but, I don’t know, they have the coach that’s going to be gone. You could say that they want win one last game for him or you could say that they’re disappointed that this is the last game for him. I think that’s enough question marks that’s hard to bet this game.

Gary Segars:

Yeah, I do agree with you. No official picks on this, but all three of us lean Miami with the points. I’ll go on and tell you, I’m looking at my number currently and it is UAB seven and a half. Who knows who is actually going to show up, who is going to go to the Bahamas and want to party, and who is going to go and try and win a football game? I think that’ll be the tale of the tape. So no official play there, but three leans to Miami of Ohio.

Now, moving on, we are headed to Orlando on the same day, Friday, December 16th at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The curable between UTSA and Troy, and this might be honestly top five at least, and it might be my favorite bowl game of the entire season here. UTSA, a one-and-a-half point underdog. The total sits at 55 and a half, latest numbers at BetUS. This is in Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida. And if I’m not mistaken, I think that is the soccer stadium down there. This is an interesting one.

Kyle, I do want to start with you here. Troy, the wide receivers, Barbara and Rogers, are out for the bowl game. They average 6.2 receptions in over 80 yards per game combined between the two. Since week eight, UTSA number 14 in PPA margin. Troy is number 28. This is insane to think about. But if you look at what Troy did against Coastal Carolina just a couple of weeks ago in the SBC Championship Game, 18.7 yards per pass attempt against Coastal, that is not what Troy has typically done. They have not been a huge passing threat. I’m curious about this one. What do you see going on between Frank Harris’s UTSA roadrunners and the Troy Trojans here?

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah. I mean. Gary’s a great host and he does a good job building up these games. He says this might be the best, his favorite bowl game of all. I love that. I don’t think it’s my favorite bowl game of all, but it’s a good sell, for sure. I think UTSA and Troy is a fun matchup between two teams that have been good bet on teams for the last couple years or at least this year in Troy’s case. You’re going to hear me talk about betting percentages a lot more in bowl season than normal. A couple reasons for that. These lines are up a lot longer than regular season games are and, more importantly, the public is terrible at betting in bowl games. An angle to prove this is betting teams who are receiving 40% or lower of the spread bets. So 40% of the bets placed are on them or lower.

If you back that team, you would’ve been 181, 132, 58% since 2005. So nearly just 58% by just backing the teams that people don’t want to bet, which I think is interesting. And this one, 74% of the bets are on Troy, so everybody wants to bet Troy. I think the reason people want to bet Troy is what they just saw in the last game, right, what Gary was talking about. Troy looked amazing in that game. I think Coastal was just … It was questionable whether they really were focused on that game. They had a lot of issues going on at that point, obviously. So 26% of the bets are on UTSA and it fits the angle. UTSA’s defensive problems were really because of allowing big plays, explosiveness. Setting aside the last game, Troy really hasn’t been very good at explosive plays on offense.

If you took out the last game, they would look really bad in explosiveness. I don’t really think that Troy is the type of team that can consistently get big plays in the passing game or in the running game. I’m not convinced of that. Troy is a good defense, certainly, and we’ve backed Troy quite a few times, but I think UTSA is going to get their points. This UTSA offense that is better than a lot of the offenses that Troy has been facing throughout the course of the season. So based on all this, my lean here is certainly UTSA. I think the total’s right about where it should be. So just to lean to the roadrunners for me.

Gary Segars:

Yeah. As you brought up, I mean, a lot of people on Troy right now, this one opened at UTSA minus one and a half. They are currently a one-and-a-half point dog. So Troy, I mean, we’re moving three total points here. It’s pretty crazy how it moved through zero there. This offense for UTSA has been absolutely rolling since week eight. Number three PPA per pass. Number seven in standard downs PPA that Troy defense standard downs PPA is number 49 in that same time span. So something to pay attention to where we’ve talked highly about the Troy defense and they have, obviously, risen to the occasion multiple times.

The numbers don’t quite back all that up, so just something to pay attention to with it, obviously. Frank Harris announcing that he is coming back for another season at UTSA to lead them into the American Conference. That is certainly a high-up builder.

Parker, at the other side of this where we talk motivation, et cetera, that is something to pay attention to as well because UTSA, 0 and three straight up in their last three bowl games, they are two and one against the spread in those games, but they haven’t been able to get the win. So this one, I think, is very, very important. Both of these teams playing really, really well down the stretch. Both have won 10 straight games heading into this one, which is bananas. Just crazy to think about. Both of them 11 win teams. Both of them conference champions. Five and one against the spread in the last six for Troy. Four and one against the spread in the last five four UTSA.

Parker, what do you see between these two? This UTSA defense has been pretty good as of late, but how much of that is due to playing backup quarterbacks, et cetera, and how much is maybe the lack of competition?

Parker Fleming:

Neither team has played an exceptionally formidable schedule down stretch. I think that’s important to say. And Kyle, you pointed out that the public might be overstating Troy because of what they did to Coastal Carolina, 45 to 26, but arguably, a healthy UNT is more competitive than that walking wounded that is Coastal Carolina. And UTSA dispatched them in a boat race style. Honestly, it was closed for a little bit. They just separated. UNT was never going to catch up.

So I’m really high on this UTSA offense. I, obviously, love Jeff Traylor and think he does a good job. And in an environment where we’re looking for motivation and we’re looking for how teams are going to show up and how they’re going to play, Frank Harris coming back is a huge shot in the arm for this team.

This offense is very simple. It relies in the athleticism of Frank Harris and the athleticism of Zakhari Franklin, the wide receiver, who is so versatile. During the UNT game, I was counting the plays that UTSA ran and they had about four. And three of them involved just getting the ball to Zakhari Franklin and the fourth one was a draw from Frank Harris, and they worked beautifully. They put defenders in conflict. I really like what they’re going to be able to do, not because they’re going to be able to out scheme Troy, but because their scheme relies on athleticism and this offense is so athletic. 10th in EPA per pass, 26th in EPA per rush. Zakhari Franklin is averaging 12.7 yards per reception. He was 18.0, excuse me, that’s 18.0 against UTEP and is just a very dynamic player that you have to account for at all times on the field, 140 for the yards, 14.4 yards per reception, and three touchdowns against UNT two weeks ago. So an excellent offensive attack.

Troy’s defense has been at strength. They’re 29th in EPA per pass, 47th in EPA per rush. They’re pretty balanced, but I think that that almost favors UTSA because they’re going to run a lot of RPOs. They’re going to put people in conflict and say, “Do you want to defend Frank Harris on the ground?” or “Do you want to defend Zakhari Franklin through the air?” So I really like that matchup. UTSA’s defense has been pretty bad. So has Troy’s offense, though. And both of those have looked better lately, but definitely you said that it has to do with concerns of schedule. I mean, we’re just reading these Coastal … Heard Coastal Carolina, Arkansas State, ULM, Army, Louisiana. And UTSA played UTEP Rice, Louisiana Tech, and UAB, and then UNT at the very end there.

So not a strong slate for either team, but what you want to see from teams is that they … Good teams do well against bad teams. So I’m certainly not going to hold it against either unit. We could say they’re coming on stronger here, but I think the decisive matchup in this game is UTSA’s athleticism on offense compared to Troy’s defense. I like the motivation factor. Meet meat, give me the roadrunners in a ball game here. I think we have a wrong team favorite situation so I’m going to take them outright.

Gary Segars:

I am in the exact same boat that you are. I trust UTSA to score more than I trust Troy to, even with the defensive play from Troy. I like what Jon Sumrall has done in his first season there, but I think that there’s a bit of a coaching advantage for Jeff Traylor. Yeah, I’m on the same boat that you are, Parker. I’m going to take UTSA as well. Kyle is going to lean it. We’re going to play it official at the same time bowl season. I might be doing like half units on these just because I don’t know who’s actually going to play, but these two seem really motivated to get this thing done, right, to finish out the season. We do know, again, the wide receivers, Barbara and Rogers, both out for Troy and just pay attention to that. Pay attention to who’s actually going to play on Friday in the Bahamas. Not in the Bahamas, excuse me, in Orlando.

So official play is there. Parker and I both UTSA plus one and a half. Let’s move over to Boston. That’s right. We’re going to Fenway, the Fenway Bowl, which it appears is actually going to be played this year. It has been canceled the last two seasons. Cincinnati against Louisville. And Louisville is a two-and-a-half point favorite, of course, juiced at … Well, even NCAAF odds, even money there. The total sits at 41 and a half. Of course, latest number at BetUS, Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. You go from the Bahamas and Orlando to Boston in December. I think it might be a little chilly up there.

The last time these two teams played was in 2013 and Louisville won that game 31 to 24. They used to be not only rivals but conference rivals. And Louisville got the call up to the ACC. The matchup just stopped. They have not played it since. It is very interesting. Louisville two and four straight up and against the spread in their last six bowl games, but they are five and two against the spread in their last seven. And I think the big thing that you have to mention here is, obviously, that Scott Satterfield, the Louisville head coach, has taken the Cincinnati head coaching job. Now, does he feel obligated to share some information with his new team about his prior team? Probably not. I mean, this is a weird, weird spot overall.

Luke Fickell, the Cincinnati coach, of course, has left. He will be the new head coach at Wisconsin. This is a weird one. Malik Cunningham has opted out here. Parker, let’s start with you on this. Is there a way to really tell what these numbers are with Ben Bryant, the quarterback, being out for Cincinnati? Evan Prater’s going to be the starter there. Malik Cunningham is out in the quarterback. For Louisville will be Brock Domann, 54% completion percentage, three touchdowns, five and … I mean, I don’t know that any number that you could give out would help you in this situation. How do you feel about this one, Parker?

Parker Fleming:

Yeah, what, 22 players are going to be on the field at any given time, I don’t know. And I’m not going to sit here and pretend to know and be like, “Oh, I have this information, whatever.” What I will say is I can say some things about these teams that are going to be informative if you feel like live, “Hey, I’m watching this and seeing what’s happening.” Something I’ve said about Cincinnati all year is that they are having trouble connecting on open plays. They have open plays, the wide receivers get open and either Bryant can’t hit them or they drop it.

I pulled the stat yesterday for everybody in FBS, adjusting for the expected yards after catch for each receiver. So all I did was just add the yards lost to drops plus the yards after catch that that receiver averages to come up with how much yardage a person lost, a quarterback lost, to drops this season. Ben Bryant is number one in the FCS, 462 yards that he lost from drops, if all of them went for the average yards after catch. That’s brutal. That is a passing off. It’s open. I’m throwing it to you, you can catch this and they’re not. Not to mention the plays that Bryant is missing as well.

So even if you switch quarterbacks for Cinci, I don’t know if that … I mean, that doesn’t fix the wide receiver issue. So that leads me to say, if I was going to think about anything in this, I would lean towards the talent advantage, which Louisville has. But Malik Cunningham, Tiyon Evans, Clark, and then Hudson, the wide receiver, are all out. I don’t know, I don’t feel good about telling you one side or the other here at all. I tell about watching this, my biggest issue will be Louisville down the starting cornerback. Will they be able to take advantage of these Cincinnati wide receivers who haven’t been able to make big plays all season? Cincinnati 51st in EPA per pass, 77th in passing success rate. They just cannot consistently move the ball through the air, 122nd in the rush game as well. And Louisville’s defense, pretty good, eight in the EPA per pass.

So an interesting matchup if they were full staffed and everything, but here with the opt-outs, I think you need to get live and just see the vibes and look at that live total is probably your best bet, if you’re trying to make any money off this game. I would suggest just enjoying it because, again, we don’t know who’s going to be on the field.

Gary Segars:

Typically in a game like this, if I want any action on it, I put a little bit of pizza money, maybe not even a full pizza on it. I would lean towards the team that is getting points, right? So I would lean Cincinnati in a situation like this. You look at what Louisville has going on, right? So the offensive coordinator is gone. Lance Taylor, he is now the head coach at Western Michigan. Bryan Brown, the co-defense coordinator, he is gone. Wesley McGriff is headed to Auburn. He is not going to be there. The quarterback coach, Pete Thomas, is gone. He’s not going to be involved in this game. And Kerry Coombs is going to be, or Coombs, excuse me, is going to be the interim coach for Cincinnati.

But you look at the transfers. I mean, Cincinnati transfers, offensive lineman, Jake Renfro, the defensive back, JQ Hardaway, the wide receivers, Mardner and Thompson. Of course, with Louisville as you mentioned, you’ve already got injuries, but on the other side, you got Trevion Cooley that’s transferring out, the running back, Jalen Mitchell. So you don’t even have the depth there. Defensive back, Derek Edwards, that you mentioned, obviously. I mean, this is an issue big time. And where you might have felt really good about Louisville’s defense here, with McGriff and Brown both gone, I don’t even know who I can trust in that spot.

Kyle, I think the easiest thing to do here is expect that there won’t be a ton of points in this game because I’m not sure what the motivation is for either team. What do you see in this one?

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah. I mean, one of the things I thought about, too, was what you said as far as a coach going from the other school to that school, did they share information? I feel like that’d be pretty low to do something like that going into a game like this, but-

Gary Segars:

Depends on the ethics, right?

Kyle Hunter:

Sure, sure. And today’s world, I hate to bet on ethics or how somebody will handle things. Having said that, I want to take the under in this game. The reason I like the under is there’s so many unknowns about both teams. This game’s being played at 11:00 a.m. in Boston, 12 miles per hour winds with gusts to 25 during this game. So if you look at a lot of the sites, they’re either in domes or really nice weather locations. This is one of the few where weather will be an issue. I think it does matter in a game like this. I don’t know why they’d kick off at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, but that’s what they’ve got.

The Louisville defense was pretty underrated throughout the course of the season. It does have an asterisk, like you said, because there’s some of those guys sitting out, but 40th in yards for play allowed. They had 42 sacks, which I didn’t realize until I got to looking at the numbers that Louisville was so good at getting to the opposing quarterback. They’re certainly an aggressive defense, but they’re only 52nd in explosiveness allowed so they were able to be aggressive without giving up a ton of big plays. Cunningham and Evans out is a big deal for the offense, certainly. Hudson not going to play either. I think this is just a really wild weird spot to try to pick a side. I don’t know what side’s going to win. I wouldn’t even want to bet anything on a side here.

I mean, Cincinnati without Fickell who left for Wisconsin, Josh White’s out. Tre Tucker expected to be out at wide receiver. Their center just entered the transfer portal as well. So Cincinnati’s offense, if you look at the end of the season, they really weren’t playing very well, 4.9 yards per play against Tulane, 5.0 yards per play against Temple. I know some people think Prater is not necessarily a big downgrade from Bryant, so I’m not sure about that one. I just think that in this, the tempo will be slow enough. We have a quarterback on the Louisville side that’s clearly a downgrade from Cunningham and then we’ve got a backup quarterback for Cincinnati. We’ve got weather in the area as well. I’ll take the under. In a game where there’s a lot of unknowns, I feel like the one known commodity is the fact that this is outside and it’s blowing around. It’s not as warm as a lot of the other games. I think this could be one of those sloppy games.

Gary Segars:

I like it. All right. So an official play here, Kyle is going to go under 41 and a half. I do not disagree with you at all. I don’t disagree. I lean Cinci, but that’s only because where there’s a lot of chaos, just give me the team that’s getting points. But I’m not going to make it official by any stretch of the imagination.

Let me remind everybody, make sure that you are subscribed to the podcast. Of course, the BetUS Football Show. Leave a nice five star written review whether you are at Apple, or Spotify, or whatever your favorite podcast app is. Make sure and jump in for the Q&A at the end of the show. Any questions about what is going on in the current landscape of college football, we will do our best to answer there as well. Like the video. I see quite a few of you watching now. Go ahead and hit that like button for us. That certainly helps us out algorithmically. And I try and sound smart when I say those big words like that, but go ahead and hit that like button. It helps us out tremendously. Subscribe to the channel, hit the notification bell, of course, and share the show out. Tell your friends about it, of course. Don’t forget about tomorrow’s show as well. We’ll be here 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, and that’s every Tuesday and Wednesday.

Now, let’s get back into the games. Let’s move on. Let’s go over to Las Vegas, Nevada, the Las Vegas Bowl, Florida and Oregon State. And I’m sure that a lot of people thought that this was going to be a much better matchup in Allegiant Stadium. This one at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday December 17th on EPSN. The time changed, of course, because of some NFL scheduling, et cetera. So they have moved these things around a little bit.

Florida currently a 10-point underdog to the Beavers. And the total sits at 53 on this one. Of course, latest numbers at BetUS. Anthony Richardson is not going to play. The offensive lineman, O’Cyrus Torrence, not going to play. The linebacker, Ventrell Miller, for Florida, not going to play. They are all entering the NFL draft. And, of course, on Oregon State side, the tight end, Luke Musgrave, he is going to be out as well. So with Jack Miller starting a quarterback for Florida, Billy Napier doing his thing. He’s only won in three against the spread in postseason games when he was at Louisiana. This is his first at Florida.

Now, Parker, I’m going to start with you. This Florida offense is number 41 in PPA per rush since week eight. But how much of that was Anthony Richardson and what he brought to the table? Do you think that they could possibly try and change things up with Miller starting at quarterback? Because it seems like the rushing attack is what would really get to Oregon State’s defense. They’re number 96 in PPA per rush defense since week eight. If you don’t try and attack that, you’re throwing right into the teeth of that Oregon State defense. I’m curious what your numbers say here.

Parker Fleming:

I’m interested in the Florida quarterback situation because, and I’ll go through this very quickly, the only other person who’s attempted to pass is no longer with the team than Anthony Richardson.

Gary Segars:


Parker Fleming:

And so that room is very thin. So I wonder if that factors into like, “Hey, I’m not going to run a guy 40 times and get him killed and make my backup tight end, who threw a pass in high school, play quarterback or something.” I’m certain that Billy Napier is aware of the optics of that of, “Hey, I don’t want to get embarrassed in the bowl game.” But, yeah, it is … And I’ll take this opportunity because I’m not going to have an official play here to just say that we really need to re-adjudicate the incentive structures of these bowl games.

I understand why these kids are opting out and I don’t blame them at all, and I wish they would fix the incentive so that we could get what would be a very fun game to see this Oregon State team who’s been on the rise 32nd in EPA per play margin this season, 30th on defense, play this Florida team who’s been up and down but is very talented and has a really dynamic quarterback in Anthony Richardson. They’re 48th overall.

One thing that stands out for me, obviously, with the opt-outs, you’re going to downgrade Florida’s offense from 28th in EPA per play, that’s best on best with Oregon State’s defense and Florida’s offense. But Florida’s defense has been very bad, 100th in EPA per play, 81st in the past, and notably 112th in the rush. Why is that notable? Oregon State does not pass the ball well. I like Ben Gulbranson. I like that he came in. I like that he passed against bad defenses and did well, but he is certainly a work in progress of the quarterback position of Oregon State, 95th in EPA per pass, but they are 116th in rush rate over expected, 8.8 percentage points more than the average team, 16th in EPA per rush, eighth in rushing success rate.

Florida’s defense 112th in rushing EPA, they’re 92nd in rushing success rate allowed on defense. They’re going to load the box. This is going to be like old -man 1950s football. No forward passes, just straight running. It’s going to be awesome. And I think that Oregon State could exploit them. Wanted to pick this one. Don’t want to pick it at this many points. I think there’s an argument to be made that with the opt-outs, Oregon State, culturally and offensively, is going to be able to do more than Florida in this game. And that would push me towards a lean here. But again, we’re talking very low volume. Don’t do anything crazy here, but I would lean towards Oregon State slightly if I had to pick a side just because Oregon State’s run game has been so good. Florida, maybe some motivation issues, and Florida won’t be able to score like they have this season.

Gary Segars:

You’re preaching to me right now. I’m with you. Oregon State is number one in offensive success rate since week eight. Florida’s defense is number 63 there. I look at this, there’s a defensive lineman and I forget exactly who it is, and I should have put it in my notes, that is … He’s entering the NFL draft, but he has decided that he’s going to play in this game. So then you have to wonder, “All right, exactly how hard is he going to go in this one,” especially against that rushing attack, right?

Kyle, I want to bring you in here. This is … You look at all these numbers that Parker was just talking about and even with Anthony Richardson, et cetera, this was, I think, going to be an Oregon State win, I would assume, just based on looking at the teams. Oregon State was favored by five and a half. They’re out to 10 at this point. They had opened at 55 and a half. It’s down to 53. Oregon State six and 0 against the spread in their last six overall. The bowl in 2021 was their first since 2013. So there is motivation here. I would certainly lean Oregon State on this one, but I’m curious what you’ve got on this one. What is your handicap here?

Kyle Hunter:

I mean, I want a bet Oregon State, but Oregon State minus 10 against the talent that Florida has is tough to do. I can’t bet that big of a number. Also, I started thinking about it last night. I know Anthony Richardson has a lot of talent, but he was really inconsistent. And I feel like this is a pretty big adjustment. Miller was pretty highly recruited guy that went to Ohio State, ended up down at Florida. I think he’s probably okay. So I think Florida can probably move the ball at least a decent amount. You could argue that Torrence and Miller being out is an even bigger deal than Richardson being out because they were key players, certainly.

I think Smith’s a fantastic coach. He’s still underrated by a lot of people. What a job he’s done there with the Oregon State. I know one of the viewers was disappointed. I’m not wearing an Oregon State hat. I don’t have an Oregon State hat, unfortunately. I’ll have to change that probably, but I do like Oregon State as a team. Motivation can be a hard thing to judge, but in both season, it’s probably the most important thing. Oregon State seems like the easy choice to be the more motivated team here. So when you’re looking at who you want to bet in a game like this, I would want to bet Oregon State. Like I said, minus 10 is such a big number. I would’ve rather bet Oregon State minus five or five and a half with Richardson playing than I would bet minus 10 without him playing.

So in this spot, you just ask yourself, does Florida care to be here? It is Vegas. Do they care to prove a point on the field? If you think the answer is yes, then probably bet Florida. No, bet Oregon State. It’s hard to know exactly on something like this. For what it’s worth, I do want to give some angles as we go to a bowl totals angle. Bowl games with a total of 54 or higher, which is about an average total in college football and a matchup where both teams have seen at least half their games go over the total, the under, a 74 and 55 since 2005, 57% unders. This one does fit to where you take an under because they’ve had more overs than unders or at least as many overs. Florida’s been a really good over team throughout the course of the season.

Now, when I look at that and I think about this, I’m asking myself, “Am I convinced that Florida’s run defense can stop Oregon State?” And that worries me to take it under here in this game. I don’t really know if they will or not. Oregon State plays really slowly, so I’m not excited to bet an over, but my lean is Oregon State, but I can’t lay this many points. I think you get to 10 … It went to 10 and a half briefly, and I think there was some buybacks and people said, “All right, this is enough.” A number’s bet at plus 11 or 10 and a half, but it’s settled into 10. The total’s about right. So hard to have anything here.

Gary Segars:

Yeah, same here. Certainly lean Oregon State just based on the motivation factor in looking at that offensive line and what that rushing attack is able to do. But Florida still has talent and we saw it in the first game of the year in the swamp with Utah coming to town. That’s the same Utah that won the Pac-12 title. It just makes you think.

So the way that Florida is set up now with Jack Miller starting a quarterback, this will be a completely different looking team. It’s tough to bet even against a team that you’re not sure how they’re going to look going into a ball game. So no official play on that one, but, hey, maybe a lean to the under, maybe a lean to Oregon State here just looking at it.

Moving on. We are moving to Los Angeles. That’s right. Well, I’m not going to say the name. We’ll say the LA Bowl. How’s that? We’re not doing the sponsorship thing around here. Washington State and Fresno State, the Cougs and, of course, the Bulldogs. Fresno State, a three-point favorite juice at minus one 15. The total sits at 54 and a half. This one’s at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Of course, the numbers are the latest at BetUS.

Washington State is one and four straight up and against the spread in their last five bowl games. They are four and one against the spread in their last five games overall. Fresno. two and seven against the spread in their last nine bowl games. However, they are six and two against the number when they face Pac-12 competition. And so they typically do pretty well against these Pac-12 teams. They are four and one against the spread in their last five games.

Wazzu goes from the El Paso Bowl last year, of course, in the Sun Bowl to Los Angeles this year. So it’s a whole different dynamic that they are going into this time. The last time these two teams met was actually 1994. Jim Sweeney against Mike Price. That’s a whole lifetime ago, it feels like.

Kyle, I want to start with you here. Washington State’s pass defense, number 73 in QBR allowed on the season here. And to put that into context, Northwestern is number 72, Texas State, number 74. So it’s not exactly good company that they are in being that low in the rankings. Their defensive coordinator, Brian Ward, is now at Arizona State. He will not be involved in this game. But Jake Dickert was the defensive coordinator last year before he became the interim head coach and then the actual head coach. So he’s going to be calling the plays on defense, et cetera. There’s some guys out for Washington State here.

Fresno, they won the Mountain West, they’ve won eight straight games. It feels a bit like a coaching mismatch with Jeff Tedford against Jake Dickert. But either way, I’m trying to figure out motivations here. I’m trying to figure out what a good handicap is on this game.

Kyle, what do you see happening between these two?

Kyle Hunter:

So 65% of the bets on Fresno here and there’s been a big line move with all the Washington State guys opting out of this game and transfer portal news. I think at the original number, Fresno State looks like a good bet. Now, you get to three juiced. Honestly, I think this’ll probably keep going up. I think if you like Washington State, you can probably get three and a half or four in this game because the market share looks like it wants to take Fresno State up even more.

As far as this one, both teams, negative 11 sack margin on the year. Fresno State’s offensive numbers are very skewed. Haener is so much better than Fife. It’s just a massive difference. I think with the line move, this is a tricky game because, in general, I would’ve leaned toward Fresno State and an over. I think I still lean the over in this game. As far as Washington State … I don’t know what happened in that last game against Washington with the offenses just going absolutely nuts. But Washington State’s defense, that have been so good, looked terrible in that game. Penix just carved them up.

Now, certainly, Washington has a good offense. I’m not saying Fresno State has that, but Fresno State does have some weapons on offense. And I think Fresno, like I said, their offensive numbers are not as good as what they actually are at this point, 54 and a half, not too high of a total. Not only in the over in this game thinking Washington State can get some big plays against the Fresno State defense. That has been inconsistent throughout the course of the season. As far as the side, I’m leaning Fresno State here, but I’m not going to bet the side. I do think if you like Fresno, you probably want to bet it soon. If you like Washington State, you probably want to wait and get the three and a half or four.

Gary Segars:

Yeah, I could totally see where you’re going with that. I could totally see where you’re going there. As far as the transfers that you brought up, Kyle, Stribling and Ollie, the two wide receivers for Washington State, they led the team in targets this year. They have both decided to enter the transfer portal. It doesn’t appear that they will play. The linebackers, Mauigoa, whatever it is, and Brown, my apologies on the mispronunciation, obviously, but those two will be sitting out. Renard Bell is out with an injury, of course, another wide receiver for Washington State there. This is … Jake Haener is a great quarterback, but Jake Dickert has done a really good job of limiting good explosive offenses.

I’m very curious, Parker, let’s bring you in here, this is a weird matchup here. This is certainly a weird matchup, but we have seen Jake Dickert do some pretty interesting things at Washington State. He always seems to surprise us. What do you see between these two?

Parker Fleming:

Do you know who’s not transferring? Do you know who’s not coming out is Cam Ward? And I think that he’ll make a whole lot of difference here for a Washington State team that has gotten better on offense throughout the year and gotten a little worse on defense. The game you brought up is when I had circled, obviously, that Washington game that Washington State played.

One thing to note about that is Michael Penix, Jr. just spread them out, just absolutely took them verticals. Average step of target was 14.0. He was only pressured six times on 43 drop backs, 11.3 yards per attempt, and only one turnover-worthy play. They just absolutely threw it over the top. Jake Haener, this season, since coming back, one, very funny to point out that the dude has thrown for 2,600 yards in nine games. He’s putting up numbers, man. That’s impressive regardless of who you’re playing. But his average step of target is 8.7 yards. A little bit more of that, get your guys in space, let them make a play. That’s an entirely different defensive scheme that you’re going to have to draw up than what Washington did of just like, “Hey, we have dudes in a guy with a cannon. We’re going to beat you downfield and really spread you out.”

And so I think that that shorter intermediate passing game actually favors Washington State’s defense here to put a little bit of a damper on Jake Haener. He’s a very good quarterback, but a lot of what they’ve done looking at who they’ve played and how he’s played against them, a lot of that involves some very bad defenses who aren’t very good at tackling and aren’t very good at containing that short game as well.

So not saying that as a referendum on Haener or his ability, saying that as a referendum on what I think Washington State can do here. So between that shorter intermediate offense from Fresno and Washington State’s slight but evident talent disparity, I also think that Cam Ward puts me over the top for Washington State here. One play, we’ve seen it in games all season. Doesn’t matter who he’s throwing to. Guy can run around and make something happen with one flick of his wrist. I’m going to go with Washington State here. I’m going to ride the Power 5 against the G5. I love Jake Haener and like the Bulldogs have done, but I don’t think their passing game is vertical enough to really stretch this Washington State defense in the way that it is shown. It can be stretched by that Washington game.

So again, disclaimers, opt-outs, don’t do anything crazy here, but going to go with an official play. Going to go with Washington State here.

Gary Segars:

I like it. Let’s make it official. Parker, Washington State plus three against Fresno State. Remember Kalen DeBoer, that Washington coach, he was just at Fresno State last year. He used to be the offensive coordinator for Jeff Tedford. So it’s going to be something interesting to watch. They maybe share notes before this ballgame. We will certainly see there.

Moving along here, again, like the video if you have not done so already, and go ahead and hit that subscribe button for us. Toss some questions into the chat if you want to do a Q&A at the end here. But let’s move to the LendingTree Bowl. And that is Rice against Southern Miss. And the Golden Eagles are a seven-point favorite minus 105. The odds on that side. And the total sits at 46 and a half. This one at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. It is 5:45 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday on ESPN. This is a very interesting ballgame.

Southern Miss opened as a six-point favorite. The total was at 48 and a half. The total has come down two points. Southern Miss is now a seven-point favorite. The last time these two teams met was actually last year because they were conference opponents just last season in Conference USA. Rice is in a bowl game at five and seven because of their APR, because they got some smart dudes on their football team, basically.

Parker, I’m going to start with you on this. Rice did lose four of their final five games. They were down to a fourth string quarterback at the end of the season. That’s AJ Padgett, 50% completion percentage on the year, 8.5 yards per attempt, two touchdowns of one pick. He looks promising. He looks good, but I don’t know that I necessarily trust him against this defense here.

You start looking at what Southern Miss has done in bowl games compared to what they have done this year under Will Hall. Southern Miss won five and one against the spread in their last seven bowl games, but they are four and one, excuse me, against the spread in the last six games overall. Rice has beaten Southern Miss the last two seasons, just outright, two and 0 straight up, two and 0 against the spread. I’m real curious here, real curious on this. Parker, what do you see between the Golden Eagles and. of course. Rice?

Parker Fleming:

Not a lot of offense here between these two. Rice averaging 25.3 points per game, Southern Miss, 24.3. Both of these teams are really interesting to me because they’re both in similar places of like, “Hey, if we’re going to turn this thing around, we need to be good at one thing.” And I think I’ve said this about … I think I’ve said this about Southern Miss a couple times on this season, but they’re legitimately good at defense, and I think Coach Hall would prefer that they were good on offense. But Rice is certainly … They’re 32nd in raw EPA per play at defense, 21st against the past, they’ve been very good and very disruptive at times this season.

Rice, on the other hand, is not quite there to the, we do something well, but they are substantially better at offense than they are defense, 73rd in EPA per play compared to a 119th. Some sequencing issues have resulted in some lower point totals for them, but generally a team that I think is taking maybe baby steps but baby steps in the right direction.

One thing to note is that when we’re looking at totals as well, both teams allowing a lot more, almost as many rush yards as pass yards, just to highlight the balance of when you’re a bad team and you’re at match, people can run against you. Both of these teams are going to run a whole lot, 96 than rush rate over expected for Southern Miss, 81st for Rice here. So low scoring, I think, is probably the reality, especially because Southern Miss’s defense is so good, but I’d be worried about a total just because depending on how low it gets there, just because a Southern Miss’s scored in weird ways this season, they scored defensively, they scored on block punch. Think about that Louisiana game where I think it was like a pump lock and a pick-six or something. There was two defensive scores back to back. Just absurd overall.

So the only unit that really does much in this game is Southern Miss’s defense and Rice’s offense is just not very good overall. So I’d be inclined to lean towards Southern Miss, but, again, it’s going to be a low-scoring game. There’s going to be weird touchdowns, so I don’t have a play on this one.

Gary Segars:

Oh, let’s … Okay, okay. No official play. I like it. I want to bring Kyle in on this. Rice is number 85 in offensive points per game, 25.3. Southern Miss, number 94, 24.3. There’s not a lot of plays between these two, Parker, when I look at it. Number 107 plays per game for Southern Miss, number 95 for Rice. All of my models have this under pretty significantly, but I am with you in that Southern Miss does find really weird ways to score.

I remember Kyle had an under on Southern and Louisiana where Southern Miss went for like 39 points and it was just bonkers, and they haven’t done anything close to that, the rest of the season here. These two teams run the ball quite a bit.

Kyle, when I look at this, Southern Miss runs the ball 54% of the time since week eight. Rice runs at 55%. This Southern Miss defense is legit, but, obviously, their offense, pretty blah. Rice’s offense, definitely blah with all of the different injuries that they’re dealing with here. This screams under to me. I’m going to go ahead and take that under 46. I know it’s well under or, excuse me, 46 and a half. I’ll certainly take that half point there. I know it opened under 49. I mean, it was 48 and a half it opened. It’s already gone down two points. I still like this at 46 and a half. But, Kyle, help me out with this total. Help me out with maybe what you’re seeing here.

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah, thanks for bringing up that Louisiana game, Gary. Southern Miss has had a lot of low-scoring games all year. That was one of those wacky games where you’d get these explosive plays, defensive touchdowns, special teams, crazy stuff. You’re always going to have some games like that. But if you look at Southern Miss throughout the course of the season, it’s a tough team to lay a full touchdown with against anybody. I mean … Because you wonder how many points are they going to score?

I do think Rice is a pretty weak team. They’re the better offense, but that’s not saying a lot. Southern Miss, a much better defense, certainly. Very good defense. And how many times did Southern Miss top 24 points in regulation against an FBS team this year? Twice. One of them was against Tulane of all teams.

Gary Segars:


Kyle Hunter:

4.9 yards per play in that game, though, and once against Louisiana. A four mentions Louisiana, 5.1 yards per play in that one. So they weren’t exactly light in the world of fire on offense, it was more wild things happening. Do I think the Rice defense is good? Of course not. I don’t think the Rice defense is good, but what Gary said is one of the keys to this game, both teams play really slowly. There’s not going to be very many plays in this game. So if you get an over here, you get an over from explosive plays, defensive touchdowns, things like that. It’s not going to be because the pace is there. Both teams run on 56% of their plays on offense. So you’re going to see a lot of moving clock, a lot of ticking away.

Southern Miss, 13 touchdowns and 35 trips into the red zone. That’s horrible. About as bad as anybody in the country. A ton of turnovers, too. And it’s something I’ve thought about is that in general, you expect regression to the mean on something like this, but Southern Miss has had some terrible quarterback play. The field compresses down there. Poor decision-making from quarterbacks can be a long-term problem. I do think that Rice should know that the runs come in pretty consistently here. Hopefully, they can stop it enough. And like I said, Southern Miss even against bad defenses hasn’t been able to score. So I’m going to take a Southern Miss team total under in this one.

Gary Segars:

I could roll with that. Southern Miss team total under 27 in official play for Kyle. My official play is just the entire under 46 and a half here. I don’t like either team to really score a lot of points here. It’s in Mobile, Alabama. Yeah, you might could say that it’s going to be warmer. It’s not. Mobile is just anywhere else in the south where it gets cold in December. There’s going to be a lot of wind. You’re not going to be able to throw the ball a whole lot, especially with these quarterbacks. I do not expect a whole lot of points here and the pace is certainly going to help with that, I think. So official plays, I’m taking under 46 and a half. Kyle is going to take the Southern Miss team total under 27 on that one.

We’re going to move on. We got one more game to discuss and we are going out to New Mexico for this one. And man, you want to talk about a line move on this. The New Mexico Bowl. SMU is now a five-and-a-half point favorite over BYU. The total sits at 64 and a half. Now, that’s another one where the total has moved quite a bit, but these latest numbers at BetUS. It’s at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This one’s very interesting because it opened at BYU as a one-and-a-half point favorite with a total of 73 and a half.

Now, the total is down to 64 and a half. This one’s 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on ABC, by the way. You look at what is going on between these two. One, fascinating, fascinating brand name matchup, right? The 1980 Holiday Bowl. If you haven’t watched that, go back and watch it. But BYU, three and 0 straight up all time against SMU. All of those were when LaVell Edwards was the coach at BYU. So maybe something … No real trend that you can take with these two teams. SMU is 0 and two straight up and against the spread in their last two bowl games. BYU in their last four bowl games, they are two and two straight up and against the spread. So not really anything major on that.

You talk about transfers, and opt-outs, and injuries, et cetera. There’s just a bunch of them here. Kyle, I do want to start with you on this. The running back, TJ McDaniel, not a huge part of that SMU offense, but he is transferring. Rashee Rice, the wide receiver, he is opted out. The number three wide receiver, Dylan Gaffney, is out for the bowl. That is 54% of their receiving yards that is out for the bowl game just with those two guys. But at the same time, the reason why this number has gone like it has as far as the spread is that it looks like Jaren Hall may not play.

Now, Kalani Sitake did not rule him out, but he said that he hasn’t been able to practice “as much as they want him to”. That’s an interesting situation. Keanu Hill missed the second half of the Stanford game. This is, once again, just a weird, weird situation. BYU could be in serious trouble if Jaren Hall didn’t play because the backup, Conover, transferred to Arizona State. So he’s not going to be there to play.

With BYU being embarrassed by UAB last year in the bowl game, you would think that they’ve got some motivation to win this one. But if you don’t have your guys, that’s an issue a little. I don’t know which way I would lean on this. I guess BYU if Hall plays, but I’m very curious your thoughts on this, Kyle.

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah. I mean, I think the market movement here suggests that Hall’s not going to play, and based on what we’ve seen coming out of there, some of the notes from beat writers and things like that, it seems like it would be surprised if he does. And the amount of dropdown, I know some people say, “Well, Jaren Hall hasn’t been that good this year.” He wasn’t great this year, but you’re talking about Jaren Hall versus a third string quarterback, that’s going to be a big difference.

So I think the line movement makes sense to me, 73 and a half, the opening total. Imagine having under 73 and a half right now. You’re in a great spot. You can decide if you want to play back the over and have this massive middle or if you just want to sit there with a great bet. Obviously, SMU games are not something that I really liked about unders on in general because we know SMU plays super fast and, in general, SMU’s defense gives up a lot of big plays, but I don’t trust BYU to score a lot of points here with the third string quarterback.

I’m going to assume that Jaren Hall doesn’t play in this one. Now, definitely pay attention like we keep saying. When we say this, some news could break two hours later that says something different. So keep an eye on that and we’ll try to keep things updated on Twitter and stuff. But I would say BYU, you would think, would be a motivated team, but then they’re without two linebackers who are very good. Probably without Jaren Hall. BYU hasn’t been that consistently very good throughout the course of the season. I don’t want to bet BYU in this game with all those questions. Rashee Rice is, obviously, a big missing piece for SMU, but at this current number or anything very close to this, I couldn’t bet BYU without Jaren Hall.

My lean would be a BYU team total under here if Hall doesn’t play, thinking that even an SMU defense does well enough to keep BYU down without Jaren Hall. I think this is one of those games where the regular season stats don’t really mean that much because there’s so many missing guys. So I could roll through all kinds of stats, but I don’t know if it really matters. I think here, you just want to get good information and, again, just be really careful with this one because if you try to be a hero with an early bet, you could get caught here.

Gary Segars:

Oh, most certainly on that. Interesting stat here as we bring Parker into this one. BYU’s offense since week eight has actually been better per drive than SMU’s. BYU, number seven PPA per drive since week eight. SMU, number 10, which is … That includes, obviously, Rashee Rice and Jaren Hall playing for BYU, et cetera, but also includes all those other guys that may now be missing, right? So just something to pay attention to.

The defense, by the way, that you mentioned, Kyle, BYU, number 126 PPA per drive on defense since week eight. And SMU, number 115 PPA per drive on defense since week eight. SMU is missing more guys, but I don’t know that any of them are as important as Jaren Hall is to that BYU offense.

Parker, Rashee Rice is huge, but I think SMU’s still going to have dudes, right? They’ll still be able to throw the ball because Tanner Mordecai, from everything I’ve read, is going to play in this game. What do your numbers maybe say or do the numbers even matter here anymore?

Parker Fleming:

Yeah. Well, I mean, I was interested in this one at full strength because it is very much two super mirror image teams. SMU’s so offensively good, so defensively bad. Same thing with BYU all season. The key stat that stands out, I’m not going to sit here and read efficiencies because, again without Hall, I think this is moot for BYU. But a key stat for me is SMU is third in first downs by defensive penalties in non-garbage time. And a lot of that is throwing the ball to Rashee Rice in a one-on-one situation and forcing a defender to commit pass interference. That’s not like a knock or a degrading or … Well, actually on their offense, that’s a feature of their offenses. We have a guy who’s so athletic that in one-on-one situations, you can’t cover him. It’s either going to be a touchdown or PI. We’re going to take those odds. And they do that as well as anyone in the nation.

And so without Rashee Rice … So one, testament to him playing on a broken toe for most of the season, but, two, without Rashee Rice, I don’t know how reliable that is. I’m certainly confident in Tanner Mordecai’s ability to just spread out the ball, especially against BYU defense who’s just absolutely abysmal. But given these defenses are so bad, I want to take an over. You might even look at an SMU team total over just because BYU’s defense is so bad. But I don’t know that BYU’s going to score. I’m not sure there’s a sharp angle on this at all. I’m not sure that I would make a play on this. Maybe if you get in there live and it’s going crazy, you could try and game the second half numbers. But in terms of the pregame here, with so much uncertainty, we have yet another fun game that I think is really going to be wonky just because these defenses are so bad and the offensive personnel is going to be so different from what it’s been all season for both teams.

Gary Segars:

I’m with you. So I don’t know that there’s a single number in this game that will be able to be replicated in this. Will they try this with maybe some other wide receivers or do we think that Rhett Lashlee maybe tries to change up the way that he goes about attacking this BYU defense? It’s going to be interesting to watch. So no official plays here from any of us, but an interesting game.

Let me go backwards, right, quick because we just got some news on this Washington State game. Parker, tell us what you got going on, and maybe our crew can edit this in with our other segment on this, but Washington State and Fresno State, what do you see happening as far as our news is concerned?

Parker Fleming:

I definitely … Yeah, I’d want to take this play off the board completely, just because of new information we have here and we’re still on air, so it’s fine. Eric Morris, the Washington State offensive coordinator, just took the UNT job. Don’t bet on Washington State. Let’s strike that one completely from the record with that new information. Again, ball season, that stuff happens, but that’s probably too much.

Of course, I’ll say that and take it off the board and Washington State will go inexplicably, put up a 14-point win here. But in terms of process, that is not a good process. So we’re going to take that one off. And I’ll mention that as we do our recap here, too. But, yeah, good for Coach Morris, that’s great for him, great for UNT, but definitely changes our calculus when we’re evaluating that bowl game, and I’m glad we caught it on air.

Gary Segars:

Most certainly. So congratulations, new North Texas head coach, Eric Morris. That’s big. That’s big. Not who I thought was going to get the job. I will certainly say that.

Let’s move into, obviously, our Q&A here, and I’m looking through it. There’s not a lot of questions here, but either way, we will go ahead and jump into some of this. Let me go ahead and remind everybody, like the video. That is a major, major part of what can help this channel be successful. So go ahead and hit that like button for us if you are watching the show live. If you’re not and you’re just watching on the replay, still go ahead and like it. That still helps us out because these games are this weekend, so we’ve still got plenty of time for this. So hit that like, hit the subscribe button, hit the notification bell, and share the show out. Tell your friends about it, of course.

All right. Let’s look through some of these. Scotty said, “Who would pay full price for bowl games when many of the starters on each team have opted out?” Only family members maybe. I will tell you, people that will pay full price for bowl games are people that are just … I mean, the whole point of bowl season is basically just a vacation. It’s just an end-of-the-year vacation where you get to go and see your team play. I mean, that’s basically all it is.

Yeah, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going to supporting your team even if your starters are out. I think that’s part of the fun. Figure out what you’re going to look like next year. Let’s see. I’m looking through. I’m not seeing a lot of questions. Guys, have you all seen any real questions? Let’s see. Alan said, “Kyle, are you going to wear a Kansas State hat when going over the Sugar Bowl?”

Kyle Hunter:

I mean, will Gary let me wear a Kansas State hat for the Sugar Bowl? No. I mean, I don’t know. I haven’t thought that far in advance, guys. I don’t plan that far ahead. We go day to day here.

Gary Segars:

Yeah, I’m with you. I think that’s going to be discussed in two weeks. Two weeks from today maybe. Nah, no, not too big on that. Let’s see. I’m looking at … Yeah, just a lot of comments today and not a ton of questions here. You know what, let’s go ahead and hit … Yeah, I don’t see a ton of these. How about this? If you guys want to ask any questions … Oh, here we go. Q&A thoughts on Walters, the defensive coordinator, Ryan Walters from Illinois, becoming the Purdue head coach. Okay, this is something we can work with.

Okay. Parker, give me some thoughts on Ryan Walters being a head coach in the Big Ten.

Parker Fleming:

I think this is a great move. I think … Especially because Sean Lewis got taken up by Colorado. I felt like he was a really smart move for an offensive four team there. Despite what I saw, I tweeted about Ryan Walters being a good hire and immediately had Kansas State folks being like, “Look, they thought they could get climbing away from Kansas” Whatever the fake expectations that random people on Twitter have, they have no bearing on the reality of this hire. This is a great hire from a guy who succeeded at multiple places, has learned from some really good guys, is liked by players, and comes into an opportunity where he can immediately set up a good defense. And with a good offensive coordinator hire, this could be a very fun spot to be in for Purdue in a Big Ten that’s definitely changing and gets a little harder for Purdue as we lose divisions here soon.

But for now, is definitely an opportunity to build and show proof of concept with that defense that has worked on multiple levels. I mean, look at what he did against Michigan this year, if you need any proof of when it works, does it work? I mean, Ryan Walters can absolutely do that, and he’s responsible for getting some of those guys there. And I even think some of the foundations he left at Missouri have really benefited the current personnel there. I think their defensive coordinator was nominated for an award this season or maybe won it. And not to say bad things about him, but saying Ryan Walters set up a really good foundation there. So I think this is a great hire. I think this is really good for Purdue.

Gary Segars:

Most certainly.

Parker Fleming:

Well, will it work out? I don’t know, but ex-ante, I don’t know that they could’ve done better. Yeah.

Gary Segars:

Yeah, exactly. I don’t know … Ryan Walters was a hot, hot name. Now, I was a little surprised that they did not go with more of the Jeff Brohm mold, like somebody with more of an offensive background because, from what I understand, the administration there liked the fact that Brohm’s offenses sold tickets, right? I mean, that’s the biggest thing. There’s not a lot of people that just leisurely want to go watch a good defensive struggle. They want to go see high-flying offenses, et cetera.

We saw what Brohm was able to do with Rondale Moore, et cetera, throughout his tenure at Purdue. You would think maybe continue on in that same mold because Purdue, anytime they’ve had success, whether it’s with Joe Tiller or with Jeff Brohm, et cetera, it’s always offense. But in this situation, we’ll see what the offensive coordinator hire looks like for Ryan Walters. But I think you’ve got a guy that, one, understands the Big Ten now. Two, is a really good recruiter that really gets along with his players well and can build a good foundation at Purdue separate from what Brohm was able to do. You’re not just jumping on the back of what he’s doing.

Kyle, how do you feel about this hire? It’s pretty good in your book?

Kyle Hunter:

Oh, yeah, I think fantastic hire. You think about where Illinois was as a defense before he got there and think of what they turned into. They weren’t anything before he got there. He got them to play that way. I think the team chemistry will be good with a guy like him. I think he’s easy to play for. I think this is a fantastic hire by Purdue.

Gary Segars:

Most certainly. We did have … Let’s see, who was it that jumped in? Mike jumped in and said, “No questions, you guys cover it all.” That’s why we’re here. We did have … Okay. So I guess we’ll go ahead and hit this one. This will be the last thing that we hit towards the end of the show before we do our recap.

Mike Leach passed away the head coach of Mississippi State. He was formerly at Washington State, formerly at Texas Tech. This is … He and Hal Mumme were the fathers of the Air Raid, which has basically reverberated through all levels of football when they were at Iowa Wesleyan. I mean, they took it everywhere and it has worked everywhere. You are not going to find many offensive schemes that don’t have some hint of the Air Raid in it at least. And that’s all basically from what Mike Leach was capable of doing.

And, yeah, it’s really weird because this is a strange time. Mississippi State plays in a bowl game in just a few weeks. I don’t know what they’re going to end up doing with that one. We did have a question in here that was asking, what does the Mississippi State locker room look like at this point? Who knows? Zach Arnett is the interim head coach right now, but I don’t even know how you begin to figure out what to do here because he was the leader of that football team and, obviously, rest in peace, Mike. And he was everything that was good about college football. There were some things about him that were very infuriating and there were things about him that were incredibly enjoyable, and he was maybe one of the best characters in all of college football.

And to not have that anymore just seems very strange. I mean, this man was just at bowl practice on Saturday, so it’s strange that he’s not here. And I’m personally not totally sure how to feel about all of it, but it’s weird. Parker, you got any thoughts about Mike Leach?

Parker Fleming:

No. I mean, think you said that super well and certainly feeling for his family and his players and all of that there. I mean, everything I know from offenses because I watched Mike Leach’s clinics and all that. And so certainly likable and this is really sad, and I feel like I’m getting old because I’m like, “Oh, yeah, this is a sad thing.” But definitely something that we’re thinking about and praying for all those folks as this was just sudden and unexpected, which is really sad, too.

So definitely won’t be talking about who’s up next or what they’re going to do in the bowl game or whatever because none of that matters right now. And just, hopefully, there’s some healing with them in this time of tragedy.

Gary Segars:

I’m sure that there are some Mississippi State fans that’ll be watching this. They are planning some kind of a memorial at Davis Wade Stadium. We’ll see, I guess. I don’t know exactly what the details are going to be from that. They do not have a current athletic director. Who knows?

Kyle, what do you think about this one? I mean, I don’t know the last time that we have had a coach pass away during a season. They still have a game left. It’s definitely strange, right? What are your thoughts on this?

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah. I mean, just really sad for the family and for everybody involved. Leach was so authentic. He was himself. I feel like some of these coaches, they get in front of a microphone and they say the right things. They say what they’re supposed to say. He always said what he wanted to say and what he was really thinking, and I thought that was great. Definitely prayers and thoughts to his family.

I, for one, will not be trying to handicap what happens to Mississippi State after something like that. We handicap games here and stats and things like that, but not something I want to handicap, just I feel terrible for the whole situation.

Gary Segars:

Yeah, I am very curious if they will even play that game. So any questions regarding that, we will pass on those. So let’s go ahead and hit our recap. These are our best bets for today’s show. We’ll go ahead and tell you, go ahead and take off that Washington State plus three on Parker’s. Parker, tell us what was your other best bet on this one?

Parker Fleming:

UTSA plus one and a half. I have them favored outright. I think that they should put together a pretty good performance, so I’m going to ride with them. And, yes, saying again, do not bet Washington State, that is not an official pick, given the new information. And congrats to Coach Morris for his new job.

Gary Segars:

There you go. My best bets on today’s show, I am also riding with UTSA, meet meat, baby, plus one and a half, and I’m going to take the under 46 and a half on Rice and Southern Miss. Kyle, what have you got for us today?

Kyle Hunter:

I’m going to take Cincinnati and Louisville under 41 and a half, and then I’ll take Southern Miss team total under 27.

Gary Segars:

All right, all right. So with that said, let me roll through a reminder. Of course, like the video for us, subscribe to the channel. It feels weird to end on such a somber note. Obviously, rest in peace, Coach Leach, and thoughts and prayers, et cetera, up to his family and the Mississippi State family, and everybody else that has been associated with him throughout the years, right? This is not just one football program. This is a lot of lives that he touched throughout the years. So that is … It’s such a weird time. Such a weird time.

With that said, let’s go ahead and get out of here. You guys have been absolutely fantastic. Thank you for jumping in and watching the show with us live each and every Tuesday and Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. If you haven’t subscribed, go ahead and do that and share the show out. Remember to check out our sportsbook website. Tell your friends about it. Jump into the comments with your picks and let’s do this thing for BetUS, where the game begins. God bless college football. God bless Mike Leach. And we’ll see you all again tomorrow.


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