2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and Boca Raton Bowl Previews

December 21, 2015

Bowl season rolls right along on Tuesday, with two more games being played.

The 22nd begins a streak of three consecutive days of multiple bowl games, leading straight up to Christmas Day. I like to think of it as an early Christmas present.

Since I have not yet provided an update on the Von Hugendong Bowl Mania group, here it is: Week 11 guest Tommy leads the group by a fairly wide margin early, thanks to a 6-1 record overall and a perfect record in FBS bowl games. There is plenty of time left for movement among the group, but Tommy’s start is impressive.

Let’s take a look at the bowl games taking place on Tuesday.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Akron vs. Utah State (Tuesday, 3:30 PM ET – ESPN)

The blue turf of Boise is host to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Tuesday afternoon, where one team will definitely have an advantage in terms of experience playing on the odd colored field. Utah State is a Mountain West Conference member just like Boise State, and also played the Broncos during the schools’ WAC affiliate days as well. But whether the Aggies are excited to be playing in this bowl game for the third time in five years remains to be seen.

One thing that will not be questioned is Akron’s attitude about being in the postseason. The Zips are making their first bowl appearance under Terry Bowden and first as a program in 10 years, meaning that players and coaches should be ecstatic to be playing in Idaho this late in the season. Although Akron did not win a single game against a bowl bound opponent, it’s seven wins were largely attributed to the efforts of the defense. The Zips will be going up against a Utah State offense that has had trouble moving the ball this season, so defense could win the day in this one. The X-factor will be Aggies quarterback Chuckie Keeton, an oft injured star that could serve as the offensive star of the game. Keeton’s dual threat ability will be difficult even for Akron’s stout defense to contain.

The Zips’ excitement to play in this game may result in an early lead, but when it comes down to it there is not another player on either side as talented and deadly with the football than Chuckie Keeton. Playing in his last game for Utah State, the fifth-year senior will serve as the emotional leader his team and will them to victory. Utah State has had a rough season with Keeton out for almost half of it, but he will end his career on a high note. I’ve got the Aggies for 22 points in Bowl Mania.

My Pick: 24-19 Utah State

Marmot Boca Raton Bowl

#24 Temple vs. Toledo (Tuesday, 7 PM ET – ESPN)

The Owls have had a season for the record books, matching the most wins in a season in program history and cracking the AP poll for the first time since 1979. Temple can become the most accomplished team in school history with a victory in this bowl game, but it won’t be easy. Toledo may have lost head coach Matt Campbell, who accepted the Iowa State job, but the Rockets have plenty of firepower on offense to give the Temple defense all it can handle.

One of the best unit matchups of the early bowl season will take place in this game between Toledo’s offensive line and Temple’s defensive line. The Rockets lead the country in fewest tackles for loss allowed, one of the main reasons why Toledo leads the MAC in rushing yards per game with over 213 of them per contest. But stopping Temple’s defense, which is No. 5 in the country in tackles for loss, won’t be easy. The Owls are led on defense by linebacker Tyler Matakevich, this season’s Chuck Bednarik award winner and AAC defensive player of the year. Matakevich embodies Temple’s defensive style: aggressive yet smart. The Owls will stack the box to stop Terry Swanson and the running game, but won’t forget about Philip Ely’s arm, either.

It wouldn’t be surprising for this game to turn into the second defensively dictated game of the day. Neither team is particularly anemic on offense, but Temple’s strong defense and tendency to keep possession of the ball for long periods of time will make it difficult for Toledo to rack up a lot of points. In what will be a disappointing day for the MAC as a whole, I have the Owls winning this one for 21 points in Bowl Mania.

My Pick: 31-24 Temple

If you’d like to share your opinion on Around The Corn for any of the upcoming bowls, shoot me an email with your thoughts and prediction to kbecks@aroundthecorn.com. You can also like Around The Corn’s Facebook pageor send me a tweet @KBecks_ATC. As long as you send your thoughts at least two days before the game is to be played, I can assure you that your thoughts will show up in an article.

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