2017 Gasparilla Bowl Preview

December 20, 2017

It took all of one half for my theory about teams playing close to home for a bowl to be shattered into pieces.

The uncertainty makes things more fun, right?

There is a new leader atop the Von Hugendong Bowl Mania group – Week 10 guest Colin has assumed the position after last night’s blowout victory by Florida Atlantic.

Let’s take a look at what the fourth day of College Football Hanukkah has to offer.

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl

Temple vs. Florida International (Thursday, 8 PM ET – ESPN)

This bowl game features two coaches in their first year with the program that have installed contrasting philosophies with their respective team. In other words, yet another difficult bowl game to predict what will happen. Butch Davis is rebuilding his image with the Panthers and turning heads while doing so. FIU actually averages fewer yards per game than it allows, but its mascot can strike at a moment’s notice. The Panthers are inconsistent – gaining fewer than 320 yards of offense four times this season, but finished the regular season with a 63 point output. It’s nearly impossible to predict which Panthers squad will show up, but if it’s the good one then there will be plenty of fireworks in this game.

Temple gets it done on the defensive end, which isn’t surprising considering that head coach Geoff Collins is formerly the Florida defensive coordinator. The Owls are tough minded and are going to be difficult to move the football on, but I wonder about the willingness of offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude to open up the playbook offensively. Also in his first year with the team, Patenaude doesn’t have the experience at the FBS level of someone like Davis for FIU. While Patenaude may be the next up and coming offensive mind, I need to see more from his offense before I’m sold. Davis has a proven track record at a power conference school and I think he’ll use a good performance on the national stage as a springboard for another chance at that, five year coaching contract at his current school be damned. I see the Panthers getting the best of Temple’s defense and have put 10 points on them in Bowl Mania.

My Pick: 30-24 Florida International

If you have interest in offering your insight for any of the bowl games this season, shoot me an email at kbecks@aroundthecorn.com or reach out on one of ATC’s social media sites (Facebook, Twitter). I’d be happy to accommodate.

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