Slowly Falling Behind…

December 26, 2010

Thanks to Hawaii getting pounded by Tulsa on Christmas Eve, I lost 20 points in the College Bowl Mania game. I’m now 3-4, and am starting to feel a bit uneasy. I’m going to need some help from a few teams the next couple of days, or I’ll be out of the running before New Year’s Day. Even for someone as college football obsessed as me, it will be hard to really get into the Pitt vs. Kentucky game if I am mathematically eliminated from winning my group.

Hopefully I can pick up some valuable points tonight. Here is my pick for the December 26th bowl game.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

Florida International vs. Toledo

I can count on one hand how many bowl games I truly don’t care that much about. This bowl game is one of them. A 6-6 Sun Belt team against an 8-4 MAC team doesn’t sound like prime time television, and quite frankly, isn’t. However, when I start to feel this way about a bowl game, I always remind myself of the 2007 Florida Atlantic Owls.

Florida International has a lot in common with the 2007 FAU team. They are both small Florida schools and members of the Sun Belt conference. This is Florida International’s first ever bowl appearance, and the 2007 New Orleans Bowl was Florida Atlantic’s first ever bowl appearance as well. Like Florida Atlantic was the underdog against a seemingly superior Memphis football team, Florida International comes in as underdogs against Toledo.

However, just like the Owls did in 2007 against Memphis, FIU has a chance to pull the upset over Toledo. The Panthers have a solid offense led by their wide receiver, T.Y. Hilton. Toledo struggles against the pass, so Hilton could be in for a big night. In addition, FIU has the second best rush offense in the Sun Belt, and will look to keep Toledo’s defense off-balance all game.

To appreciate what Toledo has done this season, you have to look past the statistics. All four of their blowout losses came against teams playing in bowl games, and their only other loss (against Wyoming) was competitive. In other words, they lost to who they were supposed to lose to, and took care of business against who they were supposed to beat. They will look to continue that trend tonight, as they are probably the better team on paper.

After watching another MAC team in Ohio get pummeled by Sun Belt representative Troy in New Orleans, I’m not as confident in my pick as I originally was. However, I have Toledo for 16 points in the College Bowl Mania game, and still think that they will pull out a close victory.

Final Score: 31-27 Toledo

– K. Becks

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