Burke: Bowl game nuggets and the rest of the week

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

December 22, 2021 10:54 AM
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COVID remains a thing this bowl season, as UTSA was severely shorthanded on defense yesterday in the loss to San Diego State and now there is a lot of chatter about an outbreak with Georgia in advance of the semifinal game against Michigan. Miami is also dealing with a lot of cases in advance of the Sun Bowl against Washington State. We’ll still have to try our best to figure out those situations, while also looking at a lot of other factors.

Let’s catch up on a few things that have taken place or could be on the horizon in bowl season.

Fade the MAC – I mentioned this one last week, but early performances by conference members will impact future bowl game lines. As the MAC put forth another bad performance yesterday with Kent State’s porous run defense in the Potato Bowl, we saw money hit North Texas and also more money to take Georgia State up to -6. Those teams are playing MAC foes Miami of Ohio and Ball State, respectively.

The last MAC bowl game is the Quick Lane Bowl with Western Michigan and Nevada. I don’t know how long 7 will hang around on the Wolf Pack with how the MAC has looked. I think the line comes back down a bit, even with all the Nevada concerns.

Defense Optional – Defense has been optional in the bowl games. Like I talked about earlier in the week, run defenses have been particularly bad. If you see a team with a running advantage in a bowl game, they’re probably going to win and cover. Through 11 bowl games, the over is 9-2.

Weather Notes – I don’t know if anything can stop the over train, but maybe these weather factors will for upcoming bowls:

Frisco Football Classic - Windy conditions are projected for North Texas vs. Miami (OH) on Thursday with gusts up into the 25 mph range.

Hawaii Bowl - Transfers lowered the total for Memphis vs. Hawaii on Friday, but weather could lower it more. Windy conditions are expected, with sustained winds in the 20 mph range and gusts into the 30s.

Keep an eye on the forecasts for next week’s bowl games, as we’ll have bowls in Annapolis, Boston and the Bronx.

Lastly, our writers will be putting together best bets for next week’s bowl games over the next couple of days, so we’ll have a big pick dump in the article on Thursday night/Friday morning.

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