December 17, 2016
There is one bowl pick today.
Take San Diego State +4 spread against Houston for 3% of the bankroll.
At the start of the season, the Houston Cougars undoubtedly had high hopes of potentially crashing the college football playoffs and were well on their way with an opening season victory over the Oklahoma Sooners. Even if their strength of schedule wouldn't allow them into playoff contention, they were at least hoping to play in a BCS Bowl game at the end of the season. Things didn't play out exactly as the Cougars had hoped with as they suffered somewhat surprising losses at the hands of Navy, SMU and most recently Memphis in their season finale and we believe that is going to affect them in this contest.
There is no question that the Cougars aren't exactly thrilled to be playing in this year's Las Vegas Bowl. They had much higher expectations for themselves. Motivation because of the Bowl Game they are playing in isn't the only thing that they have going against them. It was well documented that head coach Tom Herman has accepted the job at Texas after just two seasons leading the Cougars. The loss of Herman is a major blow to this program and the fact that he will not be on the sidelines calling the plays will surely have an overall effect on his former team.
It's not only the fact that Herman will not be calling the plays as OC Major Applewhite is slated to take over the head coaching duties moving forward, but Herman was a force of motivation off the field and in the locker room. His ability to motivate and inspire his players was what made this team so great and will most be missed by the loss of Herman. He had a general love and devotion to his players and it was demonstrated each time by a kiss on the cheek as his players got ready to take the field. It's that type of leadership that will be missing. We find it interesting that Houston began struggling as soon as rumors that their head coach was potentially being sought after by other major programs.
San Diego State is not a team that can be overlooked. Next to Houston, they are arguably the best non-Power 5 program in the country. They are an extremely experienced team with a ton of veteran leadership on their team. Donnel Pumphrey is probably the best running back in the country that most casual fans have never heard of. He ranks second on the all-time leading rusher list in College football. He is small, but has the elusive ability to make defenders miss and shred even the toughest of run defenses. Houston had struggled at the end of the season with their run defense, especially against the Navy Midshipmen. If the Houston defense comes into this game at anything but their best, it could prove to be a long afternoon for them in Las Vegas.
Motivation and a team's willingness to 'get up' for the final game of the season can be tricky during Bowl season. At the end of the day, this game should mean much more to San Diego State who has a chance to make a name for themselves by defeating the once highly touted Houston Cougars. This will also be Donnel Pumphrey's last game of his college football career and we expect that he will want to put on a show for the fans. This is a terrible spot for the Cougars. Even though they are favored in this contest, they will be extremely fortunate to leave Las Vegas with a victory, let along with a victory of more than 4 points. San Diego State is a live underdog in this contest, the points are simply a bonus.
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