If Saturday's first day of bowl action was any indication, it's going to be a very high-scoring and interesting postseason. Before the bowls began, Bovada had a prop asking whether any game would see two teams score at least a combined 100 points after two bowls did last year. I thought no, but there was plenty of offense on Saturday.
One thing I like to keep an eye on during the bowl games is which teams are led by interim coaches -- all major FBS jobs have now been filled -- and thus might be out of rhythm and which ones might have a bunch of players leaving for the draft or transferring. Texas A&M already has lost both of its starting quarterbacks to transfer since the regular season ended. Florida has had two of its best offensive players already declare for the draft. Guys like that with one foot out the door often don't play their best. Their minds are already on those NFL riches and avoiding injuries.
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Here are some upcoming bowl lines through next Monday that caught my eye. Enjoy all the weekday football action!
Akron vs. Utah State (-6.5, 47.5): It's Tuesday's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl from Boise. This line dropped a half-point from its opening and the total has come down two. It's the final collegiate game for one of the most hard-luck NCAA players ever. And that's Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton, who it seems has been an Aggie for about a decade. The guy is a very good player when healthy, but he just can't stay on the field. Keeton has played just 15 games over the past three years. He tore his ACL and MCL in his left knee in 2013 and again in 2014, then he sprained an MCL in his right knee Sept. 19, which cost him six games this year. Keeton is No. 1 in school history with 61 touchdown passes, No. 1 among quarterbacks with 1,416 rushing yards and No. 2 in passing yards (7,279) and completions (658). Would have been nice to see what he could do if healthy. Utah State has played in four straight bowl games and won the past three, both of which are school records. Akron is in a bowl game for the first time since 2005; this team was 1-11 as recently in 2012, Coach Terry Bowden's first season.
Georgia Southern vs. Bowling Green (-7.5, 64.5): This is the GoDaddy Bowl on Wednesday, and we might as well call it the Interim Coach Bowl. That's because Georgia Southern head coach Willie Fritz was hired to take over at Tulane and Bowling Green's Dino Babers has left for Syracuse. For the bowl game, Bowling Green is under the direction of defensive coordinator Brian Ward, and Georgia Southern has running backs coach Dell McGee at the helm. This bowl game is familiar with interim coaches. Last year's game was played with both coaching staffs intact, breaking a streak of six consecutive bowls in which at least one of the teams had an interim head coach. Georgia Southern's new head coach is Colorado State defensive coordinator Tyson Summers, while BGSU's is Mike Jinks, the assistant head coach and running backs coach for Texas Tech. I think Bowling Green's coaching loss is much bigger for this game because Babers was the architect and play-caller for that high-powered offense.
San Diego State vs. Cincinnati (+1.5, 56.5): The Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve night. The Bearcats opened as 2-point favorites. The reason I'm sure that has changed is starting quarterback Gunner Kiel won't play and not even make the trip. The school is only saying it's a personal issue. He has been UC's starter for most of this season and last. Hayden Moore, a redshirt freshman who occasionally filled in for Kiel and made two starts this year, will start against the Aztecs. Moore has thrown for 1,683 yards with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions this year in eight appearances. His backup will be former walk-on Luke Wright, a redshirt freshman. SDSU also will start a backup QB in Christian Chapman because starter Maxwell Smith has a torn ACL. Chapman started the Mountain West Championship Game win over Air Force and played well. SDSU is a run-heavy team, rushing for a school-record 3,059 yards.
Tulsa vs. Virginia Tech (-13.5, 61.5): The Independence Bowl on Saturday. The Hokies remain the biggest bowl favorites on the board as they look to send Coach Frank Beamer to retirement in style; former Memphis coach Justin Fuente takes over the program after the bowl game. Tech is making its 23rd consecutive bowl appearance, a streak that began with a win vs. Indiana in the 1993 Independence Bowl. It's the first time these programs have met since 1978. The Golden Hurricane can score. They average 35.9 ppg and 502.8 ypg and scored 38 points and had 603 yards in a loss at Oklahoma in September. Tulsa has scored 40+ points in five of its six wins in 2015, averaging 41.8 ppg in its six victories. But it can't stop anyone. Tulsa has allowed 30 points or more in all six of its losses, giving up an average of 46.5.
Pittsburgh vs. Navy (-3.5, 53): This is next Monday's Military Bow,l and it's a home game for the Midshipmen, who opened as 5-point favorites. And all eyes will be on Navy senior quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who looks to reclaim the all-time touchdown mark in college football. In the regular-season finale against Army, Reynolds set the mark with his 85th career touchdown. But Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon shot past him with four touchdowns in Saturday's New Orleans Bowl win over Arkansas State. Dixon now has 87. This season, Reynolds has scored at least three touchdowns in a game three times. Navy's only two losses came on the road to Notre Dame and Houston. Pitt has seen the triple-option this season as it beat Georgia Tech 31-28 in mid-October. The Jackets did run for 376 yards on 40 carries.
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