Maryland vs. Boston College Quick Lane Bowl Expert Picks and Predictions
by Chris Vasile - 12/20/2016
Maryland Terrapins vs. Boston College Eagles, Monday Dec. 26, 2:30 p.m. ET
Much like the previous two bowl games I've previewed , the Quick Lane Bowl is relatively new to the scene, but not for the reasons you would think. You would have known this bowl game from its original name -- Motor City Bowl -- which was contested from 1997-2008. In 2009, Little Caesars became the title sponsor after General Motors and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. The last Little Caesars Pizza Bowl was played in 2013, and due to the low profile of the game the bowl tanked and Ford Field was left without a bowl game for 2014. This is how the Quick Lane Bowl came about. The Ford Motor Company stepped up and acquired the title rights and vowed to revamp and restore the previous reincarnation of this bowl game. The Quick Lane Bowl has been contested twice before this year, with Minnesota getting the better of Central Michigan in 2015 and Rutgers beating North Carolina in 2014.
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This year's edition has the Maryland Terrapins up against the Boston College Eagles. This will be the third appearance for the Big Ten Conference in this bowl, and they own an unblemished record of 2-0.
Maryland will be making their 27thbowl appearance dating back to 1948. The Terrapins own an 11-13-2 record in those bowl games, and the last bowl game they appeared in was the Foster Farms Bowl in 2014, which was a loss to Stanford. The Terrapins have lost the last two bowl games, and their last bowl win came in the Military Bowl of 2010.
For Boston College, this will be their 26th appearance since 1939. They currently hold a 13-11 record in such games but have lost their last five bowl trips. Prior to the losing streak, they won eight straight bowl games from 2000 to 2007, which was the nation's longest bowl win streak at the time.
Quick Lane Bowl Betting Storylines
Maryland comes into this game with a 6-6 record, which is good enough for fifth place in the Big Ten Conference. They ended the season on a winning note thanks to a 31-13 defeat of Rutgers, but prior to that they had lost four in a row. They were much better at home this year than on the road, so this will be a big test for them to perform well. The Terps come into this game averaging 25.4 points per game and they give up 29. They were led this season by QB Perry Hills, who threw for 1,235 yards and 10 touchdowns while completing 66 percent of his attempts. However, Hills has been battling the injury bug this season that has caused him to miss two games and leave four other games early. By kickoff he will have had a full month off to heal his shoulder issues, and his availability will go along way in determining if the Terps can emerge victorious. Hills will have plenty of help from the run game as Maryland boasts four players with more than 100 yards rushing and six yards per carry. They are led by Ty Johnson, who is ranked second in the nation with 8.9 yards per attempt. Johnson ran for 845 yards and four touchdowns on the season. His backfield teammate, Lorenzo Harrison, is questionable to play due to a suspension. His 7.2 yards per carry and five rushing touchdowns will be missed against a Boston College run defense that ranks seventh in the country.
Boston College comes into this game with a 6-6 record, which was good enough for seventh place in the ACC conference. The Eagles needed to win their last two games to become bowl eligible and did so by beating Connecticut and Wake Forest. Prior to those two wins, they lost to Florida State and Louisville by a combined 97-14 score. As you can see, the Eagles are a very Jekyll and Hyde-type team. Oh, and I haven't even mentioned how poor they are offensively. The Eagles average just 19 points per game on offense, but the defensive unit is the real MVP. They allow a shade over 24 points per game, but when Boston College wins a football game it's because of the defense. Offensively, they are led by senior quarterback Patrick Towles, who threw for 1,579 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. The downside with Towles is that he completes only 51 percent of his attempts. If he can't get going and find some accuracy then the pressure will be on the defense once again to come up big and bail out the team. The Eagles' run game is just as inconsistent as the passing attack. Jon Hilliman's 463 yards and five touchdowns led the team on the ground.
Quick Lane Bowl Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Boston College favored by one point at Mybookie.ag. Currently, the line has jumped across zero and now sits with Maryland laying the single point. The total has dropped from 44.5 to 43.5, -110.
Maryland is 5-2 ATS in their last seven neutral-site games but just 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall. The "under" is 4-0-1 in the Terrapins' last five games versus a nonconference opponent.
Boston College is 1-6 ATS in their last seven bowl games and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games against Big Ten teams. They are also heavily trending to the "under". They are 5-1 to the "under" in their last six versus Big Ten opponents and 8-3 "under" in their last 11 neutral-site games.
Maryland Terrapins vs. Boston College Eagles Quick Lane Bowl Expert Picks & Predictions
The most important player on any football team is the quarterback. He is one person (on offense) who touches the ball every single snap, excluding the wildcat formation. His tasks include reading the defense, getting into the right formation, calling out audibles and throwing the ball where the ball needs to be thrown for his receivers to make a play.
In this matchup, the quarterback advantage goes to Maryland, and that's who I am siding with when picking this game. I like the fact that Hills will have had a month to rest his injured shoulder and come into this game close to 100 percent healthy. I also like the fact that Maryland as a team has had a full month off to prepare for one of the nation's best defenses.
The more film you can watch on BC, the better off you should be able to read the defense and understand what they are trying to do or bait you into.
I fully believe the Terps have enough explosive game-changers on offense to overcome such a stout defense and win one not only for the Big Ten but for themselves to salvage what could have been a terrible finish to season after starting off 4-0.
Boston College will struggle to keep pace on offense, and if you constantly put the onus on the defense to come up big then sooner or later they will weaken and fade away due to fatigue. Towles is as shaky as they come in terms of QB play, and his lack of accuracy will come back to bite the Eagles in the butt.
Pick: Maryland -1, -110
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