Posts Tagged ‘New Mexico Bowl’

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I know, I know.  “There’s too many bowls.” I hear this all the time. I, for one like the bowl games and will share some reasons to maybe change your mind enough to tune into the New Mexico Bowl (UTSA Roadrunners vs New Mexico Lobos).

  1. Witness history! This is UTSA’s 1st ever bowl game. New Mexico is actually playing in its home venue.
  2. New Mexico has the #1 rushing offense in the FBS averaging 361 (6.8) yards per game. UTSA counters with a rush defense that has improved as the season progressed. In their last 7 games, the Roadrunners held their opponents to an average of 48 rush yards per game and 1.1 yards per carry less than their foes season average.
  3. UTSA quarterbacks have a 24-7 touchdown to interception ratio and New Mexico counters with Phil Steele’s #117 ranked pass efficiency defense (allowed 22-7 ratio).
  4. New Mexico has covered 5 of its last 7 games against the Vegas line, while UTSA is 4-2-1 against the spread as an underdog. (New Mexico is favored by 9.5 points).
  5. If you like high scoring affairs, tune in as there figures to a lot of points scored in this one.

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These schools have a long history that dates back to 1908. Arizona leads the all-time series 43-20-3. The last meeting was in 2008, a 36-28 (+10.5) New Mexico home win. They met in the Insight.com bowl in 1997, with Arizona winning 20-14 (-9.5). New Mexico has played in this bowl twice, losing to San Jose State 20-12 (-3) in 2006 and beating Nevada 23-0 (-2.5) in 2007, while Arizona won their lone appearance in the bowl 49-48 (-8.5) over Nevada. Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez is 2-1 SU/1-2 ATS in bowl games with the Wildcats and was 2-4 SU/1-5 ATS in bowl games at Michigan and West Virginia. This is New Mexico head coach Bob Davie’s first bowl with the Lobos and he was 0-3 SU/ATS at Notre Dame. The two head coaches have one prior meeting in 2001 when Rodriguez was at West Virginia and Davie at Notre Dame with the Fighting Irish winning 34-24 (-12).

New Mexico has assured itself of its first winning season since 2007. Fourth year head coach Davie had to do a major rebuild when he took over a team that finished 1-11 in back-to-back-to-back seasons. New Mexico suffered a lot of attrition last year, but entered this season with 14 returning starters. After starting 3-2, including a win over rival New Mexico State, the Lobos dropped two of three heading into their bye week. Regrouped, they won three of their last 4, despite being the ‘dog in all four, with all three wins as double digit ‘dogs, including beating Boise on the “Blue” as 31 point ‘dogs!

Arizona won the Pac- 12 South last year, but only returned 13 starters this year, including just six senior starters. Things worsened when All-American linebacker Scooby Wright was injured (played just two games) and quarterback Anu Solomon missed two full games, including the Territorial Cup loss (concussion). They had five Pac-12 road games, losing four and played 12 straight weeks. After starting 5-2, the Wildcats then dropped four of their last five, with their lone win in that span an upset over Utah in double overtime.

Arizona has faced the much tougher schedule and has more talent. They are missing three of their top four linebackers from the start of the year, but Wright will play here. Even though New Mexico is playing this on their home field, they will be excited for their first bowl since 2007. Versus two mutual opponents, Arizona was plus 64 yards per game and New Mexico was minus 199 yards per game. Over their last four games, New Mexico was playing their best ball of the year.

Since I work and contribute mightily to the finest College football publication in the world, Phil Steele’s College Football Preview, I thought I might as well give my insight on the bowls.

Let me start by saying, I love the bowls. While some think that the bowls are dumb and pointless, that is an ignorant statement to make. The young men playing each week strive to make a bowl game. Not every team can play for a National Championship and getting to a bowl game is a great incentive after a successful season. One of the main goals for each college team entering the season is becoming bowl eligible. Teams that make a bowl also get extra practices leading up to the bowl, which greatly helps a lot of the younger players on the roster.

Okay, without further adieu, here are a few thoughts on the first bowl game of the 2012 season:

New Mexico Bowl. Saturday, Dec 15th. 1:00 pm. TV: ESPN

Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5) vs Arizona Wildcats (7-5)

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All offense, no defense

-Each team averages over 500 yards of total offense/gm, while allowing over 400 on defense!

Run, run, run

-Two of the nations finest running backs square off in this battle. ‘Zona’s Ka’deem Carey finished as the #1 rusher in the country with 1,757 yards, averaging 6.4 yards/carry, with 20 rushing touchdowns. He closed out the season in tremendous fashion, averaging 247 rushing yards over the last three games, including a record-setting 366 yard, 5 td performance vs Colorado! Not to be outdone, the Wolf Pack’s Stefphon Jefferson finished right behind Carey with 1,703 yards, averaging 5.0 yards/carry, with 22 rushing touchdowns. He is averaging 125 rushing yards over the last 6 games of the season with 11 rushing td’s in that span.

Huge schedule difference

-While both teams have identical records, Arizona has played a much tougher schedule, having taken on the likes of Oklahoma St, Oregon, Oregon St, Stanford, USC, & UCLA. Nevada did however, play one Pac-12 team this year in Cal, whom they defeated on the road in the season opener.

Blowout or close?

-The last two New Mexico Bowls have ended in blowout fashion. While Arizona will win, Nevada won’t go down without a fight. Arizona wins 45-38.