While these next four games might not have high ranked teams playing, they have a lot of big names. Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Louisville have a big following and should be among some good games. Of the four games, I see two games getting a little out of hand, but those games should have a lot of fantasy implications. Let’s take a deeper look at these four games on this DFS College Bowl Game Saturday. We’re going to get things kicked off at Noon ET in New York City.
Pinstripe Bowl- Saturday, December 28th, at 12pm
Rutgers (6-6) vs #25 Notre Dame (8-4)
-Spread and Total– Notre Dame -15.5, Over/Under 52
-Rutgers Key Players–
Paul James, RB, battled through some injuries during the middle of the season, but he had a great season overall. He got a full load of carries in his last game and should be 100% by the time this bowl game comes around. He has averaged 5.7 yards per carry this season and has 9 TDs this season. His TDs have come in bunches with 8 of his TDs coming in three games. James went for 26/113/2 against USF and although they aren’t a great defense, it’s nice to see James be productive in a game he should be productive in.
Tyler Kroft, TE, has been one of the best tight ends this season that nobody knows about. It’s hard to find a consistently productive TE in college, but with Kroft you have one. In his last three games, he has 15 catches total and at least 50 yards in each of them. Nova and Dodd have had extreme confidence in him this season, so if I’m paying for a tight end it’s going to be him.
-Notre Dame’s Key Players–
TJ Jones, WR, has been quietly a very good receiver this season. This year posted a 65 catch and 1,000-yard season while scoring 9 times. Jones has had a TD in 9 of 12 games this season, but no one would really know it because the Fighting Irish passing game isn’t highly impressive. Well, Jones has been impressive, posting at least 90 yards in a game seven different times this season. Even against better defenses Jones produced, going for 6/56/1 against Stanford, 8/135/1 against Arizona State, and 9/94/1 against Michigan.
-Rutger’s Outlook– Rutgers played in the Pinstripe Bowl two years ago,, so they know the area and field. Well, that advantage of being the “home” team will not be relevant anymore with Notre Dame coming into town. Rutgers did win that game against Iowa State though, so don’t discredit the ND fan base.
Kyle Flood made his head coaching debut with Rutgers last season and lost to Virginia Tech in one of the most boring bowl games of the season. Overall he’s 15-10 as head coach of Rutgers and is having a down year this season. To beat Notre Dame, Rutgers will have to run the ball extremely well with Paul James and even Justin Goodwin. ND has been susceptible to the run recently giving up 200+ rushing yards in four of their last five games.
-Notre Dame’s Outlook– Notre Dame has a huge fan base in New York and it will be seen when this bowl game comes around. While their run defense has been weak recently, their passing game has really stepped it up. Their defensive line is one of the best there is and they will need them against Rutgers to control that line of scrimmage. Notre Dame has been brutal in bowl games in the modern day era losing 11 of their last 13. As we all remember, Notre Dame was embarrassed by Alabama last season in the National Championship.
Brian Kelly has a very impressive post-season resume with a 3-3 record while coaching at Cincinnati and Notre Dame. He also won 2 DII Championships while he was coaching at Grand Valley State.
-Prediction– Notre Dame has played pretty well recently losing some tight games to good teams and winning 8 on the season. Their defensive line will be without their best player, but they have a lot of talent on offense. Jones should be able to take this game over and Notre Dame should easily win this game. The spread is pretty high, but I think they’ll cover due to the recent struggles Rutgers has had against bad teams (Temple and UConn).
Notre Dame -15.5
Belk Bowl, Saturday, December 28th at 3:20pm
North Carolina (6-6) vs Cincinnati (9-3)
-Spread and Total– UNC -2, Over/Under 57
Marquise Williams, QB, has taken over quite nicely since the injury to senior Bryn Renner. He has been the main guy in this offense and has 14 TDs in those four starts since Renner was hurt. In his last two games, Williams has been a DFS all star throwing for over 600 yards and 6 TDs to go along with 164 rushing yards and 2 TDs. His passing yards won’t show against Cincinnati, but Williams should be able to run the ball well and score at least a few TDs.
Quinshad Davis, WR, is one of the two main receivers in this UNC offense and it has shown this season. He is averaging over 15 yards per catch and has 11 total TDs on the season. Since that Renner injury, Davis has stepped up for UNC and scored 4 TDs.
Eric Ebron, TE, is one of the top prospects in all of college football and he’s a tight end! That usually doesn’t happen, but if you’ve seen him play then you know why. Ebron has size, speed, and great hands. He actually leads UNC in receiving yards, but hasn’t found the end zone but three times. He battled through an injury towards the end of the season, but had a great game against Duke (5/121/0) and will have a few weeks to recover. Ebron has to be one of the top TEs on the board this bowl season.
Cincinnati’s Key Players–
Brendon Kay, QB, didn’t even start the season as the starting QB, but he certainly shown how much of a mistake that was this season. Kay threw for over 3,000 yards and totaled 28 TDs in only 10 starts. The Bearcats aren’t afraid to throw the pigskin around as he has 30 attempts or more in his last five games. Kay has also turned up his running game scoring three TDs in his last two games. This matchup for Kay is a very good one and should be considered strongly.
Anthony McClung, WR, has been one of the most consistent receivers that nobody has talked about this season. McClung caught 68 passes this season, but 40 of them came in his last five games. Those are great numbers especially since he went for 97 or more yards in each of those games. UNC has given up 16 TDs to receivers this season including six in their last four games. UNC isn’t the worst against passing attacks, but Kay/McClung should be great nonetheless.
-UNC’s Outlook– UNC lost their starting QB for the season just before the UVA game and I honestly think it made them better. Splitting time between Renner and Williams was just not working and Williams has clearly been outstanding under center. UNC started the season 1-5 against a fairly decent schedule, but ended it going 5-1 playing a softer schedule losing to the only ranked team they faced. The Tar Heels are 3-1 since the Renner injury.
Larry Fedora took over as head coach two seasons ago and UNC is 14-10 since then. In bowl games he is 2-2 while coaching at Southern Mississippi. UNC’s offense is clicking extremely well and their special teams have put up 5 TDs in their last four games.
-Cincinnati’s Outlook– Cincinnati is playing very good football lately winning six of their last seven games with their one loss coming to Louisville in OT. In that game, it took a few spectacular plays by Teddy Bridgewater for UL to get the win. All around, the Cinci offense and defense has played very well this season scoring 32 points per game while only giving up 18.5 a game. The Bearcats haven’t played a tough schedule, but are playing very well lately.
Tommy Tuberville is a very experienced head coach and been a head coach for 10 bowl games. In those ten games, Tuberville has a 7-3 record and is on a three game bowl win streak.
-Prediction– This bowl game matches up two offenses that should have no real trouble scoring. Cincinnati has the better defense, but they face a team on a mission under Williams and have faced a soft schedule themselves. In what should be a high scoring game, I like the Bearcats to win this one outright. I think that Kay and his group of WRs including McClung and Shaq Washington will be able to outplay the Tar Heels defense.
Russell Athletic Bowl, Saturday, December 28th at 6:45pm
#18 Louisville (11-1) vs Miami (FL) (9-3)
-Spread and Total– Louisville -3.5, Over/under 56
-Louisville’s Key Players–
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, was a big time Heisman contender going into the season, but team success hurt his stock. It also didn’t help that the Cardinals focused on getting a ground game going during the middle of the season. Even with all of this happening, Bridgewater threw for 3,523 yards and an amazing 28-4 TD to INT ratio. He has had some big games this season going for at least 3 TDs in five different games. Miami has had some trouble against the pass, but has not given up a lot of TDs through the air. There was a stretch of time where Miami gave up 300+ passing yards in four straight games and gave up 281 to Pitt in their last game.
DeVante Parker, WR, is Bridgewater’s go-to-guy and if you like him then you like Parker. He has 3 TDs in his last two games and although he has seemed to be an up and down kind of WR, I really like him against the weak-passing defense that Miami has. Parker has 11 TDs on the season.
Dominique Brown, RB, has taken the reins as the main RB for the Cardinals and he has been great recently. He has 4 TDs in his last three games with 270 rushing yards. On the season, Brown is averaging 5.3 yards per carry and goes up against a Miami defense that gives up 4.46 yards per carry and over 2 TDs per game on the ground.
-Miami’s Key Players–
Allen Hurns, WR, has been one of the best WRs in the ACC in Miami’s last four games. He went for over 100 yards receiving and at least 4 catches in each of those games. He added 2 TDs, but was more about yardage than anything. The guy has a 19 yards per catch average which is very good. The senior WR will want to go out with a bang, so I like Hurns at the right price.
Stacy Coley, WR, really took over as the playmaker for Miami once Duke Johnson got hurt. Coly has a ton of long TDs on the season with a 81 yard TD against Virginia Tech, a 62 yard TD against Virginia, and a 73 yard rushing TD against Pitt. If he is as priced as low as he was towards the end of the season I can easily see him being on my roster.
-Louisville’s Outlook– Louisville had a pretty weak schedule this season, but still managed to lose a game. They had a big lead against UCF, but blew it and now are playing on the 28th, which can be kind of deflating for a team with such high expectations before the season. The Cardinals have the 3rd best defense when it comes to points allowed (12.4) and the 30th best offense when it comes to points scored (35.1).
Charlie Strong has been a great coach while with Louisville and there are rumors that Texas really wants him to be their next coach. Stay on top of that situation and if he leaves then downgrade the Cardinals. Strong is 2-2 in his career in bowl games, but one of those losses was when he coached the Florida bowl game in 2004 as an interim coach.
-Miami’s Outlook– Miami started the season off playing great, but failed miserably in their last four games. They played better competition and lost three straight games to FSU, VT, and Duke. They have won two straight games against much weaker opponents and seem to be on a little bit of an offensive roll scoring 45 and 41 points in those two games.
Al Golden took over this Miami team in 2011 after having a very good career as head coach of Temple. He lost the one bowl game he coached in with Temple when they lost to UCLA by 9 in the Eaglebank Bowl.
-Prediction– Teddy Bridgewater is likely to be declaring for the NFL draft and if that happens I’m really really liking this Louisville play. Miami did struggle against better defenses (FSU and VT), so I think that the Louisville defense (although not challenged constantly throughout the season) will be able to slow down those great Miami WRs. While the Cardinals defense has been very solid, the Miami defense has been average at best lately giving up 26, 31, 48, 42, and 41 in their last five games. I’m going with Louisville in this one and it shouldn’t even be close.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Saturday, December 28th at 10:15pm
Michigan (7-5) vs Kansas State (7-5)
-Spread and Total– Kansas state -3.5, Over/Under 55
-Michigan’s Key Players–
Devin Gardner, QB, is the key to this offense that averaged 34 points per game this season. He has missed practice since the Ohio State game, but has resumed practiced before Christmas. Gardner needs Al Borges to open up the playbook like he did against Ohio State or Gardner is doomed. In the Ohio State game, Gardner frow for 451 yards and 4 TDs and added a rushing TD.
Jeremy Gallon, WR, is pretty dependent on Gallon not surprisingly. Gallon is good for 5/50/0 when Gardner has an off game, but has blown up when Gardner has been on. His best three games are 14/369/2 against Indiana, 7/95/2 against Penn State, and 9/175/1 against OSU. If you think Gardner will be great then lock Gallon in your lineup as well.
Devin Funchess, TE, is the second best target for Gardner, but probably has the most NFL potential of the three of them. He has 47 catches for 727 yards and 6 TDs on the season, which is solid for a college tight end. In the last half of the season, Funchess caught 28 passes and even had 4 carries. He’s a dynamic player and isn’t a bad option at all even if Gardner doesn’t blow up against KSU.
-Kansas State’s Key Players–
Tyler Lockett, WR, has the most upside of everyone on this Wildcats team, but also has the most bust potential. Against TCU and Oklahoma, Lockett was amazing catching 20 passes for 401 yards and 4 TDs. In his next week against a weaker Kansas team, his stat line was sad as he only caught 3 passes for 43 yards. Lockett gets his points in bunches scoring 8 TDs in only 4 games.
John Hubert, RB, had an odd season rushing for 5.3 yards per carry, but he didn’t run for over 1,000 yards as the main KSU running back. The reason why this happened was because of Sams and Waters’ running abilities. Sams is the full on running QB, but Waters can run as well. Hubert ran for 220 yards in his last game and scored 10 TDs on the season.
-Michigan’s Outlook– Michigan started the season off with a bang rattling off five straight games including a win over Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish and Minnesota are really the only two decent wins they have. The Wolverines had a tough time in Big Ten play going 3-5, which is not good in a down year for the Big Ten. The biggest question going into this game is the offensive game plan that offensive coordinator Al Borges will implement against KSU. If he lets Gardner use his legs and throw deep then there is reason to believe Michigan can put up at least 35 on KSU.
Brady Hoke has been the coach at Michigan for three seasons and has a 1-1 bowl record with the Wolverines. He had a nice OT win against Virginia Tech in 2011, but lost to a Clowney led South Carolina team last season in the Outback Bowl. Hoke’s career bowl record is 2-2.
-Kansas State’s Outlook-While Michigan started fast, Kansas State started slow. The Wildcats started the season off with a 2-3 record, but ended the season going 5-1 in their last six games. The Wildcats biggest wins on the season are against an overrated Texas Tech team and UL- Lafayette, so there isn’t much of a difference between them and Michigan.
Legendary coach, Bill Snyder, has lost four straight bowl games, but has a career record of 6-8. Snyder is 0-2 in bowl games when he team has 8 wins or less on the season, which doesn’t say a whole lot, but is worth another look.
-Prediction– This is one of the toughest games to pick straight up this bowl season. Both teams have big red flags and some minor positives to them. Michigan has the better two wins, but not by a lot. While Snyder hasn’t been great in bowl games, Hoke hasn’t been that much better. Michigan ended the season getting worse, while Kansas State played a softer schedule, but won games at least. I think this game will be a close one no matter who wins, so I’m going to take the points. It’s really hard to imagine Michigan not letting Gardner be the playmaker that he is, so I think that Michigan offense plays like they did against the Buckeyes, which should mean a Michigan win or close loss.
Michigan + 3.5