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NCAA Prediction College Bowl Game Preview/Pick- #14 Arizona St. vs. Texas Tech

ncaa prediction and pick

#14 Arizona State Sun Devils (10-3) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5) 12/30- 10:15PM EST

 

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOLIDAY BOWL- San Diego, CA

 

Line: ASU -14.0

Over/Under: 71.5

 

The 14th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils will be heavy favorites against the struggling Texas Tech Red Raiders in Monday night’s Holiday Bowl as they will be in search of an 11-win season.

 

The feat of winning 11 games in a season has only been accomplished five times in program history, but they like their chances against a Red Raiders team that lost five straight to end the season.

 

ASU (10-3) missed going to the Rose Bowl after getting blown out at home 38-14 in the Pac-12 title game to Stanford. That win would’ve sent the Sun Devils to Pasadena for the first time since the 1996 season. That was also the last time the Sun Devils notched 11 wins in a season.

 

I really thought we were going to win. I really did,” said coach Todd Graham. “We made mistakes and it took us a little long to make adjustments.”

 

Despite the loss, the Sun Devils had a great year winning eight league games by an average of 19.7 points, including wins over ranked Washington and UCLA. Coach Graham was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year in just his second season at Arizona State.

 

The Sun Devils have struggled in San Diego, where they are 0-3 all time in the Holiday Bowl, with their most recent loss back in 2007 to Texas 52-34.

 

For the Red Raiders (7-5), it’s been a tale of two seasons, where back in mid-October they were ranked as high as 10 before a 38-30 loss to then-No. 17 Oklahoma that sent them into a tail-spin losing five consecutive games to end the season.

 

Texas Tech lost their next four games after that defeat by an average of 23.8 points, including a 41-16 loss at Texas to end the regular-season.

 

To add salt in the wound, Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year, quarterback Baker Mayfield informed coach Kliff Kingsbury on Dec. 11 he intends to transfer. Mayfield was a walk-on, won the starting job and threw for 2,315 yards and totaled 15 touchdowns in eight games.

 

Of Mayfield’s departure, Kingsbury said… “I didn’t see it coming.

 

We had a good talk. He didn’t give me many specifics as to why. But he definitely emphasized that he was ready to move on,” said Kingsbury.

 

So, with Mayfield out of the picture for Monday night, Kingsbury will choose between Davis Webb and Michael Brewer to lead the nation’s second-leading passing offense at 392.0 yards per contest. Kingsbury will announce the starter before game time, but fellow freshman Webb seems to be the strong favorite with 16 touchdown tosses on the year.

 

The Red Raiders defense has been anything but during their five-game skid allowing an average of 504.6 yards, including 294.0 on the ground, which bolds well for ASU running back Marion Grice who averages 5.2 yards per carry with 14 touchdowns.

 

Texas Tech’s tight end Jace Amaro will be the main target as he has 1,240 receiving yards and is 89 yards short of the NCAA single-season record by a tight-end.

 

However, with Texas Tech’s recent slump and with the departure of their starting quarterback, the oddsmakers have made the Sun Devils a huge (minus -14.0) point favorite for Monday night, but as always, get the latest spread on the game up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.

 

The Red Raiders will be trying to improve to 2-0 in the Holiday Bowl, but I like and predict the Sun Devils to get their first Holiday Bowl victory winning big.

 

Prediction/Pick: Arizona State

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

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NCAA Prediction Bowl Game Preview/Pick- Michigan vs. Kansas State

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Michigan Wolverines (7-5) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (7-5) 12/28- 10:15PM EST

 

BUFFALO WINGS BOWL- Tempe, AZ

 

Line: KSU -5.0

Over/Under: 55.5

 

The Kansas State Wildcats, winners of five of their final six games and feeling confident, head into Tempe on Saturday night in search of their first bowl game victory since 2002 as they take on a Michigan team that has struggled down the stretch and will be without their starting quarterback.

 

The Wildcats (7-5) have been a successful program under coach Bill Snyder, but haven’t tasted a bowl win in five postseason games since beating Arizona State in the 2002 Holiday Bowl.

 

It is obvious that one of my many failings is that I do not have to answer to that,” the 74-year old Bill Snyder said. “It could be a multitude of things, and perhaps it is, or maybe it’s something simple that I am overlooking. …. The bottom line is I really do not know.”

 

Kansas State was eluded victories in its last two major bowl games in the 2011 Cotton Bowl and 2012 Fiesta Bowl, but like their chances this year in the Buffalo Wings Bowl with a Wolverines team without their star quarterback.

 

After a 2-4 start, the Wildcats went on a 5-1 run to put themselves in a great bowl game after Big 12 foes Baylor and Oklahoma wound up in BCS bowls this year. They were headed for the Holiday Bowl, but Saturday’s bowl game is a step up and they plan to take full advantage of it.

 

Nobody on our team has won a bowl game, with the exception of the coaches,” junior linebacker Jonathan Truman said. “We need it. We want it really bad.”

 

Michigan (7-5) started out 5-0, but lost four of five to finish the season with four of those losses by four points or fewer, with its last loss at the heals of their biggest rival Ohio State 42-41 back on November 30th.

 

It was that game that knocked Devin Gardner out of Saturday’s contest with a turf toe injury, a big blow after their star threw for 451 yards and four touchdowns. It was that impressive showing that gave the Wolverines the nod over Nebraska, who had two more wins in the Big 10 than Michigan a spot in Saturday’s game.

 

With Gardner out, the spotlight will be on freshman quarterback Shane Morris to lead the Wolverines as he makes his first career start.

 

Obviously, we recruited him at Michigan to be the quarterback at Michigan,” coach Brady Hoke said. “This is a great opportunity. We have a lot of faith in how he goes about his business getting ready to play.”

 

With a Michigan running game that ranks 112th in the nation with a paltry 3.2 yards per carry, it will be vital for the young Morris to find success through the air to have a chance, so look for Morris to target Jeremy Gallon, who had 80 catches for 1,284 yards with nine touchdowns.

 

Kansas State will counter with Tyler Lockett who had 71 receptions for 1,146 yards and eight touchdowns to lead the Wildcats, who use a two-quarterback approach… junior Jake Walters averages 9.43 yards per attempt and sophomore Daniel Sams, who ran for 784 yards with 11 touchdowns.

 

I’ve never been a fan of having two guys at that position that play equally,” Snyder said. “But both of them are very deserving of having the opportunity to play.”

 

With Gardner out, the oddsmakers have made the Wildcats a (minus -5.0) point favorite on Saturday night, but as always, get the latest spread on the game(s) up until kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.

 

On defense, watch for Michigan cornerback Blake Countess tied for fourth in the nation with six interceptions and Kansas State defensive end Ryan Mueller who had 11 ½ sacks and a Big-12 leading 18 ½ tackles for loss.

 

It’s tough to go with a young quarterback without much game experience and without a solid running game for the Wolverines, I like and predict the Wildcats notching their first bowl win in over a decade.

 

Prediction/Pick: Kansas State

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter