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December 2017

PECK’S PICKS BOWL EXTRAVAGANZA (PART ONE)

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Bowl season is here, and all 288 games will be broadcast right here on ESPN 106.7.

Unless you’re a total degenerate, you probably don’t know very much about most of the teams that will be in action.

Fear not. Partially because I love bowl season, and mostly because I have no desire to do a postmortem of the 2017 SEC Championship (in fact, let’s never speak of that game ever again), this week’s edition of BTG is going to be all about the bowls.

Let’s dive right in.

Troy (-7) vs. North Texas in the NEW ORLEANS BOWL: Troy brought back every single player who recorded a yard of offense from last season and the team thrived, finishing 10-2 and winning the Sun Belt. North Texas struggled to slow down FAU last week and they’ll struggle to slow down Troy. PECK’S PICK: TROY -7

Western Kentucky (-6) vs. Georgia State in the CURE BOWL: The Hilltoppers stumbled down the stretch, losing three of their last five games of the season by double-digits, but they’ve got a good quarterback and a ridiculous-looking mascot. PECK’S PICK: WKU -6

Oregon (-7.5) vs Boise State in the LAS VEGAS BOWL: This is one of the most compelling matchups on the slate. Boise won eight of its last nine games, but Oregon’s gigantic quarterback Justin Herbert is hard to stop. Boise’s defense should keep the game close. PECK’S PICK: BOISE +7.5

Colorado State (-5.5) vs Marshall in the NEW MEXICO BOWL: Nothing rewards kids after a grueling season like a mid-December trip to tropical Albuquerque. State’s got a pretty good offense, I know nothing about Marshall, let’s move on. PECK’S PICK: CSU -5.5

Arkansas State (-3.5) vs MTSU in the CAMELIA BOWL: MTSU’s offense heated up towards the end of the season, but Arkansas State has a better situation at quarterback and should find a way to win. PECK’S PICK: ARKANSAS STATE -3.5

Florida Atlantic (-22) vs Akron in the BOCA RATON BOWL: Look for Lane Kiffin to cap off a spectacular first season as the head coach of the Owls with a resounding victory in the team’s hometown. PECK’S PICK: FAU -22

SMU (-5) vs Louisiana Tech in the FRISCO BOWL: Chad Morris just took the Arkansas job, but the components of his high-powered offense will be in place. Louisiana Tech, led by Skip Holtz, should be up to the challenge. PECK’S PICK: LT +5

Temple (-7) vs FIU in the GASPARILLA BOWL: I’m not sure about either school, so I’m taking the team from Florida. PECK’S PICK:  FIU +7

Ohio (-7.5) vs UAB in the BAHAMAS BOWL: Not a bad deal for UAB, right? They went from not playing any football to playing football in the Bahamas. Unfortunately, they’re playing a team that didn’t take two years off. PECK’S PICK: OHIO -7.5

Wyoming (-7.5) vs Central Michigan in the POTATO BOWL: Wyoming QB Josh Allen is expected to be a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, so go with him I guess? PECK’S PICK: WYOMING -7.5

USF (-2.5) vs Texas Tech in the BIRMINGHAM BOWL: I like USF, even though I’m certain that the Tampa kids don’t appreciate a December trip to Birmingham. I’ve been to Lubbock, so I’m sure Texas Tech gets to appreciate taking a trip anywhere. PECK’S PICK: USF -2.5

San Diego State (-6.5) vs Army in the ARMED FORCES BOWL: Rashad Penny, San Diego State’s star running back, is the player to watch in this game. Army just notched a huge win against Navy, so a letdown against SDSU is understandable. PECK’S PICK: SDSU -6.5

Toledo (-8) vs Appalachian State in the DOLLAR GENERAL BOWL: They should play this game inside an actual Dollar General. PECK’S PICK: TOLEDO -8

Houston (-2) vs Fresno State in the HAWAII BOWL: Fresno State got things rolling once they entered conference play. Seriously, there are so many of these games. PECK’S PICK: FRESNO STATE +2

Utah (-7) vs West Virginia in the HEART OF DALLAS BOWL: Finally, some teams I’ve definitely seen this year. Utah lost a lot of close games this year, while WVU will be without quarterback Will Grier, so I like the Utes in a fun one. PECK’S PICK: UTAH -7

Duke (-5) vs NIU in the QUICK LANE BOWL: As a kid, I remember getting so excited for the Quick Lane Bowl. Truly a tradition unlike any other. Wikipedia tells me it’s played in Detroit. PECK’S PICK: NIU +5

Kansas State (-2.5) vs UCLA in the CACTUS BOWL: This is the one they play on the baseball field in Phoenix. Unfortunately, they no longer cover the field with actual cacti to add a challenge for both teams. PECK’S PICK: UCLA +2.5

Come back next week for PART TWO!

 

Riley’s Ramblings: 2017-2018 Football Bowl Season Starting With Good Matchups

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Tomorrow at 11:00 CT, the 2017-2018 Bowl Season will officially be upon us. It’s only been two weeks since Conference Championship week, it feels like college football has been away for too long. Even though there are drawbacks of having so many bowls (41 to be exact), it is nice to be able to enjoy the holiday season with college football. The early bowl games don’t get a lot of publicity, but there are some good games on tap for the coming week. Here is my take on four of the nine bowl games set to kick off in the next week: (Click here to view the 2017-2018 full bowl schedule)

 

The bowl season will kick off at Mercades-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday in the Celebration Bowl between Grambling and North Carolina A&T. Both of these teams had great years in their respective conferences, Grambling finished the year 11-1 and North Carolina A&T finished at 11-0. I honestly don’t know a ton about either school, but Grambling’s conference schedule (SWAC) is a little more impressive than North Carolina A&T’s (Mid-Eastern Atlantic) so I’m giving Grambling the edge even though North Carolina A&T is currently a 10 point favorite (11:00 kick on ABC).

 

Saturday’s New Orleans Bowl is featuring a pretty interesting matchup between Troy and North Texas. North Texas’ only losses are to pretty respectable teams, SMU, Iowa, Florida Atlantic, and Florida Atlantic again in the Conference USA Championship Game so they are probably better than their 9-4 record indicates. However I still think Troy wins the game big. The Sun Belt Champions have looked impressive most of the season, especially when they traveled to Baton Rouge and defeated LSU. The South Alabama game was a loss that shouldn’t have happened for the Trojans, but they’ve looked very strong since then and are favored by seven points in this game because of it. (12:00 kick on ESPN 106.7).

 

Here’s a look at how Troy knocked off their rival Arkansas State a couple weeks ago in case you missed it:

 

Las Vagas has a pretty interesting bowl game coming to town on Saturday between Boise State and Oregon. Oregon became a brand name team in the early 2010’s but have really struggled after Marcus Mariota’s departure following the 2014 season. This season has gone a lot better for the Ducks than last year when they went 4-8 and fired Head Coach Mark Helfrich, but they still didn’t have a really impressive win and their first year head coach Willie Tagart just left for the Florida State job. Not having your coach for the bowl game is tough, and Boise State had a pretty impressive year that ended in them winning the Mountain West. The Broncos are also led by their star wide receiver Cedrick Wilson. Wilson currently has 73 receptions for 1290 yards, which is good enough for sixth in college football in receiving yards. He’s without a doubt going to be a tough man for the Ducks secondary to stop and will be a reliable target for Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien. I’m taking Boise State in a close game, but the odds have Oregon as a 7.5 point favorite. (2:30 kick on ABC).

 

Very unfortunate that Florida Atlantic doesn’t get to leave their own stadium for a bowl after the awesome year that they had, but at least they’ll have home field advantage in Tuesday’s Boca Raton Bowl against Akron. Former Auburn Head Coach Terry Bowden is bringing the Zips into Boca Raton to take on a red hot Florida Atlantic. FAU finished the season 10-3 and won the Conference USA Championship. First year Head Coach Lane Kiffin did a great job of turning this team around from their 3-9 season in 2016.

 

FAU quarterback Jason Driskel, brother of former Florida quarterback Jake Driskel, had a phenomenal season thowing for nearly 2000 yards for 13 touchdowns. Kiffin’s star this season is undoubtedly Sophomore running back Devin Singletary. Singletary currently has over 1700 yards and has a nation’s best 30 touchdowns. You read that right, 30 touchdowns. Singletary holds the nationwide lead by six scores over San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny. Akron had a pretty good year as well, especially in conference. They went 6-1 in conference play during the season before losing to Toledo in the MAC Championship. Akron had a fairly impressive year, but I have been extremely impressed with Lane Kiffin’s group this season so I’m picking the whopping 22.5 point favorite Florida Atlantic Owls.

 

Also don’t forget to keep an eye out for former Auburn quarterback John Franklin III, who is now a grad transfer at FAU. You probably saw a highlight of him during the Conference USA Championship Game…

 

Riley Hubbard

ESPN 106.7

rhubbard@aunetwork.com

Auburn High Battles Charles Henderson Thursday Night at Auburn High Gymnasium

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The Auburn High Basketball team returns to Auburn High Gymnasium on Thursday night to battle the Charles Henderson Trojans. Auburn is coming off a tough 60-52 road loss to Montgomery Catholic that dropped their record to 3-5 on the young season and are hoping for a big home win to get back on track.

 

Senior Christian Brandt has started the season strong for the Tigers so far this year, as he is averaging a team best 17.8 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game. Brandt also posted a nice performance in Auburn’s loss to Montgomery Catholic, as he recorded 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Justin Brooks, the brother of former Auburn High standout Garrison Brooks, scored 13 points.

 

Auburn has already played Charles Henderson once this season, winning a nail-biter by a 58-57 final score. Auburn High hopes to make it 2-0 against the Trojans on Thursday night and earn their first victory in the new Auburn High Gymnasium. Scott Bagwell and Noah Gardner will have coverage of both the girls’ game and the boys’ game on ESPN 106.7 beginning at 6:00. The girls game will tip at 6:00 followed directly by the boys’ game. Both games will also be streaming online at espnau.com and on the ESPN 106.7 app.