BBVA Compass Bowl Pick – January 5th
The BBVA Compass Bowl is one of the last games that will be played this bowl season. It’s one of those games where by the timing of it you would assume it is a huge game, but it really isn’t. Still, as a bettor there is money to be made in games like this. The Pittsburgh Panthers from the Big East take on the Ole Miss Rebels from the SEC.
Pittsburgh brought in Paul Chryst to coach the team before the season. Chryst had been very successful as a coordinator at Wisconsin. The Panthers had a lot of ups and downs this year, but they did win their last two games to become bowl eligible. Tino Sunseri has taken a lot of heat in the past few years, but he did a sensational job under center this year. Sunseri threw for 3,102 yards. He also threw 19 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions. Ray Graham and Rushel Shell give the team two very good tailbacks. The offense has been good this year, but they have struggled to punch it into the end zone. They’ll have to finish drives in this one.
The Panthers defense ranked 16th in the nation in total defense this year. This unit was one of the most improved in the nation. They were solid against both the run and the pass. Pittsburgh only gave up 19.7 points per game this season. Jason Hendricks led the team with five interceptions, and this defense did a great job forcing turnovers all year.
Mississippi had a big bounce back season in 2012. The Rebels hit rock bottom last year, but first-year coach Hugh Freeze helped the team back to respectability this season. Bo Wallace is young dual-threat quarterback for the Rebels. He threw too many interceptions this year, but his big play ability helped give the team a spark. Donte Moncrief is one of the most underrated play makers in the country. He had 60 catches for 948 yards and ten touchdowns this year. Mississippi averaged 30.9 points per game. The Rebels offense was most impressive in the last two weeks of the year. They put up 35 points against LSU and then finished the regular season with 41 points in a win against Mississippi State.
The Rebels defense was one of the worst in the nation last year. They weren’t spectacular this year, but they were much better. Mississippi did a nice job shutting down opponents running games, but their secondary struggled against top passing attacks. Sunseri is a much improved passer, and he will test the secondary with a lot of quick passes. Will they be ready?
Prediction: Mississippi -3.5
Both of these teams are better than they were a year ago, but the Rebels have played much tougher competition this year. I think that makes the difference in the end. Look for Mississippi to win and cover.
Mississippi 30 Pittsburgh 23