December 31, 2013

BBVA Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. Houston

BetDSIBBVA Compass Bowl Matchup: Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Houston Cougars

Date/Time: January 4th, 1:00 ET

Television: ESPN

BBVA Compass Bowl Odds from BetDSI

Point Spread: Vanderbilt -2.5

Total: 53.5

In one of the oddest bowl games of the season, the Vanderbilt Commodores will square off with the Houston Cougars in the 2014 BBVA Compass Bowl at Legion Field in Birmingham.

It remains to be seen whether Head Coach James Franklin is still going to be with the Commodores by the time this bowl game rolls around, but with each passing day, it seems more and more likely that he will be in to coach the team. The Dores had another great season, going 8-4 in the SEC, including winning some games such as the road game against the Florida Gators and the home game against the Georgia Bulldogs, neither of which figured to be won at the start of the campaign. QB Austyn Carta-Samuels is going to almost certainly miss the BBVA Compass Bowl to end his collegiate career, and he is going to be replaced by QB Patton Robinette, who hopes to improve upon his 58 percent completion percentage, 488 yards, and two TDs against three picks in his time in the lineup. The offense is going to revolve around WR Jordan Matthews, who had 1,334 yards on 107 catches this year. Matthews has had at least 11 catches in his last three games, and he had at least 125 yards in all of those games.

Houston had the best ATS mark in the land this year through seven games, going a perfect 7-0 ATS through that point. The team finished with covers in three of its last five, and it is now 12-2 ATS in its last 14 games dating back to last season. Still, the country seems to have caught on to what the Cougs are bringing to the table, and they are going to have to regroup in a hurry to figure out how to beat one of the middling teams in the SEC. Things were supposed to be all downhill after losing QB David Piland for the season to a serious concussion, but QB John O’Korn has figured out how to make up the difference, throwing for 2,889 yards and 26 TDs against eight INTs. He’s got a great receiving option as well in WR Deontay Greenberry, and we have to think that Greenberry and Matthews are going to have their stats packed against each other all game long in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

The Commodores have never won bowl games in consecutive seasons in their history. Heck, prior to 2011 and 2012, they hadn’t played in two consecutive bowl games, let alone won those games. The team only has three bowl wins in its history, and Vandy’s lack of success has stayed true since Franklin reached Nashville. The team was 1-1-1 all-time in bowl games before Franklin made this a winning team for really the first time in its history, and this is arguably one of the more notable bowl games the club has ever played in. Houston is just 2-9 in its bowl games since the 1980 Garden State Bowl, a 35-0 win over the Navy Midshipmen.

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Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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