Point spread: Auburn -3
The Virginia Cavaliers, out of the ACC, make a long-awaited return to a bowl game to take-on the SEC’s Auburn Tigers in this season’s Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve. Game time from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Virginia made a serious run at the conference title game this year, but a 38-0 shutout at the hands of Virginia Tech as a 4.5-point home underdog in the final game of the regular season, dropped it to second-place in the Coastal Division with a 5-3 record straight-up. The Cavaliers finished the season 8-4 SU and 6-6 against the spread. The total stayed ‘under’ in 10 of their 12 games.
The primary reason for Virginia’s change in fortune from the past few seasons was a rushing attack that averaged 165.3 yards per game and a defense that held its opponents to 22.3 points a game. Perry Jones and Kevin Parks led the way on offense with a combined 1,544 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.
Auburn’s mass loss of talent from its 2010 national title team took its toll this season with an overall record of 7-4 SU and a 4-4 SU record in conference play. The Tigers lost four of their last seven games SU and went 4-8 ATS this year. The total went an even 6-6 in their 12 games.
The Tigers also had a decent rushing attack with an average of 174.8 yards a game, but it did not always translate to points with an average of just 24.3 points a game. Their defense was also inconsistent at times this year; giving-up close to 30 points a game. To make matters worse, their leading rusher, Michael Dyer has been suspended for this game and back-up Anthony Morgan is listed as questionable with an undisclosed injury.
Virginia is 4-1 ATS in their last five bowl games and the total has gone ‘over’ in seven of its last eight bowl games.
Auburn is 1-4 ATS in its last five games overall and 1-7-1 ATS in its last nine games against the ACC. The total has stayed ‘under’ in eight of its last nine bowl games.
The Tigers have a huge edge in strength of schedule, but their recent form has to bring some serious concerns into this game. Ride the current momentum on the Cavaliers to notch a straight-up win in this game as they do just enough to come out on top in the final college football game of 2011.
The Free Chick-fil-A Bowl Pick: Virginia 23 Auburn 20
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.