Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Duke vs. Texas A&M Picks
Chick-Fil-A Bowl Matchup: Duke Blue Devils vs. Texas A&M Aggies
Date/Time: December 31st, 8:00 ET
Liberty Bowl Odds from BetOnline
Point Spread: Texas A&M -12
Of all of the teams in the world to play the last football game of 2013, the Duke Blue Devils are going to be squaring off in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl with the Texas A&M Aggies.
Of course, when you think about the Blue Devils this time of year, you’re trying to imagine what Coach K and the boys on the court in Durham are coming up with. Head Coach David Cutcliffe has his team believing that it can be one of the best in the country in football as well, though. This was the first time in team history that Duke played for a conference championship, and though the team was beaten by the Florida State Seminoles in a bad way in December, virtually everyone has been destroyed by FSU this year. The Blue Devils will be without their leading rusher, RB Jela Duncan in this one, but there are a stable of backs who can carry the load as well. QB Brandon Connette and QB Anthony Boone, both of which will take snaps in this one, combined for over 3,000 passing yards and 23 TDs, while the duo had 17 rushing TDs to boot.
QB Johnny Manziel is going to be the star of this game, and for good reason. It is virtually certainly his last game representing Texas A&M, and even in his two short years, he will go down as perhaps the greatest player in school history. This year, the Heisman Trophy finalist threw for 33 TDs and 13 INTs and rushed for 675 yards and eight TDs. It was a disappointing season from a turnover perspective for the Aggies this year, and that’s part of the reason why they aren’t playing in a better bowl game after an 8-4 season. RB Ben Malena also only had 517 yards and 10 scores on the ground, and most figured that this was going to be a man who had a massive season. A man that did have that good of a year though, was WR Mike Evans, who had 12 TDs to go with 1,322 yards and an average of 20.3 yards per reception.
The Blue Devils haven’t won a bowl game since 1960, and this is the first time in school history which they have played in consecutive bowl games. Texas A&M was able to destroy the Oklahoma Sooners in the Cotton Bowl last season, and they have to think that they have a great shot at claiming a second straight second-tier bowl victory here in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl at the expense of the ACC Coastal Division champs.