Illinois Fighting Illini
(6-5, 8-3 ATS)
Fresno State Bulldogs
(7-4, 4-6-1 ATS)
Strange bedmates meet up with each other to end the regular season out in the Golden State, as the Illinois Fighting Illini engage in college football wagering warfare with the Fresno State Bulldogs.
The Illini have got to figure out how to keep that patented running game going. The last time we saw these guys, they were dropping over 500 rushing yards on the Northwestern Wildcats in the romp at Wrigley Field that guaranteed them a bowl bid. There is no doubt that HC Ron Zook has this team on the rise, though it is still a ways away from really being that competitive of a team for a Rose Bowl again. QB Nathan Scheelhaase is emerging as a respectable passing option for Illinois, as he has completed 58.7 percent of his passes for 1,522 yards with 16 scores against eight picks as a true freshman. His real assets though, are his legs. Scheelhaase has 675 yards this year on the ground, and he has really turned some bad situations into some huge gains. And then there is junior RB Mikel LeShoure, who is already being touted for next year as one of the top runners in the Big Ten. LeShoure just ripped apart the Wildcats for 330 yards and a pair of scores, giving him 1,380 yards and 16 visits to the end zone on the campaign.
Fresno State is never afraid to take on anybody, and that’s why it was thrilled to sign his home and home series with the Illini that started last season in Champagne. That was a wild one, as the Dogs were dropped 53-52, but they certainly made a huge stand and nearly pulled off the great upset against the Illini. It’s really hard to gauge just how good the Bulldogs are this year, as their only tough opponents put up great fights against them. They were smashed to bits by both the Hawaii Warriors and Boise State Broncos, but nearly beat the Nevada Wolf Pack on this field. Aside from that though, there isn’t a win against a team that is going bowling in all likelihood, and none will finish at .500 unless the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs beat Nevada this weekend. Trying to figure out when RB Robbie Rouse is going to go off and when he is going to be MIA is impossible as well. He has a pair of 200+ yard games this year, but only 1,097 yards for the duration of the season. QB Ryan Colburn has had games in which he has thrown or 350+ yards as well, but he only has 2,225 yards and 18 scores on the campaign.
We sort of feel like we are tossing a coin in the air and hoping that we turn up heads in this one. The Illini are rightfully favored, but coming out to the West Coast always does strange things to teams. We’ll take the safer pick with the points and hope that the Bulldogs aren’t fool’s gold.
College Football Free Pick: Fresno State Bulldogs +5