Liberty Bowl Pick – December 31st
Earlier this year, the Iowa State Cyclones were able to knock off the Tulsa Golden Hurricane 38-23. Now, the two teams meet up for the second time on the campaign at the Liberty Bowl, where college football betting fanatics will get a chance to take in all of the action on New Year’s Eve.
The Cyclones had a frustrating end to their regular season, but once they went on the road and knocked off Kansas 51-23, they knew that they were going to a bowl game in spite of the fact that they only ultimately won three games in conference all year long. It has been frustrating to try to find a quarterback for this team, as it was QB Steele Jantz for a long period of time before QB Jared Barnett and QB Sam Richardson had their whacks. It’s going to be up to Richardson to get the job done in his first ever bowl game. He played well this year, completing 36-of-58 passes for 412 yards with seven TDs and most importantly, no picks. He doesn’t have a single receiver with more than 430 yards or 38 receptions, and the ground game is littered with backs that have underachieved. A deeper look at the team stats really don’t show much to us either. The Cyclones ranked 90th in total offense at 372.2 yards per game and 99th in total defense at 444.8 yards per game. These figures need to improve dramatically to beat a very good Tulsa outfit.
Tulsa was by no means perfect this year, but when you really look back at it, had the team played better ball against Iowa State in Week 1, there would have been a serious chance to finish the year with a national ranking and maybe even a spot in the BCS. This is a solid team that is outgaining its foes by over 100 yards per game, and it’s all about the ground game. RB Trey Watts, RB Ja’Terian Douglas, and RB Alex Singleton are all going to get the ball and get it a ton in this game. These three men combined to average 36.7 carries for 198.5 yards and 2.4 touchdowns per game this year. Singleton was the short yardage back who had a whopping 21 scores, while the other two backs both averaged over six yards per carry. The defense let this team down at times, like when it conceded 35 to the SMU Mustangs in the last game of the regular season, but all in all, there was nothing to really complain about this year for the C-USA champs.
What’s ironic about this game is that the Cyclones were +2 at home against Tulsa when these teams met the first time. Sure, ISU had a great game and was able to win by two scores, but the way that we look at it, little changed from our expectations of these clubs. Tulsa was a dominating team in Conference USA. Iowa State was a middling team in the Big XII. This is just too good to pass on the Golden Hurricane in the rematch. Tulsa 30 – Iowa State 20