East Carolina Pirates
(6-6, 6-6 ATS)
(8-4, 8-4 ATS)
Two teams with totally opposite styles of play take on the NCAA football betting lines in the Military Bowl, as the Maryland Terrapins face off with the East Carolina Pirates. This is the third annual bowl game here in Washington DC, formerly known as the Eagle Bank Bowl.
There are certainly two things that are going to happen in this game for the Pirates. They’re going to score, and they’re going to be scored upon. When you think about option quarterbacks that really shine, you think about names like Auburn’s Cam Newton, Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor, Michigan’s Denard Robinson, etc. However, the man that had the second most touchdowns in the nation was QB Dominique Davis. He threw for 36 TDs and rushed for nine more this year, and he accounted for 3,829 total yards on the campaign. That total would have been a lot higher had his offensive line not gotten him sacked so often, but in fairness, ECU would have been a significantly better team if not for the fact that he turned the ball over via 14 picks. WR Dwyane Harris is already at 1,055 yards this season, and WR Lance Lewis isn’t far behind with 979 yards on 78 receptions. The two have combined for 23 TDs and both are certainly going to be factors in this one. The problem is the defense, which ranks dead last in the country at 480.4 yards per game. Giving up 43.4 points per game is just too many, and though the numbers probably won’t be so bad on Wednesday afternoon, there’s no hope to beat the Military Bowl odds without a notable improvement.
Maryland is playing one final game with Head Coach Ralph Friedgen, as he was bought out and will be replaced by Mike Leach next season. The Terps weren’t fantastic either offensively (345.0 yards per game) or defensively (352.7 yards per game) this year, but eight wins and a reincarnation from a team that finished in the gutter in the ACC Atlantic Division in recent years was fantastic. Junior WR Torrey Smith has to be thrilled that Leach is coming to town, as he is clearly going to be a tremendous factor next year in the Air Raid attack that he’ll bring to College Park. For now though, Smith is still going to be one of the most dynamic receivers on the field. He had 14 catches for 224 yards and four scores against the NC State Wolfpack to lock up this significant bowl bid. QB Danny O’Brien is going to have a lot of pressure on his shoulders in this one. He has thrown for 2,257 yards and 21 TDs this year, and if he can keep his blunders down, as he only had six all season long this year, the Terrapins are going to be in great shape.
The theme in the bowl games this year, as always, has been close games. It’s really hard to think about this Maryland team outscoring a team as strong as East Carolina by more than a TD in this one. The Pirates have a great shot to win this game as well, and we tend to believe that the offense will at least find a way to get the job done and stick inside this number.
Military Bowl Free Pick: East Carolina Pirates +7.5