December 26, 2013

Pinstripe Bowl Pick: Rutgers vs. Notre Dame

Pinstripe Bowl Matchup: Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Date/Time: December 28th, 12:00 ET

Television: ESPN

Pinstripe Bowl Odds from WagerWeb

Point Spread: Notre Dame -14

Total: 52.5

One of the biggest point spreads of the bowl season is on the side of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who are hoping to pull off the shocking upset when they take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

The Scarlet Knights played in the worst bowl game of the season last year when they were beaten by the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Russell Athletic Bowl. This year’s team is far worse, and it was lucky just to sneak into a bowl at 6-6. The team lost five games in its last seven, and it was whacked by both the Houston Cougars by 35 and the Cincinnati Bearcats by 35. On top of that, the team also was beaten by the Connecticut Huskies, who were one of the worst teams in the country all season long. Yet here Rutgers is, warts and all, in the Russell Athletic Bowl. The team somehow averaged 27.4 points per game this season, and we aren’t all that sure how that happened. Four wide receivers are missing due to injury from this team, and though RB Paul James and RB Justin Goodwin did have good seasons, QB Gary Nova and QB Chas Dodd did not. These two combined for 20 TD passes and 17 INTs.

Notre Dame wasn’t nearly as good this season as it was last year, but it is back in the saddle in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, a place it has played games at before. The momentum certainly isn’t going to be too big for the Golden Domers, who really have only played one bad game all season long. The club did suffer four losses, but wins over teams like the BYU Cougars, Michigan State Spartans, Arizona State Sun Devils, and USC Trojans do give them one of the more impressive lists of victories in the nation. QB Tommy Rees had to step in under center and replace QB Everett Golson, who was kicked out of school before the season ever started. The defense wasn’t quite as good as it was last year, but Rees ad the offense made up for it. The numbers aren’t staggering, as Rees threw for just 2,938 yards, but he did have 27 TDs passes, including throwing 16 scores to WR TJ Jones and WR DaVaris Daniels combined. RB Cam McDaniel and RB George Atkinson III had 1,175 yards and six scores between them, though neither will get much more than perhaps 10-12 carries in most every Notre Dame game.

The Fighting Irish were whipped last year in the National Championship Game, and that gives them losses in 11 of their last 13 bowl games. Eight of those 11 losses came by at least two touchdowns. Rutgers had its five-game bowl winning streak snapped last year in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

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Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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