(8-4, 8-4 ATS)
(7-5, 4-8 ATS)
The college football bowl season kicks off on Saturday night with a three pack of games, and in the finale on the first day of the greatest time of year, the Troy Trojans will take on the Ohio Bobcats in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
Ohio has a major problem right now that needs to be worked out between now and Saturday, or it is in a lot of trouble. News broke over the course of this week that QB Boo Jackson was most likely going to be suspended for the New Orleans Bowl due to some academic setbacks. The team is currently preparing for this game in the Bayou, but Jackson has stayed back in Athens. Speculation is that the team’s starting quarterback could get the nod to play on Saturday, but if he cannot, QB Philip Bates is going to be forced into the starting role once again. Bates is really only used as the team’s Wildcat quarterback, though he has been known to let one loose every now and again. He was the second leading rusher on the team with just over 500 yards this year, but Bates only went 9-of-20 as a passer with a TD and two INTs in limited work. If the Bobcats are winning this game, they’re going to be doing it on the strength of their defense. They ranked No. 21 in the nation this year in total ‘D’ at 316.6 yards per game, and they were one of the few teams in the land that held teams under 100 yards rushing per game.
Meanwhile, Troy is back to the New Orleans Bowl for the second time, having lost here in 2008 against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 30-27 in overtime. The Trojans don’t quite have the team that they have been known for in years past, as they did not win the Sun Belt in spite of the fact that they beat what was supposed to be their biggest challenger this year on the road, the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders. QB Corey Robinson is going to be one of the best in the game by the time he is said and done at Troy, and this is a great test for the frosh to strut his stuff on national television. Robinson threw for 3,339 yards and 24 TDs this year against 15 INTs, and though he was largely the reason why the team won a number of games this year, those blunders were largely the reason when it failed as well. This is the final game in the illustrious career of WR Jerrel Jernigan, who has accounted for over 2,000 all-purpose yards in his final campaign. The defense for the Trojans has a lot of work to do, as it has allowed 419.2 yards and 31.0 points per game in 2010.
This isn’t the sexiest bowl game in the world, but it does provide us with a nice battle between a solid defense and an offense that has shown it can light a lot of teams up this year. The Trojans probably played the more difficult schedule, and knowing that the possibility is there that Jackson never makes it to the Crescent City, we have to back the boys from the Sun Belt in this one.
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Free Pick: Troy Trojans -1.5