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Middle Tennessee vs. Arkansas State Bowl Game Pick from Larry Ness: December 16th 2017

Middle Tennessee vs. Arkansas State
College Bowl Game Pick: ARKST -3.5 (December 16th 2017)

The 6-6 MTSU Blue Raiders get ready to battle 7-4 Arkansas State in the Camellia Bowl this weekend and for a number of different reasons, I think this one favors the Red Wolves.

MTSU comes in having won three of its last four, while Arkansas State will be eager to get back with one more victory here after falling to Troy in its regular season finale.

The Blue Raiders have a balanced rushing and passing offense. QB Brent Stockskill took over half way through the year and sports a 14/5 TD/INT. This team is used to outscoring its competition, so its defense is the weak point.

Arkansas State is another team with an explosive offense. QB Justice Hansen averages 330 passing yards, to go along with 35 rushing yards per game. In the end Hansen posted a total of 34 TD’s combined through the air and on the ground this season. Like their counterpart today, the Red Wolves weakness is on the defensive side of the ball, but the unit is a step up, having forced 10 fumbles and 11 INT’s this year.

I’ll point out as well that MTSU is 0-4 ATS in its last four bowl games, while Arkansas State is 5-2 ATS in its last seven as a favorite.

Hansen has only been sacked 27 times this year and the Blue Raiders don’t have much of a pass rush. Simply put, I think the Red Wolves have a distinct advantage in at least two of the three phases and because of that, I’ll indeed recommend a second look at Arkansas State in the Camellia Bowl this year.

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UL Monroe vs. Florida State Football Spread Pick from Will Rogers: December 2nd 2017

UL Monroe vs. Florida State
College Football Point Spread Pick: FSU -26.5 (December 2nd 2017)

The set-up: The Florida State Seminoles had canceled their game with the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks scheduled for Sep. 9th, due to Hurricane Irma. At the time, there were no plane to re-schedule but with the likelihood that FSU would not reach six wins (and bowl-eligibilty), FSU reached out to ULM and the NCAA to re-schedule this game on Dec. 2nd (Championship Saturday). So while Clemson and Miami-Fl. will meet in the ACC title game in Charlotte, the 5-6 Seminoles will welcome the 4-7 War Hawks to Doak-Campbell Stadium for a 12:00 ET kick-off. An FSU win will extend the school’s current bowl run (currently, the longest active in the FBS) to 36. The motivation for ULM, is a big “pay day!”

UL-Monroe: The War Hawks enter on a two-game slide, losing last Saturday 67-50 at home to Arkansas State. QB Caleb Evans threw for 454 yards and four TDs (also three INTs) but when one’s defense allows 67 points (on 781 yards!), one usually ends up on the losing side. Evans has thrown for 2,606 yards  (16 TDs & 6 INTs) plus is the team’s second-leading rusher with 554 yards (13 TDs). ULM averages 182.0 YPG on the ground (52nd) and checks in averaging 36.1 PPG (22nd). However, the D allows 40.9 PPG (126th) on 534.6 YPG (129th), which says all one needs to know.

Florida State: Of course, FSU’s season basically ended in its season-opener, when starting QB Francois was lost for the year against Alabama. True freshman Blackman has had his moments but overall, he’s been no better than average. He comes in completing just 56.5% with 14 TDs and nine INTs.It doesn’t help that the rushing games averages only 136.8 YPG (98th) and despite scoring 77 and 38 points in the team’s last two games, FSU takes on ULM averaging a modest 25.3 PPG on the season to rank 89th. However, through a very trying season, the defense has held it together, allowing 23.0 PPG (38th) on 340.4 YPG (27th).

The pick: FSU is playing to extend its bowl streak (see above) but is also dealing with concerns that eighth-year head coach Jimbo Fisher may leave for Texas A&M. I don’t see the Fisher issue being a distraction with the team looking to secure that bowl berth (source of pride for the school). This will be the Seminoles’ first December home game since they hosted Georgia Tech back on Dec. 1, 2001, in a game postponed due to the Sep. 11 terrorist attacks. The Seminoles have averaged 39 points a game in November, up from 18 in September and 17 in October and as noted, face a War Hawks team which just allowed 781 yards at home! Lay it!