Houston vs. Army -3.5 (o/u 59.5)
It’s quite amazing that a team can finish the regular season ranked 12th in the nation for total offense (528.6 YPG) and yet finish no better than 5th in its conference. That’s exactly what happened to the Houston Cougars (8-4), a member of the explosive American Athletic Conference. Heading into the last four games of the season, the Cougars were able to break into the top 20 of the national rankings. Unfortunately, they loss 3 or its final 4 games with the defense giving up 52 PPG in the 3 losses. The star of the offense was D’Eriq King who complied 2,982 yards passing and 36 TDs against only 6 interceptions before getting injured midway through the second to last game of the season. King also rushed for 684 yards and 14 TDs while in the running for the Heisman. King will be replaced by Clayton Tune (565/7/2) for this game.
For the second season in a row, the Army Black Knights (10-2) piled up 10 wins and took down the prestigious Commander’s Trophy to earn a right to represent the nation’s military academies in this game. Army had the worst passing attack in the country with only 79.7 YPG passing. As one would expect, they came back with one of the top rushing attacks in the country, ranking 9th with just over 296 YPG. The highlight of the season was a narrow 28-21 loss to #2 Oklahoma in Oklahoma. It’s worth noting that the Sooners had the top offense in the country, something that didn’t intimidate a fine Army defense.
Handicapping a game that includes a significant injury demands caution. As good as King might be, Houston has an offensive system that works season after season. The problem for the Cougars is they have difficulty defending the run and not many teams do that better than the Black Knights.
Prediction: If King were on the field, the o/u would be in the mid-70s. It’s quite possible the Houston offensive system is good enough to flatter a talented QB like Tune, who has had 5 weeks to work with the starting offense. Army will run through a porous Houston defensive front line. Play the over 59.5