BYU – 12.5 (o/u 49.5) vs. Western Michigan
When bowl season rolls around, it’s hard to forget the great BYU teams of the 1980s and early 90s with QBs like Jim McMahon, Marc Wilson, Steve Young and Robbie Bosco. Things have changes since then, but BYU is back for another appearance in a bowl game. On the season, BYU played through a tough schedule, ending up 6-6 and barely bowl-eligible. The highlight of the season was a 24-21 victory over the Big 10’s Wisconsin Badgers. If not for a decent defense that held opponents to just under 22 PPG, things would have been worse because of an anemic offense (204th in the NCAA) that struggled to put the ball in the endzone.
Western Michigan (7-5) is yet another representative from the underrated MAC conference. On the bright side, the Broncos fielded an offense that finished the season ranked 60th in the NCAA for total YPG. It’s also a positive that both the passing and rushing games were able to contribute equally to the offense’s success. The real stars of the offense were the rushing duo of LeVante Bellamy and Jamauri Bogan, who combined for a total of 1,884 yards rushing and 21 TDs. The team’s Achilles heel was a defense that gave up a staggering 51 PPG in its five losses. It’s notable that two of those losses were to top 15 teams, Syracuse and Michigan.
It’s really hard to imagine either of these teams coming into this game totally focused. BYU has the advantage of having played many games on the blue carpet in Boise, something that might distract the Broncos. On the field, neither team inspires excitement.
It was surprising to see the linemaker laid down a line of almost two touchdowns in favor of a team (BYU) that has trouble scoring. While strength of schedule is usually important when handicapping these kinds of games, the line seems a bit too high against a team that knows how to move the ball on the ground. Play Western Michigan +12.5