Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl takes place on Saturday on the blue turf at Boise State's Bronco Stadium. Buffalo travels from New York to play San Diego State.
The Bulls, 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the Mid-American Conference, come in having lost two of their last three games. The victory came over winless Miami (Ohio). In fact, their five other league wins were at the expense of teams with a combined record of 15-45. In addition, their only other triumph came in five overtimes against Stony Brook.
San Diego State (7-5) began the season losing its first three games. However, the Aztecs wound up winning seven of their final nine with one of the losses coming in overtime to Fresno State. They played three other overtime games and won all three. Given that, if this game is close at the finish, look for them to pull out the victory.
Buffalo has had a tremendous regular season going from 4-8 a year ago to 8-4. However, its easy schedule provided most of the team's glory. Look for the Bulls to come up short against the Aztecs.
Take San Diego State (pick) in the first of three three-star plays.
Also on Saturday, Tulane and Louisiana square off in the New Orleans Bowl in the Superdome, where the Green Wave play their home games. They went 5-1 in those six games this season and the one loss came by just two points back in early September.
Tulane went from 2-10 in 2012 to 7-5 this season despite ranking 102nd nationally in rushing and 104th in passing. The defense was the difference as opponents rushed for just 120 yards per game on 3.1 yards per carry. Those are important numbers because Louisiana will focus on its ground attack as quarterback Terrance Broadway is expected to miss the contest.
Both teams faltered down the stretch as Tulane went 1-3 in its last four games while the Ragin' Cajuns lost their last two. However, all three Green Wave losses came on the road and the club went 3-1 ATS in those matchups. Meanwhile, Louisiana has not covered a game since Oct. 22.
Take Tulane minus 2.5 points.
Finally, Utah State meets Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 26.
The Aggies lost to Fresno State by a touchdown in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game. They held the Bulldogs to 24 points. Only two other teams limited Fresno State to fewer than 30 points and they were San Diego State (35) and UNLV (38). That loss snapped a five-game winning streak in which the Aggies allowed just 51 points.
Northern Illinois was one win away from a trip to a BSC bowl game but lost by 20 points in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game to Bowling Green. Playing in a minor bowl a day after Christmas is not what this team envisioned much earlier in the month.
Take Utah State plus 1.5 points.
There are no selections this week.
There are no selections this week.
THIS YEAR'S RECORD
The regular season record wound up at 90-82-3 after a 4-4 mark in Week 15. I lost my sole five-star play, so the overall record finished up at 12-8. The three-star selections went 2-0 for a 20-18-1 total. The two-star choices were 1-2 for a 37-32 overall mark and the one-star plays went 1-1 for a 21-24-2 total.
THIS WEEK'S JEFF FRANK "DIRTY DOZEN"
1) Florida State, 116.5; 2) Alabama, 107; 3) Baylor, 103.5; 4) Stanford, 103; 5) Oregon, 102.5; 6) Oklahoma State, 101.5; 7) Arizona State, 101; 8-T) Auburn, Michigan State and Wisconsin, 100.5; 11) Ohio State, 100; 12-T) Clemson and LSU, 98.5
(The Dirty Dozen is not a reflection of a given team's won-loss record. It is based on power ratings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the beginning of the season, all FBS teams are assigned a power number, which changes on a week-to-week basis depending on the results of the previous week.)