Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Steve Addazio signed a contract extension to keep him with Boston College through 2020. If the former Temple coach intends to stay in Chestnut Hill that long, he needs to start winning some bowl games.
Last season, the Eagles were blown out by Arizona (42-19) in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl as the Wildcats limited Andre Williams to just 75 yards on 26 carries after he rushed for 2,177 yards during the regular season. Arizona finished last year only 69th nationally in rushing defense while allowing over four yards per carry.
This season, Boston College ran the ball 73 percent of the time, a much higher number than the 66 percent in 2013. If Arizona can hold the Eagles to 145 rushing yards on 3.2 yards per carry, imagine what Penn State's defense will do to Boston College's running game in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Saturday.
The Nittany Lions are No. 1 nationally in rushing defense, allowing opponents just 85 yards per game. They also led the country in yards allowed per carry at 2.56. If Boston College's ground game is stalled and the Eagles have to resort to passing, the prospects of Tyler Murphy having a decent game are slim because the former Florida quarterback is averaging 127 yards per game through the air with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Furthermore, he completed only 57 percent of his passes, which is not a good sign as the Nittany Lions play the pass almost as well as the run. They are 10th nationally in pass defense and tied with Ole Miss for the lead among all teams in the Power 5 conferences with just eight passing touchdowns allowed.
Boston College played a similar defensive team (Clemson) earlier this year and scored 13 points in a four-point home loss. The Eagles compiled just 263 total yards and completed only 2-of-14 third-down chances.
On the other side, Penn State also will have its hands full running the ball because Boston College's run defense is ranked fourth nationally, giving up 96 yards per game. Unfortunately, the Eagles defense is not as effective against the pass, allowing a 62 percent completion percentage versus a weak bunch of quarterbacks.
Nittany Lions signal caller Christian Hackenberg has had a disappointing campaign as a sophomore, but a lot of that was due to a very young and inexperienced offensive line. However, with Miles Dieffenbach and the rest of the linemen having a few extra weeks of practice, the unit should at least be able to handle Boston College's defensive front.
Don't forget, Penn State allowed just seven sacks in their final three games (2.3 sacks per game) of the regular season after opposing teams compiled 35 sacks over the first nine games (3.8 sacks per game).
Penn State did not expect to go bowling when the season began, but since the sanctions were lifted, look for the Nittany Lions to be all business when they hit the field. In addition, Boston College has lost its last four bowl games after winning eight in a row.
Take Penn State plus 2.5 points in the first of three three-star plays.
On Monday, two old Southwest Conference rivals - Texas and Arkansas - square off in the Texas Bowl. Even though the Razorbacks lost their first five SEC games, they still made it to the postseason with a 6-6 mark, which included shutout victories over LSU and Ole Miss.
Still, their one-dimensional offense is not an overwhelming unit considering it averaged just 21 points per game against the eight bowl-bound teams on their schedule. It is true SEC defenses are tough to score against, but so is Texas' defense. Playing in an offensive conference, the Longhorns are 33rd nationally in scoring defense and 25th in total defense.
Arkansas also sports a very good defense as evidenced by its two shutouts in SEC play. Furthermore, the Hogs are 16th nationally in scoring defense and 23rd in total defense.
This game has all the makings of a defensive struggle with the underdog covering the spread. Texas is not as bad as its 6-6 record as five of the losses came against teams ranked in the top 12 the week of the games. The Longhorns have won four of their last six and there is a good chance Jaxson Shipley will play after missing the TCU game.
Take under 45.5 points and Texas plus six points.
Take over 66.5 in the Quick Lane Bowl between Rutgers and North Carolina, under 67 in the Liberty Bowl between West Virginia and Texas A&M, under 52.5 points in the Russell Athletic Bowl between Clemson and Oklahoma, and under 48 in the Foster Farms Bowl between Maryland and Stanford.