Miami Beach Bowl
Monday, December 22th at 2:00 PM ET. Marlins Park, Miami, FL. ESPN.
BYU Cougars (8-4) @ Memphis Tigers (9-3, 7-1 AAC)
Line: Memphis -2
The brand-spanking new Miami Beach Bowl features Independent BYU against AAC conference co-champion, Memphis. The bowl has ties to the AAC, C USA, MAC, Sun Belt and apparently BYU.
BYU heads to its 33rd bowl all time and first in Florida in almost 30 years. They look to bounce back from last year's Fight Hunger Bowl loss and I'm sure Mormons everywhere are geared up to take in all South Beach has to offer. Or, the parts of it that aren't restricted by their religion, at least.
This marks Memphis' 7th bowl appearance where they possess a .500 record. The Tigers have not played in the postseason game since 2008 and haven't won since 2005.
BYU is statistically solid on both sides of the ball as long as we ignore their pass defense. The offense is fairly balanced scoring 36.2 ppg. They are also pretty efficient with an F+ ranking of 36. Senior QB Christian Stewart has come into his own after taking over injured Taysom Hill in week 6. Defensively the Cougars will look to lock down the run, as they rank a paltry 112th in pass defense.
Memphis, on the other hand, seems focused on defense. Their 5th ranked scoring defense is giving up just 17.1 ppg. Aside from the 42 UCLA scored during their Week 2 matchup, they only surrendered more than 20 points twice (Ol' Miss, Houston). All three of those were losses. Senior LB Tank Jakes (you better believe they have a linebacker named Tank!) leads the Tigers in tackles and tackles for loss.
One Random Fact:
The OL coach for Memphis is named Vance Vice. Vance Vice. That dude needs a head coaching gig and soon.
The Vegas Edge:
The line has switched favorites since opening with BYU seceding its one point advantage to Memphis at the time of print. More than likely, it will move some more before this line is closed considering it is the only action of the day. The Cougars finished 5-7 ATS on the year and have gone over 8 out of 12 games. Memphis is better ATS at 7-4-1 and have surprisingly gone 7-5 against the total.
The Sweatpants Verdict:
This is another pretty good match up. Should be tight. But that Memphis defense has been pretty nasty all year. Yes, yes competition level. Don't care. All things being equal they're still good. Memphis makes enough plays on offense to squeak out the win. Memphis 33 - 27.
I ate barbecue in Memphis this past summer. Was very disappointing. Go Cougars.