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WRNL Bowl-a-Thon: Round 3

I've enlisted my friend and fellow Las Vegas Native, Twitter handle @Prodsweatpants, to assist me this Bowl Season. We will bring you coverage of all bowl action from beginning to end.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation 2014 College Football Guide

Boca Raton Bowl

Tuesday, December 23rd at 6:00 PM ET. FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL. ESPN

Marshall Thundering Herd (12-1, 7-1 C-USA) @ Northern Illinois Huskies (11-2, 7-1 MAC)

Line: Marshall -10

It's our second straight night of inaugural bowl games. The Old New Yorker Retirees Boca Raton Bowl has conference affiliations with the MAC, C-USA and AAC. This year's edition features a championship showdown between the winners from C-USA and the MAC. The perfect meal for a Tuesday evening.

Marshall forfeited their bid for a big-bowl payday when they lost in OT to Western Kentucky by a single point. They make their first bowl appearance since 2002 and look to bolster their already impressive 8-3 bowl record.

NIU is playing in their 7th straight bowl appearance where they attempt to get their 6th overall victory in 15 tries.

The Numbers:

Marshall is a good team, statistically. Their 5th ranked scoring offense generated 45.1 ppg behind a balanced (7th rushing, 18th passing) offense that averaged 563.4 yds/game. Their F+ offense ranking (27th) finished just in front of USC. On the opposite side of the ball the Herd is solid as well. Ranked 30th in total D they are slightly better against the pass (24th) than runners (53rd) and held opponents to just 20.8 ppg. Senior QB Rakeem Cato captains the offense for the Herd. He'll look for ground support from junior RB Deven Johnson.

This isn't quite the same Huskie squad led by Jordan Lynch, but it's still an impressive bunch. The 47th ranked scoring offense averaged 32.2 ppg and looks to pound the ball ranking 14th in rushing vs 101st in passing. Carries will be split between senior RB Cameron Stingily and sophomore QB Drew Hare. Defensively they are pretty average across the board; ranking 37th, 58th, 61st and 55th in scoring, rush, pass and total defense.

One Random Fact:

Boca Raton is a small Florida city just north of Miami. The median age of Boca Raton residents is 45.4 years old. I'm guessing the after party for the victorious fan base will be shut down promptly at 10:00 PM.

The Vegas Edge:

Marshall is a heavy favorite at -10. I suspect this number will go up too. Marshall has a slight ATS edge going 8-5 to NIU's 7-6. They also went 8-3 ATS against teams with a winning record. Not to mention NIU is just 2-7 ATS in their last 9 December games. Surprisingly, NIU went 4-9 against the total where Marshall was 7-6. I don't think the over 64.5 total is a slam dunk.

The Sweatpants Verdict:

Every time I bet against the Huskies I get burned. I think it's because I almost went to school there and walked on to the football team. Or I'm just bad at betting. So I'm not going to do it. I think NIU's rushing offense will keep Marshall's offense off the field enough for them to cover the number. Marshall 42 - 33.

CyClown Says:

Why is Marshall's mascot a buffalo? Did thundering herds of buffalo ever roam the hills of West Virginia? Until this question is answered for me, I cannot in good faith bet on them. Let's go Huskies!

S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Tuesday, December 23rd at 9:30 PM ET. Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA. ESPN

Navy Midshipmen (7-5) @ San Diego State Aztecs (7-5, 5-3 MW)

Line: San Diego St -2.5

After two bowls new to the circuit, an old favorite brightens the flat screen for our viewing pleasure. This year's edition is actually a rematch of the 2010 game. Navy heads to its 20th bowl game all-time (8-10-1) while San Diego State is looking for its 7th victory in 13 bowl appearances after losing to Boise State in the Mountain West Championship game.

The Numbers:

Much like their service academy counterpart, Navy's offense is all about the triple option. Junior QB Keenan Reynolds holds the keys to the 2nd ranked rushing attack, where he and the offense average 34.5 ppg and over 350 rushing yards per game.  Their 87.6 passing yards on 10 attempts per game is nothing to be concerned with if you are an Aztec fan.  Defensively, the Midshipmen are average across the board and don't excel at one aspect defensively, yet may be susceptible to the run ironically enough.

The Aztecs are all about that D, bout that D, no offense (the kids have taken over the radio lately).  The 14th ranked scoring D limited their opponents to 20.1 ppg. They were decidedly better against the pass (19th) than the rush (42nd) and finished 60th in F+ defense. Sophomore LB Calvin Munson (N.T.M.) and senior LB Josh Gavert are going to be tested and may be the keys to the Aztecs slowing the Navy attack.

One Random Fact:

Did you know the Poinsettia is the most commonly word misspelled and mispronounced in the English language?*

The Vegas Edge:

Unlike our sea born military power, these Midshipman are 2.5 point underdogs. The total is set at 54. Navy was 5-6 ATS; SDSU 6-5-1. That said, Navy went 18-5 over their last 23 games opposite foes from the Mountain West.

The Sweatpants Verdict:

Remember what I said about betting against the service academies? I'm telling you do it at your own risk. I am not doing it. I'm not. And you can't make me. Navy not only covers but wins 31 - 30.

CyClown Says:

I love San Diego.

*I have no idea if this is true, but one could make a case.