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WRNL Bowl-a-Thon: Round 4

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.

Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation 2014 College Football Guide

Popeye's Bahamas Bowl

Wednesday, December 24rd at 12:00 PM ET. Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau , Bahamas. ESPN

Central Michigan Chippewas (7-5, 5-3 MAC) @ Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (7-5, 4-4 C-USA)

Line: W Kentucky -3.5

Hurray! Another new bowl we have no history with, yet are expected to care about. Merry Christmas! This variation features more MAC/C-USA action as the Chippewas of Central Michigan meet the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky to revive their recent, but blood thirsty, post-season rivalry. Too much? Maybe.

Any who, the Chips are playing their 8th bowl game all time and look to put it to the Toppers (are they called that? I think they can be, right?) like they did in The Great Pizza Bowl game of 2012. The Toppers (I'm officially making this a thing now) are entering their 4th bowl game all time and are seeking revenge for their only bowl blemish.

The Numbers:

The Chips are a bit old school using their 16th ranked defense to lock down opponents, only surrendering 23.2 ppg. They are solid against both the run and the pass, but overall sit middle of the pack with an F+ ranking of 67. My guess is this is due to competition level as their non-conference schedule followed an SEC-esque blueprint (Chattanooga, Purdue, Syracuse and Kansas).  The last three on that list are basically the same team with only geographical differences between them. Don't get too excited about the Chips on offense because they don't do anything well.

The Toppers are pretty one-dimensional. They will pass to score and do it a lot. They rank 6th in both scoring and total offense which they do all through the air (3rd ranked passing team). Senior QB Brandon Doughty leads the attack and has a posted 163.55 QB rating this season. Kids got skills, yo, which is good since their defense doesn't do anything well.

One Random Fact:

Western Kentucky is in Bowling Green, KY. Not to be confused with Bowling Green, MO or VA or OH. The later of course is where Bowling Green State University is located. The Toppers of Bowling Green, KY beat the Falcons of Bowling Green, OH the first game of the season. I propose we let the winner of this contest keep the rights to the name "Bowling Green University" while the loser carries the moniker "Loser-U" until they win. I would watch that game every year.

The Vegas Edge:

Neither of these teams was a sure thing from a betting standpoint. CMU went 5-7 ATS; WKU 6-6. As a favorite with a line under 6.5 the Toppers were 0-1 ATS. As a dog with a similar line the Chips went 1-3. Not surprising the Toppers were 8-3-1 against the total where the Chips went 4-8. Have fun with this one.

The Sweatpants Verdict:

I had this game pretty high on my confidence point list in the bowl pick 'em over on Yahoo, and even higher in my ATS pool. I like the Toppers a lot in this game. The Chips played no one and got throttled by Kansas. Not that the Toppers played a murder's row, but in a toss-up game give me the team with a top ten specialty. Toppers 42 - 31.

CyClown Says:

My friend, @Prodsweatpants, is a "Topper", always trying to one up me in life. Let's go Chippewas!

Hawai'i Bowl

Wednesday, December 24rd at 8:00 PM ET. Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI. ESPN

Fresno State Bulldogs (6-7, 5-3 MW) @ Rice Owls (7-5, 5-3 C-USA)

Line: Rice -2.5

The Hawai'i Bowl (aka Hawai'i University's last home game during the June Jones era) pits the Mountain West against either the Pac-12 or C-USA. This year we are somehow treated to a Mountain West team with a losing record facing the 3rd place C-USA team.

Fresno enters their 26th bowl game with a 13-12 all-time record. Despite a sub .500 record, the Bulldogs stamped their ticket to the islands by somehow winning the Mountain West's West Division before losing the title game to Boise State.

Rice, who might be better known for their baseball program, enters their 11th bowl game looking to build upon their 6-4 all-time record.

The Numbers:


Honestly. Just look at these numbers:

Fresno: 73rd scoring O, 45th rushing O, 58th passing O and 57th total O. 101st scoring D. 104th rush D. 95th pass D and 11th in total D. F+ rankings 105th and 103th.

Rice: 68th, 58th, 71st and 73rd in scoring, rush, pass and total O. 91st, 47th 92nd and 66th in scoring, rush, pass and total D. F+ rankings 65th and 115th.

And this is a bowl game. Christ almighty. Good thing the Eastern seaboard won't be able to stay up for this thing.

One Random Fact:

Rice was the last coaching destination for John Heisman. Yes, that Heisman.

The Vegas Edge:

Fresno was just above .500 ATS at 7-6. Rice faired a little better at 8-4. They were virtually the same against the total at 7-6 and 7-5 respectively. That said, the total is 59 and in lines of this size they went a combined 9-3.

The Sweatpants Verdict:

This bad boy is my 3rd least confident game in the site's pool. Mostly because I have no desire to even acknowledge this game exists, let alone have to watch it for any reason. I think Rice will win, but don't expect them to cover. Rice 31 - 30

CyClown Says:

I will be watching A Christmas Story on TBS during the majority of this broadcast, so someone fill me in on the details Christmas morning, if you would be so kind. Thanks.