2006 Liberty Bowl Preview and Pick

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2006 Liberty Bowl Preview and Pick ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

Houston Cougars (10-3) +5.5, o/u 56 vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (7-5) on Friday, December 29, 2006 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN
by Ultimatecapper.com Staff

The Houston Cougars come into this game riding a 6 game winning streak. They have averaged 34.3 per game in those 6 games.

The South Carolina Gamecocks have won their last 2 games, including a season finale win against in state rival Clemson by a score of 31-28.

The Cougars, champions of Conference USA, will be making their 2nd straight bowl appearance as they were defeated by Kansas last year by a score of 42-13.

The Gamecocks, tied for 5th in the Southeastern East Division, will be also be making their 2nd straight bowl appearance as they were defeated by Missouri last year by a score of 38-31.

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These two teams have no recent matchups and did not face any common opponents this season.

Houston was 8-4 against the spread this season. South Carolina was 8-3 against the number this year.

The Cougars are led by Senior QB Andre Woodson who had a terrific season. He is completing 67.7% of his passes and has thrown for 3,423 yards this season. He has thrown for 27 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions this season.

The Gamecocks are led by Junior QB Blake Mitchell who has a 67.1% completion rate and has thrown for 1,466 yards this season. He has 6 touchdowns and has thrown 5 interceptions.

Houston averages 171 yards rushing per game and their defense allows 140 yards rushing per game. South Carolina is being outrushed by their opponents by a margin of 141-148.

The Cougars rank 11th in scoring offense in Division 1 (out of 119 teams) by averaging 32.8 points per game. South Carolina is ranked 53rd in scoring offense by averaging 25.2 points per game.

Houston is ranked 7th in total yards per game with 439.8 yards per game. South Carolina is ranked 28th with an average of 385.2 yards per game.

The Cougars defense is ranked 53rd giving up an average 21.9 points per game. The Gamecocks’ defense is ranked 22nd giving up an average 17.2 points per game.

Houston’s defense is ranked 66th in total yards by giving up an average of 339.1 yards per game. South Carolina is ranked 46th giving up 321.0 yards per game.

Houston averages 6.6 yards per play while giving up an average of 5.4 yards per play. South Carolina averages 6.3 YPP while giving up 5.4 YPP.

The Over/Under is 8-4 in Houston games this season, 7-4 in South Carolina games.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rank the Cougars #50 at 74.25. South Carolina ranks #26 at 81.25.

The opening line on this game was South Carolina -7 with a total of 56. The line has moved down to South Carolina -5.5 while the total has stayed the same. At the time of this writing the betting public was backing South Carolina by a margin of 69%-31%.

The Ultimatecapper Prediction: We expect this to be a very close game so we suggest a wager on the Cougars plus the points in this game. We like the fact that the line has moved down despite the large consensus on the favored Gamecocks.

South Carolina 24 Houston 23

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Jay has been watching and following sports since he could walk and turned to betting in his late teens. His favorite sport is MLB and has been producing winners on UltimateCapper for almost 15 years. Follow Jay's free sports picks and enjoy the winners.