Miami FL (6-6) vs Louisiana Tech (9-3)
When: Thursday, December 26th 2019
Where: Independence Stadium,
Time: 4:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Miami FL -7.5/49
It’s been yet another disappointing season down in south Florida as the Miami Hurricanes limped home to a 6-6 regular season, earning a trip to the small Independence Bowl. They’ll try and pump themselves up to take on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, who’s fans won’t have to travel far for this contest on December 26th in Shreveport, La. Neither team finished very strong but it was Miami who closed out with consecutive defeats versus non-power 5 school Florida International (30-24) and ACC foe Duke (27-17). The Hurricanes enter their Independence Bowl matchup with Louisiana Tech with a dismal 1-8 mark in their past nine bowl games after last year’s ugly 35-3 setback against Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Bulldogs are in position to record the school’s first 10-win season since 1984 and they have won five bowls in a row – tied with Wisconsin for the longest active streak in the nation. They have also averaged 42.4 points and 471 yards in those games. Louisiana Tech suffered back-to-back losses to Marshall (31-10) and UAB (20-14) before bouncing back to defeat Texas-San Antonio 41-27 in the regular-season finale. Miami has won all four meetings against LA Tech, but the last one came in 2004. This will be the Bulldogs fourth trip to the Independence Bowl (2-1-1) and last played here in 2008 when they beat Northern Illinois 17-10.
Much of the Hurricanes’ problem this season has been the inconsistent play of quarterbacks Jarren Williams (2,093 yards, 19 TDs) and N’Kosi Perry (993 yards, eight TDs). Head coach Manny Diaz declared the battle open for the starting job in the Independence Bowl after Williams was under center in the final two games – both losses. It didn’t help that the quarterbacks had a weak offensive line along with a ground game that ranks dead last in the ACC (116.5 yards per game), and it will be without injured starter and leading rusher DeeJay Dallas (693 yards). Miami could also be without leading receiver in terms of yards, tight end Brevin Jordan (35 receptions, 495 yards), while wideout Jeff Thomas (31 catches, 379 yards) has been ruled out. The defense ranks 13th in the country (307.8) and allow 20.8 points a game, but surrendered 57 points in the final two contests. The ‘Canes rank fourth in the nation in tackles for loss per game (8.6) and sixth in sacks per contest (3.58).
Redshirt senior quarterback J’Mar Smith missed the two late season losses as he was suspended for violating athletic department policy, but still managed to throw for 2,814 yards and 17 touchdowns with just four interceptions to earn the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year award. The offense averages 28.0 points a game despite scoring a total of 24 points in the two late losses and ranks 30th in FBS in total offense (445.2). The Bulldogs let up a lot of yards through the air (247.8), but are third in the nation in stopping opponents inside the red zone, giving up scores just 64.7 percent of the time. Junior cornerback Amik Robertson leads the defense with five interceptions including three versus Southern Miss in Week 8.
Miami is awful in Bowl games and probably won’t have much motivation for this one. Louisiana Tech has been terrific under Skip Holtz in these situations and I say they come away with a victory here.
Pick: Louisiana Tech +6 (Jay Cooper’s Free Bowl Picks)
Bulldogs are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 bowl games.
Bulldogs are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Bowl games.
Bulldogs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.
Bulldogs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games on grass.
Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
Bulldogs are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games in December.
Bulldogs are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
Bulldogs are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games as an underdog.
Bulldogs are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. ACC.
Hurricanes are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Hurricanes are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite.
Hurricanes are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.
Hurricanes are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games in December.
Hurricanes are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 neutral site games.
Hurricanes are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 Bowl games as a favorite.
Hurricanes are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games as a favorite.
Hurricanes are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 bowl games.
Hurricanes are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 Bowl games.
Under is 8-1 in Bulldogs last 9 games following a ATS loss.
Under is 5-1 in Bulldogs last 6 games on grass.
Under is 9-2 in Bulldogs last 11 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
Under is 7-2 in Bulldogs last 9 neutral site games.
Under is 6-2 in Bulldogs last 8 games as an underdog.
Under is 5-2 in Bulldogs last 7 bowl games.
Under is 5-2 in Bulldogs last 7 Bowl games.
Over is 14-6 in Bulldogs last 20 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
Under is 15-7 in Bulldogs last 22 games overall.
Under is 5-0-1 in Hurricanes last 6 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
Over is 3-0-1 in Hurricanes last 4 games as a favorite.
Under is 8-1-2 in Hurricanes last 11 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
Under is 6-1 in Hurricanes last 7 games in December.
Under is 5-1 in Hurricanes last 6 bowl games as a favorite.
Under is 5-1 in Hurricanes last 6 bowl games.
Under is 5-1 in Hurricanes last 6 Bowl games.
Under is 13-3 in Hurricanes last 16 neutral site games.
Under is 7-2 in Hurricanes last 9 vs. CUSA.
Under is 6-2-2 in Hurricanes last 10 games following a ATS loss.
Under is 9-3 in Hurricanes last 12 vs. a team with a winning record.
Over is 5-2 in Hurricanes last 7 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
Under is 5-2 in Hurricanes last 7 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.
Under is 5-2-2 in Hurricanes last 9 games following a straight up loss.
Under is 5-2 in Hurricanes last 7 neutral site games as a favorite.
Under is 5-2 in Hurricanes last 7 Thursday games.