Tradition Rich They Are Not

By Adam Caparell - December 29, 2007

There aren't very many secrets to the success of both Wake Forest and UConn who find themselves in the Meineke Car Care Bowl this afternoon.

The two teams who are not exactly used to bowling - this is UConn's second ever bowl game and Wake is bowling for a second consecutive season for the first time ever - have found their way to Charlotte where we'll see an emphasis on the run and a low scoring game, especially considering we could see some rain during the game.

UConn will be relying on running backs Donald Brown and Andre Dixon to carry them to the team's 10th victory and a potential spot in the final Top 25, a goal Huskies coach Randy Edsall would love to achieve. QB Tyler Lorenzen isn't a huge threat to beat you with his arm, but can make throws when needed.

"I think the problem we've got with Connecticut is that they have the ability to pass or run the ball really well and that's what drives defenses crazy," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said.

On the other side of the ball, UConn will have to contend with Wake QB Riley Skinner and his favorite targert Kenneth Moore. Wake has the more established passing game, but they've always been a program who has relied on establishing the run first and foremost. So look for the Deacons to try and rack up some rushing yards on the Huskies who are allowing 159 yards per game on the ground.

But when you get down to it this will be a game predicated on the play of the respective defenses. Both teams are ranked in the top 38 nationally in defense while both offenses leave something to be desired (UConn owns the 84th ranked offense in the country, Wake the 97th). The two defenses can force turnovers and take advantage of the other team's mistakes. So who's the pick?

The Line: -2 Wake Forest
O/U: 48

If I Were A Betting Man: UConn and the under. You're not going to see a lot of points in this one, especially if it starts raining in Charlotte. But I think UConn's magical season continues. The team who wins the turnover battle most certainly wins this game. UConn's defense will keep Wake's running game in check.

As for the day's other two bowl games...

Liberty Bowl - UCF vs. Mississippi State
The Line: -3 UCF
O/U: 56

If I Were A Betting Man: UCF and the under. No secret what UCF is going to do in this one. Hand it off to the nation's leading rusher - Kevin Smith - at least 30 times and let him carry them to a win. So can Mississippi State stop Smith's assualt on Barry Sanders' single season rushing record (he's only 180 yards away from breaking it)? The Bulldogs are planning on stacking the box against Smith. But Smith is as tough to tackle as anyone we've seen and he's going to get yards against a rushing defense that wasn't particularly impressive this season.

Alamo Bowl - Penn State vs. Texas A&M
The Line: -5.5 Penn State
O/U: 51

If I Were A Betting Man: Penn State and the under. Joe Paterno is 22-10-1 all-time in bowl games and rule No. 1 when picking bowl winners is to never go against Joe. One cause for concern is how bad the Nittany Lions have played on the road, compared to home this year, but as long as Anthony Morelli can pass for around 200 yards - not always a given with his erratic play - then Penn State should win. They were 7-1 in games this season when he threw for at least 195 yards. And the Aggies are awful against the pass.

Bowl Season: 2-9 ATS | 8-3 O/U. Finally, a few wins ATS to go along with a scintillating O/U record.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 12:18 PM on December 29, 2007

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