Matchup: Colorado State vs. Utah (Utah -2.5, 57.5 at JustBet)
Date/Time: Saturday, December 20th @ 2:20 pm (EST)
Location: Las Vegas, NV (Airing on ESPN)
Preview: The Utah Utes out of the PAC-12 take on the Colorado State Rams out of the Mountain West in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.
The Utes come in to Saturday’s matchup with an 8-4 record and a pretty impressive resume with quality wins over UCLA, Stanford, and USC. They’re a tough physical team that plays smash mouth football and possess a stout defense. Their offense is averaging 177 yards rushing per game behind leading rusher Devontae Booker. They might have lost 3 out of their last 4 games, but those losses were against impressive opponents in Oregon, Arizona State, and Arizona.
The Colorado State Rams come in with a 10-2 record and have one of the better offenses in the country. The only 2 blemishes on their record are a 37-24 loss to Boise State and a 27-24 loss to Air Force in the regular season finale. The Rams are 8th in the nation in passing yards averaging 326 yards per game behind the arm of Garrett Grayson. Their main weapon on offense is wide receiver Rashard Higgins. Higgins is a problem for defenses, with 1640 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns. The Rams defense has allowed 5.62 yards per play, and 414.8 yards per game.
I’m recommending a play on Utah on Saturday afternoon. Colorado State’s head coach Jim McElwain has left for Florida, and that might leave people wondering where this team is mentally. Utah will be up for this bowl having missed out on postseason play the past 2 years. Utah is battle tested and has the nations best pass rush, which I think will slow down the Rams offense. When two teams with contrasting styles lock horns, I lean to the team that’s more physical and that control the pace of the game. Utah is that team; they have the better team and the better coach. This will be quite the step up in competition for Colorado State, and I think they get handled on Saturday.
2014 Las Vegas Bowl Pick: Utah -2.5, Under 57.5
2014 Las Vegas Bowl Score Prediction: Utah 28 – Colorado State 20