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The 2011 bowl schedule kicks off on Saturday in Albuquerque, where the Temple Owls and Wyoming Cowboys will both look to make for successful New Mexico Bowl picks.
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New Mexico Bowl Matchup: Temple Owls vs. Wyoming Cowboys
New Mexico Bowl Date/Time: Saturday, December 17th, 2:00 ET
New Mexico Bowl Location: University Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
New Mexico Bowl Odds: Temple -7
New Mexico Bowl Total: 48
New Mexico Bowl TV Coverage: ESPN, ESPN3.com
On one blush, these two teams look a heck of a lot like one another. They both love to run the football, and they both have the tendency to be able to come up with big games when they truly matter most. That being said, both also lost their most important games of the year, games that cost them league titles and put them both into questionable bowl standing this year. Temple was particularly lucky to get into a bowl game even though it went 8-4, as that was the exact same record that it was left out of a bowl game with last year.
However, there are some tremendous differences between these two teams as well. Temple really tries to take the air out of the football, and it routinely possesses the pigskin for at least 35 minutes seemingly every single game. When it doesn’t, it knows that it is in a lot of trouble. The Owls do run some Wildcat offense with QB Chris Coyer calling the shots, but for the most part, it’s a smash mouth game with RBs Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown. These two combined for a whopping 2,248 rushing yards and 30 TDs this year, with Pierce finding the end zone a MAC-best 25 times. The Owls average running the ball over 48 times per game, and as a result, they have no problems putting up some of the best defensive numbers in, not just the MAC, but the entire nation as well. The Owls rank No. 3 in the land in scoring defense at 13.8 points per game.
Wyoming is supposedly going to be behind the 8-ball because of the fact that it uses a freshman quarterback in QB Brett Smith and that it has a rush defense that ranks No. 115 in the land. Sure, that run defense definitely scares us, but we know that the Cowboys can score some points. Smith ran the ball 122 times for 666 yards and 10 TDs this year, and he even caught a TD pass as well. He threw for 2,495 yards and 18 scores against eight picks. The future is definitely bright for this program to say the least. Meanwhile, names like RB Alvester Alexander and WR Chris McNeill both have the ability to put forth fantastic efforts offensively.
In the end, just because there is going to be a ton of running the football in this game doesn’t mean that there won’t be a healthy amount of points. Don’t kid yourself about the Temple defense, as it isn’t as good as its numbers suggest, and it was had a number of times this year in MAC games. Wyoming will score its points as well, and the end result will see at least 50 points hitting the board.
Free New Mexico Bowl Pick: Temple/Wyoming Over 48
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