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The first annual New Era Pinstripe Bowl was one of the best bowl games of the season last year, and it has to hope that it can get just as good of a game again this time around. We’re set to make our Pinstripe Bowl picks in the clash between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Iowa State Cyclones.
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Pinstripe Bowl Matchup: Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Iowa State Cyclones
Pinstripe Bowl Date/Time: Friday, December 30th, 3:20 ET
Pinstripe Bowl Location: New Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
Pinstripe Bowl Odds: Rutgers -1.5
Pinstripe Bowl Total: 44.5
Pinstripe Bowl TV Coverage: ESPN, ESPN3.com
Rutgers is going to be the de facto home team in this game, as the trip to the Bronx is a heck of a lot shorter from Piscataway than from Ames. On top of that, the Scarlet Knights were never really a program that enjoyed all that much success, and though the team did finish a game out of the Big East title race and had a disappointing end of the season, the fans will clearly flock in bunches across town from the Garden State for this one.
Iowa State is probably one of the most improbable bowl teams this year, as the team was a 5-4 squad going into its last three games of the season at home against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Kansas State Wildcats, and the Oklahoma Sooners. That being said, the Cyclones came up with the big game against Okie State to ruin its National Championship dreams, and the team really did play well with covers in each of its final two games as well. The defense was really the difference, and the team is playing a heck of a lot better right now than ranking No. 99 in the nation at 432.0 yards per game and No. 82 in scoring at 29.6 points per game.
Of course, Rutgers’ defense was the reason that this team won eight games this year. It sure wasn’t the offense, that’s for sure. The team ranked No. 100 offensively at 336.5 yards per game, and a lot of the problems came on the ground when there just weren’t any rushers that were able to get the job done on a consistent basis. The passing game wasn’t fantastic with QBs Chas Dodd and Gary Nova, but the play of WR Mohamed Sanu covered up a lot of problems. Sanu caught over 100 passes this year and had 1,144 receiving yards. We know that he has the talent to be able to throw, run, catch, and return, but he was really only used as a receiver this year. That doesn’t mean that he won’t in this game though, and we would expect Head Coach Greg Schiano to deploy him accordingly.
Neither one of these teams are fantastic offensively, but this is a tremendous opportunity for both offenses to push a game past the ‘total’. We pretty much will blindly take any ‘over’ in the bowl season that is in the low 40s, especially if we really knew that weather wasn’t going to be a huge factor. It’s not going to take a heck of a lot for that to happen, and we have to imagine that both teams are going to pull enough tricks out of their hat to be able to push this one into at least the high-40s and probably at least the 50s. Remember just how crazy last year’s Pinstripe Bowl was… and those two teams were really expected to put on the same type of defensive spectacle as these two.
Free Pinstripe Bowl Pick: Rutgers/Iowa State Over 44.5
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