Ticket City Bowl Picks: Houston vs. Penn State 1/2/12

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It’s going to be odd to see the Houston Cougars and Penn State Nittany Lions share the same field, but that’s what they will do on January 2nd in the first college football game of 2012 when the two try to beat the Ticket City Bowl odds in Dallas.

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Ticket City Bowl Matchup: Houston Cougars vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Ticket City Bowl Date/Time: Monday, January 2nd, 12:00 ET
Ticket City Bowl Location: Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, TX
Ticket City Bowl Odds: Houston -7
Ticket City Bowl Total: 56.5
Ticket City Bowl TV Coverage: ESPNU

There is only one bowl game this year that isn’t on national television of some sort, and it seems like it is a shame that that game is the one that is the final in the career of QB Case Keenum. Keenum already has three seasons of at least 5,000 passing yards and has over 18,000 yards in his career, and he is going to hope to go out with a 13th win in his senior season. Keenum’s offense is out of this world, ranking No. 1 in the nation at a shade under 600 yards per game, and he is leading the only offense in America that is scoring over 50 points per game. Both WR Patrick Edwards and WR Justin Johnson are already over 1,000 receiving yards on the season, and WR Tyron Carrier could get there as well if he has 86 receiving yards in this game.

Of course the big question is how the Nittany Lions are going to fare in this one. The team is surely going to be conflicted in this one with all of the ridiculous off the field issues that are going on. The normal team wouldn’t be able to overcome losing a head coach during the season, especially when that head coach is the legendary Joe Paterno. The Jerry Sandusky scandal would rock any university to the core. However, To make matters worse, the team’s starting quarterback, QB Matt McGloin was involved in a locker room fight with one of his wide receivers and ended up in the hospital because of it with a concussion. He is going to be up in the air for this game until game time.

The real question in this one is going to be whether the Penn State defense, which was one of the best units in the Big Ten this year, is really capable of slowing down this pass happy offense. Historically, we haven’t really seen the Cougars or offenses that are similar in nature really be able to move the ball up and down the field against these BCS teams, and the fact that the Southern Miss Golden Eagles were able to really keep this unit down at MM Roberts Stadium in the Conference USA Championship Game worries us.

What we have seen a lot over the course of the last few weeks is that the Nittany Lions have played with a ton of heart. They haven’t given up even though their season could have been a certified train wreck, and we tend to think, even if McGloin doesn’t end up playing, that they have the ability to beat this Houston club even though the game is basically a home game. The offense for Penn State will have had over a month to try to move the ball on the Houston defense, and if UCLA could score 34 against this team at the outset of the season and both Louisiana Tech and Rice were able to duplicate the task (and UTEP score 42), there is no doubt that the Nittany Lions will find their way on the scoreboard. If the defense holds up, we tend to think that PSU can walk away with a victory in the Ticket City Bowl.

Free Ticket City Bowl Pick: Penn State +7

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Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Cappersinfo.com Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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