Head coach Mike Leach takes Washington State into the Sun Bowl after having a pretty nice season. The Cougars were right there in the hunt for the PAC 12 Championship and I think that is all you can really ask from Washington State right now. The signs are there, Mike Leach is starting to turn this program around. The only thing the Cougars can’t be too happy about is getting blown out by their rival Washington in the Apple Cup. Washington State probably would have stood a much better chance if they had starting quarterback Luke Falk in action. Falk was putting up giant numbers before he had to sit down with a concussion. The offense just wasn’t as quite smooth without Falk handling the snaps. Falk is quite the story, a walk on who came over to Washington State after spending some time in in the Ivy ranks at Cornell. He was calm and collected in Leach’s air raid offense, dishing the ball out for 4266 yards and 36 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Falk hasn’t played since November 11th so those numbers would have been bigger if he stayed healthy. The Cougars finished the season with a record of 8-4.
The 8-4 Hurricanes, or should I say, the 7-5 Miami Hurricanes. I say 7-5 because they should be 7-5 because of that lateral play at the end of the Duke game which shouldn’t have counted. Luckily that play didn’t have far reaching implications, like say something that could have determined the college football playoff. There would have been a little more controversy than just a 5 minute spiel on ESPN. As it is, the Hurricanes end up with a pretty good bowl draw in the Sun Bowl.
Miami is still trying to reclaim the days of when they were competing and winning National Championships. The Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jeremy Shockey teams that other teams were scared to play. Mind you, without the off the field antics that those teams were filled with. Miami hired Al Golden in 2015 to try and maintain a balance of productivity on the field while keeping their noses clean off the field. There weren’t many off the field problems with Miami recently, but they haven’t even been the best team in the state, let alone competing for National Championships. Miami will look for a win over a PAC 12 opponent to end the season on a high note in the Sun Bowl Saturday afternoon.
Miami Hurricanes vs. Washington State Sun Bowl Betting Odds:
vs. Washington State -2.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Miami vs. Washington State Pick:
Mike Leach has always been about spreading the defense out and passing the rock around the yard. Leach brought Texas Tech back on the map with the offense, and soon after, there were plenty more coaches taking a look at how the offense can be successful. I have seen this season, though, that Washington State has mixed in a bit of the run and it has worked. They only average 80 yards per game on the ground, but when they do run it they often catch teams a little off guard. The bread and butter of this team is the passing game, they have passed for an average of just under 400 yards per game. With Falk playing the entire season, I imagine it would have been over 400 yards. Washington State has averaged 32.4 points per game this season.
Washington State has had issues defending the run this season. They’re allowing 200 yards per game in that regard. Miami is rather average running the football, with 118 yards per game, but against the Cougars’ defense they could make it work. Miami has averaged 282 yards passing in 2015. Brad Kaaya has been relatively good for the U at quarterback, throwing for 15 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. In his last four games he went for 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Mike Leach in a bowl game? Look for the trickery and big plays in this game. This looks like it’s going to be a fun bowl game. Look for the points to come in often with the OVER 62 cashing.
PICK: OVER 62 POINTS (-110)