The 2011 college football bowl season begins this weekend with the Temple Owls (8-4) traveling to Albuquerque, NM to take on the Wyoming Cowboys (8-4) this Saturday afternoon (2:00pm ET). Temple won three straight games to close out the regular season, including a 34-16 win over Kent St. in their finale on November 25 to cover a 17 point line. Wyoming won their last game at Colorado St. by a score of 22-19, failing to cover a 6 point line in their finale on December 3. The Owls are 8-4 ATS this season, while the Cowboys are 7-5 ATS in 2011.
The Owls boast one of the top rushing attacks in the country, averaging 256.7 yards per contest on the ground to rank 7th among all FBS teams. Temple averages 30.1 points per contest (46th nationally) and 379.9 YPG overall (67th among FBS teams). The Temple defense ranks 3rd in the country in scoring defense with a measly 13.8 PPG allowed and 15th in total defense with an average of 315.5 YPG allowed. Wyoming averages 27 PPG on offense to rank 60th in the nation in that category, and the Cowboys rank 46th in total offense with an average of 400.3 YPG. Defensively Wyoming also gives up 27 PPG (66th nationally) and ranks a dismal 99th in total defense with 432.3 YPG allowed.
Temple vs. Wyoming Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Temple Owls -7
@Wyoming Cowboys +7
Over 50.5 (-110)
Under 50.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from www.5Dimes.com
New Mexico Bowl Spread Pick:
Temple is 10-1 ATS in their last 11 non-conference games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record. Wyoming is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games against a team with a winning record, and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall. The over is 4-0 in the Owls’ last 4 games overall and 4-0 in their last 4 games as a favorite. The over is 10-4 in Wyoming’s last 14 games on grass, and the under is 4-1 in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record. The two teams have no recent meetings, and last met in September of 1990 when the Cowboys won 38-23 at home, failing to cover a 16 point line. Wyoming won the New Mexico Bowl in 2009, outlasting Fresno St. in a 35-28 overtime win in that game.
Temple averaged over 32 PPG over their last 4 games, and has fared well against upper-level FBS teams, losing 14-10 to Penn St. to open the season. The Owls have shown some vulnerability against strong running teams, which Wyoming is, with an average of 186.8 YPG rushing to rank 32nd in the nation. Ohio U ran for 240 yards (5.7 YPC) in a 35-31 win over the Owls, and Toledo was able to run for 157 in their 36-13 win over Temple. All four of Wyoming’s losses have come against quality completion (Nebraska, Utah St., TCU and Boise St.), and the Cowboys are playing in a more familiar environment in Albuquerque where they will likely have more fan support and have many of the same players who were successful in their last trip to the game in 2009. Look for Wyoming to control the tempo of the game with dual-threat quarterback Brett Smith (2,495 yards passing with 18 TDs, 666 yards rushing with 10 TDs) at the controls and attempt to keep their weak defense off the field. Temple with their weak passing game (117th ranked in FBS with 123.2 YPG) does not have as diverse an offensive attack as Wyoming, which gives the Cowboys an advantage as an underdog in this game. Take Wyoming plus the points here.