San Diego State vs. Ohio, 8 PM EST, Weds. December 19, ESPN
San Diego State vs. Ohio pick:
San Diego State started off the year with a mark of 7-2, but the team’s late season swoon relegated them to fourth place in the MW-West division. Quite simply, it was a missed opportunity for the Aztecs, as they scored victories over a number of top programs in the early going, including a 28-21 win over Arizona State and a 19-13 victory over Boise State.
Ohio had a rough go of things versus non-conference opponents while going 2-2, but they fared much better against familiar foes and finished up with a mark of 6-2 in MAC play. They would finish out the year with a record that matched MAC-East division rival Miami-Ohio, but both would come up one game short of division winner Buffalo, who went 7-1 in conference play.
|Record||Conf. Rec.||PF||PA||Streak||Standings||CFP Rank|
|San Diego State||7-5||4-4||268||261||L3||4-MW West||NA|
After opening up the season with a 31-10 loss to Stanford, who entered the contest ranked #13, San Diego State caught fire and won seven of the next eight. The aforementioned victories over Arizona State and Boise State were the clear highlights of the run, which also included victories over rival San Jose State and Air Force. The three-game skid to close out the season was certainly frustrating after a promising start, especially when you consider that San Diego State lost those three games by a combined 13 points.
It looked like it was going to be an average year for Ohio when the team hit the halfway pole with a record of 3-3. Two of the early losses came on the road at Virginia and Cincinnati, but it was a disappointing start nonetheless. However, fortunes changed from that point, as the Bobcats closed out the year by winning five of its final six, a stretch which included a big 52-17 victory over Buffalo.
|San Diego State||22.3||162.4||191.6||21.8||94.5||232.9|
These two teams bring vastly different styles to the table. Ohio has a high-powered offense which averages a whopping 41.2 points per game , but the team has a defense that resides in the neighborhood of average to below average. San Diego State has a stout defense, but the club lacks firepower on offense.
Pressure for is even, but Ohio is clearly better at protecting its own signal caller. Balls have been definitely bouncing the Bobcats way in 2018, but the same can’t be said for the Aztecs and the team’s negative turnover differential on the year. Penalties are essentially even for these two teams which bring contrasting approaches on the field to the table.
This will be the first meeting of these two programs, but both teams have recent bowl history to examine. Ohio has gone bowling in each of the last three seasons, going 1-2 over that span. Last year, they faced off with UAB in the Bahamas Bowl. The Bobcats were 6.5-point favorites entering the game, but that proved to be off the mark as they blew the doors off of UAB to the tune of 41-6.
San Diego State has also qualified for bowl play in each of the last three years, winning two of them. Last December, they faced off with Army in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Aztecs were favored by 6.5 points at kickoff, but they wound up falling to the Knights by a score of 42-35. While that outcome was a disappointment, the Aztecs secured double-digit victories over Cincinnati and Houston in the team’s previous two bowl appearances.
This is the second edition of the Frisco Bowl. Last year, Conference USA’s Louisiana Tech faced off with SMU of the American Athletic Conference. While SMU took the field as 4-point favorites, they certainly didn’t play like it. Louisiana Tech cleaned their clocks by a final margin of 51-10. That game had a projected total of 70.5 points, a number which proved to be too lofty.
Appalachian State has a distraction to deal with which may impact team mindset heading The meeting of contrasting styles has led to this year’s Over/Under being muted, with oddsmakers currently setting the bar at 54 points. If we use that benchmark to project out a game script for both sides, it suggests that the high-powered Bobcats offense may have some trouble with the stout Aztecs defense.
While that may be the case, Ohio can offset that by handling a less-than-prolific San Diego State offense when their own defensive unit is on the field. We don’t expect the Bobcats to march up and down the field and match the team’s average of 41.2 points per game, but if the Aztecs can’t give the unit a breather by keeping them off the field with sustained drives, we like their chances to break through and do enough to win and cover.
We’ll take Ohio minus the field goal.