Southern Methodist (0-11, 0-7 American) at Connecticut (2-9, 1-6 American)
This is UConn's senior day and it will be the first class since 2003 to leave school without having appeared in a bowl game. Hide your kids, hide your wife, because statistically speaking this could be one of the worst games of the year.
SMU has scored above 13 points twice this year-- 24 at East Carolina and 28 at Tulsa. At the same time, SMU's defense has allowed only one team to score less than 35 points - when the Mustangs hosted South Florida and the Bulls only managed to score 14. Although, SMU led Houston last week 9-7 at halftime, scoring on a 67-yard pass and a safety, the Mustangs lost the second half 28-0. The most exciting thing about SMU is that Deion Sanders' son plays for them.
On the other side, the Huskies have scored more than 21 points once all year - when they defeated Central Florida (still cannot believe that happened). The only FBS school not to score over 29 points on the Husky defense were Tulane and (surprise, surprise) South Florida. Connecticut comes into the game with a 2-9 record against the spread, while Southern Methodist has a 3-8 record against the spread - and are 2-3 on the road.
There is hope for next year, as SportsInsights.com notes, the 11 schools that failed to win more than 3 games against the spread last year have won 69 against the number this year. With how atrocious these offenses have been all year and adding the fact that there is a 100% chance of rain during the game, I do not see how these teams combine for even 30. Sticking with the over/under is the smartest play, but I learned last week that the only way a game goes over the total in an SMU game is if SMU's opponent single handily goes over the number. If this game somehow goes over, then UConn should (hopefully) easily cover. Even with how conservative UConn's play calling was against USF when it was pouring rain I will go with
Pick: First half under 22
Pick: First half Connecticut -7
Pick: Under 44
Pick: Connecticut -12
Houston (7-4, 5-2) at Cincinnati (8-3, 6-1)
The Bearcats are playing for a chance to have a share of the American Conference title and they get a team that has been very schizophrenic in the Houston Cougars. Houston has lost to Tulane and Texas-San Antonio at home this season, but defeated Memphis on the road and if not for a last second fumble as the quarterback was diving in the endzone, would have defeated Central Florida.
Although, Cincinnati has given up 17 points or less in five of the last six games, I am not too sure they have turned the corner as only one of those five teams averaged more than 17 points per game. Houston has only been held to under 24 points twice this year. Which Houston team will show up? My guess is
Pick: Cincinnati -7
Pick: Over 56.5
Temple (5-6, 3-4) at Tulane (3-8, 2-5)
Temple's offense started out hot, by averaging 38.2 points per game (ppg) in their first five games. Over the last six games, the offense has been nonexistent as the Owls have averaged 12.7 ppg. The team the Owls are facing have not fared any better on offense. Tulane averaged 29 ppg in their first three games. In seven of their last eight games, the Green Wave have failed to score more than 14 points in a game - the one game Tulane scored over 14, they put up 31 at Houston. Temple's defense gives up 21 ppg against FBS opponents, while Tulane's defense gives up 27 ppg against FBS opponents in regulation. If this game somehow goes over the number it will because of tons of defensive touchdowns and/or Temple's offense.
Pick: First half under 21.5
Pick: Under 44
Pick: Temple -2.5