This is possibly the most controversial of all 2013 bowl games, and the nation doesn't even know it. Perhaps we should just be grateful that a fraudulent Notre Dame squad didn't weasel its way into another New Year's Day, or god forbid, BCS bowl. No, this provides up with a different level of heightened suspicion. Ohio and Toledo both finished 7-5, but any MAC fan will tell you that Toledo fielded the better team this season. Unfortunately they didn't play one another, but for schedule of schedule buffs, the Rockets would get the edge. There's part of me that despite knowing Ohio shouldn't be here wants to pick the Bobcats. That part of me is not my brain though. Your Beef O'Brady's Bowl picks:
Beef O'Brady's Bowl (December 23rd, St. Petersburg, Florida)
East Carolina (-14) vs. Ohio
This one opened at 13 and on the eve of the game has moved to 14. With good reason. Has it been mentioned that Ohio shouldn't be here? You won't have to spend too much time on this site to find a variety of articles and comments documenting "the November collapse of Ohio football." I will grant you that Ohio had a pair of good wins early in the season, knocking off bowl invitees North Texas and Marshall. Once conference season started though, the only thing spectacular about the Bobcats was the way they lost. If I told you a team was beaten 30-3 on November 5th, 49-0 on November 12th, and 44-13 on November 19th, would you be under the impression I was talking about a bowl team? That's your 2013 Ohio Bobcats. They did manage to end the season with a victory over Massachusetts, it wasn't in basketball though, so it doesn't count.
East Carolina beat up on some ACC opponents this year. They smashed North Carolina, North Carolina State, and went the distance with Virginia Tech before falling 15-10 on September 14th. They boast the 11th ranked passing offense in the nation at over 331 yards a game, and the 14th ranked rushing defense, yielding just 117 yards on the ground. Conversely Ohio is 96th in the rushing game, totaling 136 yards on the ground. Based on point spread, this is the fourth biggest mismatch of the 2013 bowl season. (Baylor -16.5 vs. Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl is the biggest.) Toledo and East Carolina would've been a fun game. Hey we're MAC fans though! Let's get behind the Bobcats! With our hearts. Our wallets though? Take the Pirates, lay the 14.
This game actually opened up with the over/under at 65.5. That's a big number, but East Carolina does put up treasure chests full of points. It's a little easier to visualize 62. In nine wins this year the Pirates averaged 46 points. They proved they can do it against BCS AQ competition too. In the win against North Carolina, the Pirates put up 55 points. Against North Carolina State, 42. I'm confident that their defense against the pass is just lax enough to allow the Bobcats to put up a few scores. Here's a little advice for the casual bettor. If you're not a degenerate gambler and just looking to have fun, bet the over. It's entirely more fulfilling to watch a game pulling for both teams to break the scoreboard (MACtion) than to pull for a buffet of incomplete passes (B1G.) If you are however actually a degenerate gambler, tweet me @keithscheessele. We can be friends. At 62, take the over.