Roses are played out. They're for three yards, a cloud of dust, and let's be honest, 13-10. We're MAC fans, and we're slightly more evolved than the Big Ten product. We've got a good one in the Poinsettia Bowl this year, MAC powerhouse NIU, featuring Heisman finalist Jordan Lynch, and Utah State. If you've not followed Utah State, they're 12th nationally in total defense. If you're one who wants to explore the strength of schedule argument, then I'll simply advise you that they're good on defense, damn good, if I do say so, my damn self. For the football fan smart enough to appreciate the game beyond what their grand pappy told them about, this is a premiere matchup. Don't hate, appreciate. Also lay some bucks down. Your Poinsettia Bowl picks:
S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (December 26th, San Diego, California)
Utah State vs. Northern Illinois
Can you see that? Do you see that? Do you?? There's no line. Guess what that means. It's a pick'em! For the uninformed sports fan, that mean we are operating without a line and we can simply pick who we think will win and be done with it. When this line opened up, the Aggies were getting 2.5 points, now that we're even, we've got to stick with Utah State. The season for Northern Illinois is running eerily similar to Ball State's of 2008. BCS aspirations, dashed in the conference championship game, followed by a lackluster performance. Certainly the Huskies can get jazzed about playing at Qualcomm in San Diego, but the reality of missing out on a BCS bid will be too much to overcome. Take the Aggies.
I would not be serving my reading public appropriately if I did not make you aware of one thing. The over/unders for MAC games jump all over the place. Other conferences field games that open up at a line, move briefly, settle back at the opening line, and close out. MAC games are truly unpredictable. Vegas knows the Mid-American Conference will occasionally turn in the defensive performance, or may see who can recover the most onside kicks in a contest. This particular game has all the makings of unpredictability. Jordan Lynch rewrote the record books. Is this the game he catches the eyes of NFL scouts? Or is this the game he resigns himself to the depth chart of the Omaha Beef? Utah State is formidable, and would like nothing more to notch a bowl victory over a superior conference, similar to the way BGSU would like to knock off Pitt. If they're going to do so it will be with an elite defense effort. Utah State will be unable to win a shootout with the Aggies, as Jordan Lynch is simply too multi dimensional. Expect Lynch and company to be reigned in a bit, and the Aggies to control the time of possession battle. NIU has had a spectacular season. It ends here. Take the under.