Ole Miss Rebels (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-7 SU, 8-4 ATS)
College Football Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Date and Time: Monday December 30th, 2013. 3:15PM Eastern
Where: LP Field Nashville, T.N.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Miss -3/GT +3
Over/Under Total: 57.5
One of the joys of bowl season is the unique and intriguing match-ups that you typically do not get from college football's regular season. One of the pairings that I have circled on my calendar is the Music City Bowl that highlights a showdown between the Ole Miss Rebels and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. I believe this is one of the most interesting pairings of the postseason because you as viewers get a taste of Hugh Freeze's SEC version of the spread offense against Paul Johnson's rugged triple option attach from Georgia Tech. Needless to say, this game should be entertaining from the contrasting styles if nothing else.
Odds makers have Ole Miss listed a 3 point favorites for their showdown in the Music City. The Rebels have been tested against some extremely strong football teams this season that know how to run the football extremely well. The Rebels have squared off against 4 different teams that were ranked inside the top 10 at the time and also against an Auburn team that not only ranks 1st in rushing but is also preparing to play in the BCS National Championship Game. Therefore the Rebels will not be the least bit intimidated by Georgia Tech's unique offense. The question is will the Rebels defense be able to stop it?
Ole Miss was fairly mediocre against the run this season on paper giving up 155 yards per game (53rd in FBS). However, the Rebels have some young talent along the defensive front and it will be interesting to see how those young guys play given the extra weeks of preparation. Georgia Tech has averaged 311 yards per game on the ground this season which is the 4th best mark among FBS schools. Tailbacks David Sims and Robert Godhigh have contributed to the majority of that damage. Combined both rushers have put together more than 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns. Quarterback Vad Lee has also added about 500 yards with 8 touchdowns.
The Yellow Jackets can have 3 to 4 different options on any given running play and their offense is very difficult to duplicate on the practice fields during preparation. If the Rebels defense cannot answer the challenge, the offense will need the help of quarterback Bo Wallace to pull out the victory. Wallace has been solid this year throwing the football by completing 65% passing for 3,090 yards with 17 scores and just 9 picks. The entire Rebels offense seems to level their play to their quarterback like no other team in the country. When Wallace struggles, typically so does everyone else around him.
Fortunately for the Georgia Tech defense, Wallace tends to struggle at times under pressure possibly more than most other quarterbacks. First year defensive coordinator Ted Roof has done a good job of getting the best of his defense this year. Georgia Tech's defense averages 2.67 sacks per game (25th in FBS) and has yielded just 22.7 points per game (30th in FBS). If Roof can draw up some blitz packages and keep Wallace on his heels, this game may turn out to be more about the defenses rather than the offenses.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Georgia Tech's offense is tough to prepare against with limited time especially during the regular season. However, the Yellow Jackets postseason problems have been well documented the last few years as they have lost 7 of their last 8 bowl games. The reason is that when teams have the extra time to prepare for Georgia Tech, they can typically find ways to slow down their triple option offense. I think that will be the case again this season as an emerging Ole Miss defense gets the best of Paul Johnson's offense yet again. Take the Rebels for a convincing victory!
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