Temple Owls (10-2 SU, 9-3 ATS) vs. Houston Cougars (11-1 SU, 7-5 ATS)
College Football Week 14
Date/Time: Saturday, December 5th, 12:00pm
Where: TDECU Stadium Houston, TX
by Bob, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TEM +7/ HOU -7
Over/Under Total: 57
This Saturday, tune into ABC at noon to check out the first ever American Athletic Conference Championship game. The Temple Owls won the conferences eastern division while the 11-1 Houston Cougars will represent the west division. Both teams come in ranked in the nations top twenty and at one point during the season, each of these teams were on the cusp of cracking the top ten. I feel a good game here and the winner should find themselves in a pretty good bowl game come late December or early January.
The line early on this Monday morning has the Houston Cougars favored by seven points over the Owls. The total points are set at 57 combined. On the season, Temple has had more success playing against the spread with a record of 9-3 ATS. Houston has not done bad covering, but they are 7-5, not quite as impressive as Temple. The early action has Houston as the publics favorite with over 65% of the action on them and another 54% like the score to go over the posted total of 57 points.
These two programs first met on the grid iron back in 1987 and since then they have met three more times and Houston has won all four games. Most recently, these two played in 2013 and 2014. Last season in Houston, the Cougars put a beating on Temple by a score of 31-10. This year should be a much more competitive game although Houston, on paper, is still the better team and should get the win over Temple.
The Houston Cougars came out this season on a mission. They won their first ten games of the season before being upset and heartbroken by a UConn team that had no business competing with Houston. Until that loss, there was chatter that Houston could crash the final four if they won out and a few other teams got some losses. Oh well, not now. Houston can still end this season with a 13-1 record if they win this game over Temple then go on to win a bowl game. The only thing that could potentially throw off the focus has been all the talk of Houston head coach, Tom Herman, taking a bigger job. In the last few days we have heard Georgia, South Carolina, and a few other programs would be potential landing spots for Herman. Will this publicity have an effect not only on his focus as the coach, but his teams? Time will tell. In 2015, Houston ended the regular season with the 7th best scoring offense in all of the FBS and they also had a top 25 scoring defense as well. Of course they were not lining up with the Alabamas, Baylors, and Ohio States of the world, but this is still quite an impressive football team. The key to this championship game is focus. Both the players and coaches need to tune out all the extra chatter about the coaching jobs and focus on Temple. If Houston comes out and plays their game, I have a good feeling they can win this thing easily.
In 2015, the Temple Owls stole the hearts of many football fans. Temple is historically a bad football program. When I say badits a bad bad history! However, this season, Temple stormed out of the gates and won their first seven games before finally losing to Notre Dame in the prime time game that saw Temple leading with just a few minutes remaining. Since that time, Temple has recovered but they ended up losing another game to South Florida 44-23 which was a complete shock to many. Much of Temples success this season was due to their defense. Allowing just 18 points a game, the Owls were ranked near the top fifteen in the FBS in that category. The offense was never really dangerous but scoring about 30 a game, this helped them win games and took some pressure off the defense at times. In order to hang with Houston though, the defense needs to show up in a big way. They will have their work cut out for them. If Temple lets Houston get rolling on offense, this game could get away from them early. The key will be to shorten the game. Time consuming drives to keep the Houston offense on the sidelines. If the Cougars score in the 30s, I have a bad feeling for Temple.
Total fade play here. I think Houston wins this game, I also think Houston is the much more dominant team, but I will take Temple and the points. I think we have a low scoring game that will result in a four point Houston win but a Temple cover. 23-19 Houston wins the conference title.
Bobs Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE TEMPLE PLUS THE 7 POINTS!
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