Uconn Huskies (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (11-2 SU, 7-6 ATS), Fiesta Bowl, 8:30 p.m. EST, Saturday, January 1, 2010, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Connecticut +17/OKL -17
Over/Under Total: 55
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Usually, bowl games are supposed to be tight, competitive matchups. But on paper, this appears to be a very lopsided matchup. The UConn Huskies and Oklahoma Sooner both earned BCS bids to the Fiesta Bowl for winning their respective conferences - UConn in the Big East and Oklahoma in the Big 12. But that doesn’t mean UConn can’t compete with the Sooners. The Huskies are in the Fiesta Bowl for a reason, and they will be prepared.
Midway through the season, the Huskies were 3-4 after a 26-0 at Louisville. The week before that, they lost 27-24 at Rutgers. They also lost road games at Michigan and Temple, and got wins at home over Texas Southern, Buffalo and Vanderbilt. But then, the Huskies turned it around. They won their last five games of the regular season. They knocked off Big East powers West Virginia and Pitt at home by a combined five points. Then, they won 23-6 at Syracuse, 38-17 at home over Cincinnati, and 19-16 at South Florida.
UConn quarterback Zach Frazer has 1,202 passing yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions this season with a 52.7 completion percentage, not exactly the best stats in the world for a BCS team’s quarterback. The Huskies are very heavily reliant on their running game. Running back Jordan Todman has 1,516 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Todman is fifth in the country in rushing yards. As a team, the Huskies have more than 2,000 rushing yards this season. Michael Smith leads the team in receiving with 42 receptions for 595 yards and two touchdowns. Kashif Moore has 32 receptions for 390 yards and four touchdowns.
Oklahoma has just two losses this season, at Missouri (36-27) and at Texas A&M (33-19). The Sooners started the season 6-0 with wins over Utah State, Florida State, Air Force, Cincinnati, Texas and Iowa State. They got a win over Colorado in between the two losses. But the Sooners ended the season on a great note by winning their last four games. After easy wins over Texas Tech and Baylor, they got perhaps their two best wins of the year to close the season. They won 47-41 at Oklahoma State and 23-20 at home over Nebraska.
Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has been one of the best quarterbacks in college football this season. He has 4,289 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He is completing 65.3 percent of his pass attempts. Sooners running back DeMarco Murray has been one of the better running backs in college football as well. He has 1,090 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. Murry also has 69 catches for 595 yards and five touchdowns. And Ryan Broyles is one of the top wide receivers in college football. In 13 games, he has a ridiculous 118 catches for 1,452 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Oklahoma is allowing 212.2 passing yards per game. The Sooners have more interceptions (17) than passing touchdowns allowed (15). UConn’s pass defense is even better. The Huskies have allowed 206.4 passing yards per game and 13 touchdowns while intercepting 19 passes. UConn is allowing 147.3 rushing yards per game, while Oklahoma is allowing 151.8 rushing yards per game.
UConn will have a very tough time stopping the Oklahoma offense. Jones, Murray and Broyles form one of the most dynamic offensive trios in college football. On the flip side, the Huskies rely on Todman to carry the offensive load. If the Sooners can stop him, they should be able to score enough points to control the game.
UConn is 4-0 ATS in its last four games as an underdog, 4-0 ATS in its last four games vs. teams with a winning record and 4-0 ATS in its last four games following an ATS win. Oklahoma is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games following an ATS loss, 1-5 ATS in its last six non-conference games and 0-4 ATS in its last four bowl games.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take the Connecticut Huskies to cover the spread here.