Posts Tagged ‘Humanitarian Bowl Picks’

Humanitarian Bowl Picks: Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State Analysis

December 15th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   Comments Off on Humanitarian Bowl Picks: Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State Analysis
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If you’re a fan of NCAA football picks, you’re going to love the Humanitarian Bowl this year! Two of the more underrated mid major clubs in the country lock horns on Boise State’s Smurf Turf, as the Fresno State Bulldogs, who have already been crippled once on this field, take on the Northern Illinois Huskies. This is the second bowl game of the year and is one that you certainly won’t want to miss out on. But will it be the MAC or the WAC that is celebrating when this toss up is over with? The oddsmakers can’t figure out who to favor in this one, but we certainly can help you pick out a winner! Check out these keys to the game you must consider before making your Humanitarian Bowl picks!

Key #1: Northern Illinois has to act like a team that wants to be here
The Huskies finally have their new man, as former Wisconsin Badgers Defensive Coordinator Dave Doeren is going to be taking over at the conclusion of this game. However, the man in charge now is linebackers coach Tom Matukewicz, as he has been leading the team in preparation for the Humanitarian Bowl. The departure of Head Coach Jerry Kill to the Minnesota Golden Gophers came as a bit of a surprise to many, but perhaps it shouldn’t have been for the Huskies. They just barely had cracked the Top 25 after going 8-0 SU and 7-0-1 ATS in MAC play, and they clearly play in an inferior conference to Minnesota. Now, without a real leader, the Huskies have to unite and come back from the devastating loss in the MAC Championship Game to the Miami Redhawks as well. We tend to believe that NIU has the better team in this game, but if it doesn’t play like it wants to be here in Boise, it is probably going to end up on the short end of the stick.

Humanitarian Bowl Odds at JustBet
Northern Illinois Huskies -1
Fresno State Bulldogs +1
Over/Under 58.5
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Key #2: Ryan Colburn and the rushing game must keep Fresno State balanced
Northern Illinois had one of the most balanced defenses in the entire country this year, holding teams to just 328.2 yards per game and ranking No. 35 or better in every major defensive category. At times this year though, the Bulldogs didn’t stay as true to themselves both with the pass and with the run. It seemed as though when RB Robbie Rouse was in the game, he was the one getting the football. Rouse touched the ball 205 times in just ten games this year, and he accounted for over 1,200 yards of offense and ten of the team’s 41 offensive TDs. When Rouse wasn’t in there though, there was no confidence in any other running back and QB Ryan Colburn was stuck putting the ball in the air a ton. Colburn threw for 2,529 yards this year, but his numbers were all over the board to get there. He put the ball up 33 or more times four times this year, but he also threw 26 or fewer times eight times. Needless to say, this type of inconsistency just isn’t going to cut it, especially when you know that the best opponents you have played have killed you this year. In these games against the Hawaii Warriors, Boise State Broncos, and Nevada Wolf Pack, Colburn threw for just 176.0 yards per game and completed an average of just 13.7 passes per game. That won’t cut it against Northern Illinois. Both Colburn and Rouse have to keep their acts together at the same time, or stopping this Huskies defense is going to be impossible.

Key #3: Chandler Harnish must be forced into some mistakes
QB Chandler Harnish did a fantastic job all season long taking care of the football. The junior only threw five picks for the campaign, and he hasn’t thrown a blunder since the end of the game against the Ball State Cardinals back on November 20th. He also has seven TDs in that stretch. A 20/5 TD/INT ratio for the season was the best for any signal caller in the MAC and one of the best in the entire country, and Harnish should be proud of that. The only thing that gets him in trouble at times is when he tries to do too much with his legs but cannot figure out how to get all the way to the perimeter to break loose. Harnish has a great running back to rely on in RB Chad Spann, and stopping Spann is going to be virtually impossible as it is for a rush defense that was really worked over by a few teams this year. Harnish had five games this year with at least 70 yards on the ground, including three with at least 110. If he has that type of momentum and isn’t making mistakes, this offense for Northern Illinois is very, very tough to stop. There’s a reason these guys scored an average of 47.8 points per game in the regular season in conference play this year.