Posts Tagged ‘Texas Bowl free picks’

Texas Bowl Picks: Illinois vs. Baylor Analysis

December 29th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   Comments Off on Texas Bowl Picks: Illinois vs. Baylor Analysis

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Two of the more likable bowl teams this season are going to meet up at Reliant Stadium on Wednesday night, as the Illinois Fighting Illini and the Baylor Bears square off in the annual Texas Bowl. Parsing through these two teams could be tough, as they both have their strengths and weaknesses, and both looked very shoddy in their final performances of the season. However, one team has to claim victory, and here at Bankroll Sports, we’ve got the keys to the game that you need to watch out for before you make your Texas Bowl picks.

Key #1: Someone has to figure out how to stop Mikel LeShoure
Easier said than done. LeShoure absolutely ran wild at the end of this season, accounting for four straight games with at least 120 yards after going five straight games without hitting that barrier. It is clear that this junior is making a tremendous statement for next season, as he rumbled for 1,513 yards and 14 TDs, following well in the footsteps of Pittsburgh Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall. Remember what happened the last time LeShoure played a game at a neutral site? He rushed the ball 33 times for 330 yards and a pair of TDs against the Northwestern Wildcats in the best day for an Illinois running back ever, and the best day that any back in the nation had this year. In total, LeShoure reached the 100+ yard mark eight times this season, and he has visited the end zone at least twice in a game six times. LeShoure has scored at least one TD in six straight games and has totaled 14 scores between rushing and receiving in that stretch. The Baylor rush defense struggled at times this year, particularly down the stretch when the team allowed 52 to the Oklahoma State Cowboys, 42 to the Texas A&M Aggies, and 53 to the Oklahoma Sooners. In total, allowing 153.2 yards per game was a remotely respectable number, ranking No. 67 in the country, but that’s just not going to get the job done in this game, as you know the Illini, who have one of the best rushing attacks in America, are not relenting.

Texas Bowl Odds at BetUS Sportsbook
Illinois Fighting Illini +1
Baylor Bears -1
Over/Under 62.5
Click Here to Bet on Your Texas Bowl Picks!

Key #2: Robert Griffin has to be the star that he is
Griffin really could have gone to basically any college that he wanted to, and everyone in Waco knew when he showed up in green and gold, it was only going to be a matter of time before he shined as a star and helped revive a program that has been in the depths of the Big XII since its formation. Now, in the final year of the conference in the form we know it in, Griffin has been the man to get the job done and carry this team to this, its first bowl game since before the Big XII was created. He led an offense this year that averaged 480.4 yards and 32.6 points per game, and it was a unit that was able to really shoot it out with some of the best teams in one of the best conferences in the country. Whether via his legs or his arm, there really is no stopping Griffin at times. He posted a QB rating of at least 100 in every single one of his games this year until the finale against the Sooners, and he rushed for 175 yards and a TD combined in his final two games of the season. The junior had the best year of his career, accounting for 3,195 yards as a passer and 591 on the ground, totaling 29 TDs against just eight picks. When you look at the average numbers this year for the Illinois defense, you see some respectable numbers at 340.4 yards and 24.2 points per game allowed, but we need to dig a little deeper in this one. Mobile quarterbacks aren’t exactly strewn all over the Big Ten, but there were three games this year against some majorly mobile stars. Yes, Northern Illinois’ Chandler Harnish and Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor were held to 22 and 24 points respectively, but Michigan’s Denard Robinson put 67 on the board! Obviously, an effort like that on Wednesday will spell death for the Illini.

Key #3: It’s time for the world to be introduced to Nathan Scheelhaase
Even though he is only a true freshman, Scheelhaase has arguably saved the job of Head Coach Ron Zook and has the Illinois program on the path to success in the near future. The young man was trusted with the starting signal caller job from Day 1 in Champaign, and he really didn’t disappoint. The only problem with Scheelhaase is that he really didn’t do a great job as a passer this year. He didn’t throw the ball more than 27 times in a game even once this year, and as a result, his only games with more than 200 yards passing came against the Southern Illinois Salukis and in that three OT thriller against Michigan in Ann Arbor. However, on the ground is a different story. Scheelhaase came right out of the blocks and rushed for 76 yards against a Missouri Tigers defense that turned out to be one of the best units in the country, and he ended up with five games with at least 95 yards as a runner this year. His best game was his last one against the Fresno State Bulldogs in which he rumbled for 1331 yards on 24 carries. It marked the fourth time in five games that he reached at least the 95 yard barrier. Scheelhaase ended the regular season with 815 yards and four scores on the ground, numbers which aren’t all that bad for a man that was sacked 20 times.