Photo: Nathan Rourke (12) & Joe Lowery (65)
Source: Tim Bradbury/Getty Image North America

Aztecs from the Mountain West and Bobcats from the MAC tangle for the first time in Frisco

The DXL Frisco Bowl will showcase two teams from opposite ends of the country with San Diego State and Ohio set to face off for the first time. Both teams will look to use this game as a springboard for a successful 2019 season.

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San Diego State (7-5, 4-4 MW) comes into the Frisco Bowl in a bit of a slump, as the Aztecs have lost four of their last five games. This is still a team that should not be taken lightly, as SDSU’s season includes an upset of Arizona State and a 6-1 start. But the end of October and November were not kind to Rocky Long’s team, which lost close conference games on the road to Nevada (28-24), UNLV (27-24) and Fresno State (23-14) and finished things out with a one-point loss in overtime at home to Hawaii (31-30).

Ohio (8-4, 6-2 MAC) kind of followed the opposite path, starting out 3-3 with non-conference road losses to fellow bowl participants Virginia and Cincinnati. But the Bobcats were strong down the stretch, winning five of their final six MAC games, including a 52-17 rout of eventual East division champ Buffalo.

These two teams are certainly no strangers the postseason. San Diego State is making its eighth straight bowl appearance in as many seasons under head coach Rocky Long. It’s four in a row and nine of the last 10 years for Ohio under longtime head coach Frank Solich. This will be the first-ever meeting between these two schools whose campuses are separated by 2,300 miles.

DXL Frisco Bowl: San Diego State (7-5) vs. Ohio (8-4)

Kickoff: Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Toyota Stadium (Frisco, Texas)

TV: ESPN

Spread: Ohio -2.5

Three Things to Watch

1. Ohio ‘s running game vs. San Diego State’s rush defense

The Bobcats lead the MAC in rushing with an average of nearly 262 yards per game. Senior running back A.J. Ouellette leads the way with 1,142 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. The 5-foot-9, 210-pound back averaged an impressive 6.2 yards per carry and also has two touchdown catches. Fellow RB Maleek Irons (831 yards, 8 TDs) and quarterback Nathan Rourke (816, 13) give Ohio multiple options to run the ball with, and the Bobcats will need those going up against the nation’s fourth-stingiest run defense. The Aztecs are surrendering 94.5 yards per game on the ground. They gave up a total of 386 rushing yards to the six bowl teams – Arizona State, Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada and Stanford – they faced in the regular season.

2. San Diego State LB Kyahva Tezino vs. Ohio’s offensive line

Tezino enters this game third in the Mountain West in sacks with 8.5 The junior also leads the Aztecs with 120 tackles (fourth in the conference) and 14.5 tackles for a loss (third). He really came on strong in November, recording 5.5 of his sacks in four games. Whether he can be as effective against Ohio remains to be seen. The Bobcats have given up a total of 19 sacks thus far, a number that’s helped by the running game as well as Rourke’s mobility in and outside of the pocket. So will the first-team All-Mountain West selection be able to add to his totals down in Texas? Or can Ohio keep San Diego State’s best defender from making plays behind the line of scrimmage?

3. San Diego State RB Juwan Washington vs. Ohio’s rush defense

A productive as the Bobcats’ running game has been, the Aztecs’ reputation for churning out productive running backs is well documented. Under head coach Rocky Long that’s a legacy that includes NFL players Rashaad Penny, Donnel Pumphrey and Ronnie Hillman. The current starter is Washington who has dealt with injuries this season and has still managed to compile 870 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games. Washington isn’t the biggest (5-7, 190) back but he has more than enough speed to break off long gains. San Diego State makes a living out of the running the ball, so Ohio’s defense will focus on containing Washington. The Bobcats are No. 2 in the MAC against run, allowing 135.8 rushing yards per game.

Final Analysis

San Diego State slumped towards the end of the season, but the Aztecs’ last four losses have come by a total of 13 points. Ohio started off slow but really got things going in MAC play. Both teams have found success running the football, so this game will likely hinge on the team that does that better. It should be an entertaining game in Toyota Stadium, but the edge goes to the team from the MAC.

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Posted in CFB, Top Fantasy Picks

NCAA Preview 2016

NCAA Mid-American Football

The 2016 College Football season is almost upon us, so get pumped and ready to play some College Fantasy Football at FanPicks (click to play).

With the season kicking off on August 27th in Sydney, FanPicks will be covering every NCAA conferences and their teams for the 2016 season. If you’ve missed the Independants CFB preview, click here. Now let’s get to the NCAA Mid-American Football.

With UMass’ departure from the Mid American Conference, things may get very interesting this year. Will Norther Illinois win its seventh West division in a row?

Northern Illinois has won six consecutive West Division championships but will need to hold back a rising Western Michigan squad and an always-troublesome

Akron Zips

After a disappointing 0-2 start last season, QB Thomas Woodson took over in Week 3 and immediately ignited the Zips.  He tossed for 2,202 yards and rushed for 677, connecting on 19 TDs as Akron went on to record its first 8-win season.  It culminated with a 23-21 upset win over Utah State in the Idaho Potato Bowl, the Zips’ first FBS bowl victory.  Woodson returns as the team’s leading rusher and passer.  He’ll benefit from the arrival of Utah State transfer JoJo Natson, who caught 108 passes and rushed for 612 yards at USU in 2013-14.

 

Bowling Green Falcons

Head coach Mike Jinks begins his first season as Bowling Green’s head coach in 2016. Prior to joining the Red Raiders, Jinks was a National Coach of the Year finalist while at San Antonio powerhouse, Steele High School.  He inherits a team that ran the table for the third straight season against all NCAA Mid-American Football East opponents on their schedule, winning two MAC championships the past three seasons.  Victorious in 36 games the past four seasons, a new era of winning starts in 2016.

Buffalo Bulls

Head coach Lance Leipold came to Buffalo as the fastest coach to win 100 games in NCAA history. They will have to bare with the loss of their QB Joe Licata, the Bulls’ all-time leading passer who started 40 consecutive games. Former Iowa State QB Grant Rohach has transferred in to replace Licata. Their Defensive Line unit is the most experienced in the league.

Ken State Golden Flashes

The Golden Flashes at a tough time last year in many departments. It could all change this year since unlike some of their competition, they will have an abundance of returning starters back in 2016.

 

Miami (OH) RedHawks

Miami has signed 6’4″, 304 LB OL Jordan Diamond, a fifth year transfer from Auburn.  After 2 tough years in which nearly half of their 19 losses were by a touchdown or less, head coach Chuck Martin has a made a top recruiting class in the NCAA Mid-American Football the past 2 seasons, including 29 three-star recruits. He also welcomes 10 starters back on offense from a team that was the 4th youngest in the nation last year.

Ohio Bobcats

After playing through a rash of injuries in 2014, last year’s Bobcats benefited mightily from the force-feeding of young replacements when they won 8 games and a berth in the Camellia Bowl.  We do know that the Bobcats have not had a losing season since 2006 and Solich is the active coach with the most wins in the NCAA Mid-American Football conference right now.

Ball State Cardinals

After being the only team in the nation to have upped its season win totals every year from 2010 to 2013 as well as re-signing Pete Lembo, to a new 5-year deal that made him the highest paid coach in the NCAA Mid-American Football. Mike Neu, former quarterback with the Cardinals and most recently QB coach with the New Orleans Saints will take over.

 

Central Michigan Chippewas

The Chippewas somehow came within 2 points of winning the MAC West despite tons of injuries, while battling mighty Michigan State and Oklahoma State right down to the wire.  With four wide receivers back who gathered in over 500 passing years apiece in 2015, look for Rush to be in league MVP talks this campaign.

 

Eastern Michigan Eagles

The Eagles set out to become very tough under head coach Chris Creighton.  According to Creighton, the wealth of experience led by high-ceiling QB Brogan Roback and explosive RB Shaq Vann, plus an entire cast of returning linemen on both sides of the ball should help their squad get back on the proper lane.

 

Northern Illinois Huskies

With 6 MAC West titles in a row, the Huskies have learned to win games consistently.  Lurry lead the nation in interceptions last season and will be a Jim Thorpe award contender in 2016.

 

Toledo Rockets

Fueled by 28 winning seasons in the last 35 years, the Rockets have gone 6-2 or better in conference clashes 5 of the last 6 years.  However, despite winning 7 or more games in each of those years, they haven’t played in a MAC title game in 12 years.  Brutal losses to Northern Illinois and Western Michigan denied them once again.

 

Western Michigan Broncos

QB Zach Terrell and his top target, WR Corey Davis each will return to action this week. Davis is currently the active leading receiver with 33 career receiving TDs and could possibly end up being one of the best to ever play the position in the NCAA Mid-American Football.

 

 

CFB 2016 Other Previews

The American

ACC Atlantic

ACC Coastal

Big 12

Conference USA

Big Ten East

Big Ten West

Independents

 

Posted in CFB

Ohio Bobcats versus Bowling Green Falcons College Football Real Money Fantasy Picks 11-4-2015

The MAC conference is again featured as the Bowling Green Falcons will host the Ohio Bobcats on Wednesday night. Fantasy college football draft managers can tune to ESPN2 TV at 8PM Eastern Time on November 4th to track the DFS roster picks from their one day leagues.

 

Ohio has lost three straight against Bowling Green including their 31-13 defeat at home last year. The Bobcats are on a two game losing streak as they gave up 49 points at home to Western Michigan three weeks ago in a loss and two weeks ago they dropped a 41-17 road decision at Buffalo. The Bobcats are the 93rd ranked scoring offense from college football as they put up just 25.5 points a game on the season.

 

Bowling Green is 6-2 on the year. Their losses came on the road to Tennessee by 29 points in their opener and in week three they lose 44-41 to the undefeated Memphis Tigers. The Falcons carries a five game win streak in this spot which includes a 35-28 road win at Purdue. They too are on a bye week. Two weeks ago Bowling Green defeated Kent St 48-0. The Falcons have averaged 56 points per game over their past three games all resulting in blowout victories. The club is the top passing team from college football as they pass for 434 yards per game.

 

Ohio Bobcats QB:

 

Derrius Vick

 

The senior quarterback is completing 63.6% of his throws for 1652 yard with nine touchdowns and six picks. He has not run much this year with 56 carries for 16 yards. Two weeks ago in the loss at Buffalo Vick hit on 62% of his throws for 321 yards with no touchdowns and three picks.

 

Ohio Bobcats RB:

 

Daz’mon Patterson

 

Patterson leads the Bobcats with 78 rushing attempts for 335 yards and seven touchdowns. He is running for 4.3 yards a carry. There has not been much production in the passing game for the senior running back as he has grabbed 14 balls for 43 yards.

 

A.J. Ouellette

 

Just a sophomore, Ouellette has run for 269 yards on 65 carries and two touchdowns. He rushes for 4.1 yards a carry which is well below the 4.9 yards a carry during his freshman campaign.

 

Ohio Bobcats WR:

 

Sebastian Smith

 

Smith leads the unit with 41 receptions for 501 yards and five touchdowns. He is averaging 12.2 yards per catch on the year. The junior wide receiver had nine receptions for 79 yards at Buffalo two weeks ago in defeat.

 

Brendan Cope

 

The junior wide receiver is second on the Bulls with 24 catches for 367 yards and two touchdowns. He has a very good 15.3 yards per reception average. Cope caught seven passes for 52 yards last week at the Bulls.

 

Bowling Green Falcons QB:

 

Matt Johnson

 

The Falcons signal caller has been very accurate this year hitting on 70.1% of his throws for 3321yards with 29 touchdowns and three picks. He came off a huge game two weeks ago in the win at Kent St as the senior quarterback completed 67% of his passes for 430 yards with five touchdowns. He has thrown for five touchdowns in his past three games all resulting in wins. In the home loss to undefeated Memphis Johnson passed for 443 yards and four touchdowns. Matt Johnson has contributed in the run game with 152 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 74 carries.

 

Bowling Green Falcons RB:

 

Travis Greene

 

Greene leads the Falcons on the ground with 112 carries for 590 yards and four touchdowns. He is rushing for 5.3 yards a carry. The senior running back has caught 18 passes out of the backfield on the campaign for 155 yards with two touchdowns.

 

Bowling Green Falcons WR:

 

Roger Lewis

 

The Bowling Green sophomore running back leads the time by a wide margin with 58 receptions on the year for 1122 yards with 11 touchdowns. Lewis is averaging a career high 19.3 yards per reception average. In the win at Kent St it was Roger Lewis catching four balls for 102 yards and two touchdowns and he averaged 25.5 yards per catch.

 

College Football Fantasy League Picks

QB: Matt Johnson (Bowling Green)

RB: Travis Greene (Ohio)

WR: Roger Lewis (Bowling Green), Sebastian Smith (Ohio)

Posted in CFB