Ryan Mayer

The college football bowl season is upon us. With 39 games spread out over the next two and a half weeks there is plenty of opportunity to add a little bonus to your holiday gift pile. Our bowl picks series will let you know who we think will come out on top against the spread. All lines and totals courtesy of Sportsline. Find all our picks here. All lines are as of the date of publication.

Belk Bowl

Texas A&M (7-5) vs. Wake Forest (7-5)

Spread: Wake Forest -3

Total: 64.5

Spread: The fourth straight season of five losses brought about the end of the Kevin Sumlin era at Texas A&M. The Aggies let Sumlin go and went out an made the biggest move of the coaching carousel signing Jimbo Fisher away from Florida State to the tune of a 10-year $75-million contract that is fully guaranteed. Welcome to Aggie-land Jimbo, but for now, time to focus on this year’s team and what is possible in the bowl game. The Aggies burst out to a 4-1 start before closing the season 3-4. The loss to start the year set the tone for the season as the Aggies blew a 44-17 lead giving up 28 points in the fourth quarter to lose to UCLA. A&M’s defense gave up an average of 28.7 points and 388 yards per game on the season, getting hurt on the ground giving up 165 yards per outing.

The offense did average 31.1 points and 389 yards despite having to toggle through multiple starting QBs throughout the year. Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel shared the duties, though Starkel saw more of the field in the final three games. Running backs Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford have helped the QBs settle in combining to help the team average 159 yards per game and 4.0 per carry. Wide receiver Christian Kirk is the main threat in the passing game, hauling in 58 passes for 730 yards and seven touchdowns this year.

As inexperienced as A&M is at the QB spot, the Demon Deacons have a veteran steady had there with senior John Wolford who threw for over 2,700 yards, rushed for 615 more and totaled 35 touchdowns with just six interceptions on the season. That production led Wake Forest to averaging over 33 points and 450 yards of offense per game. Wolford had four receivers go over 400 yards and a trio of running backs who carried the ball 50 times or more behind him this year. But, like the Aggies, the Deacs struggled on defense giving up over 26 points and 440 yards per game this season. They were particularly gashed by the run, giving up 191+ yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry.

Despite the defensive struggles, Wake was very good against the spread this year going 8-3-1 on the year and 4-2 as the favorite. A&M wasn’t quite as good going 7-5 and just 3-3 as the underdog. Teams that have changed coaches tend to not play as well in bowl games, we’ll go with Wake Forest. Wake Forest -3

Total: As you can probably guess based on the play of the defenses this season, this total feels eminently reachable. Over 64.5


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