College bowl schedule set for Saturday start

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College football kicks off its bowl season on Saturday afternoon this week with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium in Albuquerque between Temple and Wyoming (2:00pm ET, ESPN). Two more matchups follow in the day as we begin along the path that leads us to the BCS Championship Game on January 9 in New Orleans.

The Owls head into the New Mexico Bowl on a bigger roll than the Cowboys, having earned the win in each of their last three contests to finish their season at 8-4 straight up and 8-4 against the spread. Temple also ended up 5-3 in Mid-American action, putting them in second place in the conference’s East Division.

Against Kent State last time out Temple picked up a 34-16 home win behind a 189-yard rushing effort from Bernard Pierce; the running back found the end zone three times in that contest. Owls quarterback Chester Stewart wasn’t asked to do much in that game, completing all six of his pass attempts for 94 yards and no TDs or INTs. Matt Brown returned a kickoff 100 yards for Temple’s other major score.

Temple lost to Bowling Green 13-10 on the road back on October 22; Wyoming beat the Falcons 28-27 on the road when those schools met on September 17 en route to a record of 8-4 SU and 7-5 ATS on the season. The Cowboys went 5-2 against fellow Mountain West teams, ending up in third place in the conference.

Wyoming ended their season schedule with a 22-19 road win over Colorado State, with quarterback Brett Smith completing 11 of 22 pass attempts for 191 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Smith also ran for 90 yards on 16 carries in that game, while Josh Doctson had three catches for 129 yards and two scores.

At Oddsmaker the Owls have been listed as 7-point favorites over the Cowboys at the New Mexico Bowl, with the OVER/UNDER at 48 points. That’s the biggest spread for Saturday, as Utah State is favored by just 3 points over Ohio in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Boise’s Bronco Stadium (5:30pm ET, ESPN), and San Diego State is favored by 5 points over Louisiana-Lafayette in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at the Superdome (9:00pm ET, ESPN).

Utah State ended up 7-5 SU and 6-6 ATS on the season thanks to a five-game winning streak to finish up their schedule, and a 5-2 record against Western Athletic teams put them second in the conference. Ohio had a five-game winning streak broken up last time out when they lost 23-20 against Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship Game; they went 9-4 SU and 6-7 ATS this season.

Both those schools played on the road against New Mexico State this season, with Ohio winning their matchup 44-24 and Utah State pulling out a 24-21 victory.

And in New Orleans, Louisiana-Lafeyette (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS) will be looking for the crowd’s support as they try to snap a two-game losing streak and beat San Diego State (8-4 SU, 5-7 ATS) in their bowl matchup. The Ragin’ Cajuns went 6-2 in conference play this season to end up second in the Sun Belt, while the Aztecs were 4-3 in games against Mountain West teams to finish fourth in the conference.

Head over to Oddsmaker for the latest odds and totals for this week’s bowl games.

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