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Armed Forces Bowl

Air Force vs Houston

Sportsbook.com Line - Houston -5 O/U 63.5

12/31/09

These two teams put on an exciting game last year in this same bowl, so we should have another great game on our hands in the Armed Forces Bowl this year. On one sideline we have Houstonís passing attack ranked 1st in the nation and on the other sideline we have Air Forceís rushing attack ranked 3rd in the nation, so there should be plenty of offense in this one. Houston grabbed everyoneís attention early in the year when they went to Stillwater, Ok and left with a victory over then ranked #5 Oklahoma State. They didnít finish this year with a BCS Busting finish like many had assumed they would, but they still had a great year finishing 10-3, and if they are able to get the win they will win back to back bowl games for the 1st time since 1980-1981, but Air Force has a bad taste in the mouth after last yearís Armed Forces Bowl and is looking to get some payback this Thursday.

Air Force finished the year 7-5 with a 4th place finish in the Mountain West, but when the Top 3 finishers are TCU, Utah, and BYU itís understandable. They have had a solid year, but if they can get redemption over the Cougars in this game and win their first bowl game since 2000 it will put a good exclamation point on the season.


PRIMETIME MATCHUP

When you think about this Houston Cougar football team you think about a team led by Davy OíBrien Award Finalist QB Case Keenum who throws the ball all over the field and puts up a ton of points. The one thing you donít think about is defense, and that shouldnít change for this game. They have relied on their offense to just outscore their opponent all season long, but when you lead the NATION in passing yards, total yards, and points scored you can do just that. No one has been able to stop this passing game all year, so its doubtful Air Force will be able to accomplish that, but if Air Force is able to just get a few stops in key situations, and put their offense in good situations they have a chance to outscore the Cougars because of how bad their defense is.

In Houstonís first loss of the year to UTEP the Cougars allowed 581 yards of total offense with 305 of those yards coming on the ground, and that plays right into Air Forceís strength. Air Force is ranked 3rd in the nation in rush offense averaging 274 yards a game on the ground, so if Houstonís defense has another game like they did against UTEP this game could be close.


THE FINAL VERDICT

It is very tough for us to take a team like Houston who plays very little defense. We all know the clichť that defense wins championships, and that is something that Houston just doesnít have, but in the one game where Air Force took on a team that is even close to the same threat as Houston is through the air they struggled against QB Max Hall and BYU allowing 377 yards passing and 5 TD passes. If they thought Max Hall and BYUís passing game was difficult to handle they havenít seen anything. In Houstonís last game against ECU QB Case Keenum went 56/75 for 527 yards and 5 TD. (No that is not a misprint he threw the ball 75 times). This game could turn into a game like Houston had against UTEP.

Houston just has too many weapons on offense. Air Force should be able to control the clock with their rushing attack and at least keep this game close for most of the game, but you can only slow down Keenum and the Cougars offense for so long and the Cougars will go home with back to back wins in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Air Force is not the team you want to be backing if you have to come from behind. It's not the type of team that's going to come back when down a couple of touchdowns, like the quick strike cougars.

Our numbers on this game actually favor Air Force. They have the much better defense and can also put some points on the board. In fact one set of numbers we use to project a final score has Air Force winning straight up 31-27.

But this is one instance where we are going to go against those numbers. Simply because Houston has great potential to be up by a couple of TD's in this game which will force Air Force to do what it can't.....throw the ball and play catch up. Which can lead to mistakes, turnovers, and the game getting out of hand.

Houston -5


 

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