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Pinstripe Bowl Pick
Rutgers vs. Iowa State
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights were picked to finish last in the Big East. Nobody told them that though. HC Greg Schiano's team ended up 8-4 with solid victories over Ohio, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The Pinstripe Bowl is their reward and their foe will be Iowa State Cyclones, who finished 6-6 with upsets over Iowa, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Rutgers is a 1.5 point favorite at 5Dimes and they carry 51.4% of the action.
Iowa State played a brutal schedule, with 9 of their foes making a bowl game. Don't let the 6-6 mark fool you. This team is better than that. After all, they are the only team to beat the explosive Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2011. After losing versatile QB Steele Jantz, they turned the keys over to Jared Barnett. The young 'fella can pass and run which makes him a dual threat. He's still learning the ropes and could be vulnerable as a freshman in a bowl game making just his 8th career start.
Rutgers' best player is Mohamad Sanu. The WR was a unanimous 1st Team Big East selection and he set a Big East record for receptions this season. He has the potential to break a game open, but has gone 4 games without finding the end zone. He has reached 100+ yards in 3 of those 4 games though.
The Rutgers defense looked strong toward the end of the season. They man handled a strong Cincinnati offensive line and then held Connecticut to only 290 total yards in a losing effort. Their secondary is their greatest strength. It's downright tough to pass on the Scarlet Knights.
We're impressed with Iowa State's win over Oklahoma State but not impressed with their season as a whole. You can't hang your hat on one game. We've also got to look at 4 consecutive losses by wide margins earlier in the year, barely getting by Northern Iowa and dropping their last two games of the year, albeit to Oklahoma and Kansas State.
We're not happy with Rutgers dropping a must win game at UCONN in their season finale, 40-22, but the only other team to extend any kind of a margin on the Scarlet Knights this year was West Virginia, 41-31. Rutgers should have the support of the crowd and has been the more consistent team this year. Not sure how motivated either team will be to freeze their ass off in Yankee Stadium, not much of a reward as far as we're concerned, but if the motivation is there, we see no reason Rutgers can't win a close game here. Rutgers -1.5