Thursday, January 1, 2009
Texas Tech vs Ole Miss Prediction
Ole Miss Rebels vs Texas Tech Red Raiders
January 2, 2PM FOX
Line: Texas Tech -4, 69.5
This will be the last Cotton Bowl to be played in...Cotton Bowl Stadium and it might be the biggest contrast of styles in the bowl season. The Texas Tech Red Raiders captured the nation's eye in 2008 with their upset of then #1 Texas and 11 win regular season. Ole Miss came on very strong at the end of the regular season winning their last 5 games to gain their first bowl bid since the 2004 Cotton Bowl.
Keys to the Game:
1. Can Ole Miss Pressure Graham Harrell?
You cannot completely shut down Texas Tech's spread offense. In the Red Raiders lowest scoring output of the year against Oklahoma (21 pts), they still amassed 406 total yards. The key in that game was the pressure Oklahoma put on QB Graham Harrell who was sacked 4 times in the loss. The Red Raiders only gave up 7 sacks in their other 11 games. Good news for Rebels fans. Ole Miss led the SEC with 34 sacks which ranked 14th nationally.
2. Can Texas Tech Run The Ball?
You may be thinking why do we care because Tech just passes every down. Well, Mike Leach's offense has rushed the ball at least 20 times in every game this season and has at least 100 rushing yards in 10 games. In their two worst games of the year they manages just 45 and 56 yards on the ground. Being able to run the ball keeps defensive line man from solely rushing the passer and linebackers in the box. It will be a tough task because Ole Miss allows just 85 ypg rushing from their defense.
3. Can Ole Miss Hang Onto the Ball?
When the Rebels were teetering around .500 early in the season they were having a real problem holding onto the ball. In their 4 losses, they have turned the ball over 15 times, but in 8 wins they have coughed it up just 7 times. The Red Raiders rank 32nd in the nation in takeaways with 26 on the year and have a +7 margin on the season.
The Red Raiders knew they were out of the BCS title hunt after the embarrassing loss to Oklahoma so I don't expect them to be sulking with a Cotton Bowl bid. Ole Miss will be jacked after appearing in their first bowl game since the 2003 season.
I think Ole Miss will be able to get pressure on Harrell and mess with the Red Raiders timing. But the improved Texas Tech defense gives them a much need boost in the second half by hanging to a late Ole Miss charge.
Texas Tech 34 Ole Miss 28
Texas Tech Covers -4
Confidence Ranking(of34): 28
My confidence ranking of a Texas Tech win.
Bowls: 6-5 ATS, 5-6 SU
Season: 37-35-3 ATS, 46-29 SU
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