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College Football Gildan New Mexico Bowl Start Time, Free Pick

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The Gildan New Mexico Bowl opens up the secondary college football season Saturday. The game, which pits the Temple Owls against the Wyoming Cowboys, is scheduled for a 2 p.m. kickoff and will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the odds are favoring the Owls by a touchdown at -7 points with the total being set at 50 points. Temple began the season as one of the favorites in the MAC Conference but didn't even make it to the title game, falling to an 8-4 record overall. Wyoming also enters this game with an 8-4 record.

Free Analysis: Wyoming is one of the better stories in college football this year after going just 3-9 a season ago. Temple is widely known for running the football and doing it quite a few times per game and doing it well to a 5.3 yards per carry. The Owls are a considerably better team statistically on both sides of the ball but Wyoming did play much better competition. Temple's toughest game was a 14-10 loss to Penn State at home early in the season. Wyoming took on all comers this season, playing six bowl teams including Nebraska, Utah State, San Diego State, TCU, Air Force and Boise State. They definitely have an advantage in playing tougher competition. In addition to that Temple's team didn't beat anybody with a winning record this season. Temple also was out-gained offensively in four of their last five games, winning three of those games. Another crucial impact to the game could by Wyoming's ability to create takeaways defensively. The Cowboys rank fourth in the country in turnover margin with only LSU, Oklahoma State and Kansas State ahead of them. We also see two really inexperienced bowl teams in this contest. Wyoming is playing in its second bowl in three years but only their third bowl in the last 20 years. Temple is even less experienced at this, playing in only their fourth bowl game in the 113 year history of the program. We know Temple is going to run the rock and do it often, so if they get down, it will be interesting to see just how they try to get back in the game. But their defense is exceptionally well this season, raking third in the country in scoring at giving up just 13.8 points per game. On the other hand Wyoming is a pretty balanced team. If Cowboy QB Brett Smith can have a solid game, I really like the Cowboys in this contest, especially getting a touchdown. Temple RB Bernard Pierce has had a dominant season this year with 25 TDs and well over 1,300 yards rushing. He could be the critical factor in this game.

Free Pick: Give me the upstart Wyoming Cowboys and all 7 of those points as an underdog. While they don't really have an overpowering defense, they do cause turnovers and offensively don't beat themselves. Wyoming hasn't lost to a team other than TCU or Boise State since Oct. 8 against Utah State. I think that competition faced will play enormously to the favor of Wyoming in this game. QB Smith will need to manage the game well and keep his team in the game. If Temple doens't run all over the Cowboy defense, I really don't see how they win this game. Their defense is good, yes, but they haven't played anybody. Give me the team with the harder level of competition and an overall better level of talent.

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