The college football bowl season continues on Friday with the New Era Pinstripe Bowl with Iowa State taking on Rutgers. The game is scheduled for a 3:20 p.m. start time and will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the odds have Rutgers favored by 1 point with the total being set at 44.5 points. Iowa State only had six wins while playing a brutal schedule, but one of those victories cost its opponent a spot in the BCS championship game, while Rutgers can only blame itself for not staying in the hunt for a BCS bowl bid.
Free Pick: Iowa State closed out the regular season by winning three of its final five games, including a thrilling victory over then second-ranked and previously unbeaten Oklahoma State despite being four-touchdown underdogs. The Cyclones also have big wins over a 19th-ranked Texas Tech squad and key victories over instate rival Iowa and the Big East's Connecticut. Early in the year, Iowa State lost top running back Shontrelle Johnson to a season-ending neck injury. Then the team also replaced starting quarterback Steele Jantz with freshman Jared Barnett midway through the season witch sparked a string of three straight victories. Barnett started the preseason camp buried at No. 4 on the depth chart, has been able to make plays with his arm and his legs, as he ranks second on the team with 435 rushing yards despite starting only five games. Barnett developed an instant chemistry with wideout Josh Lenz, who hauled in 35 passes for 438 yards and two touchdowns. Offensively the Cyclones come in ranked 55th overall (392.8 ypg), 36th in rushing (181.2 ypg) and 86th in points scored (23.5 ppg). The Cyclones on the defensive side of the ball ranks 100th nationally against the run (195.2 ypg) and 99th in total defense (432.3 ypg). However, the defense made some strides late in the year. During a four-game stretch against Texas Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, the Cyclones led the Big 12 in scoring defense (18.5 ppg). ISU's defense will face a Rutgers' offense that ranks 115th in the nation in rushing average (91.5 ypg). The Scarlet Knights do have some dangerous weapons in the passing game. One of those weapons is junior wideout Mohamed Sanu (1144 yards receiving), a unanimous first-team All-Big East pick who shattered the school and conference single-season receptions record with 109, which also ranked fifth nationally. The Knights also underwent a QB switch in the middle of the year as coach Schiano inserted true freshman Gary Nova over incumbent starter Chas Dodd. However, it remains to be seen who will start the bowl game. Leading the way for the Rutgers defense is junior linebacker Khaseem Greene (127 tackles), who was named the Big East co-defensive player of the year, while joining Greene on the All-Big East First Team is junior strong safety Duron Harmon, who finished second in the conference with five interceptions during his first year as a starter. The Knights pride themselves on defense and they led the Big East in total defense (314.4 ypg), pass defense (168.3 ypg), scoring defense (18.8 ppg), pass efficiency defense (104.09), red zone defense (46 percent TDs) and first downs allowed (15/game). These teams have never met on the gridiron.
Free Pick: Im gonna look at the Under in this one. The Cyclone defense played very well down the stretch as they allowed just 20.8 ppg in their last 5 games, compared to allowing 35.8 ppg in their first 7 games. Now this defense gets to take a weak Rutgers offense that is 100th overall and has scored just 22.3 ppg in their last 4 games. This is a field position offense that relies on not taking chances and letting their defense win games. Rutgers also doesn't get a lot of big plays as they are 109th in yards per play (4.5). ISU has a solid running game (36th), but passing has been an issue for them (74th). ISU will look to run in this game as the Knights are 56th vs the run, but 13th vs the pass. ISU comes in 89th in yards per play (4.9). This will be a game of a game of running, defense and non-big plays and I really don't expect it to hit 40 points.
Free Picks: Iowa vs Oklahoma Betting
Lack of motivation for Oklahoma and Coach Ferentz of Iowa is 6-1 as bowl dog plus other factors college football bettors need to know about Iowa vs Oklahoma (Friday, December 30, 2011) from Pregame.com - Including predictions from Bryan Leonard and analysis from host Marco D'Angelo.