College Football Picks Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs USC Trojans
2012 Hyundai Sun Bowl
Monday December 31, 2012, 2:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs Southern California Trojans
Sun Bowl – El Paso, Texas
Opening Line: USC -10
Current Line: USC -7 1/2
Opening Total: 66
Current Total: 62
Opening Money Line: USC -360 / Georgia Tech +300
Current Money Line: USC -300 / Georgia Tech +250
El Paso is a lovely city. However, at the beginning of the season, if you would have told the USC Trojans they would be spending New Year’s Eve in El Paso they would have scoffed at you. The Trojans were #1 in the pre-season polls with quarterback Matt Barkley coming back for his senior season. USC was coming off two years of probation and were loaded for a run at the national title. Well, the Trojans finished with a very disappointing 7-5 season and aren’t even ranked in the top 25.
They will take on 6-7 Georgia Tech in the 2012 Sun Bowl. Georgia Tech lost in the ACC Championship game 21-15 to Florida St and had to get a special waiver from the NCAA to play in a bowl with a losing record. The Yellow Jackets were only in the ACC Championship because North Carolina and Miami weren’t eligible.
This is the fourth meeting between Georgia Tech and USC, but they haven’t played since 1973. USC leads the series 2-1. The two teams have never met in a bowl game before.
Georgia Tech is 22-18 all time in bowl games. The Yellow Jackets have lost 7 straight bowl games including 30-27 in last year’s Sun Bowl against Utah. Georgia Tech has qualified for 16 straight bowl games though. USC is 32-16 in bowl games. The Trojans have won 4 straight bowl games including 26-13 in the 2009 Emerald Bowl against Boston College. USC has been ineligible for a bowl for the last two seasons.
Georgia Tech was 5-4 in the ACC under coach Paul Johnson. The Yellow Jackets have home wins over Presbyterian 59-3, Virginia 56-20, Boston College 37-17, and Duke 42-24, along with road wins at Maryland 33-13 and North Carolina 68-50. Georgia Tech has road losses at Virginia Tech 20-17 in overtime, Clemson 47-31, and at Georgia 42-10, along with home losses to Miami 42-36 in overtime, Middle Tennessee 49-28, and BYU 41-17. The Yellow Jackets are 8-5 ATS and the total is 7-5 this season.
Georgia Tech is averaging 446.6 yards per game on offense, including 134.1 passing yards and 312.5 rushing yards. The Yellow Jackets are #119 nationally in passing, but #4 in rushing. This isn’t really surprising with Johnson’s triple option offense. Georgia Tech is outscoring teams 35-30 this season. The Yellow Jackets are +4 in turnovers with 18 giveaways. Georgia Tech averages 36 penalty yards per game and has allowed 12 sacks this season. The Yellow Jackets are 106/218 on third and fourth down conversions and 49/62 scoring in the red zone with 40 touchdowns. On defense, Georgia Tech is allowing 387 yards per game including 239.2 passing yards and 147.8 rushing yards. The Yellow Jackets have forced 22 turnovers and 28 sacks. Georgia Tech opponents are 82/189 on third and fourth down conversions and 43/53 scoring in the red zone with 34 touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets have 3 defensive/special teams touchdowns.
Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington has completed 72 of 128 passes (56.3%) for 1,173 yards with 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with 161 carries, 638 yards, and 19 touchdowns. Back-up quarterback Vad Lee has completed 25 of 51 passes (49%) for 570 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 86 carries, 492 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Running back Orwin Smith has 75 carries, 673 yards, and 5 touchdowns, along with 17 catches and 271 yards. He is probable with with an ankle injury after missing the last two games. Zach Laskey has 127 carries, 637 yards and a touchdown, along with 6 catches, 122 yards and 2 touchdowns. David Sims has 118 carries, 513 yards and 4 touchdowns. Robert Godhigh has 51 carries, 416 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 15 catches, 227 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Receiver Jeff Greene has 18 catches, 284 yards and 2 touchdowns. Defensive back Jamal Golden has 2 punt returns for touchdowns. Eight Yellow Jackets are listed as questionable to out Monday.
USC was 5-4 in the Pac 12 under coach Lane Kiffin. The Trojans lost at UCLA 38-28 in a battle for the Pac 12 South Division title, and closed out the regular season with a 22-13 loss at home to #1 Notre Dame . USC lost 4 of their last 5 games down the stretch. The other losses for USC came at Stanford 21-14 and Arizona 39-36 and at home to Oregon 62-51. The Trojans have home wins over Hawaii 49-10, Cal 27-9, Colorado 50-6 and Arizona St 38-17. USC has road wins over Syracuse 42-29 in New Jersey, at Utah 38-28, and Washington 24-14. The Trojans are 3-9 ATS and the total is 5-7 this season.
USC is averaging 451.9 yards per game including, 296.9 passing yards and 155 rushing yards. On defense, the Trojans are allowing 396.1 yards per game including 239.7 passing yards and 156.4 rushing yards. USC is outscoring teams 34-25 this season. The Trojans have forced 29 turnovers this season, and have a turnover margin of -2. USC is averaging 67 penalty yards per game. The Trojans have allowed 17 sacks and forced 43 of their own. USC is 62/163 on third and fourth down conversions, and 40/52 scoring in the red zone with 32 touchdowns. Trojan opponents are 76/193 on third and fourth conversions, and 40/50 scoring in the red zone with 26 touchdowns. The Trojans have five defensive/special teams touchdowns.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley has completed 246 of 387 passes (63.6%) for 3,273 yards with 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He has been sacked 14 times this season. Barkley is out with a shoulder injury suffered late in the UCLA game. He also missed the Notre Dame game. Redshirt freshman Max Wittek will start again. Wittek has 281 passing yards along with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Running back Silas Redd has 150 carries, 817 yards and 9 touchdowns, along with 6 catches for 99 yards. He transferred from Penn St after they were banned from post-season play by the NCAA. Curtis McNeal has 113 carries, for 696 yards and 2 touchd0wns, along with 7 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. He is questionable with a leg injury. D.J. Morgan has 41 carries, 201 yards and a touchdown, along with a touchdown catch for his only reception of the year.
Receiver Marqise Lee has 112 catches, 1,680 yards and 14 touchdowns, along with 106 rushing yards. Lee also has a kickoff return for a touchdown. He is questionable for bowl game because of undisclosed reasons. Robert Woods has 73 catches, 813 yards, and 11 touchdowns, along with 76 rushing yards. Lee and Woods are arguably the best receiver tandem in the country, but no other Trojan has more than 27 catches. Xavier Grimble has 5 touchdown catches, and Randall Telfer has 4. Eight Trojan defensive player are out indefinitely or for the season and 7 other players are listed on the injury report.
USC is 4-0 ATS in bowl games, 5-1 after scoring less than 20 points, 4-1 in neutral site games, 10-3 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 5-2 after rushing for less than 100 yards, 17-8 after a straight up win, 3-7 on turf, 2-5 in non-conference games, and 1-4 overall.
Georgia Tech is 5-1 ATS after scoring less than 20 points, 4-1 overall, and after passing for less than 170 yards, 15-5 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 2-5 in neutral site games, 2-6 in December, 1-5 in non-conference games, and 0-5 in bowl games.
USC is the better team here if they are properly motivated. That is a big if. USC expected to be in Miami preparing for the BCS Championship game or at the very least in Pasadena for the Rose Bowl at the beginning of the season. Of course, it turns out they were vastly overrated. USC can’t stop the run and could struggle with Georgia Tech’s triple option. I don’t know if Georgia Tech wins straight up but they have a very good shot of keeping this close.
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