Fresno State Bulldogs vs Northern Illinois Huskies
Saturday, 12/18/10, 5:30 PM EDT, TV: ESPN
Opening Point Spread: Northern Illinois -3
Current Betting Line: Northern Illinois -1.5
Opening Total: 60
Current Total: 59
Fresno State makes its 11th bowl appearance in the last 12 seasons and its third trip to Boise, Idaho for a bowl game. The Bulldogs are actually one of 18 programs in the nation to make 11 bowl appearances since 1999. “Boise is a great football town with great fan support, not only for their hometown Broncos but for college football in general,” head coach Pat Hill stated. “Our two previous trips were special and memorable for our team and we had two historic wins for our program.” The program has actually lost its last two preseason games, but comes in on a two-game winning streak, with wins over Idaho and Illinois. Fresno State is 5-6 ATS on the season and is currently a slight underdog on the college football lines page.
The Bulldogs will be taking on a MAC opponent for the first time since 2008 when they earned a 55-54 double overtime win at Toledo. Fresno State is 11-4 all-time against MAC competition. This will be the program’s 23rd bowl appearance and it currently has an 11-11 all-time record. Quarterback Ryan Colburn will be a key player in the team’s effort of moving over the .500 mark in bowl games, as he had 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions in the regular season. It’s important to note that the two-year starter struggled in the squad’s losses this season, especially in throwing two interceptions at Boise State and three against Hawaii.
Northern Illinois is coming into this contest off its first 10-win regular season since 2003 and is only the fourth Huskie team ever to reach that mark. The Huskies will be playing in their third consecutive bowl game, but will not have coach Jerry Kill on the sidelines after he accepted the head coaching job at Minnesota. “It’s still a feeling that I can’t really comprehend right now,” said quarterback Chandler Harnish. “Disappointment. Shock. But we’re moving on.” Luckily the team has a good chance of moving past the distraction with 21 seniors on the roster. Northern Illinois was 9-3 ATS on the season and is 0-2 ATS versus WAC competition over the last three years.
The Huskies 10-win season is even more impressive when considering it was the only team in the country to hit that mark while playing only five home games. Northern Illinois broke single season records for points (492), total offensive yards (5,797) and offensive touchdowns (60). Offensively, the team ranked seventh in the country and led the MAC in rushing offense in averaging 264.8 yards per game. Running back Chad Spann led the attack and earned the Mid-American Conference MVP award, scoring 20 rushing touchdowns in the process.
Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Huskies are 2-9 ATS versus a team with a winning record, while the Bulldogs are 4-0 ATS in bowl games as an underdog.
The college football handicappers at Maddux Sports are ready for a monster bowl season and can’t wait for you to join them on Saturday!