2016 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, Appalachian State vs. Toledo Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

2016 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, Appalachian State vs. Toledo Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores


2016 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, Appalachian State vs. Toledo Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl Prediction, Toledo vs. Appalachian State Game Preview, History, Scores

Three reasons why you should watch the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl between Toledo (9-3) vs. Appalachian State (9-3), why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


Date: Saturday, December 17
Game Time: 5:30 pm
Venue: Cranton Bowl, Montgomery, AL
Network: ESPN

Contact/Follow @PeteFiutak

Scroll down for the video preview and bowl history

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness (1 best-40 worst): 29 out of 40

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

There might not be a better group of running backs in the bowl season. Toledo’s Kareem Hunt and Terry Swanson combined for close to 2,000 yards and 12 scores, while Appalachian State’s Jalin Moore and Marcus Cox joined forces for over 2,200 yards and 18 touchdowns.

The first two Camellia Bowls have been terrific. Bowling Green fought off South Alabama for a 33-28 win in the inaugural game in 2014, and last year Appalachian State came up with a last-second field goal to beat Ohio 31-29. It’s the co-Sun Belt champ going against a Toledo team that turned out be the third-best in the MAC. These are two very good, very even Group of Five programs.

Bowls are a big thing for both teams. Appalachian State might be used to success in its former life as an FCS playoff powerhouse, but that win over the Bobcats last year was the program’s first bowl appearance. Toledo has been to 15 of these things, and it’s been a regular on the circuit lately – but it shows up. The Rockets have won three of their last four bowls, blowing out Arkansas State and Temple in the last two by a combined score of 95-61.

Here’s Why Appalachian State Will Win The Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

The Mountaineers might have the best defense Toledo has seen. There’s no throwing on the ASU defense. It’s possible to get yards, but the secondary will make you pay, coming up with 20 interceptions on the year and giving up just ten touchdowns. How good has it been? It’s allowed just three touchdown passes and picked off 17 passes over the last eight games.

The ASU O line has gotten better as the season has gone on. Tremendous in pass protection all season long, the Mountaineer front five has made life easy for the great backs. The Mountaineers are great at controlling games, running for 200 yards or more seven times and 299 yards or more in four of the last five games. The Toledo defense has been better than it’s been in past years, but it’s still not a brick wall against the run.

Turnover margin. Toledo struggles a bit to own the turnover battle, while Appalachian State lives on it. The Mountaineers have only lost the turnover battle twice, and in both games they were only -1. How stingy is the offense? It’s only turned it over more than one in two games – the team doesn’t screw up.

Here’s Why Toledo Will Win The Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

Toledo seems like it converts every third down chance, and Appalachian State doesn’t. It doesn’t make any sense considering the ASU running game and its veteran passer in Taylor Lamb, but it struggles to keep the chains moving. It’s not always that big a deal – Alabama stunk on third downs last year, too – but Toledo dominates games by keeping the chains moving. The Rockets convert a ridiculous 52% of their third down tries – third best in college football.

Baker Mayfield had the highest passer rating in college football. Toledo’s Logan Woodside was No. 2. The junior bombed away in game after game – helped a little bit by all the attention paid to the great ground game – averaging almost ten yards per throw – with 43 touchdown passes and just nine picks. Consider him a mortal lock to finish the year with a 4,000-yard season – he’s just 118 yards away.

Kareem Hunt has never received enough respect. The Toledo senior running back closed out the season with four straight 100-yard games, and cranked out 200 against Western Michigan. Solid in last year’s bowl win over Temple, he ran for 79 yards and two scores, averaging over five yards per pop. Two years ago, he destroyed Arkansas State in the bowl season with 271 yards and five scores. ASU might have an outstanding defense, but Toledo will keep on feeding its main man.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

This is massive for the Sun Belt. Beating the co-Sun Belt champ would be a big deal for the MAC, but Western Michigan’s performance against Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl is the big game that matters for the conference. There might be other big moments for the Sun Belt this bowl season, but this is the one that truly matters. Win, and ASU has 21 wins and two bowl victories in two years.

The Lamb factor. Taylor Lamb takes a backseat to the great ASU running game, and Logan Woodside is the better of the two quarterbacks in the game, but Lamb is a heady, tough veteran who doesn’t screw up. He’s only given up one interception in the last four games and five in the last nine – with two in the win over Georgia Southern. Again, third downs are an issue for ASU, but don’t be shocked if he turns out to be the story with key throw after key throw.

Who’s defense will come up with more big plays up front? Both offensive lines have all-stars and veterans, and now it’ll be up to the linebackers on both sides to bust through that. Toledo’s Ja’Wuan Woodley was one of the MAC’s best all-around playmakers both against the run and in the backfield. Eric Boggs leads a strong, experienced ASU linebacking corps that swarms around the ball. Whichever group of LBs plays better will probably win the game.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Raycom Media Camellia Bowl?

Do you like the team with the better defense, or the most dangerous offense?

Does Toledo’s 31-10 domination of Arkansas State to start the season matter in any way in terms of figuring out the conference equivalency?

With running game will get into a better groove?

Toledo is a bit more explosive, has a lot more pop, and is a whole lot better at outbombing its opponents. The Rockets will get more out of Woodside than ASU will get out of Lamb, and the two running games will cancel each other out in what should be a third straight excellent Camellia Bowl.

Final Score

Toledo 37, Appalachian State 31


Toledo -1, o/u: 58

ATS Confidence: 3
5: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score in your favorite bar
0: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score after covering a College Football Playoff semifinal

Must See Rating: 3
5: New Year’s Eve: Defected In The House, Ministry of Sound, London
0: New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Special Co-Host Kathy Griffin

Get Tickets For The Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

Camellia Bowl Game History, Results

Dec. 19, 2015 Appalachian State 31 Ohio 29
Dec. 20, 2014 Bowling Green 33 South Alabama 28

More Bowl Projections