Three reasons why you should watch the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.
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Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
Florida State (6-6) vs. Southern Miss (8-4)
Date: Wednesday, December 27th
Game Time: 2:30 pm
Venue: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
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The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness
(1 best-39 worst): 31 out of 39
Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
– Florida State fought to get here. The team could’ve easily packed it in – cough, Florida, cough – in the midst of a painfully disappointing season that should’ve and could’ve ended with a shot at the College Football Playoff. Instead, the team kept on fighting, won its last three games with ease, and it’s here. You don’t come this far and then quit.
– It’s a shot at making the Southern Miss season. At a different level than FSU, this was a tough year for a USM team that should’ve and could’ve been a big part of the Conference USA title hunt. With six wins in the final eight, the team battled hard to get here. It’s going to care.
– Oh yeah, the new guy. FSU is in a holding pattern until Willie Taggart gets to crank up the job full-time. Until then, former Seminole star Odell Haggans will be the interim head coach, and he’s going to have this team ready to go. It’s time for the young guys to audition for the new guy. 2018, and the Taggart era, starts now.
Here’s Why Florida State Will Win The Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
– Get ready for the 1-2 rushing punch of Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick. The Golden Eagle run defense is solid, but it can get hit by good ground games. Akers was the superstar recruit in the 2017 class, and he showed it off at times. However, he’s been kept under wraps a bit too often – not against USM. Patrick ran for 155 yards against ULM with two scores, and he’ll be able to provide some pop, too.
– Florida State has a problem with penalties. Southern Miss really has a problem with penalties. Last in Conference USA in sins, the Eagle get flagged at a stunning level, screwing up ten times or more four times on the year and an average of 7.7 times per game for 69 yards. Against the Noles, USM can’t give away yards. Ever.
– Okay, let’s just say what you’re thinking. Florida State has a gazillion times more talent. Southern Miss might be feisty, and it’s got athletes and skill, too, but this really was an FSU team that had the upside to be in the national title chase, and it didn’t happen for a variety of reasons. If this team gets off the bus and decides it really, really wants to win your 2017 Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, it will.
Here’s Why Southern Miss Will Win The Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
– Make … FSU … throw. James Blackman had some good moments after getting thrown into the fire, but he was way too erratic. On the year, FSU quarterbacks struggled, hitting just 58% of their passes with just six games of over 200 yards with 17 touchdowns and 13 picks. The Golden Eagle secondary is fantastic, and it should be able to hold its own, especially because …
– The Southern Miss defense should be able to get into the backfield. The FSU offensive line hasn’t been the full reason for the team’s collapse this year, but it was close. The Noles finished 121st in the nation in tackles for loss, and was 105th in sacks given up. The USM defensive front has an okay pass rush, but it lives behind the line at times with 94 tackles for loss.
— Okay, let’s just say what you’re thinking. There’s a chance FSU just doesn’t really care as much as everything is saying it does. Motivation and preparation don’t appear to be a problem, but this is a transition period game. It’s all about the Taggart era that’s coming up, and it’s all about getting though this and getting this awful season over with.
You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
– Of course FSU can win this without Derwin James. But it speaks to the idea of this being nothing more than a nice reward and an exhibition that no one said boo about the superstar NFL safety prospect skipping this. Of course he shouldn’t play in this game. Of course he shouldn’t have played another college football game after the ACC title hopes were gone midway through the season. But there are a slew of other pro prospects on this team, too. They don’t want to get hurt.
– Is it possible to get some flashbacks in this? If it turns into a blowout, then get the footage ready of former Atlanta Falcon teammates Brett Favre and Deion Sanders. USM pulled off a shocker to start the 1989 season with a 30-26 win over the Seminoles, but the Golden Eagles were blown out in 1988 and 1996. The two schools are only five hours apart – this should be a regular non-conference matchup.
– This has been a quirky-weird game. Over the last ten Independence Bowls, this is just the third Power Five vs. Group of Five matchup. Virginia Tech and Tulsa played a wild 55-52 shootout in 2015, and Air Force beat Georgia Tech 14-7 in 2010. The ACC team has won the last two, but it struggled mightily for a while going 0-4 from 2010 to 2014. In other words, this is a unique matchup in a bowl full of unique matchups.
Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Walk-On’s Independence Bowl?
In the end, Florida State will turn the Florida State up just enough to get by.
The offense will struggle and sputter, though, against a fired up Southern Miss defense that’s legitimately good enough to screw up the Seminoles, but when the FSU defense wants to do something terrific, it will.
Give it about a half, and then the Power Five talent will start to kick in.
Florida State 34, Southern Miss 17
– More Bowl Info & Get Tickets
Florida State -15.5, o/u: 49
ATS Confidence: 3.5
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar
Must See Rating: 2.5
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas
Independence Bowl History, Results
Dec. 26, 2016 NC State 41, Vanderbilt 17
Dec. 26, 2015 Virginia Tech 55 Tulsa 52
Dec. 27, 2014 South Carolina 24 Miami 21
Dec. 31, 2013 Arizona 42 Boston College 19
Dec. 28, 2012 Ohio 45 Louisiana-Monroe 14
Dec. 26, 2011 Missouri 41 North Carolina 24
Dec. 27, 2010 Air Force 14 Georgia Tech 7
Dec. 28, 2009 Georgia 44 Texas A&M 20
Dec. 28, 2008 Louisiana Tech 17 Northern Illinois 10
Dec. 30, 2007 Alabama 30 Colorado 24
Dec. 28, 2006 Oklahoma State 34 Alabama 31
Dec. 30, 2005 Missouri 38 South Carolina 31
Dec. 28, 2004 Iowa State 17 Miami Univ. 13
Dec. 31, 2003 Arkansas 27 Missouri 14
Dec. 27, 2002 Mississippi 27 Nebraska 23
Dec. 27, 2001 Alabama 14 Iowa State 13
Dec. 31, 2000 Mississippi State 43 Texas A&M 41 (OT)
Dec. 31, 1999 Mississippi 27 Oklahoma 25
Dec. 31, 1998 Mississippi 35 Texas Tech 18
Dec. 28, 1997 LSU 27 Notre Dame 9
Dec. 31, 1996 Auburn 32 Army 29
Dec. 29, 1995 LSU 45 Michigan State 26
Dec. 28, 1994 Virginia 20 TCU 10
Dec. 31, 1993 Virginia Tech 45 Indiana 20
Dec. 31, 1992 Wake Forest 39 Oregon 35
Dec. 29, 1991 Georgia 24 Arkansas 15
Dec. 15, 1990 Louisiana Tech 34 Maryland 34
Dec. 16, 1989 Oregon 27 Tulsa 24
Dec. 23, 1988 Southern Miss 38 UTEP 18
Dec. 19, 1987 Washington 24 Tulane 12
Dec. 20, 1986 Mississippi 20 Texas Tech 17
Dec. 21, 1985 Minnesota 20 Clemson 13
Dec. 15, 1984 Air Force 23 Virginia Tech 7
Dec. 10, 1983 Air Force 9 Mississippi 3
Dec. 11, 1982 Wisconsin 14 Kansas State 3
Dec. 12, 1981 Texas A&M 33 Oklahoma State 16
Dec. 13, 1980 Southern Miss 16 McNeese State 14
Dec. 15, 1979 Syracuse 31 McNeese State 7
Dec. 16, 1978 East Carolina 35 Louisiana Tech 13
Dec. 17, 1977 Louisiana Tech 24 Louisville 14
Dec. 13, 1976 McNeese State 20 Tulsa 16