Wyoming vs. Central Michigan: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Wyoming vs. Central Michigan: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Wyoming

Wyoming vs. Central Michigan: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Prediction, Game Preview


Three reasons why you should watch the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


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Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Wyoming (7-5) vs. Central Michigan (8-4)

Broadcast

Date: Friday, December 22nd
Game Time: 4:00 pm
Venue: Albertson’s Stadium, Boise, ID
Network: ESPN

Contact/Follow @PeteFiutak

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness
(1 best-39 worst): 
34 out of 39

2017-2018 Bowl Central: Schedules, Picks, Love
CFN Expert Consensus Confidence Picks

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Here’s your big chance to see what the fuss about Josh Allen is all about. He’s going to turn pro early, but he’s still going to play in this game in his one final chance to show the world that he really is better at playing football than he showed throughout the season.

He missed the last few games of the year with a shoulder injury, and he was supposed to be questionable – now he’ll be one of the big stories of the bowl season. At the very least, get ready for a three hour discussion about whether or not he really is worthy of a top ten overall, franchise-defining pick.

– Maybe, just maybe, this could have some of the same magic as last year’s epic.  Idaho and Colorado State were supposed to come up with a nice offensive show, but 61-50? The Vandals won the shootout, after Akron won a tight defensive battle over Utah State the year before. Central Michigan and Wyoming are two tough teams that should keep the score close – even if the two don’t turn out to be as entertaining.

It’s a bit much to call Central Michigan the MAC’s best team – after all, it lost to Toledo at home 30-10. But it’s certainly the league’s hottest team, winning five in a row including nice wins over Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Northern Illinois. The Chippewas took down Ohio on the road, too. After struggling over the first part of the season, the team has figured out ways to win.

Here’s Why Wyoming Will Win The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

For all the good things Central Michigan has done, it can’t convert a third down opportunity. Okay, so that’s not entirely true – the Chippewas convert 31% of their chances, but they struggle way too often to keep the chains moving. The running game is just okay, and the passing game isn’t totally miserable, but when it comes to the money downs, CMU doesn’t come through. And that means …

Central Michigan is awful at controlling the clock. The defense can get off the field, but when the offense is 119th in the nation in third down conversions – and the team isn’t able to come up with enough first downs – it’s hard to own the time of possession. CMU holds the ball for just 28:27 a game. That’s not a plus when dealing with a strong defense, especially because …

The Cowboys are amazing at taking the ball away. Wyoming doesn’t have much of an offense, and it’s not all that explosive, but it’s No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin. A +16 on the year, the D came up with seven takeaways against New Mexico, four against Utah State, and have been great all year at forcing mistakes. The Cowboys are second in the nation in takeaways, but …

Here’s Why Central Michigan Will Win The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

The Chippewas are No. 1. They might not be quite as good when it comes to turnover margin, but in the eight wins they’re a +13, and a -5 in the four losses – they haven’t lost when being on the plus side. With at least two takeaways in nine games, and 13 in the last four games, this defense knows how to make teams screw up.

For all the good things Wyoming has done, it can’t convert a third down opportunity. CMU is bad, but Wyoming is almost as awful. The Cowboys have converted just 32.5% of their third down chances, and that’s a big deal. UW is 1-4 when it’s under 30%, and the CMU defense is strong at getting off the field, with offenses converting just 35% of their tries. And that’s why …

Wyoming is awful at controlling the clock. CMU is bad when it comes to time of possession; Wyoming is worse. With the Mountain West’s worst rushing offense, and little to no consistent passing game – even with a supposed franchise NFL quarterback under center – the Cowboys only keep the ball for 27:23 a game. That’s not good.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Alright, Central Michigan. Win one of these. The Chippewas came up with bowl victories in the 2009 GMAC and the 2012 Little Caesars, but they’ve had issues in the last three.

Whether it was the wild comeback in the loss to WKU in the epic 2014 Bahamas, or the good fight in a 21-14 Quick Lane loss to Minnesota, or last year’s ugly 55-10 blasting from Tulsa in the Miami Beach, CMU hasn’t been able to figure out the post-season. The program is 3-7 in bowl games.

Alright, Wyoming. Win one of these. The Cowboys were able to win the 2004 Las Vegas in a shocker over UCLA, and they came up with a win over Fresno State in the 2009 New Mexico, and that’s been about it.

Outside of those two bowls, the previous Wyoming post-season win came over Florida State in the 1966 Sun Bowl. The program has lost eight of its last ten going back to 1968, and this is just the first bowl appearance since 2011.

So yeah … both teams need a bowl win. Badly.

If you haven’t quite figured out the theme of this, the two teams are almost the same. They can’t move the ball, they can’t do anything right on a consistent basis offensively, they each have quarterbacks with tremendous hype and talent – CMU’s Shane Morris was once Michigan’s superstar recruit – and they each own a hellacious defense that’s amazing at taking the ball away. While that’s all well and good, whichever one gets down early is in big, big trouble.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl?

It’s possible to move the ball on the Central Michigan defense, but Wyoming doesn’t move the ball on anyone – and it doesn’t score. However, the Cowboys seem able to find ways to shut down good offenses to a dead stop, much less one that’s as mediocre as CMU’s.

It’ll come down to turnovers and big mistakes. Central Michigan is worse at giving the ball away, and it’s far, far worse when it comes to getting flagged. This won’t be pretty, but Wyoming just doesn’t screw up, and now it’ll hope that it’s enough to get a bowl win.

Final Score

Wyoming 24, Central Michigan 20
More Bowl Info & Get Tickets

Line

PICK, o/u: 44.5

ATS Confidence: 3
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

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl History, Results

Dec. 22, 2016 Idaho 61, Colorado State 50
Dec. 22, 2015 Akron 23 Utah State 21
Dec. 20, 2014 Air Force 38 Western Michigan 24
Dec. 21, 2013 San Diego State 49 Buffalo 24
Dec. 15, 2012 Utah State 41 Toledo 15
Dec. 17, 2011 Ohio 24 Utah State 23
Dec. 18, 2010 Northern Illinois 40 Fresno State 17
Dec. 30, 2009 Idaho 43 Bowling Green 42
Dec. 30, 2008 Maryland 42 Nevada 35
Dec. 31, 2007 Fresno State 40 Georgia Tech 28
Dec. 31, 2006 Miami 21 Nevada 20
Dec. 28, 2005 Boston College 27 Boise State 21
Dec. 27, 2004 Fresno State 37 Virginia 34 (OT)
Jan. 3, 2004 Georgia Tech 52 Tulsa 10
Dec. 31, 2002 Boise State 34 Iowa State 16
Dec. 31, 2001 Clemson 49 Louisiana Tech 24
Dec. 28, 2000 Boise State 38 UTEP 23
Dec. 30, 1999 Boise State 34 Louisville 31
Dec. 30, 1998 Idaho 42 Southern Miss 35
Dec. 29, 1997 Cincinnati 35 Utah State 19

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