Three reasons why you should watch the Foster Farms Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.
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Foster Farms Bowl
Arizona (7-5) vs. Purdue (6-6)
Date: Wednesday, December 27th
Game Time: 8:30 pm
Venue: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
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The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness
(1 best-39 worst): 16 out of 39
Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Foster Farms Bowl
– Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Khalil Tate. Either Arizona games were on the Pac-12 Network, or they were played when half of America was deep asleep, but this is finally a shot to give one of the most electrifying players in college football your undivided attention. The young quarterback will be the hot guy going into next season.
– Finally, Purdue is good again. It’s been a long, long time since the Boilermakers were even remotely interesting or relevant, but new head coach Jeff Brohm showed up and changed around the fortunes right away with the program’s first bowl appearance since the 2012 season. Just getting here is good enough, but a winning season would be outstanding.
– Purdue has won one bowl against a Power Five program – the 2002 Sun over Washington – since the classic Drew Brees-led Alamo Bowl win over Kansas State in 1998. Arizona has won three of its last four, but it didn’t get bowling last season. It’s a strong Big Ten vs. Pac-12 game – the first of four.
Here’s Why Arizona Will Win The Foster Farms Bowl
– Yeah, Khalil Tate. He needs to be a more efficient and consistent passer, but that’s nitpicking. Against Colorado he connected on 12-of-13 throws, and in the loss to Arizona State he hit 11-of-13 – when he’s on, the offense is unstoppable.
However, Oregon and Arizona State were able to figure out how to bottle him up a bit in the last two games. Defenses will take their chances with the other parts of the puzzle, but when Tate gets into the open field, or gets a crease, forget about it, nailing Colorado for 327 yards on the ground and four scores, and finishing the season with 1,353 yards and 12 touchdowns.
– Purdue’s defense can’t stop offenses on third downs. For all of the good things the Boilermakers have done, the D just can’t seem to get off the field on the money downs, allowing teams to convert 36.5% of the time. The Boilermakers allowed over 40% five times this year, going 1-4.
Helped by Mr. Tate, Arizona is really, really good on third downs, converting 44% of the time.
– The Arizona defense might give up a ton of yards and have a ton of issues, but it makes up for a slew of problems by taking the ball away. The Wildcats aren’t great overall in turnover margin, but the D has 24 takeaways on the year with two or more in seven games.
Here’s Why Purdue Will Win The Foster Farms Bowl
– Arizona is more than happy to give the ball away. The Wildcats come up with a whole slew of big plays, and a whole lot of mistakes, giving away 20 turnovers on the year including two or more in five games. Arizona is 1-3 when losing the turnover margin; Purdue is 3-1 when it’s a +2 or better.
– The Purdue run defense is terrific. The 2016 Boilermakers allowed almost 2,900 yards with 35 scores, averaging over five yards per carry – they wore down as games went on. This year? 1,600 yards allowed and ten scores, only giving up 200 yards to Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The linebacking corps was able to keep Lamar Jackson to 107 yards – the rest of the Louisville ground game did next to nothing – on a run D that title allow 100 yards rushing over a four game stretch late in the year.
– Those linebackers. Purdue has a wonderful combination of good veterans and talented young big hitters, combining for one of the best corps in the Big Ten. Senior Ja’Whaun Bentley is the do-it-all leader in the middle, sophomore Markus Bailey is the rising star on one side, and former WKU Hilltopper T.J. McCollum is a tackling machine on the other. And now they’ll have almost a month to prepare for Tate.
You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Foster Farms Bowl
– Rich Rodriguez isn’t on any sort of a hot seat, but Arizona State fired Todd Graham after going 7-5, Chip Kelly is the big new thing at UCLA, and USC is still USC. It doesn’t matter that much if Arizona loses this, however, it would seem like things are going in the right direction if the Cats can get this done.
– It’s a minor miracle that Jeff Brohm is still coaching Purdue. His ability to take Purdue from miserable to okay right away put him on the rumored short list for several job openings this offseason. He’s close – no one would’ve blinked if he was offered the Tennessee or Florida State gigs. Unlike Arizona and RichRod, Purdue and Brohm are playing with house money, but win, and the stock of the coach and program go way, way up into the offseason.
– This could be one of the more interesting Foster Farms Bowls. Usually, this goes to the tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning for a bowl game, but it mattered that Indiana was fired up to be in this last year. Nebraska – who got in at 5-7 – was jacked to get an invite, and it beat a bored UCLA. Arizona and Purdue punch about the same weight, and both should be motivated.
Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Foster Farms Bowl?
Purdue is on a run of three wins in its last four games, and Arizona is in a rut of three losses in its last four. However, this is still the Boilermaker team that lost to Rutgers, was dropped by Nebraska, and struggled and sputtered to crank up the offensive production in Big Ten play.
The Boilermaker defense will be just strong enough to keep Tate from putting up ridiculous numbers, but the Arizona ground attack will be solid throughout. The Wildcat defense might not be anything special, but it’s aggressive enough to screw up the Purdue O just enough to get the win.
With Texas and Missouri kicking off a half hour after this gets started, it’ll have to fight to hold the bowl world’s attention. It’ll do that without a problem.
Arizona 28, Purdue 23
– More Bowl Info & Get Tickets
Arizona -4, o/u: 65
ATS Confidence: 3
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar
Must See Rating: 3
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas
Foster Farms Bowl History, Results
Dec. 28, 2016 Utah 26, Indiana 24
Dec. 26, 2015 Nebraska 37 UCLA 29
Dec. 30, 2014 Stanford 45 Maryland 21
Dec. 27, 2013 Washington 31 BYU 16
Dec. 29, 2012 Arizona State 62 Navy 28
Dec. 31, 2011 Illinois 20 UCLA 14
Jan. 9, 2010 Nevada 20 Boston College 13
Dec. 26, 2009 USC 24 Boston College 13
Dec. 27, 2008 California 24 Miami 17
Dec. 28, 2007 Oregon State 21 Maryland 14
Dec. 27, 2006 Florida State 44 UCLA 27
Dec. 29, 2005 Utah 38 Georgia Tech 10
Dec. 30, 2004 Navy 34 New Mexico 19
Dec. 31, 2003 Boston College 35 Colorado State 21
Dec. 31, 2002 Virginia Tech 20 Air Force 13