December 22, 2005

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Colorado State Rams (6-5) vs. Navy Midshipmen (7-4)

Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, CA

Line: Navy -3


MATT: Colorado State +3

Just looking at the numbers is enough to make any diehard CSU fan a little woozy. Navy leads the country in rushing. Colorado State is 104th in stopping the rush. Game over, right. Navy runs the ball every play, the Rams can't stop the triple option, Lamar Owens looks like the second coming of Ron Mexico and Navy wins by 40.

Nah, I don't think that's the way it's gonna turn out. Let's take a look at the list of Navy's victims
  • At perennial power Duke (1-10) - 7 point win
  • 4-7 Air Force in a down year - 3 point squeaker
  • 1-10 Kent St - 3 point W
  • at 1-10 Rice - Blow out
  • 2-9 Tulane
  • 0-11 Temple
  • 4-7 Army

I guess my point is, when your six victories came against teams that were a combined 13-64, the stats might lie. And we haven't even gotten to Sonny Lubick. I'm not saying that Colorado State played the toughest schedule in the country (they didn't), but they've got a veteran QB who is probably salivating at Navy's tiny Db's, a 1000 yard rusher and a 1000 yard receiver. I'll take the more balanced offense.

And of course, Colorado State happens to be coached by a man who is 54-1 all time on Thursday nights. Ok, so maybe not that good, but back in the day, on Thursday nights, when the first Mad Dog was just getting cracked on the couch at Turtle Creek, i remember turning on the tv, seeing that Sonny Lubick was on the sideline, running to my computer to bet on the Rams, and waking up hungover as a donkey to find an extra bundle of cash in my account. And on those nights where i bet against him, when he was on the road against a Fresno St or TCU i would watch in disbelief as Sonny rallied the troops and covered the spread or won. The man is a walking living thursday night legend. Case Closed.

Prediction: Colorado State 34 Navy 27

Under 62

Wager - $6.00 on a 2 team parlay with Colorado State +3 and BYU +8

DOUG: Navy -3

There are three big factors at work here, so let's break this game down with the three big factors in mind.

1. Navy's Rushing attack vs. Colorado State run defense

If you're playing Navy, you better be geared up to stop the run. As they seem to do every year (especially since the Frank Solich era ended at Nebraska), Navy leads the nation in rushing yards per game. Unfortunately for Colorado State fans, they have one of the worst rushing defenses in the country. In an early season showdown with Minnesota, the Golden Gophers piled up almost 350 yards rushing on Colorado State in a 56-24 rout.

If I were a Colorado State fan, I'd be breaking out in a cold sweat at night thinking about that Navy triple option attack. Option teams do tend to turn the ball over with fumbles and other confusion, but Navy runs a pretty disciplined scheme. If the Middies control the clock and pound the run for most of the game with little resistance from Colorado State, CSU could be in for a long night.

2. Odds almost seem too good for Navy

This game scares me a little bit because most of the betting/office pool picks are probably in favor of Navy. It's a likeable team in the whole "love your country" kinda way, the critical areas seem to favor Navy, and there's home field advantage playing in Navy-friendly San Diego. All the signs seem to point to Navy.

Still, there has to be a reason this game is essentially a "pick em" game. Vegas isn't stupid. They know about Navy's rushing attack and CSU's porous run defense, and they still put out a relatively low line. That makes me somewhat nervous.

Might be something to keep in the back of your mind before you dump your entire account on Navy.

3. The "Never bet against Sonny Lubick on a Thursday Night" Rule

There are very few principles in gambling that I have found to be successful with near certainty.

However, there is one rule of gambling that has been tried and tested for years and has produced many glorious victories or heartbreaking defeats (when you go against it).


Sonny Lubick might as well just change his name to the "Godfather of Thursday Night football". The guy practically invented ESPN Thursday Night football, and has been winning big games and pulling big upsets on Thursday night for as long as I can remember. I don't care if CSU was 0-9 heading into the game. If you bet against Sonny Lubick on a Thursday night ESPN game, prepare to start sweating profusely early in the game, followed by pure disgust at yourself, followed by a thorough beating of your couch and/or remote when CSU takes the lead in the 4th quarter. I've learned my lesson several times as have many other folks. Sonny just finds a way to pull off some magic on Thursday night time and time again.

It just so happens that the Poinsettia Bowl will be taking place on a Thursday night. Coincidence? I think not. I'm very curious to see if Sonny's Thursday Night dominance extends to bowl season.


I'm already bracing myself for a postgame interview with a smiling Sonny Lubick giving all the credit to his players after a big win, but I have to go with the Middies. I know there are other higher powers at work here, but my pure football instincts are pointing to Navy controlling this game from start to finish. I like the "under 62" as well. Let's be honest, these two teams are not great teams. One of these teams will probably not play well coming off the month delay. I think Navy can put up some points, but I just have a hard time taking an over of 62 in a bowl game like this.

Prediction: Navy 35 Colorado State 21

Under - 62

Total Offense
CSU - 43rd 393.09 ypg
Navy - 33rd 419.18 ypg

Total Defense
CSU - 92nd 412.27 ypg
Navy - 50th 359.64 ypg

Scoring Offense
CSU - 59th 26.45 ppg
Navy - 27th 32.64 ppg

Scoring Defense
CSU - 82nd 28.91 ppg
Navy - 62nd 25.73 ppg

Run Offense
CSU - 89th 119.91 ypg
Navy - 1st 305.18 ypg

Run Defense

CSU - 104th 200.64 ypg
Navy - 68th 155.82 ypg

Pass Offense
CSU - 22nd 273.18 ypg
Navy - 116th 114 ypg

Pass Defense
CSU - 54th 211.64 ypg
Navy - 39th 203.82 ypg

Turnover Margin
CSU - 46th 0.27
Navy - 80th -0.36


Doug said...

Already regretting this pick!

Sonny has all the bulletin board material that he'll ever need.

Doug said...

Let's go Middies! I should have thrown down on that parlay last night. Big BYU cover.

Jimmy said...


Blew past the over and thoroughly dominated the Rams.

Doug trumps Matt to win a new flower pot for his poinsettia