There aren’t many guys whose college football bowl picks I trust as much as Ben Burns. Yet again he proved why he is one of the best in the business at breaking down the bowl game odds by taking the UNDER in the 2009 Gator Bowl. Why was he so confident it would be a defensive battle? Let’s take a look:
I’m playing on Nebraska and Clemson to finish UNDER the total. Many are expecting a shootout, as this is currently the highest total on the New Year’s Day board, just slightly higher (or the same) as the Georgia/Michigan State game. Yes, Nebraska was involved in quite a few high-scoring games this season. However, the Tigers were at the opposite end of the spectrum. Indeed, Clemson held its last three opponents to an average of only eight points and 220 total yards of offense. For the season, the Tigers permitted an average of only 16.6 points (10th best) and 294.4 yards of offense. The Clemson offense was inconsistent much of the year though, particularly away from home, and the Tigers scored an average of only 16.8 points per game on the road. They managed an average of only 246.6 yards of offense in those games.
Nebraska, which has seen four of its last five bowl games produce 50 combined points or less, has seen the UNDER go 4-1 its last five games against teams from the ACC and 2-0 its last two games on a neutral field. Clemson, which is a small favorite for this game, has seen the UNDER go 9-1 the last 10 times it was laying points and 12-3 the last 15 times it was a favorite of four points or less. These teams met in a bowl many years ago. That proved to be a defensive affair with the Tigers earning a 22-15 victory in the 1981 Orange Bowl. Look for history to repeat itself in terms of this year’s game also proving lower-scoring than most are expecting. *Blue Chip