The Bowl Season continues tonight with Florida International and Toledo in the Little Caesars Bowl. Below is a quick preview of the game with my pick at the end. Along with my pick, I will post the favorite and flip a coin for the game. Whichever method has the most points at the end of Bowl Season, I will use for next year's games.
Little Caesars Bowl, Florida International Golden Panthers (6-6, 6-2 in the Sun Belt) vs Toledo Rockets (8-4, 7-1 in the MAC), 5:30 PM on ESPN, from Ford Field in Detroit.
Why You Should Watch: Because there's nothing that says bowl season like two mediocre teams from two horrible conferences.
Breakdown: Toledo won in SOS, Turnovers, and Penalties, and both teams were even in last three games and motivation. Plus, the Rockets have a receiver in Eric Page who has over 1,000 receiving yards. A mediocre FIU Defense should have a lot of trouble with Page.
It is the first bowl game ever for Florida International, the "other U" from Miami, who rebounded from an 0-4 start, three of which were against bowl bound teams, to win 6 of 7, and 4 in a row, before losing 28-27 to Middle Tennessee. The Golden Panthers still claimed the Sun Belt championship on the strength of their 52-35 win at Troy, giving them the tiebreaker. A win won't mean much to most, but would represent a milestone in the building of the program that is in only their 7th. season of FBS football, and has never had a winning season at this level, with 5 wins in 2008 their best result before this year. FIU only started their program at the Division II level in 2002.
Toledo finished the season with back to back wins, and went 5 for 6 in the second half of the season, and returns to the bowl season for the first time in 5 years, but finished second in the MAC West, thanks to a 65-30 loss at Northern Illinois, who would go on to win the Humanitarian Bowl. Two of the other Rocket losses were to pretty formidable competition, Arizona, the Pac-10 runner-up, by a 41-2 count in the season opener, and 57-14 at Boise St. So each of the three times they faced competition from a level up, the Rockets went down in flames.
Still, this is a game between two mediocre, mid-major schools, so you can never be too confident. I've got the Rockets with 12 points.
Little Caesars Current Total to Date
Odds Toledo 6
Coin Florida International 3
Connor Toledo (12) 3 (67)