Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2) vs Memphis State (12-1)
College Football, Saturday, at Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Spread: Penn State -6.5
Moneyline: Penn State -250, Memphis +210
Penn State finished second in the Big Ten East with a 7-2 conference record. A win in the Cotton Bowl would secure the Nittany Lions' third 11-win season in four years under coach James Franklin, but only their third bowl win (and second in the New Year's Day 6). Memphis, meanwhile, earned Group of 5 representation for the New Year's bowls by going 12-1 and winning the American Athletic Conference by beating Cincinnati in consecutive weeks (winning 34-24 in the regular season and 29-24 in the AAC championship game). A win here would secure what is already the Tigers' best season in program history.
Good Season to continue for the Tigers?
Memphis has won seven straight games coming into this bowl game, with
their only loss coming against Temple on the road, 30-28. In that game,
they allowed 193 rushing yards to the Owls and also turned the ball over
five times, but forced four in a very sloppy game.
But looking back at their schedule, Memphis wasn't really tested by their schedule. They did beat Ole Miss to open the season at home, 15-10. The Ole Miss wound up going 4-8 this season and fired their coach Matt Luke and just hired Lane Kiffin. They couldn't help playing a weak schedule in the AAC, facing the likes of Tulane (47-17 win), Tulsa (42-41 win on the road), SMU (54-48 win), USF (49-10), Houston (45-27) and Navy (35-23). They weren't bad teams, but they don't have the talent of most Big 10 programs. Cincinnati was their toughest test and they passed both of them against the No. 20 Bearcats, though both contests were at home. In the title game, the Tigers needed to come back from a 24-23 deficit when quarterback Brady White hit running back/receiver Antonio Gibson for a six-yard TD with 1:14 left in the game.
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