Southern Miss +7.5 3.3% play
This was an old rivalry game that ended when Tulane left for the AAC, there is a Bell trophy on the lin here, and both teams should be motivated to play here in Texas. I think this line is a bit inflated for AAC bias, and they haven't looked great going 3-2 SU & ATS, while C-USA has gone 3-4 SU & ATS. The two conferences have faced each other twice this bowl season, UCF crushed Marshall, but 5 turnovers had a lot to do with that. The game was a lot closer and the other game was FAU dominating SMU, and FAU had player suspensions. These two teams lost their last few games of the season, while Tulane lost by 17 at SMU, Southern Miss lost by 17 at FAU, and then as I mentioned FAU crushed SMU in their bowl game without a head coach and multiple player suspensions.
Southern Miss also has the match up edge in this one. They are a top 30 run defense across the board in success rate, explosive plays allowed, and ypc. The explosive run plays allowed they rank 23rd, which is a big deal, because Tulane has really relied on explosive run plays. Southern Miss has also been really good defending running QB's all year long, and held Miss State's heavy running QB's to 16 yards on 15 carries for example. Tulane struggles when they can't run the ball. When they have faced a top 60 run defense they are 0-6 and average 22 points per game, which is 11 points less than their season average.
The other match up edge here that I like is Tulane's defense struggles getting pressure ranking 111th in sack % and they rank 79th in opposing QB Rating. They also just have 7 interceptions in 11 games vs. P5 opponents. Southern Miss relies heavily on the passing game, and are 5-0 vs. theams that are outside the top 75 in passing defense. 12 of the 15 interceptions that Abraham has thrown on the year have come against top defensive units - Alabama, Miss State, Western Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, and Florida Atlantic. 4 of those 5 rank in the top 50, and Miss State is an SEC defense with speed. Abraham did have very good game against UAB's defense that ranked 23rd in QB rating 28th in sack % so he is capable.
Subscribe on iTunes