CFB Picks 12/27: Holiday Bowl

Here's our CFB expert's pick for Friday's Holiday Bowl game
Dan Canova
Fri, December 27, 7:26 AM EST

College Football Bowl season is under way!

In the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, No. 22 USC will take on No. 16 Iowa on FS1 at 8 p.m.

No. 22 USC vs No. 16 Iowa (-2), FS1, 8 PM ET:

  • USC has failed to cover the spread in each of its last four bowl games.
  • The Trojans are 0-6 against the spread as underdogs after a win since 2017.
  • Since 2018, the Hawkeyes have an 11-7 against the spread record as favorites (Stats courtesy of Statschecker).

In the 42nd edition of this game, Iowa will be playing in its fourth Holiday Bowl since the 1991 season.

The Hawkeyes lost three games this season by a combined 14 points.

They suffered a 10-3 loss to Michigan and then a 17-12 defeat to Penn State in back-to-back weeks. Three weeks later, the Hawkeyes fell at the hands of Wisconsin, 24-22.

Iowa has relied on its defense all season long. The Hawkeyes were 11th in the country against the pass, 24th in rushing defense and 12th in total defense.

Quarterback Nate Stanley led the Hawkeyes’ offense this past year. He finished with 2,738 passing yards and 14 passing touchdowns.

Running backs Tyler Goodson (590 rushing yards, four touchdowns), and Mekhi Sargent (543 rushing yards, four touchdowns) led the way on the ground.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette had 42 receptions for 676 receiving yards and four scores and fellow wide receiver Tyrone Tracy Jr. came away with 36 catches, 589 yards and three touchdowns.

USC, on the other hand, will put forth a revamped offense in this football game.

Led by freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis, who was forced to play midway through the season-opener due to an injury to starting QB JT Daniels, the Trojans finished the regular season eighth in the country, averaging 294.7 passing yards per contest.

Slovis finished with 3,242 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. caught 95 passes for 1,222 yards and 11 scores for USC.

It will be the third Holiday Bowl for USC. The Trojans previously played in this game in 2014 and 2015.

In the 2015 Holiday Bowl, Wisconsin’s Jack Cichy came away with three sacks and the Badgers edged the Trojans 23-21.

Iowa’s best defensive player A.J. Epenesa enters this matchup with nine sacks and three forced fumbles this season. Look for Epenesa to lead the Hawkeyes’ defense here.

Roll with Iowa minus the 2.5 points in this football game.

I expect the more experienced Hawkeyes to outduel USC and its freshman quarterback at the helm.

Pick: Iowa (-2.5) @ -105

Dan Canova
DanCanova
Expert handicapper known for his deep knowledge of all things NBA and his ability to pick winners
Mar 2020
Record
Wins
13
Losses
11
Push
0
ROI
-4.28%
0Betslip

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