2011 Military Bowl Toledo vs Air Force Odds, Free Picks and Predictions on ESPN 12/28/11

Free College Football Bowl Picks and Spreads: Toledo vs Air Force 2011 Military Bowl Vegas Odds, Free Picks, and Expert Predictions on ESPN 12/28/11: Two high-scoring offenses will be on display when the Toledo Rockets (8-4) face off against the Air Force Falcons (7-5) in Wednesday’s Military Bowl. For Air Force, the game is a chance to end a somewhat disappointing season on a high note. Meanwhile, Toledo will try to erase the sting of just missing out on a spot in the MAC Championship by adding a bowl win to an already successful season. Even without coach Tim Beckman, who accepted the same position at Illinois, the Rockets are three-point favorites in this one.

Led by its triple-option attack, Air Force piled up 34.4 points per game and more than 450 yards a contest. Both totals ranked in the top 25 nationally, but shockingly, the Falcons have the less impressive offense in this matchup. The Rockets finished eighth in the country in scoring, amassing 42.0 points per game. They also ranked in the top 10 in total yardage, averaging almost 500 a game. The Falcons have the far better ground game, finishing second in the nation with more than 320 yards per game. However, Toledo as a much more balanced attack, ranking in the top 30 in both rushing and passing yards. These two programs have very different philosophies, but the end result is usually the same, and it usually involves scoring a ton of points.

Adding fuel to what should be an offensive explosion is the fact that neither side is all that strong on defense. The Falcons surrender more than 27 points a game to opponents, while the Rockets are giving up almost 31 a game. The saving grace for Toledo could be the team’s respectable run defense, but having never faced a triple-option attack, the strength could easily be negated by the unique system that Air Force employs. There is a very good chance this game turns into a shootout, and the last team with the ball may be the team that comes out on top.

A big question mark leading up to the game is who will start under center for Toledo. As surprising as it may seem, the Rockets piled up their impressive offensive totals while using a two-quarterback system. Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens split time, combining to throw for more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. Coincidentally, both players threw 15 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions. That being said, Dantin missed the final two games of the year with an injury after starting the first 10, but he should be back for the bowl. New coach Matt Campbell will have the tough task of deciding who to start and how to work the rotation, and his handling of the QB carousel could have a huge impact on the outcome.

The X-factor for Air Force could be running back Asher Clark. While several players see significant carries in the option offense, Clark does a bulk of the damage. He ran for almost 1,100 yards this season and averaged more than seven yards a carry. When he is running well, life becomes a lot easier for the rest of the backs, and the triple-option becomes almost impossible to defend.

In what should be a back-and-forth affair, the balance of the Toledo offense should pay huge dividends. Granted, Air Force’s one-dimensional ground attack is as potent as a predictable offense gets, but the Rockets have do have a solid defensive unit against the run. More importantly, the Toledo defense should only have to get a few stops during the course of the game. The Falcons’ defense has been just as porous overall as Toledo’s, and the Rockets have a more dynamic and explosive offense to work with.

Prediction: Toledo Rockets (-3) Cover the Spread

Free College Football Picks and NCAAF Predictions: Toledo -3 to cover the spread

Poinsettia Bowl: Toledo vs Air Force
Date: 12/28/11
Time: 4:30 PM EST on ESPN
Vegas Odds Favorite: Toledo -3 Total: Over/Under 71.5

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