Air Force (10-2) is playing in its first bowl since 2016. Head coach Troy Calhoun is 4-5 all-time in bowl appearances over the past 13 seasons since taking over the program. The Falcons are ranked 3rd in the FBS with 292.5 rushing yards per game. They ended the regular season with the third-highest win total in program history. Quarterback Donald Hammond III triggers the triple-option attack. Hammond has combined for 24 combined touchdowns this season.
Washington State (6-6) is playing in its sixth bowl game in the last seven seasons. The Cougars lead the nation in passing offense with 444.3 yards per game as quarterback Anthony Gordon made history in Mike Leach’s Air Raid attack. Gordon is the first quarterback in Pac-12 history to throw for over 5,000 yards. Washington State ranks 79th in the FBS in rushing defense, allowing 170 yards per game. The Cougars disappointing season was defined by a 67-63 loss to UCLA where they blew a 32-point lead.
ESPN’s FPI gives Washington State a 55.1% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Friday’s Cheez-It Bowl between the Falcons and Cougars.
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Air Force vs. Washingon State Game Details
Date: Friday, December 27
Time: 10:15 p.m. ET
Location: Chase Field (Phoenix, Arizona)
Spread: Air Force -2.5
This line opened at Air Force -2.5 and has held firm despite the majority of the bets and money coming in on the Falcons. There is no significant sharp line movement to report.
- Air Force is 10-2 SU and 7-5 ATS this season
- Washington State is 6-6 SU and 4-8 ATS this season
- Over is 6-6 in Air Force games this season
- Over is 7-5 in Washington State games this season
Analysis & Pick
It’s been a disappointing season for Washington State. After a 10-2 campaign in 2018 and a win over Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl, the Cougars just snuck into a bowl game and were never in real contention for a conference or division title. I’m excited to watch Anthony Gordon play in primetime, as I think he could be a sleeper to keep an eye on towards the late rounds of the NFL draft, like his predecessor Gardner Minshew. This matchup against Air Force will be a clash of styles. Washington State is ranked 19th in the FBS with 77.5 plays per game, while Air Force runs more than 10 plays fewer on average. I’m not sure the Falcons will be able to keep up with the Air Raid and I expect Mike Leach to take out some frustrations in what should be a favorable matchup for the Cougars offense. Take the points here and don’t forget to sprinkle the moneyline.
PICK: Washington State +2.5
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith