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Bowl Picks: 2016 Holiday Bowl

[lead align=”default”]The hosts of the 2016 Holiday Bowl are going to have happy holidays, but they almost didn’t.[/lead]

The most compelling part of this game is the fact that the game almost didn’t happen at all. Minnesota’s football team initiated a boycott of activities after the suspension of multiple players. The incident regarded an alleged sexual assault. Until they knew more, they held out, but eventually the boycott was lifted. People sometimes talk about other external distractions, but this is bigger than most. One wonders how much the Golden Gophers have in the tank after that ordeal.

Washington State is watching all this and hoping they don’t have much. This is a team that lost to an FCS school in Week 1 and had a chance to win their division at the end. They’ve been on a journey, but it just might work out anyway.

2016 Holiday Bowl: Team Backgrounds

Minnesota Golden Gophers
Big Ten Conference
8-4 (5-4 Big Ten)
19th bowl appearance in school history (6-12)
Best win: vs. Northwestern, 29-12 on November 19
Worst loss: vs. Iowa, 14-7 on October 8
One stat: 4th in the Big Ten in points per game, but 11th in offensive yardage

Washington State Cougars
Pacific-12 Conference
8-4 (7-2 Pac-12)
13th bowl appearance in school history (7-5)
Best win: at Stanford, 42-16 on October 8
Worst loss: vs. Eastern Washington, 45-42 on September 3
One stat: Average 40.3 points per game

2016 Holiday Bowl: The Edge

Washington State didn’t hit their stride for a few games, but they came a long way when they did. This is the better team in this game, but you never know what Minnesota can bring to this. I know what they’re not bringing: the same amount of game preparation time as Washington State.

2016 Holiday Bowl: Pick

[header text=”Through 12-24-16 Bowls ATS” subtext=”41-52-2″]

[alert heading=”Minnesota vs. Washington State (-10)” type=”alert-info” block=”false” close=”false”]Washington State -10[/alert]

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