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2018 Independence Bowl

College Football

2018 Independence Bowl: Teams, Facts, and Pick

A different Red River rivalry.

This is not the Fourth of July, but it is the 2018 Independence Bowl. It’s also not Independence Hall, but it is Shreveport, Louisiana. Basically the same thing.

We have a matchup of two teams that you would figure had to have played each other in a long-forgotten Military Bowl before now. The Temple Owls out of the American and the Duke Blue Devils from the ACC look to close their seasons with wins. Temple did about as well as expected in 2018, maybe a little better at 8-4, while Duke had clawed their way to 7-5, getting back to a bowl game.

Following a streak of no bowl wins since 1960, the Blue Devils have won their last two. Temple is in their fourth bowl in a row and looking to win in consecutive seasons. The pick is forthcoming.

Previous Bowls Picked: Cure | New Mexico | Las Vegas | Camellia | New Orleans | Boca Raton | Frisco | Gasparilla | Bahamas | Idaho Potato | Birmingham | Armed Forces | Dollar General | Hawaii | First Responder | Quick Lane | Cheez-It

2018 Independence Bowl: This Year’s Bowl Info

Thursday, December 27, 2018, 1:30pm ET (10:30am PT)
Independence Stadium, Shreveport, Louisiana
Broadcast on ESPN
$1,248,280 payout (Link: College Football Poll)
Temple is a 4.5-point favorite

2018 Independence Bowl: Temple Owls

8-4 (7-1 American); 2nd in AAC East
Best Win: Cincinnati
Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense T-21st, Total Offense 50th, Rushing Offense 67th, 3rd Downs 71st, Time of Possession 96th, Turnover Margin 34th, Sacks Allowed T-18th, Red Zone 103rd
Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense T-46th, Total Defense 40th, Rushing Defense 90th, Opponent 3rd Downs 85th, Sacks Per Game T-26th, TFL Per Game T-63rd, Interceptions T-16th, Opponent Red Zone 33rd
Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking T-93rd, Punts Per Game T-80th

2018 Independence Bowl: Duke Blue Devils

7-5 (3-5 ACC); 6th in ACC Coastal
Best Win: Northwestern
Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense 78th, Total Offense T-73rd, Rushing Offense 72nd, 3rd Downs 53rd, Time of Possession 120th, Turnover Margin 106th, Sacks Allowed T-68th, Red Zone 78th
Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense 70th, Total Defense 82nd, Rushing Defense 117th, Opponent 3rd Downs 75th, Sacks Per Game T-95th, TFL Per Game T-63rd, Interceptions T-129th, Opponent Red Zone 49th
Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking T-84th, Punts Per Game T-25th

2018 Independence Bowl: Head-to-Head

Like so many other bowl games this year, the Independence Bowl is a first-time matchup between programs. (Link: Winsipedia)

2018 Independence Bowl: Pick

If this were a question of which team passes the eye test better, it’s Temple. Were it a question of which team comes from a better conference, Duke wins. Should we ask which team is the total package? The answer is neither of them, but both have strengths.

Temple does not have an explosive offense per se but scoring points is not foreign to them. Since being embarrassed by Villanova in the opener, the output has increased. This is a team that beat Cincinnati, ranked #20 at the time, and was in a tight game with UCF on the road in the fourth quarter. The Owls are a tough team.

The last two games for the Blue Devils skewed the numbers in excess, and in a wrong direction. They were outscored 94-13 by Clemson and Wake, which is bad enough, but before that, Duke picked up some nice wins against Northwestern, Georgia Tech, and Miami. Quarterback Daniel Jones had a fine season with 17 touchdowns against just 7 interceptions.

Duke is quite average in the scheme of things if examining FBS as a whole. Among Power Five teams, they don’t even get that far. The good news for them is that Temple is not a Power Five team, but they are one of the more reliable Group of Five teams. Duke needs more defense and a more efficient offense than they presently have.

Pick: Temple

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