2018 Redbox Bowl: Teams, Facts, and Pick
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The 2018 Redbox Bowl has had many prior names. Foster Farms, Emerald Nuts, Diamond Nuts, and Kraft all slapped their names on this one, but movie rentals are all the rage again and so this bowl has its sponsor.
You will probably not remember the many iterations of this San Francisco college football treat (which is no longer in San Francisco), but you may remember the teams that face off in this game. Representing the Big Ten are the Michigan State Spartans, and from the Pac-12 are the Oregon Ducks. Both teams were ranked during the season, but neither are now. One features a powerful offense and the other has a smothering defense. Which of these two teams has the edge?
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2018 Redbox Bowl: This Year’s Bowl Info
|Monday, December 31, 2018, 3:00pm ET (12:00pm PT)|
|Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California|
|Broadcast on Fox|
|$3,600,000 payout (Link: College Football Poll)|
|Oregon is a 2.5-point favorite|
2018 Redbox Bowl: Michigan State Spartans
|7-5 (5-4 Big Ten); 4th in Big Ten East|
|Best Win: Penn State|
|Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense 122nd, Total Offense 117th, Rushing Offense 116th, 3rd Downs 118th, Time of Possession 21st, Turnover Margin 52nd, Sacks Allowed 47th, Red Zone 65th|
|Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense 13th, Total Defense 14th, Rushing Defense 1st, Opponent 3rd Downs 11th, Sacks Per Game 67th, TFL Per Game 45th, Interceptions 22nd, Opponent Red Zone 35th|
|Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking 18th, Punts Per Game 6th|
2018 Redbox Bowl: Oregon Ducks
|8-4 (5-4 Pac-12); 4th in Pac-12 North|
|Best Win: Washington|
|Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense 18th, Total Offense 29th, Rushing Offense 48th, 3rd Downs 24th, Time of Possession 41st, Turnover Margin 120th, Sacks Allowed 27th, Red Zone 64th|
|Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense 63rd, Total Defense 62nd, Rushing Defense 44th, Opponent 3rd Downs 48th, Sacks Per Game 60th, TFL Per Game 88th, Interceptions 12th, Opponent Red Zone 84th|
|Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking 125th, Punts Per Game 58th|
2018 Redbox Bowl: Head-to-Head
The Redbox Bowl will be the seventh meeting in the Oregon-Michigan State series.
Each school won three of the prior games. Their last meeting was in 2015, a game which Michigan State won by a 31-28 score. One of these two teams is about to break the tie. (Link: Winsipedia)
2018 Redbox Bowl: Pick
Oregon behind Justin Herbert has been potent. Short of something unforeseen and terrible, Herbert will clear 3,000 passing yards in this game, and may crack the 30 touchdown mark. To do that, however, they have to beat Michigan State’s aggressive defense. Oregon has had success throwing the football, but Sparty’s key accomplishment is in stopping the run. This means CJ Verdell might not be able to get much going on the ground, so it will be up to Herbert to pick apart the Michigan State defense. The problem with that is that Michigan State is a top-25 team when it comes to generating interceptions.
This is the sort of game where you want to give Michigan State a chance because their defense is solid, but their offense is so noisome that they might need a defensive score to have a shot. Unfortunately for them, they only did it once all year, and Oregon only gave up a defensive score once on a fumble return. Herbert did not throw a pick-six this season. Anything can happen in one game, but Oregon has been okay with turnovers.
Back to Sparty’s offense, it has been useless. Brian Lewerke, though injured, has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, and Rocky Lombardi was no improvement at quarterback. (Link: Detroit Free Press) They also have no viable run game but somehow they beat Penn State in spite of all of averaging just under 20 points per contest. It would be foolish to overlook Michigan State just because of their offense, but the odds of them hanging with the Ducks are minimal if Oregon finds a way around that defense. Michigan State only wins this game if it’s a low-scoring slopfest. I want to pick Sparty but I just can’t.