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Biggest Mismatches Of 2017 College Bowl Season

The formula/system/ancient Mayan secret on how teams are matched up for bowl games is pretty convoluted and that does not necessarily make for the most evenly matched games. Yes, we get some amazing games, but there are always a few bowl games that are complete beatdowns thanks to massive mismatches.

Spotting these mismatches can go a long way to making sure you have a profitable bowl season. Don’t worry. You don’t need to plow through the absurd number of bowl games and nearly 80 teams to figure out where these mismatches are. That’s what I get paid for.

Wisconsin’s 3rd-Down Defense vs Miami’s 3rd-Down Offense

Miami’s third-down offense has been ugly at best this season. The Hurricanes converted just 45 of their 153 third-down attempts this season. That means that Miami has got a new set of downs on a woeful 29.4 percent of its third-down attempts this season – the fifth-worst in the country. In the past two games – both of which saw Miami’s offense completely stall out – the Hurricanes have gone a combined 7-for-31 on third down.

It won’t get any easier for Miami, as Wisconsin is one of just seven teams in the nation to hold opponents under a 30 percent conversion rate on third down. The biggest reason is the Badgers’ massive defensive linemen. Wisconsin uses a 3-4 base defense in which all three starters on the D-line stand at least six-foot-two and weigh at least 270 pounds. With the big men keeping the blocker occupied, an experienced linebacker unit can create plays and shut down short runs on third down.

Wisconsin is giving up just four yards per play this season – tied with Alabama for tops in the nation – which means Miami will likely find itself in third-down territory quite a bit in the Orange Bowl.

Devin Singletary vs Akron’s Linebackers

Devin Singletary is undoubtedly the biggest beneficiary of Lane Kiffin’s hiring at FAU. After a respectable freshman campaign, the running back has exploded as a sophomore for 1,796 rushing yards and a nation-high 29 rushing touchdowns. Though short in stature, Singletary is built like a brick wall and has been blowing through arm tackles all season long.

All three of Akron’s starting linebackers weigh less than 230 pounds, which could make for a long bowl game for the diminutive unit. Of course, Ulysees Gilbert III is a tackling machine for the Zips and that is not going to change. Gilbert leads the Zips in tackles but after him, the team relies heavily on its secondary to contribute in bringing the ball carrier down.

Kiffin knows that Gilbert is going to get his tackles but the FAU coach will scheme to get his bowling ball of a running back the right matchups. Singletary will have the smaller defenders bouncing off him all day at the Boca Raton Bowl.

Josh Rosen vs Kansas State’s Secondary

*Since original publication, Josh Rosen has announced that he is skipping the Cactus Bowl due to concussion symptoms.

There is no quarterback in college football who throws a ball better than Josh Rosen. The UCLA quarterback looks incredibly natural and fluid in the pocket while demonstrating a big arm and field vision. Despite missing time on several occasions this season, Rosen sits 10th in the nation in passing yards and has eclipsed 400 yards passing in a game four times.

Kansas State’s passing defense was damn near the worst in the nation in terms of yardage. The Wildcats surrendered 310.3 passing yards per game, including 400+ in four of their past six outings. Several Big 12 quarterbacks torched the Kansas State secondary, which is to be expected, but when a backup QB for 1-11 Kansas is putting up 418 yards through the air, you are not very good.

Simply put, Rosen gets to face a soft (and short) Kansas State secondary in what could be his audition for the NFL. Expect him to make the most of this opportunity.