Sunday, December 28, 2008

Independence Bowl: Louisiana Tech (7-5) vs. Northern Illinois (6-6)

Hey, there is no Big 12 vs. SEC match up for the 2008 Independence Bowl this year, but it's the WAC vs. the MAC. The 2008 Independence Bowl hosts the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (7-5, tied for 2Nd in the WAC) vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (6-6, 4Th in the MAC West) in Shreveport, LA.

Another home cooking for a Midwestern team, this time from the MAC? For Louisiana Tech, this is the first bowl trip, since the 2001 Humanitarian Bowl, where the Bulldogs went down 24-49 to Clemson. Prior to that, all three previous bowl trips for LA Tech have been in the Independence Bowl, where the Bulldogs are 1-1-1 previously in Shreveport.

Northern Illinois will be in their third bowl ever, after playing in the '83 California Bowl, '04 Silicon Valley Bowl and '06 Poinsettia Bowl, where TCU took NIU out 37-7. The Huskies are 2-1 lifetime in bowl games.

LA Tech beat Mississippi State to start the '08 season 23-14 at home. Northern Illinois lost a SEC match up at Tennessee 9-13 at Tennessee. Both teams are coming off losses to close out the '08 regular season. The Bulldogs lost 31-35 vs. Nevada, while the Huskies lost 0-16 vs. Navy.

While the game is Louisiana, the better team based on the Vegas spread and power ratings is Northern Illinois. NIU's first year coach is Jerry Kill, who moved over from Southern Illinois, where he was successful as head coach the past seven seasons, including FCS Coach of the Year in 2007. LA Tech's head coach is Derek Dooley, the son of former Georgia legendary head coach Vince Dooley. Dooley is in his second season at LA Tech, after coming over from the NFL.

While the spread and power ratings favor NIU, most are picking Louisiana Tech to win, so I guess my pick goes against the grain for most... upset win by NIU in the 2008 Independence Bowl is the call here by cidsports! Coach Kill brings some very good FCS experience to DeKalb and NIU.

Cidsports' prediction

Louisiana Tech 22
Northern Illinois 30


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