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Southern California quarterback Kedon Slovis (9) directs the school's band after a 52-35 win over UCLA in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Southern California quarterback Kedon Slovis (9) directs the school's band after a 52-35 win over UCLA in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)|Associated Press
NCAAF

Friday Pac12 Bowl Games: Madwed picks USC vs Iowa in San Diego Credit Union Holiday Bowl, Air Force vs Washington St. in Cheez-It Bowl

Games are at 8 pm and 10:15 pm EST

Jesse Madwed

Jesse Madwed

Friday, December 27

(22) USC +2 over (16) Iowa

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, 8 pm EST

The best kinds of bowl matchups are those that include two teams with completely different styles. Will the side with the plodding offense and strong defense win, or will the team that airs it out and strives to outscore the opponent come out with the victory. Iowa comes to San Diego with the 5th ranked scoring defense in the country, while the Trojans were 18th in offensive yards per game. The USC passing attack took off once freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis took over the starting job. Slovis improved as the year went on and ended the season 5th in completion percentage and 12th in yards per pass in the country. He has a bright future ahead of him and can make a national name for himself in this game, which is undoubtedly the headliner of the day. The Trojans have had plenty of bad days on defense this year, but I think their athleticism will win the day when push comes to shove. I am taking the points because I think USC will be able to move the ball better than most Big 10 teams, and the Hawkeyes won’t be able to keep up.

Air Force -3 over Washington State

Cheez-It Bowl, 10:15 pm EST

This is another game with contrasting styles. Air Force primarily runs the triple option, running the ball on over 85% of their plays, while Washington State runs Mike Leach’s famed Air Raid, passing on over 75% of plays. The advantage of the triple option is that plays are run out of formations that most teams do not see during the rest of their season. Moreover, the Cougars have had a below average rush defense in 2019. The Falcons should be able to control the clock and keep their defense from tiring out from the amount of quick plays the Cougars like to run. Washington State might have better athletes than a service academy school can manage due to their size and fitness restrictions, which is why the three academies play unique styles of football. I am picking Air Force to win and cover the spread.

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