2020-01-05 by W.M.
Alabama Bowl 2020: Louisiana vs. Miami (OH TV Schedule, Time and Odds
Brian Blanco/Associated Press
The LendingTree Bowl is the final FBS postseason game before the CFB National Championship.
While the spread indicates the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns will blow out the Miami (OH) RedHawks, Monday’s matchup could be intriguing to fans of Power Five programs that may have coaching vacancies in the next year or two.
Louisiana’s Billy Napier is one of the hottest Group of Five coaching names, and according to Stadium’s Brett McMurphy, he passed on the newly opened Mississippi State Bulldogs job.
The Ragin’ Cajuns enter Monday at 10-3 with losses to Mississippi State and the Appalachian State Mountaineers on two occasions. Miami (OH) reeled off six victories in its last seven games to reach 8-5. The RedHawks are led by quarterback Brett Gabbert, the younger brother of NFL quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
LendingTree Bowl Information
Date: Monday, January 6
Start Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds (via Caesars): Louisiana (-14); Over/Under: 54.5
Louisiana is perceived as the stronger side because its only defeats came to an SEC side and a program that challenged for the New Year’s Six Group of Five berth.
Although the Ragin Cajuns’ lost those contests by 27 total points, they were competitive in all of them, including the Sun Belt Championship Game. After falling behind by 21 in the second quarter, Louisiana rallied to outscore Appalachian State 21-10 in the second half.
The Sun Belt side can strike the Miami (OH) defense from all angles, starting with quarterback Levi Lewis, who has 24 passing touchdowns and four interceptions. The junior signal-caller has at least 200 passing yards in four of his past five outings, and he has steered clear of defenders with his four picks and 15 sacks suffered.
Lewis does not need to put up large totals to win, as his team possess a pair of running backs with double-digit rushing scores.
Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas combined for 26 of the team’s 41 ground touchdowns, and they are joined by Raymond Calais, who has 867 yards and six scores, in a backfield that should challenge the RedHawks on every play.
Miami (OH) could have trouble slowing down its opponent since it concedes 174.1 rushing yards per game. The RedHawks also allow 28.2 points per contest, which is nine points worse than what Louisiana’s defense concedes.
The difference in scoring defense numbers could be enough to sway your bets in favor of the Ragin’ Cajuns.
That decision could be influenced more by Gabbert’s recent production, as he has two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions in his previous three outings. Gabbert does not have a single target with more than 500 receiving yards, and leading rusher Jaylon Bester has fewer yards than all three of Louisiana’s top backs.
No matter which way the game unfolds, the over could be the favorable play based on how many offensive weapons Louisiana boasts.
With the ability to strike quick on every possession, the Ragin’ Cajuns could run up the score without the help of its MAC opponent. If Miami (OH) finds a way to keep up with its foe from the Sun Belt, both sides could land in the high 20s or low 30s.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90. Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.