Famous Idaho Potato Bowl San Jose State Vs. Eastern Michigan Odds, Picks, Predictions (12/20/22)
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl features an intriguing matchup this season between the San Jose State Spartans and the Eastern Michigan Eagles. For more analysis on this game and every bowl game this postseason, check out the Lineups YouTube page. In this article, I’ll offer my official picks for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and cover the current betting odds. Let’s get to work.
San Jose State Spartans Vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles Odds
If this game were played in October after San Jose State opened with a 4-1 record and a narrow loss at Auburn, this line likely would have been 6.5 or 7. However, the Spartans struggled down the stretch, and they didn’t look like the same team that started the season so well. Meanwhile, Eastern Michigan gutted out a number of close wins, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see them do the same here. The spread sits at 3.5 points, so it’s expected to be a closer game either way.
San Jose State Spartans Vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles Prediction & Pick
San Jose State had a tumultuous season due to the loss of freshman running back Camdan McWright in a tragic car accident in the middle of the year. Obviously, that type of event took its toll on the players, and they failed to cover in their final seven games of the regular season. Head coach Brett Brennan has never won a bowl game.
Meanwhile, Eastern Michigan ended the year very strong with covers in four of their final five games and outright wins in their final three games. Head coach Chris Creighton has never won a bowl game, however, and he has an 0-4 record with the Eagles. Eastern Michigan hasn’t won a bowl game since 1987.
The MAC wasn’t great this season and EMU has serious flaws that I’ll discuss in a moment. However, it’s difficult to have a high degree of confidence in San Jose State with the way they’ve looked to close the season, and that leads me to wanting to back Eastern Michigan as an underdog.
The weather is also expected to favor Eastern Michigan. The early forecast calls for 32 degree weather with a 60% chance of snow. The Eagles are accustomed to cold weather in MAC play while the Spartans are typically playing in much fairer conditions out west. Combine that with the questionable motivation for San Jose State, and this game is EMU or pass.
San Jose State Spartans Vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles Key Matchups
San Jose State offensive line vs. Jose Ramirez
Let’s talk about Jose Ramirez. No, not the Guardians’ four-time All-Star third baseman. Ramirez is Eastern Michigan’s defensive anchor, and often their only productive defensive player. Ramirez has 18.5 sacks over the last two years, and he has 46 total pressures this season. Ramirez is a future NFL edge rusher who is looking to follow in former EMU star Maxx Crosby’s steps.
In this game, Ramirez will be facing a San Jose State offensive line that ranks 101st in PFF’s pass-blocking grades and 115th in sack rate allowed. Chevan Cordeiro has had a solid season in his first year with the Spartans after transferring from Hawaii, but his stats are significantly worse under pressure.
If the Spartans’ offensive line can give him enough time in the pocket, Cordeiro will have success against an Eastern Michigan secondary that ranks outside the top 90 in pass defense EPA and passing explosiveness allowed. Look for Elijah Cooks, who leads the team with 63 catches for 983 yards and ten touchdowns, to make an impact.
6’2”, 252 pounds edge Jose Ramirez with the explosive and relentless sack for Eastern Michigan 💪
Ramirez had tallied:
💥 28 tackles
💥 4.5 TFL
💥 1 sack
coming into the matchup with WMU
CFB Live Blog: https://t.co/9B6PmLuKF8
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) October 8, 2022
San Jose State pass rush vs. Eastern Michigan offensive line
The Spartans should also be able to rush the passer in this game as they rank third in sack rate and are first on passing downs. Viliami Fehoko has had an outstanding season with 60 total pressures per PFF, which ranks second in the FBS, and nine sacks. Cade Hall (7.5) and Ali Matau (5.5) have also been big in the sack department.
Eastern Michigan’s offensive line isn’t great, as they rank 82nd in sack rate allowed and just 114th on passing downs. However, Taylor Powell has done a solid job under pressure with a 61.0 PFF passing grade compared to a 74.7 grade when kept clean. Powell will be throwing against a solid secondary, albeit one that wasn’t as potent down the stretch.
Big fan of #SJSU DL Viliami Fehoko’s game! Caught my eye in his breakout season in 2021 and now he’s up to a career high 9 sacks this year.
Scheme-versatile defensive linemen who has powerful hands and an unrelenting motor.
— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) November 29, 2022