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Gridiron Players Club (12/28/23)

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CFB

(2 Picks)


2:15PM EST: Rutgers -2.5 (4 Units)


Miami is just short too many players. They're without starting QB Tyler Van Dyke and numerous other starters. They're down their 2nd string QB so it's Jacurri Brown taking his first snaps of the season in this game. Offensively they're also down a starting WR, starting C, starting LG and 3rd leading rusher. On Defense they're without a starting LB, starting EDGE, starting DT, both starting Safeties, starting CB, and they lost a couple depth players on the EDGE. Rutgers is just without their starting QB and then a TE and LB from injuries during the season.


Greg Schiano has 5 of Rutgers 6 Bowl Wins and was 5-1 in Bowls at Rutgers during his first stint. 6-6 doesn't look sexy but it's the program's most wins since 2014. They also had to do it against the 2nd toughest rank strength of schedule. This was by all means a successful season, and they have the chance to end it on a high note. This is a quality football team that competed with some of the best in the Nation. They took one score games into the 4th quarter against Penn State, Ohio State, and Iowa. Michigan couldn’t pull away from the Scarlet Knights until late in the 3rd quarter as well. Miami doesn't have the same level of talent as those squads, specifically just the defense when referring to Iowa.


Against a very shorthanded Miami team we like Rutgers to get the job done. This is also being played right in their backyard at Yankees stadium an hour away. They have the benefit of preparing like a Home game and they'll see a much, much better fan turnout than Miami. The Miami boys aren't used to Northern Weather at this time of year either. They lucked out as it isn't normal end of December low temperatures but it's still a cold, wet, windy day. Something Miami Football rarely, if ever experiences.


9:15PM EST: AZ/OU Under 60 (3 Units)


Oklahoma's dealing with numerous transfers and a couple key Opt-Outs but the vast majority are on the offensive side of the ball. They're without star QB Dillon Gabriel, their starting Center, starting LG, and starting RT. They've also lost 3 depth pieces on their offensive line. They do have their leading rusher but they're without their next 3 (Gabriel included). Troy Everett is in line to start at Center if he can but he's also dealing with injury. He's played 311 snaps this season. They also have a new OC for this game in Seth Litrell. They turn to true Freshman QB Jackson Arnold under center.


Brent Venables is a defensive head coach and kept his defensive talent. The only significant loss is defensive back Key Lawrence. He played 389 snaps this season, but he started losing playing time as the year progressed. Venables is an incredible coach and led phenomenal defenses during his time as DC at Clemson. He's had over a Month to prepare for Arizona's offense. This man usually figures out and shuts down offenses in a weeks’ time. This Oklahoma defense has been very good this season. They're the 28th ranked scoring defense, allowing just 22.3 points per game.


They really excel in the Red Zone which should help keep this total Under. They rank 35th in opposing Redzone scoring % and they allow touchdowns on just 53.8% of redzone possessions. Arizona scores a TD on 68.4% of Red Zone trips which is solid, but not great. A lot of that stems from their inability to run the football. They rank just 73rd in rushing yards per game and lack the ability to punch it in. That will only get harder without 3-year starting LT Jordan Morgan. He's a projected top 50 NFL draft pick and the only key player Arizona will be without today but it's a big one.


Arizona has the 29th ranked scoring defense allowing 22.5 points per game. They've done an incredible job keeping a lid on some of College Football's most explosive offenses. They limited Washington to just 31 points and didn't allow Michael Penix to throw a single TD pass. They also held Caleb Williams and USC to just 28 points in regulation before that game went to Triple Overtime. Williams only threw for 1 TD pass in that game as well. They're also tied 18th in sacks per game. It's a quality pass rush and going to have an impact with OU missing so many offensive linemen. Arizona's defense has proven they can compete against the best and OU's offense would usually fall into that category but they're incredibly shorthanded here.


Fully expect both teams to show up and play hard tonight. Arizona gets an opportunity to cap off and solidify a surprisingly great season. Oklahoma gets the Jackson Arnold era started. He was the future of this program as soon as he committed earlier this year. He's a 5 Star prospect and wasn't ranked lower than 13th overall by any major national rankings. This is incredibly valuable game experience before OU joins the SEC next season. Oklahoma went 6-7 in Venables first season last year and they still showed up and battled in their bowl game. They lost the Cheez-it Bowl 35-32 to a loaded FSU team that included Jordan Travis at QB.

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