Florida International vs. Marshall
Dec. 20, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
At St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Golden Panthers, who started playing at the FBS level in 2004, are trying to win their second postseason game in a row after beating Toledo, 34-32, in last season’s Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
The Thundering Herd won that same pizza party the year before, edging Ohio, 21-17.
This time around they’re both battling for beef.
Ultra-experienced FIU quarterback Wes Carroll would be wise to be constantly aware of Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry, who has 21.5 tackles for losses, 11 sacks and six forced fumbles to his name.
Carroll’s counterpart is true freshman Rakeem Cato, who was 23-of-29 for 341 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-27 overtime victory over East Carolina in the regular-season finale that made Marshall bowl eligible.
The Thundering Herd’s pass defense makes us nervous, but their recent experience in must-win nailbiters earned them the nod.
Opening point spread: Florida International by 4 1/2
The pick: Marshall 24-23
Click HERE to get predictions for the remaining bowl games.