The 2016 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl free pick is between the Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. Toledo Rockets. This is expected to be a close game, as the Rockets are favored by just one point. This could be an interesting contest with numerous lead changes.
The Appalachian State Mountaineers (9-3 Overall, 7-1 Sun Belt Conference) finished tied with Arkansas State in the conference. But their 45-38 win over Arkansas State in the regular season sealed the SBC top spot for them. The Toledo Rockets (9-3 Overall, 6-2 Mid-American Conference) had a solid season and finished second in the MAC West to Western Michigan.
Appalachian State Mountaineers
Prior to conference play, the Appalachian State Mountaineers came close to beating #9 Tennessee. But they lost and the final score was 20-13 in favor of the Volunteers. They also lost to #25 Miami 45-10. The Mountaineers’ one conference loss was to Troy 28-24. If they had won that game, they would have nailed the SBC title uncontested.
Appalachian State’s offense is powered by two running backs, Jalin Moore (221 ATT, 1367 YDs, 6.2 AVG, 10 TDs) and Marcus Cox (136 ATT, 872 YDs, 6.4 AVG, 8 TDs). This season, Cox broke the school rushing mark for total yards. QB Taylor Lamb (62.5 COMP%, 14 TDs, 8 INTs) is both a good passing quarterback and a sound rusher. On the ground, he’s scored eight TDs on 80 carries while accumulating 380 yards. TE Barrett Burns leads the team with three TD catches. The club is scoring 29.1 PPG.
The Mountaineer D has made 28 sacks, notched 28 QB hurries, and has 71 TFL. In addition, they’ve made 20 INTs and defended 37 passes. Their turnover margin is plus eight. They’re holding opponents to 17.0 PPG.
Toledo had a big win this season against Northern Illinois. The Rockets were behind at the half, 14-3, and then came back to win 31-24. That was a huge victory for the team. They also lost a close one, 55-53, to BYU on the road. The loss to Ohio 31-26 totally surprised Toledo, which has over the years dominated that team. In their final game of the season, the Rockets lost to #26 Western Michigan, the club that would win it all in the MAC.
This is a team that can attack in the air and on the ground. They’re averaging 38.8 PPG. QB Logan Woodside (61.9 COMP%, 43 TDs, 9 INTs) is one of the best in the nation. He has three premium pass catchers, WRs Cody Thompson (59 ATT, 1170 YDs, 19.8 AVG, 10 TDs) and Jon’Vea Thompson (38 REC, 751 YDs, 19.8 AVG, 10 TDs) and TE Michael Roberts (43 REC, 514 YDs, 12.0 AVG, 15 TDs). Plus, running back Kareem Hunt (240 ATT, 1355 YDs, 5.6 AVG, 8 TDs) is a powerful force on the field.
The Toledo defense can give up points. They’re allowing opponents 25.3 PPG and come to this game with 20 sacks and 41 QB hurries. They also have 68 TFL. The secondary has nabbed only six picks while knocking away 40 passes. Although they have six forced fumbles and two blocked kicks, their turnover margin is -4.
2016 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl Free Pick
Our 2016 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl free pick sees this game as being problematic. The Rockets have a more diverse and potent offense, but their defense has some weaknesses. The Mountaineers bring a solid offense to the field that focuses on the run and a very stingy defense. But can that defense tame Toledo? We’re going with a gut pick and choosing the Toledo Rockets at -1.0. We think their offense will eventually break out.
The 2016 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl will be held on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m ET at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. It will be broadcast on ESPN.