The postseason is upon us, and fans are excited to see some college football bowl odds. The Guaranteed Rate Bowl features an exciting contest between the West Virginia Mountaineers against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
While neither team is in the top 25, this matchup should provide some exciting moments. Read on for a breakdown of the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bowl, where I analyze both teams to see who has the edge.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl Game Information
Here is what you need to know before placing a bet on the Guaranteed Bowl:
- Date: Tuesday, December 28th
- Time: 10:15 PM EST
- Venue: Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona
- Participants: West Virginia vs. Minnesota
West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia in sixth place in the Big 12 with a 6-6 record.
The Mountaineers had a disappointing season filled with inconsistent play. The Mountaineers’ most notable wins of the season included victories over Virginia Tech and Iowa State, both of which were ranked in Top 25 polls when the games were played. WVU also lost a close contest at Oklahoma, 16-13, which finished 10-2 and No. 14 in the final regular-season AP top 25 poll.
West Virginia’s inconsistency came against unranked teams. Losses to Maryland, Texas Tech, and Kansas State ultimately doomed what could have been a stronger season.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Minnesota finished the season in second place in the Big Ten West with an 8-4 record. The Golden Gophers capped their regular season off with a 23-13 victory over #14 Wisconsin.
Similar to the Mountaineers, Minnesota could have had a stellar season if it weren’t for such inexplicable losses. Bowling Green (4-8) and Illinois (5-7) prevented Minnesota from finishing as a ranked squad.
Both teams are entering the Guaranteed Rate Bowl with a 3-2 record in their last five games. Minnesota is limited by their offensive output. They have the 84th-ranked scoring offense (26.1 ppg) in FBS college football.
Quarterback Tanner Morgan threw for more than 200 yards just twice on the season. Morgan tossed ten touchdowns with eight interceptions over the 12-game season. Minnesota’s strength comes on the ground, where the Golden Gophers rush for nearly 193.8 yards per game.
The Golden Gophers’ defense is stifling, allowing just 18.25 points per game. This defensive output was good enough for ninth in the nation in points allowed. The Minnesota defense created just 14 turnovers on the season.
West Virginia is more dynamic on offense. The Mountaineer offense ranked 50th in the nation for scoring. Quarterback Jarret Doege threw for 2,908 yards with 19 touchdown passes.
Running back Leddie Brown exceeded 1,000 yards on the season and averaged 4.8 yards per rush. In addition, Brown scored 14 total touchdowns on the season. Except for their game against FCS opponent Long Island University, West Virginia lost every game this season in which Leddie Brown didn’t rush for 100 yards.
Unfortunately for West Virginia fans, Brown has opted out of the game. West Virginia’s offense will need to rely on the talents of backup RB Tony Mathis.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl Recap
In my opinion, West Virginia and Minnesota are more evenly matched than their records might indicate. However, I still give the edge to Minnesota based on their defense.
Minnesota has one of the best defenses in college football; even with Leddie Brown, I’m not sure the Mountaineer offense would be good enough to overcome it. I believe Minnesota has a defensive front seven that can hold Mathis and the WVU offense to less than 100 yards rushing, on top of an offense that can control the clock with its running game.
I’ll be taking Minnesota -4.5.
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