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Spooky Express Cactus Bowl

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  • Spooky Express Cactus Bowl

    Cactus Bowl

    Where: Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona
    Date & Time: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 at 9:00 PM ET
    Spread: Kansas State -2
    Over/Under Total: 63.5
    Quick Pick: Kansas State -2

    The Kansas State Wildcats will take on the UCLA Bruins in this year’s Cactus Bowl on Tuesday, December 26, 2017 at 9:00 PM ET. This game is being played at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona and can be watched on ESPN.

    Cactus Bowl

    The Cactus Bowl is an annual football bowl game that has been played since 1989.

    The Cactus Bowl has operated under numerous other names including the Copper Bowl, Domino’s Pizza Copper Bowl, Weiser Lock Copper Bowl, Insight Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, TicketCity Cactus Bowl and the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl.

    This bowl game is always played in the State of Arizona but the location has changed multiple times over the years. This bowl is played at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona this year but in the past was played at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix and Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
    The Cactus Bowl has tie-ins with the Big 12 and Pac 12 but has also had teams from the WAC and Big East in years past. This year, the Big 12 will provide the Kansas State Wildcats, while the Pac 12 will provide the UCLA Bruins.

    Kansas State has played in this bowl more than any other team in the history of the bowl, going 2-1 in their 3 previous appearances. The Wildcats have wins over Michigan in 2013 by the score of 31-14 and Wyoming in 1993 by the score 52-17. Their only loss in the Cactus Bowl came in 2001 when they lost to the Syracuse Orange 26-3. This will be the first time the UCLA Bruins have appeared in the Cactus Bowl.

    Previous Matchup History

    The Kansas State Wildcats and the UCLA Bruins have faced each other 3 times in the history of the 2 programs, with the Bruins holding a 2-1 edge over the Wildcats. The most recent matchup featured these two teams in the 2015 Valero Alamo Bowl, where UCLA won a high scoring game 40-35. In the two prior games, in 2009 and 2010’s regular season, the teams split the games with each team winning on their home field. UCLA won in 2009 23-9 and Kansas State won in 2010 31-22.

    Kansas State Wildcats 7-5 (Big 12)

    The Kansas State Wildcats finished up the regular season with a 7-5 Su and 5-6-1 ATS record. The Wildcats wrapped up the season by winning 4 of the last 5 games SU but only covered the spread in 2 of those games. The Wildcats came into the final two games of the year, needing to win at least 1 game over either Iowa State or Oklahoma State to become bowl eligible. K-State not only won one of the games, they swept both teams to improve their record to 7-5 and to become bowl eligible.

    This will be the 8th straight bowl appearance for Kansas State. The Wildcats have played in 20 bowl games in their history and have a record of 8-12. They won their bowl game last year over the Texas A&M Aggies in the Texas Bowl by the score 33-28.

    The Wildcats have gone 2-7 ATS in their last 9 bowl games. They are also only 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games that were played on a neutral site. The Wildcats have not been a team you want to bet on when they are facing the Pac 12. In those Pac 12 matchups, the Wildcats have gone 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games vs. Pac 12 teams.

    The Wildcats will be playing the Cactus Bowl without Offensive Coordinator Dana Dimel. Dimel has been hired to fill the vacant UTEP head coaching position and therefore can not be a part of the bowl season. That being said, this is Bill Snyder football and that hasn’t changed over the years and probably won’t change in the bowl game.

    The Wildcats had 3 quarterbacks combined for 2177 yards but the truth be told that Kansas State and Bill Snyder use the QB spot more as another running back in the backfield than they do a passer. The Wildcats used those same 3 QB’s to complete 145 passes in the 2017 season but they also ran the ball 209 times, which is more than the amount of passes they completed!

    The Wildcats started out the year with Jesse Ertz at QB but he injured his knee and subsequently had surgery which ended his season. Then came sophomore Alex Delton who played well but was also ended up getting injured in the season, which made room for Freshman Skylar Thompson. Thompson has a better QB completion percentage than both Ertz and Delton and has thrown for better numbers overall than Delton. It is anticipated that Thompson will start the bowl game for the Wildcats.

    UCLA Bruins 6-6 (Pac-12)

    If their regular season home/away splits are any indication of how the UCLA Bruins will play in this bowl season, it will not be good! The Bruins were 6-6 SU and 4-8 ATS this year. They were undefeated at 6-0 at home but were winless on the road going 0-6. They basically won all their home games and lost all their road games in 2017.

    The day after the Bruins dropped their 6th game of the year to the USC Trojans, former head coach Jim Mora was terminated, leaving Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch with the task of somehow pulling the team together to win the final game of the year to become bowl eligible. Fisch pulled off the impossible and the Bruins beat Cal 30-27 to head to the Cactus Bowl.

    UCLA has appeared in 35 bowl games in their history and have a 16-18-1 record in those games. In their last bowl game, they faced off against these same Kansas State Wildcats, winning a close game 40-35. The Bruins have gone 1-7 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games.
    Much of the talk in UCLA is the hype surrounding the newly hired head coach Chip Kelly. Kelly will take over a team that was ranked 21st on offense and he will add a new dimension on offense that could move them over the hump and contend in the Pac 12. Current Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch will coach the Bruins in the Cactus Bowl.

    There have been rumors spreading rampant about what Bruins QB Josh Rosen will do at the end of the year. Rosen is a NFL prospect that has received much attention over the year and has been talked about being a top 5 draft selection all year. Rosen took to Twitter to ask the media to stop spreading false news about his intentions to forgo his senior year and enter the NFL draft.

    For Rosen, returning for his senior year would be very risky. There are many things that could happen to him that could affect his pro career such as he could get injured, he may not fit the mold in Chip Kelly’s offense and thus struggle decreasing his value or he may simply lose value as other QB’s in the class make themselves available. It will be very interesting to see what Rosen ends up doing but one thing is for sure, he will be playing in the Cactus Bowl, with at least one more game to shine.

    Cactus Bowl Handicapping

    It is always tough for a new head coach or a replacement head coach to come in and be expected to win a bowl game but that is exactly what will be expected of former offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. Fisch met with newly hired head coach Chip Kelly and the topic of that conversation had to be something to do with Fisch’s future. Will he stay….will he go? Only time will tell but a win here at the Cactus Bowl with an impressive offensive performance could improve his chances of remaining on as offensive coordinator.

    Spooky’s Selection

    We are predicting Kansas State will win this game by nearly a touchdown. This match-up at Bookmaker is Kansas State -2 and 63.5. We recommend you playing this game early just in case Rosen does skip the game in favor of entering the NFL draft. If that happens, this line will most likely go up! Play it early.

    Spooky Express Pick: Kansas State -2

    Note: This bowl game is being handicapped and broken down weeks in advance of the game being played. Please be sure to check back periodically to determine if any changes have been made and be sure to check the day of the game, to receive and over/under plays that we may provide.

    For the latest updates head to or
    Last edited by Bobalou; 12-13-17, 05:30 PM.

  • #2
    *** UPDATE ***

    We are predicting Kansas State will win this game by nearly a touchdown. Early Line is Kansas State -2 and 63.5. We recommend you playing this game early just in case Rosen does skip the game in favor of entering the NFL draft. If that happens, this line will most likely go up! Play it early!!!!!

    **Update**: The line changed in this game from the original Kansas State -2 to its current line of Kansas State -6. If you got them on the Moneyline early, congrats and just sit back and enjoy another winner! If not, play them -6 as a 3 star play! We will also are leaning to this game going over the posted total. With the line standing at 61, we recommend you buying it down and take it over 60!

    Spooky Express Pick: Kansas State -6 (3 of 5 Stars)

    Kansas State vs. UCLA Over 60


    • #3
      I thought UCLA's 0-6 away scores would doom them again.