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College Football Betting Online: The AutoZone Liberty Bowl has seen plenty in its nearly 60-year existence. Legendary coach Bear Bryant roamed the sidelines for the final time in the 1982 contest. Heisman Trophy winners Ernie Davis, Doug Flutie and Bo Jackson all competed in the event. A lot goes on when you’re the seventh oldest bowl game in the country. With its origins based in Philadelphia, hence the name, the Liberty Bowl was also the first major bowl to be played indoors. The game moved to its current outdoor location in Memphis in 1965.
The 2017 AutoZone Liberty Bowl will take place on Saturday, December 30 at 12:30 p.m. ET from Liberty Bowl Stadium in Memphis, Tenn. ABC will televise all the action.
Liberty Bowl Odds at BookMaker.eu
Iowa State Cyclones +3.5
Memphis Tigers -3.5
This game features prolific offensive firepower in Memphis against a solid 7-5 Iowa State team that managed to upset teams like Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, TCU and Oklahoma State to get to this point.
The Cyclones have surprised all season. They’re 10-1 ATS, beating the odds even in games they’ve lost. With the odds just over a field goal, Iowa State could very well add yet another upset to its 2017 resume.
While Iowa State’s managed to play better than expected in nearly every facet of the game, the most impressive element to this program’s success this season has been its ability to hold on to the football. Iowa State has yet to fumble the ball this season. That’s never been done by a FBS team. On top of that, the team hast just nine combined interceptions.
On top of the lack of turnovers, the passing offense has delivered solid numbers. Kyle Kempt is the more accurate arm, completing over two-thirds of his passes with a 13:3 touchdown to interception ratio. He’ll get the start.
On the ground, the yardage isn’t overly impressive, but the dependability has been exactly that. David Montgomery has 1,095 yards and at 4.7 yards per carry, he’s not as dynamic as some, but he gets the job done.
Montgomery and Kempt will be going against a poor Memphis defense. That will lead to a high scoring game, but that’s exactly the type of game the Tigers are accustom to playing.
Memphis’ Darrell Henderson is as dynamic a rusher as Montgomery is a dependable on. Henderson has 1,161 yards in only 130 carries with 8.9 yards per touch. Meanwhile, Patrick Taylor Jr. has 140 rushes of his own with 807 yards and 13 scores, giving the Tigers a nice one-two punch.
Of course, the air attack is still Memphis’s bread and butter. The Riley Ferguson to Anthony Miller is one of the best in the game. They’ve connected 92 times for 1,407 yards and 17 touchdowns. Iowa State is better defensively against the run than the pass, but they’ll need to defend Miller heavily, taking him out of the game.
That plan, however, leaves others like Tony Pollard and Phil Mayhue open. Still, outside of Miller, nobody else has caught more than four of Ferguson’s 36 touchdowns or more than 501 of his 3,971 yards.
Liberty Bowl Format
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Liberty Bowl offered an automatic invitation to the winner of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, if that team was bowl eligible. As a result Air Force made four consecutive trips to the bowl game between 1989 and 1992.
The game affiliated itself with the newly-created Conference USA starting with the 1996 playing, offering the league’s champion an automatic bid. Starting in 2005, the winner of the C-USA Championship game was invited. The Big East provided an opponent for the 1996 and 1997 games. From 1999 to 2005 the Mountain West provided an opponent for the C-USA champion.
The Southeastern Conference got involved starting with the 2006 game, taking the place of the MWC. A SEC representative played the C-USA champ through 2013 with the American Athletic Conference an alternate. Prior to the 2014 game, the Liberty Bowl signed a six-year deal with the Big 12 Conference and the SEC to send bowl eligible teams to Memphis.
Liberty Bowl Game Results
|Season ||Winners ||Losers|
|2014||Texas AM||West Virginia|
|1999||Southern Mississippi||Colorado State|
|1991||Air Force||Mississippi State|
|1990||Air Force||Ohio State|
|1983||Notre Dame||Boston College|
|1973||North Carolina State||Kansas|
|1972||Georgia Tech||Iowa State|
|1967||North Carolina State||Georgia|
|1966||Miami (FL)||Virginia Tech|
|1963||Mississippi State||North Carolina State|
There have been 58 Liberty Bowls played but the game is still considered a lower-tier contest. That hasn’t detracted teams from participating, though. In its history the bowl has hosted 60 different programs, but there hasn’t been a team ranked in the AP poll since 2004 when No. 7 Louisville defeated No. 10 Boise State in the only matchup of top-10 teams. It was just the eighth time in bowl history both teams entered the game ranked in the AP poll.
Geographically the current alignment with the SEC and Big Ten makes sense for the game. But after the CFP and other bowls pick their teams, the Liberty Bowl is left with scraps, which explains the lack of ranked teams recently. There is plenty of tradition associated with the Liberty Bowl and a nice payout as well, so teams aren’t shying away from playing.
The game started in Philadelphia in 1959 with an inaugural match-up between Penn State and Alabama. After five years the game moved indoors to Atlantic City Convention Center and became the first indoor college bowl game. In 1965 the city of Memphis constructed a new stadium to lure the game. It worked. The game was such a success that the city renamed the stadium Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in 1976.
Most All-Time Wins at Liberty Bowl
|Wins ||Team ||Years Won|
|4||Mississippi||1965, 1968, 1989, 1992|
|3||Louisville||1993, 2001, 2004|
|3||Mississippi State||1963, 2007, 2013|
|3||Penn State||1959, 1960, 1979|
|3||Tennessee||1971, 1974, 1986|
Thanks to their affiliation with the SEC, the Arkansas Razorbacks have appeared in the most Liberty Bowls with a total of five appearances. An effort was made to keep the game regional with tie-ins with C-USA, the SEC and to a certain extent the Big 12. Keeping the patriotic theme by inviting the service academy winner of the Commander-in-Chief Trophy resulted in four consecutive visits by Air Force.
Ole Miss owns a record four Liberty Bowl wins without a defeat, but their last trip came in 1992. Penn State and Air Force are the only back-to-back winners. The Nittany Lions won the first two Liberty Bowls, beating Alabama and Oregon. The only four trips the Falcons made came in succession and their first win was an upset of No. 24 Ohio State in 1990. They defeated Mississippi State the following year.
The SEC has owned the Big 12 under the games current setup. Georgia knocked off TCU 31-23 in last year’s game, giving the SEC a third straight victory over its Big 12 counterpart and a fourth straight win in the game overall with four different teams doing the honors.
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