There is no Monday Night Football game tonight as the NFL regular season has come to an end, but there is a college football game. The Orange Bowl will be played in Miami on Monday night. Well, all season long in this space I've been handing out three picks for Monday Night Football, so it only makes sense that I replace it with the Orange Bowl this week.
Football is football, after all, and even if you don't watch college, this will help you deal with the withdrawal. Remember, I'm here to help you.
All lines via FanDuel.
Listen, Virginia is ranked No. 24 because the College Football Playoff didn't want to put an unranked team in a major bowl game. That's not to say Virginia is bad -- it isn't -- but it's clearly a level or two below the best teams in the country. Also, this is a horrific matchup for the Cavaliers. Virginia's offensive line has been horrible all season long and quarterback Bryce Perkins has spent a lot of time running for his life. This problem has been prevalent in games against teams with strong front sevens. Virginia allowed 38 sacks during the season, and a lot of them came against teams like Clemson, Notre Dame and Miami. Teams with strong pass rushes. Well, this Florida team ranks third nationally in sack rate and will cause all sorts of problems for the Virginia offense. I just don't know how they score often enough to keep pace.
2. Virginia QB Bryce Perkins: Under 48.5 rushing yards
This play goes in line with what I wrote about Virginia's problems in pass protection. Perkins is a very mobile quarterback. He's rushed for over 100 yards in three of Virginia's last five games, so this total seems low. It's important to remember, however, that in college, sacks count against a player's rushing yards. So every time Perkins is sacked on Monday night the yardage will be deducted from his rushing total. Against Notre Dame, he finished with -29 rushing yards on 16 attempts! Against Miami, he managed 27 on 17. Against Clemson, he had 58 rushing yards, but a lot of that came in the second half of a 45-point blowout loss against Clemson reserves.
3. Florida RB Lamical Perine to score a TD: +100
On the season the Gators running back has rushed for only four touchdowns even though he led the team with 119 carries. Perine is more of a big-play threat than a goal-line back, but this is a matchup that should provide him a chance to score. Virginia's rush defense, on the whole, has been pretty good, but the Cavs have allowed 20 rushing touchdowns in 13 games. Don't be surprised if Perine breaks a long one tonight, or gets a shot in the red zone.