Who’s it going to be?
That’s the question Toledo Rockets bettors are asking as the 2013 college football season inches closer. The Rockets, picked to contend for the MAC West title this year, have stepped up to scare and sometimes even upset a BCS opponent in each of the past five seasons.
A look at Toledo’s early non-conference slate has fingers pointing at two SEC schools, Florida and Missouri, who take on the Rockets in Weeks 1 and 2 respectively. Oddsmakers have the Rockets tabbed as 21.5-point road underdogs at Gainesville in the season opener.
Last season, Toledo lost 24-17 at Arizona in overtime as a 10-point underdog in Week 1. The year before, it had Ohio State on the ropes before falling 27-22 as a 17.5-point road pup.
In 2010, the Rockets stunned Purdue with a 31-20 victory as 11-point dogs at Ross Ade Stadium and upended Colorado with a 54-38 shootout as 3.5-point home underdogs in 2009.
But perhaps most memorable is Toledo’s 13-10 victory at Michigan in 2008, winning SU and ATS with oddsmakers spotting the team 17.5 points. The Rockets picked off three Wolverines passes, including a 100-yard “Pick 6” from Tyrrell Herbert in the first quarter.
This year’s Toledo squad will be able to score points in a hurry. The Rockets, who averaged 31.5 points in 2012, return dual-threat QB Terrance Owens and RB Doug Fluellen along with a strong receiving corps and four starters on the offensive line.
That offensive firepower doesn’t match up well for Florida – averaged only 26.5 points in 2013 – or Missouri – averaged 25.8 points in 2013. However, the Gators still have a stout defensive unit, which ranked fifth in points against last season.
The Tigers, on the other hand, watched foes tally 28.4 points a game - 68th in the country. If Missouri finds itself in the middle of a shootout with the Rockets, it may not have the stop unit or offensive chops to keep pace.
Toledo is 6-5 ATS versus BCS opponents since 2008.