Hi, I'm Lance Snow. I'm the Executive Sports Producer at KWCH 12 and I'll be covering the Cactus Bowl in Phoenix from Sunday to Wednesday. Typing that sentence made me feel like I approached your table with bread sticks and announced that I will be your waiter for the night.
I'll be landing in Vegas on a layover to Phoenix today--and speaking of gambling--Kansas State opened as a 2.5 point favorite over UCLA in the Cactus Bowl and that line vaulted in K-State's favor after news broke Saturday that UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is in concussion protocol and has not been cleared to play. The Wildcats are now a seven-point favorite as of Sunday.
When it comes to betting lines, sports are similar to the stock market. Any shakeup involving a cooperation's personnel can send a stock through the roof or into the basement. In Kansas State's case, Rosen's potential absence took the Wildcats to the top floor.
It's ashame if Rosen doesn't play. Not because of a holier-than-thou stance on players not playing in bowl games. Rosen's going to be a first-round NFL draft pick and an 8-figure contract is at stake for the quarterback. If you could earn 30-million dollars next year, but you have to remain healthy, you're not going to take the field with world-class athletes intent on smashing you into the turf. That's what's called stupid. And if that's not honoring your commitment to a college, then they shouldn't commit. But, what do I know? I'm just here serving bread sticks.
It's ashame, because Rosen's an incredible talent that would make the Cactus Bowl one of the best games of the season.
With Rosen under-center, UCLA is ranked No. 7 in the nation in passing, averaging nearly 350 yards per game through the air. That's problematic for the Wildcats, who are ranked No. 129 against the pass and are yielding 310 yards passing per game. Without Rosen, the Bruins will start Redshirt Freshman Devon Modster, who's only played in four games in 2017 and has passed for a total of 376 yards on the season.
That's a steep drop in production and that's why Vegas is selling their stock in UCLA.
Is there a chance UCLA could win? Absolutely. They're 6-6. They've beaten teams like Texas A&M and Oregon and they took USC to the wire. But even if they do win, it won't be with the backdrop of a future NFL quarterback torching the field.