Mississippi State vs Louisville, TaxSlayer Bowl: Prediction, pick, odds, live stream Everything you need to know to watch and pick the TaxSlayer Bowl on Saturday
Tournament : College Football
Event : Taxslayer Bowl Game
Team : Louisville vs Mississippi State
Date :Saturday 30 December
Time : 12:00 Pm Et
Field : EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida
Status: Live/Repeat Live
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Since taking over the naming rights for the Jacksonville-based bowl game, there hasn’t been a year where the services that will be advertised during the TaxSlayer Bowl will be more timely than 2017, given the changes in the tax code packaged into the recently passed tax reform bill.
Fiscal planning aside, this SEC-ACC bowl game is set to provide some excitement to kick off a full Saturday of college football bowl action.
Not all of the headliners from the regular season for Mississippi State and Louisville will be on the field or in action, but former Heisman Trophy winner and two-time Heisman finalist Lamar Jackson has no intentions of sitting out, and his battle against a talented and improved Bulldogs defense should make this game well worth your attention early the day.
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Date: Saturday, Dec. 30 | Time: Noon ET
Location: Everbank Field — Jacksonville, Florida
TV: ESPN | Live stream: Watch ESPN, Watch ESPN apps
Mississippi State: Not only is Dan Mullen off to Florida, leaving running backs coach Greg Knox as the interim head coach for the bowl game, but star quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is also out after suffering an ankle injury in the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss. At the time of his injury, Fitzgerald was second in the FBS behind Jackson in games with 100 yards passing and 100 yards rushing (6) and the two quarterbacks were among three players in the country to throw for 1,700 yards and run for 900 yards this season.
While it’s a bummer to miss two of the top quarterbacks going head-to-head, Knox and Mississippi State fans are hoping that true freshman quarterback Keytaon Thompson is up to the challenge of taking on the 2016 Heisman winner. The good news is that Thompson will have the help of a top-25 Bulldogs defense, led by first team All-SEC defensive end Montez Sweat (an SEC-best 9.5 sacks on the season).
Louisville: After a rocky start to conference play, Louisville finished the year with three straight wins by putting up big numbers in blowout wins against Virginia, Syracuse and Kentucky. The 4-4 finish in ACC play was disappointing after tying for the ACC Atlantic Division title in 2016, but a win in the bowl game would give Louisville nine wins for the fifth time in the last six years.
Most importantly, it’s expected to be the final time that we see Lamar Jackson in college football.
Jackson needs just 183 yards of total offense to break the school single-season record (5,114) set during his Heisman Trophy-winning season in 2016, and if he tops 129 rushing yards — which isn’t a stretch considering he’s got nine 100-yard rushing games this season — he’ll shatter his own single-season rushing record (1,571) as well. Because the Cardinals weren’t in the hunt for the ACC crown, Jackson’s wild statistical year fell a little below the radar in the national conversation, but Heisman voters could not ignore such greatness when it came time to filling out their ballots.
Jackson could come back to Louisville for his senior season, but it would be a shock given his NFL Draft eligibility and performance over the last two seasons. We should all kick back, relax and take in one more game of No. 8 doing his thing on the field.
I think Jackson will have a big day. My evidence is only anecdotal but when potential top NFL Draft picks do suit up in bowl games that aren’t of the playoff or championship variety, there tends to be moments in those exhibition contests where that talent rises to the top. Mississippi State has plenty of tape from Clemson and LSU (in last year’s bowl game) to help them gameplan for limiting Jackson’s impact, but if motivation is at all a factor in the midst of a coaching change and an early Dec. 30 kickoff, then I’m going to take the most freakishly athletic player on the field over the offense that’s missing it’s do-everything quarterback and offensive savant head coach. Pick: Louisville -6.5
So what side do you need to be all over in the TaxSlayer Bowl? Visit SportsLine now to get a strong pick for Louisville vs. Mississippi State from insider Emory Hunt, who’s on a 14-5 run in college football against the spread picks.