Wyoming vs. Georgia State: Arizona Bowl preview and picks against the spread

Wyoming (7-5) vs. Georgia State (7-5)

Location: Tucson | When: Dec. 31 (4:30 p.m.) | TV: CBSSN | Line: Wyoming -6.5

HOW THESE TEAMS GOT HERE

Wyoming: Wyoming opened the year 3-0, including a season-opening 37-31 home win over Missouri. From there, the Cowboys won three of their next five to get to 6-2 with a 3-1 mark in Mountain West play.

But Wyoming lost starting QB Sean Chambers to a knee injury in the win over Nevada on Oct. 26. The injury to Chambers, a run-first QB, forced backup Tyler Vander Waal into action. With Vander Waal as the starter, Wyoming lost three of its last four games to finish 7-5. 

Georgia State: Georgia State found itself in the national conversation when it shockingly upset Tennessee 38-30 in Knoxville in Week 1. The win over the Vols was part of a 2-2 start, but the Panthers got to bowl eligibility early with a four-game winning streak in the month of October. From there, Georgia State closed out the regular season by losing three of four games, including a 38-10 loss to Georgia Southern. 

Georgia State Panthers quarterback Dan Ellington combined for three touchdowns in a season-opening upset win over Tennessee. (Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH

Wyoming has a really solid defense, allowing just 17.8 points per game. That’s the 11th-best figure in the country. The Cowboys will go up against the 28th-ranked offense in the country from Georgia State in this one, so it could prove to be a pretty competitive matchup to flip to if the Sun Bowl or Liberty Bowl aren’t catching your eye. 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Wyoming DB Alijah Halliburton: Halliburton emerged as a first-team All-Mountain West performer in 2019 for the Cowboys. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior leads the Mountain West with 119 tackles to go with 10 tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception. For his career, Halliburton has 212 total tackles. 

Georgia State RB Tra Barnett: Tra Barnett ranks 12th in the country with 1,389 rushing yards on 233 carries. The first-team All-Sun Belt selection also has 12 touchdowns on the year. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound speedster is averaging 6.0 yards per carry on the year and is up to 2,092 yards and 19 scores for his career. 

NFL DRAFT PROSPECT

Wyoming LB Logan Wilson: The 6-2, 250-pound linebacker is a three-time captain and the best player on the Cowboys’ defense. Yes, he’s a tackle machine, having racked up 414 (34 for loss) over his four seasons. But Wilson is more than that, displaying the kind of soft hands in coverage — 10 career INTs, four this season — that you’d expect from a converted high-school wide receiver. He’s smart, instinctive and assignment-sound and could land in the fourth or fifth round if he plays well here and at the Senior Bowl.

- Eric Edholm

WHAT’S ON THE LINE

Wyoming: After winning a combined six games in Craig Bohl’s first two seasons in Laramie, Wyoming can get to eight wins in three of the past four seasons with a win in this one. Wyoming is 8-8 all-time in bowl games, so a win would put the team above .500 all-time in bowl play. 

Georgia State: Georgia State began playing football in 2010 and moved up to the FBS level in 2013. Since then, the team has played in two bowl games: a loss in the 2015 Cure Bowl and a win in the 2017 Cure Bowl. Additionally, a win over Wyoming would get Georgia State to eight wins in a season for the first time. 

Wyoming's Alijah Halliburton leads the Mountain West in tackles. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

PICKS

Nick Bromberg: Wyoming -6.5

Sam Cooper: Wyoming -6.5

Picks from the Yahoo Sports College Podcast

Pat Forde: Wyoming -7.5

Pete Thamel: Wyoming -7.5

Dan Wetzel: Wyoming -7.5

Sean Sullivan: Wyoming -7.5