Ball State Cardinals (12-1) (Pick) vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (10-3) (Pick)
GMAC Bowl, Ladd Peebles Stadium, Mobile, A.L., 8:00PM Eastern, Tuesday
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
The GMAC Bowl is set to kick off Tuesday night with two of the highest profile offenses in all of college football. This match-up promises to present some fireworks in what everyone has to predict to be a scoring shootout. Together these two teams average 86 points of offense and you can bet there will be some points scored down in Alabama when these two teams square off. Ball State went through the regular season with a perfect record of 12-0 before getting beat by Buffalo in the Mid-American Championship. The Gold Hurricane of Tulsa also lost their Conference Championship when they battled East Carolina at seasons end in the Conference USA Title Game. Both teams try to end the season on a good note after two really good years. A loss would be a disaster for both ball clubs considering how well they played in the regular season.
Tulsa brings the best offense in the nation to Alabama to shoot it out with the Cardinals. Tulsa has put up more yards on offense than anyone this season. The Golden Hurricane have been responsible for a mind-blowing 578 yards of total offense per game this season that ranks 1st in all of college football. Tulsa also provides the 2nd best scoring offense in college football averaging a staggering 49 points per game. Tulsa is among the only team in the nation that ranks in the top 10 in all 4 major offensive categories. However, East Carolina at least proved for one game that the Golden Hurricane offense could be contained when they held the high power offense to only 24 points. The Ball State defense will face its biggest challenge of the season when they try to accomplish the same.
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Ball State owns one of the premier offenses in college football as well. The Cardinals rank in the top 25 in all 4 major offensive categories. Ball State has been superb this season in the Mid-American conference averaging 37 points per contest that ranks 14th nationally. The Cardinals also produce the 13th most offensive total yards on average posting a strong 455 yards per game. Ball State will have to score some touchdowns in this game to keep up with an even better Tulsa offense. The Cardinals could hold the edge through the play of their defense. Unlike the Golden Hurricane, Ball State owns a solid defensive unit. The Cardinals rank 11th in the nation in scoring defense only allowing 16.7 points per contest for the year. Will the Ball State defense be able to rise to the challenge against the nations best offense?
Superbook has the betting line dead even with this game being a pick’em contest. However, a large portion of the betting public nearly 70% are siding with Tulsa and the high power offense to over come the Ball State Cardinal. The over/under for the contest has been posted at one of the highest marks of any Bowl Game this season. The 76 point total is an exceptionally high total, but this game could very well get that high with the offenses that will take the field. The betting public is favoring the under slightly at 60% for the shootout.
Ball State owns a balanced offense led by one of the top rushers in College Football. MiQuale Lewis has racked up a stout 1,701 yards this season with an amazing 22 touchdowns for the Cardinal ground game. Lewis ranks 3rd in the nation individually in rushing yards behind Shonn Green of Iowa and Donald Brown of Connecticut. That is some good company to be a part of. Ball State QB Nate Davis has been equally effective for the Cardinal passing attack. Nate has completed 66% of his passes this season for 3,446 yards and 26 TDs. Ball State will try to keep a weak Tulsa defense on their heels this Tuesday night and earn a victory in the GMAC Bowl.
Tulsa has a trio of playmakers that lead the Golden Hurricane offense. QB David Johnson has had a stellar season behind center completing 65% of his passes for 3,866 yards on the season. Johnson ranks 8th in the nation in passing yards and has also contributed to a 4th best strong 44 touchdowns. Johnson favorite target has been senior wide receiver Brennan Marion. Marion has caught 43 passes for 1,112 yards this season with 8 touchdowns. Leading the running attack for the Golden Hurricane has been the play of another senior Tarrion Adams. Adams owns a potent 5.8 yards per carry average that has contributed to 1,316 yards for the year. Tulsa will look for this trio of difference makers to lead them over the Ball State defense in search for victory.
Ball State is 9-3 ATS and 11-1 SU in their last 12 games. The Cardinals have reached the over total in 4 of their last 6 match-ups as well. Tulsa is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games and 16-4 SU in their past 20 contests.
Jays Pick – I believe the Ball State defense is the difference in this game. I take the Cardinals and consider a play on the under.