Armed Forces Bowl Pick: BYU vs. Tulsa
Tulsa went 8-4 this year, but the team really hasn’t gotten the type of respect that it deserved. After all, the Golden Hurricane were beaten this year by the Houston Cougars, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, and Boise State Broncos. All four of those teams, going into the last week of the season, at least had a chance to be in the BCS, and the Cowboys could have been in the BCS National Championship Game. For a team that lost its head coach, Todd Graham several weeks after the season was over last year, Tulsa did a great job. QB GJ Kinne also had to overcome the loss of his top receiving threat, WR Damaris Johnson. Johnson did everything for this team and was one of the best do-it-all players in the nation. However, he was booted off of the team before the campaign ever started. It is remarkable, all things considered, that Tulsa was able to go 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS in all of its games that weren’t against those Top 15 type of foes, and that it still averaged over 40 points per game in those games.
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BYU enjoyed its first year of football independence this season. There were definitely some tough results, namely a 54-10 loss to the Utah Utes in the mix, but for the most part, the team came on strong down the stretch. The Cougars covered the spread in their last six games and they won eight of their last nine SU. The only loss was a respectable 10 point defeat to the TCU Horned Frogs in Fort Worth. Last year, QB Riley Nelson was replaced after a shaky start to the season by QB Jake Heaps, who is considered the up and coming quarterback of the future for this program. However, this year was a role reversal, as the team played a heck of a lot better after Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall reinstalled Nelson as the team’s quarterback. Not only does Nelson bring the element of running to the table when he drops back, but he also clearly had the better year as a passer. Nelson completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 1,467 yards with 16 TDs against five picks.
Armed Forces Bowl Keys To The Game: It is going to be incredibly important for BYU to take care of the football. The Tulsa offense can run up and down the field and drop 50+ on virtually anyone in the nation, and it thrives off of short fields and fantastic opportunities. The Cougars’ defense has played well though, and it should be a great match for a great team. This is certainly a bowl game that should not be missed.