(9-4, 8-5 ATS)
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
(6-6, 4-8 ATS)
The top team in the MAC and one of the most underachieving teams in the Sun Belt meet up at the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, AL on Thursday night’s standalone college football betting affair. The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders will look to finish on top against the Miami Redhawks.
Give the Redhawks all the credit in the world. They really did an outstanding job winning the MAC this year, pulling off the huge upset over the Northern Illinois Huskies in a game that no one really thought they were going to be in a year after going just 1-11. However, Head Coach Mike Heywood did a fantastic job getting his team to believe in his system, and this was the reward. Unfortunately, Heywood won’t be here to coach his old team, as he left for the University of Pittsburgh, a job that he only had for a few weeks before getting fired. The biggest injustice is that QB Zac Dysert, a man that really fought and clawed all season long, probably isn’t going to be ready to play in this game after he lacerated his spleen at the end of the season. In relief, QB Austin Boucher played well and brought this team to this position, as he threw for 831 yards with four scores against just one pick. Do keep an eye on RB Thomas Merriweather as well, who rushed for 821 yards and ten TDs on the campaign.
MTSU really thought that it was going to potentially be a Top 25 team this year, as running the table seemed like a legitimate possibility. However, QB Dwight Dasher and company had to win their final three games of the year just to make it to bowl eligibility, and many wonder why they are playing in this game as the third team from the Sun Belt instead of a more deserving team like the 8-4 Temple Owls that were left home from a bowl. Dasher had a disappointing year that started with a four game suspension. He only threw for 1,377 yards and rushed for 453 yards, accounting for 13 TDs a year after he had 36 total scores and almost 4,000 total yards of offense. RB Phillip Tanner will get the ball a lot in this one as well. He rushed for 852 yards and had 11 visits to the end zone on the campaign. It’s a good thing that this team has four rushers with at least 340 yards this year, because there isn’t a wide receiver that has more than 30 catches. This defense was suspect at times as well, allowing 376.4 yards and 27.5 points per game.
We sort of feel as though we should just toss a coin in the air on this one. These two teams are from vastly different conferences and have vastly different styles of play. Still, we saw Dasher explode last year in MTSU’s bowl game, and we have no doubts that, especially with some extra weeks of preparation, that he can’t send the Blue Raiders out on a high this year.
GoDaddy.com Bowl Free Pick: Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders +1.5