5 p.m. PT at Mobile, Alabama
Ball State +2½ vs Tulsa (74)
The GMAC Bowl, perhaps more than any other we’ve seen this season, comes down to motivation. Ball State has visions of a more prestigious bowl after going 12-0 during the regular season. Then came the MAC Championship and a turnover-filled upset loss to Buffalo, 42-24. So now the Cardinals have a chance to show a national audience that they were the best team in the MAC and the one good enough to knock off Navy and Indiana in nonconference play.
Tulsa has a similar script. The Golden Hurricanes won their first eight games before falling on the road to a then-mediocre Arkansas, 30-23. The loss carried over the following week when Houston put 70 on the board in routing Tulsa by 40. The slump continued into the Conf USA title game with a loss to underdog East Carolina, 27-24. Tulsa averaged 47 points a game and gave up 29, which accounts for the high 74 total. The line of this game originally was 2½ for Ball State. The sudden swing toward Tulsa makes us like the Cardinals. Tough to side with a team that allows 70. BALL STATE.