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The BYU Cougars are going to be playing their first bowl game as an independent, and they have a fantastic showdown on the NCAA football betting lines against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at the Armed Forces Bowl.
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Armed Forces Bowl Matchup: Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. BYU Cougars
Armed Forces Bowl Date/Time: Friday, December 30th, 12:00 ET
Armed Forces Bowl Location: Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX
Armed Forces Bowl Odds: BYU -2.5
Armed Forces Bowl Total: 55.5
Armed Forces Bowl TV Coverage: ESPN, ESPN3.com
Tulsa and BYU both are tremendously different teams, but both do have the potential to play fantastic games against some of the best teams in the country. Tulsa only lost four games this year, and all four came against teams that were potential BCS teams going into the very last week of the season. Those losses came against the Houston Cougars, Boise State Broncos, Oklahoma Sooners, and Oklahoma State Cowboys. However, BYU was only tripped up of late against the TCU Horned Frogs ever since getting embarrassed by the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City in the middle of September.
Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall knew that his team truly needed a spark after some mediocre results under QB Jake Heaps, and the end result was putting the more mobile QB Riley Nelson back in the saddle. Nelson came on strong at the end of the year and helped BYU put 41 or 42 points on the board in its final three games of the season. Nelson, the more experienced of the two Cougars quarterbacks, threw for 1,467 yards and 16 TDs against five picks on the campaign. He should have a field day against a team that ranks poorly against the pass and has for each of the last two years.
That being said, BYU’s defense is going to be up against it as well. Sure, the unit ranks in the Top 25 in the country in a ton of major categories, but the Tulsa offense is as good as could be. QB GJ Kinne has thrown for 2,876 yards and 25 TDs this year, and he has done so with a bit of a makeshift receiving corps that no longer includes WR Damaris Johnson, who was kicked off the team before the season started due to some off the field problems. He can run the ball as well, and when Tulsa’s offense is at its best is when the team is running all over the place.
We just don’t know whether we really trust the Golden Hurricane in this one or not. BYU is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games played in the month of December, and it is clearly has been a hot team down the stretch. Tulsa has been a great team all season long, but most of these wins have come against teams that either aren’t bowl or are just barely bowling. The only victories came against the SMU Mustangs and Marshall Thundering Herd, and both games were at home. We really don’t know a heck of a lot about this Tulsa team against an opponent like this one, but we tend to think that the Cougars are closer to being a team like Boise State than a team like the UAB Blazers or North Texas Mean Green.
Free Armed Forces Bowl Pick: BYU -2.5
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