Posted: 10:00 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014
By Brandon Larrabee
There are only a couple of fleeting opportunities to watch college football this season. Take advantage of them while you can
GoDaddy Bowl, Sunday, 9 pm ET, ESPN
Suggested slogan: All the proof you need that corporate bowl sponsorships could be a lot more offensive
How Arkansas State got here: By playing the newbies. Arkansas State would not even be in the postseason were it not for a four-game winning streak late in the season that included wins at South Alabama and against Texas State and Georgia State. The thing that all three of those teams have in common is that they haven't been in the FBS for very long. (Arkansas State beat South Alabama and Georgia State by a combined three points.) The record also included resounding losses at Auburn, Missouri ... and Memphis? Even their FCS opponent, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, went 2-9 this season. The Red Wolves might not have the worst schedule of any team to make a bowl this year, but they're a strong contender. Arkansas State doesn't do anything all that well, though the 206 rushing yards per game ranked 24th in the FBS. You could call Adam Kennedy a dual-threat quarterback, but that might be overstating his passing ability. Of his 11 touchdown passes, four came against Idaho, one of the worst teams in the FBS. But he does have 514 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 147 carries.
How Ball State got here: By losing at Northern Illinois. That 48-27 defeat cost Ball State a chance to play in the MAC Championship Game and bumped them down the bowl pecking order. The only other loss for the Cardinals this year by a touchdown at North Texas. And Virginia still counts as an AQ team, so we'll point out here that Ball State beat the Cavaliers. In Virginia. By three touchdowns. And if there's one thing that has helped the Cardinals win those games, it's by throwing the ball quite a bit. BSU averages 333.3 yards a game through the air. Leading the attack has been Keith Wenning, who was 396-of-454 passing for 3,933 yards, 34 touchdowns and six interceptions. But the defense is weak, giving up 420.8 yards a game on average.
College football fans care because: There are two college football games left this season. This is one of them.
SEC fans care because: Even though this one's already been taken, odds are that your school is going to hire an Arkansas State coach at some point.
Watch this game if...: You want to savor every last remaining moment of college football.
Bottom line: The Red Wolves just lost their football coach (again), while Ball State is the better team. I wish I had something profound to add, but this looks like it could get ugly fast. Ball State 45, Arkansas State 24
Line: Ball State by 7