8-4 (5-3), 3rd Conference USA - West
7-5 (5-3), 3rd Mountain West
It is a little disappointing that in the Armed Forces Bowl we don't have Army, Navy, or Air Force playing in it. But we do have a pretty good matchup. Tulsa comes in with 8 wins, 3 of which have come against bowl teams. The Golden Hurricanes come into the game boasting a pretty impressive offense that is only 1 yard under 400 ypg. While defensively they give up 287 ygp, 152 yards in the air.
The Hurricanes are going to need that passing defense to be tough as the Utes rely a lot on their air game. At QB Paul Smith leads Tulsa through the air with 2500 yards passing and 15 touchdowns. He was a big reason that the Hurricanes are bowl eligible as he lead them in a big win over Tulane to become bowl eligible. His favorite target is WR Idris Moss who has over 700 yards receiving but only 1 touchdown on the year.
Utah is riding a five game bowl winning streak and is going to its third bowl game in as many years. The Utes are lead at quarterback by Brett Ratliff who has thrown for over 2500 yards and 22 touchdowns. His two targets at WR are Derrek Richards (648 yds 6 TDs) and Brent Casteel (582 yds 9 TDs). Defensively Eric Weddle leads the team with 6 interceptions, 2 that he has returned to the house for touchdowns.
All the statistics seem to favor Tulsa in this game. They have a better defense and matchup well against Utah's passing game. The Utes are not a very good rushing team so that should make them one-dimensional and play even more into Tulsa's hands. What I do like about Utah is their ability to score points and the fact that they have gone up against some tougher opponents. Do not look past the Utes' rushing defense that is pretty tough. I think they slow down the Hurricane's rushing attack. The Mountain West has put some good showings in the Bowl Season with TCU and BYU but Tulsa wins this one because of their defense and balanced attack. Tulsa 33-14
Brian from CFR