The New Orleans Bowl sees Ohio come south to play Troy, who returns to the game after a year away. The game will be played indoors at the Superdome, which sound a lot better than the weather at the two earlier games today. Kickoff is at 9 PM Eastern, on ESPN.
Troy (7-5, 6-2) will call themselves co-champions of the Sun Belt, but the fact is they tied with FIU, who beat them straight up, so the co-champions bit is absurd. Nonetheless, this was a solid year for the Trojans, who had to replace a ton of players from their (actual) championship team from last year. Troy was only 1-3 out of conference, but they beat the only MAC team they played, woeful Bowling Green.
Troy gets their work done in the air, #12 nationally in passing yardage. They’re giving up 31 points per game, although getting wrecked by South Carolina for 69 points has something to do with that average. On the flipside, even with the USC loss, they haven’t been held under 24 since October.
Ohio started 1-3, then ran off 7 straight wins and appeared ready to waltz into the MAC championship game after taking down Temple. Then, completely inexplicably, they lost to Kent State and finished 2nd in the division behind Miami. They racked up the wins quietly, but did beat their only Sun Belt foe when Louisiana came to town.
Ohio is a fairly balanced team, but generally a run first orientation. Each win in their seven game streak saw them score over 30, but in three of their losses they were held to 6, 7, and 13, so there are ways to put the Bobcats off their game.
I feel like this should actually be a very competitive football game, and maybe too close to call. It won’t be what you think Oregon-Auburn is going to be, but it should be a good game nonetheless. Vegas gives the nod to Troy by 2.5, and I was leaning towards Troy, but I wouldn’t bet big on it. Troy 30-27.