Advertisement

MAC Title Preview

Detroit, MI - Ball State and Buffalo are nearing the end of surprisingly successful seasons. For one of these teams, it has the chance to be monumental.

Bet College Football Week 15

The 12th-ranked Cardinals look to remain undefeated when they face the upstart Bulls as both make their first appearance in the Mid-American Conference championship game on Friday night at Ford Field in Detroit.

Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made Ball State -15 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Friday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 74% of bets for this game have been placed on Ball State -15 (View College Football bet percentages).

On the strength of a high-powered offense, West Division champion Ball State (12-0, 8-0) recorded its first perfect regular season since the 1949 team went 8-0. The Cardinals have a chance to further add to the most successful season in school history with two more victories.

"Everybody's dream is to go undefeated,'' said junior quarterback Nate Davis, who's sixth in the nation with a 169.3 passer rating.

East champion Buffalo (7-5, 5-3), meanwhile, clinched the school's first division title while securing its first bowl berth since moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1999.

"I'm proud of our players, this season has been outstanding," said Bulls coach and former Nebraska star Turner Gill. "I have been involved in championship football teams, but I have never been exposed to a season like this."

While Ball State is a heavy favorite to improve to 5-0 all-time versus Buffalo and claim its first MAC title since 1996, it is still a likely longshot for a BCS bowl bid with a victory on Friday.

Though Ball State is 12th in the latest BCS standings and would normally be in good shape as a school from a non-BCS conference ranked that high, fellow non-BCS schools Utah (No. 6), Boise State (No. 9) and TCU (No. 11) are ahead of the Cardinals and finished with regular-season play.

According to BCS rules, only one non-BCS team is guaranteed a berth by virtue of finishing in the Top 12 in the standings, thus likely giving the nod to the Utes. That would leave Ball State and Buffalo headed to one of the three bowls - Motor City, GMAC or International - with MAC tie-ins.

Regardless, the Cardinals have plenty to be proud of after overcoming the loss of leading receiver Dante Love, who suffered a career-ending neck injury on Sept. 21 at Indiana.

"I am really happy for this group of kids and this senior class to come together and accomplish what they set out to get but we're not finished yet," said sixth-year coach Brady Hoke, whose teams won six games in his first two seasons guiding his alma mater.

Davis, who could declare for the NFL draft, has completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 3,095 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions for a Ball State offense that ranks 15th in the nation averaging 37.7 points per game.

Junior running back MiQuale Lewis scored three touchdowns in the Cardinals' 45-22 victory over Western Michigan on Nov. 25 to give him a school-record 20 this season. He has rushed for a league-leading 1,570 yards and is averaging 145.2 in his last four games.

Davis was 21-for-29 for 233 yards with three TDs in Ball State's 49-14 victory over Buffalo on Sept. 29, 2007 in the teams' most recent meeting.

Since that loss, however, the Bulls are 9-5 in league play - a major improvement for a school that won 10 games total in its first seven seasons in the FBS prior to Gill's arrival.

Buffalo enters this contest after a 24-21 loss to Kent State on Friday, snapping a five-game winning streak that included victories at Ohio, Akron and Bowling Green.

"I'm still proud of our football team," said Gill, whose team has played four games that have gone to overtime. "Our guys will be resilient, they're going to come back ready to play and we'll be ready against Ball State."

While Ball State's Lewis ranks fourth in nation averaging 130.8 rushing yards per game, Buffalo junior James Starks is sixth at 122.6 per game.

Starks has rushed for more than 1,000 yards for a second straight year with 1,226 in 2008 to break the school's single-season record.

Junior receiver Naaman Roosevelt has 86 receptions for a MAC-leading 1,196 yards and 10 touchdowns, including a TD in six consecutive contests.

While the Bulls are averaging 30.2 points per game, they'll be in for a challenge against an unheralded Ball State defense yielding 16.7 a game.

Buffalo is 0-8 versus ranked opponents since moving up to the FBS, scoring 70 points total in those contests.

Top Betting Trends:
All games in this series since 1992
BALL ST is 3-1 against the spread versus BUFFALO since 1992
BALL ST is 4-0 straight up against BUFFALO since 1992
2 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
BALL ST is 2-0 against the spread versus BUFFALO over the last 3 seasons 
BALL ST is 2-0 straight up against BUFFALO over the last 3 seasons 
2 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
Key Player Injuries
BUFFALO
No significant injuries.
BALL ST
(!) [WR] Dante Love is out for the season. - Neck - 09/22/08
[DE] Justin Woodard is out for the season - Leg - 10/21/08

Bet College Football Week 15

Did you like this article? Subscribe to our College Football news feed for the fastest updates delivered right to you - Click here to Subscribe

Posted: 12/2/08 9:30 PM ET

Advertisement

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail College Football Week 1 Betting Guide The 2016 College Football season is underway but the majority of the action begins next week. Here's a look at some of the line movement and odds for Week...
Thumbnail Cal vs. Hawaii College Football Pick California and Hawaii kick off the 2016 college football season from Sydney, Australia tonight. Will the Rainbow Warriors cover as huge...
Thumbnail Cal, Hawaii can put up points Will tonight’s College Football Kickoff between Hawaiiand Californiaprovided plenty of offensive fireworks? Here’s our take on the total.
Thumbnail Bettors backing Cal vs. Hawaii Despite the majority of public bettors backing California for Friday’s college football kickoff contest, the line has moved in favor of Hawaii.
Thumbnail Clemson Season Win Total Prediction   Few would argue that the best player in college football resides in Death Valley. After narrowly missing out on the ultimate prize this past January, will...
More inNCAAF Articles  

NCAAF Headlines

More inNCAAF News  

NCAAF Team Pages