Motor City Bowl Preview

Detroit, MI - Butch Jones has accomplished quite a bit in his short tenure at Central Michigan.

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But he hasn't done enough to feel comfortable with the company he was keeping on Thursday afternoon.

Oddsmakers from Online Sportsbook Sportsbook.com have made the Central Michigan –6.5 point spread favorites for the Motor City Bowl against Florida Atlantic. Current College Fooball Public Betting Information shows that 88% of more than 135 bets for this game have been placed on the Central Michigan –6.5.

Jones was attending the Motor City Bowl's press luncheon, and was seated on a dais that included Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger, Motor City Bowl CEO George Perles and new bowl adviser Lloyd Carr. Jones' Chippewas will play Schnellenberger's Owls at Ford Field on Dec. 26.

``I kept looking over at that side of the stage and being amazed at the accomplishments of those three,'' said Jones, who has a 16-10 record in his two years at Central Michigan.

Schnellenberger won a national title at Miami in 1983, while Carr led Michigan to a share of the 1997 national championship. Perles won a pair of Big Ten titles and a Rose Bowl in his dozen years at Michigan State. Schnellenberger and Perles also won a combined six Super Bowl rings as assistant coaches.

``I competed against George in the NFL and college, and even though I never coached directly against Lloyd, he's a good friend and I've always been a great admirer of his,'' Schnellenberger said. ``I feel like we are the generation that connected coaches like Paul Bryant and Bobby Dodd to today's game.''

Carr was the newest member of the group, having just signed on as an adviser to the 12-year-old bowl. He said that he wasn't sure what his duties would be, but was looking forward to working with Perles - his former archrival.

``When I was coaching with Bo and Gary Moeller at Michigan, George changed everything when he came back to Michigan State,'' Carr said. ``Suddenly, players that would have always gone to Michigan were going to Michigan State, and he brought the rivalry to a new level. Now that we've both gotten out of coaching, we've been able to resume our friendship.''

Carr's first year on the board would seem to be a tough one. Off the field, the bowl lost one of its traditional Big Three sponsors when Chrysler dropped out this fall, and the economy will make ticket sales a challenge.

The game also will have to live up to last year's shootout, when Purdue beat Central Michigan 51-48 on a last-second field goal, but both teams showed in their regular-season finales that they are capable of matching that.

On Nov. 28, Central lost 56-52 to Eastern Michigan, and on the next day, Florida Atlantic beat Florida International 57-50 in overtime.

``If you had told me, with all my years in this sport, that you'd have a game that was 50-50 after 60 minutes, I wouldn't have thought it was possible,'' Schnellenberger said. ``But it happened, and we're going to have to come up with a pretty good defensive plan to keep Central Michigan from putting up a score like that. We're pretty good at catching up, but we've got to stay in catch-up range.''

Jones wasn't sure he could stand another game like the Chippewas played against Purdue or Eastern Michigan.

``Coach Schnellenberger is talking about games in the 50s and my heart is beating out of my chest,'' he said. ``I hope that we'll be able to make enough defensive plays to keep the game from getting that crazy.''

Motor City Bowl Player Injuries:
FLA ATLANTIC
[TE] Darian Williams expected to miss entire season - Knee - 08/21/08
[WR] Jason Harmon expected to miss entire season - ACL - 07/17/08
[OL] John Rizzo expected to miss remainder of season - Knee - 11/02/08
[OL] Vinnie Henderson missed last game %27?%27 - Leg - 11/22/08
[DE] Robert St Clair missed last game , "?" - Knee - 11/25/08
[DT] Mauricio Riquer is expected to miss the rest of the season. - Knee - 
[DL] Jermaine Council is out for the season. - Undisclosed - 11/12/08
[DB] Tavious Polo injured last game, "?" - Knee - 11/22/08
C MICHIGAN
[NG] Casey Droscha expected to miss the rest of the season - Knee - 11/28/
[LB] Calvin Hissong expected to miss entire season. - Neck - 09/20/08

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Posted: 12/12/08 11:00 AM ET

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