If “Clemson” has become short-hand for “dominant college football powerhouse” and “Coastal Carolina” is another way to say “cupcake,” then Bowling Green is America’s “obscure team” reference at the office water cooler.
“I don’t like these no-name nothing bowls,” my barber told me once. “I’m flipping on the TV hoping to see somebody I’ve heard of before, and instead it’s North Texas against Bowling Green.”
That’s not necessarily fair. Any “controversy” over whether there are too many obscure teams playing on TV could be settled by fans A) learning about mid-major programs so they’re not obscure anymore and/or B) changing the channel.
But a school has to work hard to overcome a bad rep – whether it’s deserved or not – and the Bowling Green Falcons aren’t doing anything this season to convince the national media to drag BGSU out of the shadows. Bowling Green is 3-6 overall and has let gamblers down with an equally-bad 3-6 record ATS.
The opening weekend of November brought a hopeful result for the Falcons, who defeated Akron 35-6 on home turf. But the visiting Zips have had the worst offense in the FBS, and 6 points is (incredibly) not a bad output for them. Blowing-out a “Coastal Carolina” hasn’t helped BGSU’s stock in Las Vegas…especially since the program the Falcons just defeated is a lot worse than actual Coastal Carolina this season.
Miami of Ohio is nearly a 3-touchdown favorite to beat Bowling Green on Wednesday night.
Who: Bowling Green Falcons at Miami of Ohio RedHawks
When: Wednesday, November 13th, 8 PM EST
Where: Fred C. Yager Stadium, Miami, OH
Lines: BGSU (+18) at MIA-OH (-18) / O/U Total: (50)
My formula for analyzing Group-of-5 outcomes is 2-fold. If a MAC team (or a Sun Belt or C-USA team) is able to hold up OK vs strong Power-5 opponents, it usually means that the former squad is pretty athletic for a mid-major roster – since the simplest way for the larger program to win such a match-up is to run faster, block harder, and out-class the G5 opponent physically. But at the same time, you’ve got to be careful about rating MAC schools based on only OOC results against quality Power-5 foes. Often a roster which is simply not fast or strong enough to hold-up against the P5 is capable of teamwork, tactics, and precision that carries the day against comparable league rivals.
As for Miami of Ohio, though, the RedHawks have looked better against the Top 25 and against MAC programs when compared to BGSU. Miami stalemated the Iowa Hawkeyes for 2 quarters before falling 38-14 and took a 10-0 lead on Cincinnati through 15:00 in a pair of early-season contests. Then came the avalanche vs Ohio State, which scored an amazing 42 points in the RedHawks in the 2nd quarter. But OSU has also blown out Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Michigan State this season – no mid-major should be downgraded for being embarrassed by the Buckeyes unless it’s Boise State or Central Florida.
Since that debacle, Miami has won 4 out of 5 games, including impressive wins over Northern Illinois and Ohio. Brett Gabbert isn’t always as accurate as his last name would suggest, but the RedHawks are blocking well in the running game and play 4-quarter defense.
Bowling Green belly-flopped by a combined score of 104-0 (gulp) against the 2 Power-5 teams it met in OOC games in 2019, Kansas State and Notre Dame. What’s also troubling is that the Falcons haven’t been much better against the Mid-American Conference. BGSU’s most-recent significant win came vs visiting Toledo on 10/12, but the Rockets squandered the opportunities. Falcon signal-caller Grant Loy didn’t fare all that well through the air but proved to be a pretty good dual-threat with 300+ combined rushing and passing yards.
Wednesday’s visitors have not been close to winning on the road. Western Michigan, which beat Miami largely due to a rare awful outing from Gabbert, pulverized Bowling Green in a 60-minute beating:
Western Michigan turned two Bowling Green interceptions into touchdown drives and had seven gains of 20-plus yards, three of which went for touchdowns and four that led to an eventual touchdown, in a 49-10 drubbing of the Falcons at Waldo Stadium. Broncos running back LeVante Bellamy torched Bowling Green for 178 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries to drop the Falcons to 2-6 and 1-3 in the Mid-American Conference.
Bellamy scored on runs of 9, 36, 75, and 18 yards. The Broncos (5-4, 3-2) rushed for 399 yards on 57 carries and outgained BG by more than 300 yards overall, 574-266.
In my opinion the only thing holding the (-18) point spread in place is the head-to-head rivalry trends, which show a pair of teams having split the last 10 games and averaging only a 4-point margin in favor of Miami.
The Over/Under total is falling, which I can understand, since BGSU’s offense tends to struggle when running-up against bigger and well-organized opponents.
However, I’m expecting Miami to take advantage of a meek Falcon pass rush and let Gabbert go to work. His penchant for incompletions won’t hurt the RedHawks too bad on Wednesday, but it’ll extend the game with clock-stoppages and shorter possessions.
Miami-ATS is a decent pick but Over (50) is the high-% winner.