As we continue our march through bowl season, it’s time to look at that lull time between Christmas Day and New Year's. Yes, they have managed to squeeze plenty of games into that stretch as well, and with the way the holiday falls this year, there will be plenty of time to sit on the couch and soak up all the college football. You can begin your weekend by watching Florida Atlantic and Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl on Friday.
This year’s Motor City Bowl features a matchup that most people could care less about watching, but that does not mean there’s not some entertaining football to be had. You just have to know where to look, and go beyond the numbers.
Florida Atlantic started the season 1-5 and looked to be on the fast track to nowhere. However, the Owls were able to get things back on track for the second half of the season and won five out of their last six games, pushing their record to 6-6 (had they been Notre Dame, they would have gotten a better bowl).
In all honesty, FAU is probably the weakest of all the bowl eligible teams in the country, but that does not mean they fail to stand a chance in the Motor City Bowl.
Despite being extremely turnover-prone in the first half of the season, Florida Atlantic seemed to right the ship coming down the stretch. They even managed to score 57 points against rival FIU in the regular season finale. Quarterback Rusty Smith has found a level of comfort using his tight ends, especially when in the red zone. This has proven to lower the number of turnovers committed by FAU.
The Central Michigan Chippewas have come a very long way in a very short time under second year coach Butch Jones. The Chippewas are the proud owners of an 8-4 record this season, and they finished in second place in the MAC. In addition, this year’s Motor City Bowl will mark the third consecutive bowl appearance for Central Michigan, which marks a first in school history.
Central Michigan is another team that has benefitted by running a spread offense. While they may not be known for lighting up the scoreboard, the Chippewas offense is as lethal as any spread attack in the country. They are led by junior quarterback Dan LeFevour, who along with eight returning starters from last year's team heads a very experienced offense that can run like a well-oiled machine at times.
Currently the spread for the Motor City Bowl has been pulled from the boards, but it began with Central Michigan standing as a seven-point favorite. Putting the spread aside, Central Michigan should prove to be too much for FAU to handle.
Florida Atlantic snuck in the back door just to make it to a bowl game, and they are going to run into a very talented Central Michigan team. Mainly, FAU cannot keep up with the spread offense and the speed of the receivers at CMU. Central Michigan will shred the FAU defense and roll to a convincing victory.