There are always mixed feelings when the GoDaddy.com Bowl arrives each January. While it'll be played one day before the 2014 BCS National Championship -- and usually serves as a nice appetizer course to the big game -- it's also 60 of the final 120 minutes of college football played before a long eight-month offseason arrives.
The GoDaddy.com Bowl has been around since 2010, when it replaced the GMAC Bowl. The game currently hosts Sun Belt and MAC teams, which often leads to high-scoring shootouts at Ladd Peebles Stadium.
Date and time, ET: Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, 9 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN
Location: Mobile, Alabama
Stadium: Ladd Peebles Stadium; 33,471 capacity, though it can be adjusted for various events.
Tickets: Find available seats here.
Last year's score: Arkansas State 17, Kent State 13
Last year's attendance: 37,913
Last year's TV rating: 1.24 Nielsen
Last year's payout for each school: $750,000
Team with the most all-time appearances: This will be Arkansas State's third appearance. Eight different teams have reached the game twice.
Team with the most all-time wins: Marshall, Miami (Ohio), Southern Miss. and Tulsa are 2-0 in their two appearances.
Ball State (10-2, 7-1 MAC)
Ball State has 10 wins for the first time since Brady Hoke was head coach of the Cardinals. It could be argued that this is their best team ever. Their balanced offensive attack is led by senior quarterback Keith Wenning. Wenning is closing in on 4,000 passing yards with 3,933 on the season, a school record. Wenning also set the school record with six touchdown passes in Ball State’s season-ending victory over Miami (Ohio).
Willie Snead also set a school record this season. He now holds the mark for most receiving yards in a season at Ball State with 1,429.
Last bowl game: 2012 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl vs. UCF, 38-17 loss
Last year without a bowl: 2011
All-time bowl record: 0-6
Head coach's bowl record: Pete Lembo, 0-1
Arkansas State (7-5, 5-2 Sun Belt)
The Red Wolves’ offensive attack was one of the Sun Belt’s best in 2012, but under first-year head coach Bryan Harsin, it fell off a bit in 2013. Arkansas State averaged 414.2 yards per game, ranking fifth in the conference, and its 29.7 points per contest ranked fourth. ASU ranked third and fifth, respectively in scoring and total defense, allowing 26.7 points and 417.3 yards per game.
Harsin’s team got off to a rough start, opening the year 3-4 with losses to Auburn, Memphis, Missouri and Louisiana-Lafayette. The Red Wolves bounced back with four straight wins to attain bowl eligibility, before dropping the regular-season finale at Western Kentucky.
The running game has been Arkansas State’s bread and butter, and the team has three rushers with more than 500 yards to show for it. Sophomore Michael Gordon leads the way with 717, but quarterback Adam Kennedy and David Oku have pitched in with 514 and 511, respectively. But even though ASU averages 17 more rushes than passes per game, its offense is pretty balanced in terms of average yardage: 207.0 on the ground, 207.2 through the air.
Last bowl game: 2013 Go Daddy Bowl, 17-13 win
Last year without a bowl: 2010
All-time bowl record: 1-2
Head coach's bowl record: Bryan Harsin, 0-0