Despite its participants' lack of notoriety, the 2011 Armed Forces Bowl between the BYU Cougars and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane could ultimately be one of the bowl season's best. Both teams have followed largely similar paths to Dallas, riding balanced offenses to respectable records with losses against quality opponents. Unsurprisingly, the game opened as a pick 'em in Las Vegas. Just one day before kickoff, Tulsa has taken over as the betting favorite by one point.
The reason for the movement may have something to do with a perceived advantage for Tulsa at the quarterback position. G.J. Kinne has been running the Golden Hurricane's offense for three seasons now, and is perfectly capable of putting up big numbers on the ground and through the air on any given day. He has had a lot of trouble against elite defenses, though the Cougars don't exactly qualify in that regard.
The Cougars will be starting Riley Nelson as they have throughout the second half of the season. The junior has been effective for the most part, with some of the same struggles as Kinne against better competition. Nelson is less seasoned, however, and must deal with the added pressure of convincing Cougar fans that he is the future of BYU football now that Jake Heaps is a Jayhawk.
Game date, time: 12:00 p.m. ET, Friday, December 30
Location: Gerald Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX
TV channel: ESPN/ESPN3
Odds: Tulsa favored by one point
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