2020 Armed Forces Bowl Preview

January 4, 2020
By K. Becks

Now that the NFL Playoffs are back, it’s about time to say goodbye to Bowl Mania and give the floor to the big boys.

But before that happens entirely, there are still a couple of bowl games outside of the National Championship remaining in the 2019-2020 season, which take great care to not interfere with the pros.

Let’s take a look at one of those two games being played on Saturday, before the NFL action kicks off.

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Southern Mississippi vs. Tulane (Saturday, 11:30 AM ET – game on ESPN)

The Skinny: The Armed Forces Bowl’s claim to fame is that it has the earliest start time of the entire bowl season. Since both of these schools are located in the central time zone (same as Fort Worth), it is effectively a 10:30 AM start time that each side will have to prepare for. Such is life when you’re a couple of college teams playing on NFL Wild Card weekend.

Why to Watch: Aside from the fact that this is a warm-up for the two Wild Card games taking place on Saturday, there is some individual star talent playing in this game. Southern Miss quarterback Jack Abraham led Conference USA this season by averaging 277.4 passing yards per game, although was inconsistent, throwing 15 picks to go along with 18 touchdowns. Tulane operates a run-first offense and could get a big game from a number of backs, as seven players have at least 30 carries this season.

What Will Happen: Luckily for the Golden Eagles, Tulane doesn’t beat too many teams through the air, because the Southern Miss pass defense is bad. But otherwise, Jay Hopson’s team is pretty solid defensively. The goal on that side of the ball will be to limit first and second down yardage, putting the Green Wave into obvious passing positions, where they struggle. On the offensive end, Abraham needs to make better decisions than he did at times throughout the regular season. Tulane is not as opportunistic defensively as teams like Florida Atlantic and Louisiana Tech, which forced Abraham into four-INT outings, but can take advantage of poor passes nonetheless and will chew up clock once it has the ball. Southern Miss is entirely capable of winning this game, but Tulane played in the better conference this year and knows how to win a close ballgame.

My Pick: 28-24 Tulane for 9 points in Bowl Mania

If you have interest in offering your insight for any of the bowl games this season, shoot me an email at kbecks@aroundthecorn.com or reach out on one of ATC’s social media sites (Facebook, Twitter). I’d be happy to accommodate.

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