The Buffalo Bulls travel to Ball State University for a Thursday night matchup in the MAC. It’s a weekday, so what else do we have for you on the college football slate but another MAC showdown. There is one other game tonight over in the AAC, as the Tulsa Golden Hurricane take on the South Florida Bulls. We’re going to focus on the Buffalo Bulls tonight, though, instead of the South Florida Bulls.
I know everyone wanted another MAC special, so here we go on Thursday night. Tonight features one of, if not, the worst college football team in the country. There are several FCS schools that would give Ball State a run for their money, and I am sure, there are several FCS schools who would be favorites over Ball State. That’s pretty well an embarrassment, but the Cardinals haven’t been much since Nate Davis was on campus.
Nate Davis had Ball State has a bracket buster, so to speak. More like a BCS buster when the BCS was still around. Davis led Ball State to the MAC Championship in 2008, but ultimately fell to Buffalo. Neither team are championship caliber now, and that isn’t going to be the MAC Championship matchup in 2017. However, Buffalo have been showing some ability to play football lately.
I know that isn’t saying much, but they have shown signs of life up there in Buffalo. Notably, Tyree Jackson has been slinging the ball around with ease at quarterback. With his size and arm, you can bet that NFL scouts are going to take note of this guy. He is extremely raw, but anytime you’re a towering figure at quarterback, and can connect on deep passes, professional scouts are going to take a look.
He’s only in his second year playing full-time, so there is a lot of room for him to grow at Buffalo. No, he isn’t going to be a first-round selection, or the second for that matter, but if he continues to show growth next season, somebody will take a flier on him. Jackson stands at 6’7”, and he has the arm strength to make deep throws. I haven’t really seen enough of him, though, to say if he can read confuses defenses, though. Considering he only has high school and MAC experience, I’d say Jackson needs to work on that aspect of his game. Like I said, he’s a raw talent with a lot to learn. We’ll see if he can exploit the Ball State secondary tonight. Get our free Buffalo vs. Ball State pick below.
Buffalo Bulls vs. Ball State Cardinals Betting Odds:
vs. Ball State +20(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Buffalo vs. Ball State Pick:
Tyree Jackson lit the field on fire last week, passing for 406 yards and 3 touchdowns on Bowling Green. The Falcons showcased how bad their defense is last night, allowing Toledo to ring up the scoreboard for 66 points. Jackson and the Buffalo offense are going to be up against another porous defense on Thursday night. The Cardinals’ football program has eroded over the past few years, and has probably hit rock bottom in 2017. Ball State are giving up a staggering 42 points per game.
I don’t really know how that’s possible, but the Cardinals have managed to allow 42 points per game for 127th in the FBS. Even more surprising, they aren’t even the worst in that regard, as there are 130 teams. East Carolina hold the honor for being last, allowing a laughable 45 points per game. However, if we look at their most recent game, they’ve allowed over 50 points per game in their last seven games, and 58.25 points per game in their last four games.
Ball State are led at quarterback by Drew Plitt and Jack Milas. Milas has thrown 0 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. That’s nearly impossible in the MAC but Milas has been a train wreck. He is the fifth-year senior, so by default, he was given the starting job. Conversely, Plitt is a freshman, so there is more of an upside going with Plitt at this point. He’s thrown 3 touchdowns and 1 interceptions, with an unimpressive completion percentage of 50.7%.
The Cardinals have been outscored by 320-60 in their last six games. They’re averaging just 18.4 points per game, 121st in the FBS. Tyree Jackson should have another fun outing against a poor defensive unit. I don’t love laying 20 points with a team like Buffalo, but like I’ve said before, the top-half of the MAC is so different than the bottom. Jackson should use this game to pad his stats some more. Buffalo defeat Ball State, who are up there with Kent State as the worst in college football, by a big margin on Thursday night.
PICK: BUFFALO -20 (-110)