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At First Glance: Pitt vs. Bowling Green

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

In case you forgot, this week is Christmas. Not only that, but Pitt has a bowl game the very next day on Thursday against Bowling Green to wrap up the season.

Don't be fooled by the name and the MAC label - Bowling Green is a very good team. They won the MAC this season and crushed an undefeated No. 14 ranked Northern Illinois team in their championship game, 47-27. At 10-3, the Falcons are the real deal.

Bowling Green has played two major-conference foes in the B1G's Indiana and the SEC's Mississippi State. They lost both games, but the results were a bit of a mixed bag. The Hoosiers crushed Bowling Green, 42-10, but the Falcons also nearly beat 6-6 Mississippi State, falling 21-20 on the road. If you're wondering if they can hang with Pitt, that should answer your question.

Not only can they hang with Pitt, but they're favored to win. The Falcons enter the game as six-point favorites and, if nothing else, that should motivate the Panthers if they've got any pride. That's not to say that Bowling Green isn't a very good team but six points is a big number.

For Bowling Green, it all starts on defense. The Falcons are No. 5 in the nation, giving up only 14.8 points per game. They've held seven of their 13 opponents to a touchdown or less and while most of those were weaker teams, they also did a good job against Mississippi State, keeping them to only 21 and kept Northern Illinois two touchdowns short of their average this season.

Don't sleep on the offense, though. Quarterback Matt Johnson, a Harrisburg native, has thrown for 3,195 yards, 23 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions. They've also got a top-flight running back in Travis Greene, who has 1,555 rushing yards on the season to go along with 11 touchdowns. Those 1,555 yards were good for tenth in the nation.

I really don't know where I come out on this game. And when you factor in all of the unpredictable things that go along with bowl games, it's pretty much a toss up for me. At first glance ... yeah, your guess is as good as mine.

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