It's hard to believe, but college football's regular season is ending for most teams around the country, and in a few weeks, we'll be discussing bowls, who got shafted and who doesn't deserve to be in. (And wishing that Marshall didn't sputter down the stretch and spoil Conference USA's chance at access bowl glory with a loss to Western Kentucky. Thanks, guys.)
The Old Dominion Monarchs and Florida Atlantic Owls are two teams that won't be in bowls (actually, ODU needs a bunch, and I do mean a bunch, of things to fall in their favor for them to play in one, least of which is a win), but nonetheless, both teams will have something to play for. For the Monarchs, it will be the opportunity to cap their first FBS season with an even 6-6 record, while for the Owls, their goal is to end a four game losing streak (two by three points or less) and send their seniors out on a high note.
So what do these Owls look like? First off, it bears pointing out that they have had several close losses this season: a 20-19 loss at Wyoming in September, a 31-28 defeat at home against UAB and a 35-34 loss at Middle Tennessee just last week. Doing the math, if they ended up winning those three games, regardless of the result of tomorrow's contest, they would be bowl eligible with six wins. I'd imagine that's one of the things going through the minds of the Owls players right now.
FAU's roster contains nineteen seniors—fourteen of those being true seniors—that will lace them up and play one final time this year. But the man at QB, Jaquez Johnson, is a redshirt junior that has been fairly effective this season despite recovering from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the season opener (2,082 yards, 17 touchdowns, just five interceptions). However, it's the last time he'll have his favorite target, Lucky Whitehead (73 catches, 678 yards, six TDs) to throw to.
The Monarchs should have success on the ground against the Owls: FAU has allowed 223.5 yards rushing with opponents reaching the end zone 33 times running as opposed to 11 scores through the air. Speaking of offense, only one opponent (Wyoming) has scored less than 28 points against a group that gives up just under 35 a game. I'd expect that ODU, with a strong passing game and the opportunity to rack up yardage on the ground, wouldn't be the second. A couple of bright spots: senior LB Andrae Kirk (10.5 TFLs and two interceptions) and sophomore Trey Hendrickson (10 TFLs, five sacks, two forced fumbles).
The game will be shown nationwide on Sinclair's American Sports Network; your local listings should show the channel in your area.