Are you ready for the third annual Miami Beach Bowl? I’m sure the American Athletic Conference’s Tulsa Golden Hurricane (9-3) and the Mid-American Conference’s Central Michigan Chippewas (6-6) are pumped for some cool gifts and a tropical vacation in December. These teams are 1-1 against each other all-time, so let’s take a look at their matchup in the 2016 Miami Beach Bowl Preview.
When: Monday, December 19th, 2:30pm ET on ESPN.
Where: In case you didn’t know, the Miami Beach Bowl isn’t actually played on Miami Beach. Instead, the game is hosted at Marlins Park in downtown Miami, a six-mile, forty-minute drive from Miami Beach. While that may seem like a bit of a negative, let’s remember that fans and alumni from both schools could use the trip to thaw out after a brutal polar vortex.
Tickets to the game are still available for $50 a pop. Just remember, those beach shots ESPN shows going in and out of commercial are not really close to the actual game.
What to Watch For
The Golden Hurricane is an 11.5-point favorite in this game for good reason. Their three losses this year have come at the hands of Ohio State (48-3), Houston (38-31), and Navy (42-40), three bowl teams. While Tulsa doesn’t have a win as remarkable as the Chippewa’s stunner in Stillwater, they’ve handled business in their other nine games while Central Michigan comes in on a slide, losing four of their last five.
Tulsa has an array of playmakers, featuring 3,000-yard passer Dane Evans, 1,000-yard rushers James Flanders and D’Angelo Brewer, and 1,000-yard receiver Keevan Lucas. Josh Atkinson also sits at 927 yards receiving on the year, and if he gets to 1,000 then Tulsa will become the first team in FBS history to feature a 3,000-yard passes, two 1,000-yard rushers, and two 1,000-yard receivers. These young men will be making their second-straight bowl appearance after a tough 55-52 loss to Virginia Tech last season in the Independence Bowl.
Meanwhile, Central Michigan counters with their own 3,000-yard passer/1,000-yard receiver combo in the form of Cooper Rush and Corey Willis. Head coach John Bonamego will need a big performance from All-Mac Linebacker Malik Fountain –or perhaps some help from poor field conditions on a converted baseball field — to slow down the Golden Hurricane’s ground game if he hopes to improve the Chippewa’s 3-6 all-time bowl record.
This is the ONLY college football game of the day and it will be high scoring – the Vegas total sits at 69.5 — enough to keep you entertained as you struggle through the end of your workday Monday. You’ll be coming off the first full weekend of college bowl games and this is the perfect game to ease you into your week.
However, don’t expect it to be that close. Tulsa’s offense shouldn’t have any problems in this game and the Chippewa’s would need a lot of help to keep this one close. While Central Michigan has certainly been fortunate in spots this year, that won’t be the case in Miami on Monday.
Cheer for points, cheer for 73 Josh Atkinson receiving yards and football history, cheer to keep your body warm as you envy the 75 degree weather, and cheer for college football while you still can!
Tulsa: 48, Central Michigan: 24