SI.com's Gennaro Filice analyzes the matchup.
The Golden Hurricane boast the nation's top-ranked offense, averaging a mind-boggling 542.54 yards per game. The motor of the offense is Conference USA Co-Offensive Player of the Year Paul Smith. Running Tulsa's no-huddle spread attack, Smith completed 60 percent of his passes for 4,753 yards and 42 touchdowns (both second nationally) and also added 12 rushing scores. Tulsa possesses a bevy of talented pass-catchers, but the most exciting is Conference USA Newcomer of the Year Brennan Marion. The JUCO transfer averaged an amazing 31.9 yards per catch, hauling in 39 passes for 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns. Smith also distributes the ball to a pair of freshmen -- Trae Johnson and Charles Clay. Considering that Bowling Green ranks 107th against the rush -- allowing 205.3 yards per game on the ground -- Tulsa RB Tarrion Adams (1,113 yards, nine total TDs) may take on an increased workload.
Tulsa's offense may be second to none, but the defense is one of the worst in the country. Ranking 111th in total defense (469 yards per game) and 105th in scoring defense (35.38 points per game), the unit doesn't inspire much confidence among Golden Hurricane faithful. Tulsa does possess a pair of impressive linebackers in Chris Chamberlain and Nelson Coleman, who recorded 148 and 137 tackles, recpectively.
Like Tulsa, Bowling Green features a high-flying passing attack. In his first year as the starting quarterback in Gregg Brandon's spread offense, Tyler Sheehan threw for 3,122 yards, 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The sophomore has been red hot during Bowling Green's current four-game winning streak, throwing eight touchdown passes to just one interception. Last year's starting QB, Anthony Turner, has taken on a far different role this season. Turner leads the team in rushing with 501 yards and nine touchdowns. He's also thrown three touchdown passes as a change-of-pace QB and caught 16 passes for 152 yards and a score.
The Falcons' defense has been sub par for most of the season, but the unit is coming off its finest performance. In the regular season finale, Bowling Green held a solid Toledo offense to just 10 points. And to their credit, the Falcons boast an above-average pass defense, which is obviously key against Tulsa. Paul Smith would be wise to avoid star CB P.J. Mahone, who led the MAC with seven interceptions.
The timing of this bowl may have fans scratching their heads (it's the final game before the BCS national title), but those who tune in are sure to be entertained. With these two offenses at play, 100 combined points is definitely not out of the question. It's hard to bet against Smith, who may be the most underappreciated signal-caller in America.
The pick: Tulsa 49, Bowling Green 40