By Kyle Dierking, NewsOn6.com
TULSA, OK -- The 2009 GMAC Bowl may not be the destination the Tulsa Golden Hurricane football team dreamed of or desired, but for the second-straight year Tulsa will trek to Mobile, Alabama as Conference USA's runner-up.
The same assessment could be made for Tulsa's opponent, Ball State. The Cardinals were unbeaten until the MAC Championship, losing to Buffalo 42-24.
The what-if factor of these two teams makes a great match-up. Both offenses didn't have a problem putting up points during the regular season. Tulsa averaged nearly 50 points per game, while Ball State had more than 35 points per outing.
"We think this is one of the marquee match-ups in the country," said Tulsa coach Todd Graham. "We just want to be one-point better - that's all we need to be."
Tulsa lost by a touchdown or less two key times during the season. On November 1 against Arkansas, the Golden Hurricane lost by seven. On December 6 Tulsa fell three points short of the Conference USA Title against East Carolina. The Hurricane's only other loss was a 77-35 blowout at Houston.
Ball State climbed as high as 12th in the BCS Standings prior to its loss versus Buffalo in the MAC Championship. Cardinals quarterback Nate Davis has thrown for 3,446 yards and 26 touchdowns while MiQuale Lewis has rushed for 1,701 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Ball State (12-1 overall, 8-1 MAC)
Head Coach: Brady Hoke
Key Win: Nov. 19 @ Central Michigan (31-24)
Last Bowl: 2007 International (52-30 loss against Rutgers)
Tulsa (10-3 overall, 7-1 CUSA)
Head Coach: Todd Graham
Key Win: Nov. 29 @ Marshall (38-35)
Last Bowl: 2007 GMAC (63-7 over Bowling Green)
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Date: Tuesday, January 6th
Location: Mobile, Alabama