It is another week of Tuesday night college football MAC action, and in one of the games the Akron Zips figure to have little difficulty vs. the directionless Buffalo Bulls.
The favorites should be able to cover this seemingly modest point spread even on the road in Tuesday night MAC action when those Akron Zips (4-5, 1-3 away) pay a visit to the reeling Buffalo Bulls (3-6, 3-2 home) at University of Buffalo Stadium in Buffalo, NY at 8:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.
The posted line at Pinnacle Sports has Akron as a road favorite of -3½ for this contest at current odds of -110.
Just One Win vs. FBS School
Buffalo may be 3-6 but it only has one win vs. an FBS school with that being by eight points here at home vs. a bad Miami-Ohio squad. What makes that even more disconcerting is the fact that the Bulls have faced a schedule ranked 149th across all of college football according to the Sagarin Ratings and there are only 128 FBS teams! Furthermore their schedule included Baylor, which should give you an indication of just how soft the rest of the slate has been.
Akron began the season at 4-2 before being the losing college football pick in each of its last three games to fall one game below .500. The news is not bleak however as the first two losses in that streak were without starting quarterback Kyle Pohl, who retuned last week albeit in a loss to a very good Bowling Green team.
Coach Fired in Second Season
It is easy to forget right now that Buffalo went to a bowl game last year, which would have not been obvious from watching their listless 37-14 loss at Ohio last week where they were outgained by 255 total yards while amassing just 134 yards of offense. And Khalil Mack is not around any more to help the defense cover up the shortcomings of the offense, as that unit allowed Ohio to rush for 233 yards and also surrendered 8.2 yards per pass attempt.
Buffalo was actually considered an up and coming program prior to the season thanks to some success in recent years and the development of Mack into a first round NFL Draft pick, and that optimism helped the Bulls land Baylor on their schedule. However this year has been a disaster with only wins over Duquesne and Norfolk State of the FCS to go along with the nondescript win over Miami-Ohio.
The Bulls even lost to one of the very worst teams in the FBS in Eastern Michigan three games ago, and that led to the abrupt firing of head coach Jeff Quinn in just his second season on the job at Buffalo. And based on their performances in the two games since the firing, the Bulls may very well just be mailing the rest of this season in.
Kyle Pohl vs. Dreadful Pass Defense
Even though Akron lost last Tuesday, Pohl did pass for 304 yards in his return from a concussion and that actually helped he Zips outgain Bowling Green by nine total yards in the 27-10 defeat. Pohl has a chance to at least match and probably better that performance tonight, only this time with more positive results on the scoreboard.
That is because while Buffalo appears to have a decent pass defense allowing 235.4 yards per game, that figure is deflated by the fact that opponents have been able to run all over the Bulls to the tune of 188.6 rushing yards per contest, and with Buffalo losing badly much of the time this year, opponents have been able to stop passing the ball late in games while simply running out the clock.
The Zips are more of a pass-first team though, and that is just fine because despite the reasonable amount of gross passing yards the Bulls are giving up, they actually rank 126th out of 128 FBS teams in yards per pass attempt allowed at a whopping 9.2! In other words, opponents have averaged getting close to a first down every time they have thrown the ball, and Akron will most likely pass the ball more often tonight than Buffalo’s previous opponents have.
Zips Still Hoping for a Bowl
Finally, even though they are currently 4-5, the Zips still have a chance to go to a bowl game if they win their last three games to finish at 7-5, and the good news there as that all three of their remaining games are winnable with dates vs. Massachusetts and Kent State following this contest.
With that in mind, look for Akron to take the first step with a safe win at Buffalo on Tuesday.
College Football Pick: Akron -3½ (-110)