Bowling Green wanted to be here. They earned the right to be here. Their fans clamored for the team to play here. Now, the Bowling Green Falcons get to play a bowl game less than two hours from home and enter the game as MAC champions for the first time since 1992. Their reward is to be the only Mid-American Conference bowl team this season with a shot at one of the "big boys" -- a team from a conference that, for a few more weeks anyway, is known as a "BCS conference".
Now, it's time for Bowling Green to step up and represent the MAC as only champions can. If the 2013 Falcons want more respect, they can cement a permanent amount of it by beating Pittsburgh. As they say, it's put-up or shut-up time.
By The Numbers
The Pittsburgh Panthers enter this game 6-6 overall and finished the ACC season with a 3-5 record. They squeaked into bowl eligibility thanks to a blocked extra point in a 17-16 win over Syracuse on Nov. 23rd. The Panthers are led by defensive lineman Aaron Donald, widely recognized as one of (if not the) best defensive players in the country. Donald won every important award given to defensive players and was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. On offense, the team is led by the connection of senior quarterback Tom Savage and freshman wide receiver Tyler Boyd.
The Bowling Green Falcons are 10-3 overall and won seven of eight games in the MAC to qualify for the 2013 MAC Championship Game. In that contest, they defeated 12-0 Northern Illinois, 47-27, at Ford Field. Despite having no one with truly stand-out individual statistics, the BGSU defense is one of the nation's best. They allow only 166 passing yards per game and gave up fewer than 200 points for the entire season. On offense, the Falcons feature a 3,000-yard passer and a running back with a school-record 1,500 yards.
How To Watch
ESPN will broadcast the game nationally beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET. Dave Lamont will have the play-by-play, while Ray Bentley will be on commentary. Niki Noto will be ESPN's sideline reporter. For those with proper cable subscriptions, the game will also be streamed live on ESPN3.com or via the WatchESPN app.
How To Listen
The live BGSU radio broadcast by Todd Walker and John Gibson is available HERE. It can also be heard over-the-air via the Falcon Radio Network, whose flagship station is WFRO 99.1 FM in Fremont, Ohio.
Pittsburgh's radio broadcast by Bill Hillgrove and Pat Bostick can be found HERE. On traditional radio, the flagship station of the Pitt IMG Sports Network is KDKA 93.7-FM in Pittsburgh. KDKA is at the top of a 23-station network across Pennsylvania. For those not familiar with Panthers' football, Hillgrove is also the voice of the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers.
You should also check out Cardiac Hill for their SB Nation coverage of Pittsburgh football. They obviously have some very good takes on today's game, so check them out.
How To Follow
If you don't follow us on Twitter already, you should. We're constantly discussing fun things like MAC sports, Lunchables, and more. Follow @HustleBelt
For the Bowling Green perspective, you can follow @BGathletics. I would also suggest following @ScottSwegan. He is BGSU's young phenom football SID. He got some serious airtime on ESPN during the MAC Championship Game. Watch to see if it happens again!
For the Pittsburgh perspective, you should definitely follow our friends at Cardiac Hill (@PittPantherBlog). On the official side, there are @PittAthletics and @GoPittFootball. You can't go wrong with either.
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