It should be the goal of every bowl game to get a strength versus strength matchup. Not all are so lucky. Sure, there’s something cool about a offensive blowout where all the pretty points just stack up and stack up, defense be damned. That’s at least salvageable for your viewing interests. The flip side of that coin is a defensive struggle. And while that 9-6 type of win may make octogenarian football hardliners feel good in their special places, it sucks for the casual fan.
Old school isn’t always better. Old school musicals were people in cat suits belting out the same thing for decades. New school has a black George Washington rapping to a hispanic Alexander Hamilton. How lucky we are to be alive right now, indeed. But there’s a middle ground, mind you, where that football unicorn of best on best resides, and such is where we find ourselves for the 2016 Dollar General Bowl, matching up the high flying offense of the Troy Trojans against the defense of the Ohio Bobcats. As the unit goes, so goes the team, and so goes the win.
Ohio, at 8-5, is fresh off their appearance in the MAC Championship game, will look to put another bowl win on the impressive resume of Frank Solich (who I still contend is one of the most underrated coaches in the MAC if for no other reason than he has made Ohio relevant on an annual basis). It’s been four years since a bowl win, and you know what they say: Defense wins Dollar General Bowls. On the season, Ohio has allowed just a shade north of 22 points per game. If that holds true for this game, Ohio stands a good chance of bringing home the 9th bowl win in Solich’s time at the helm.
22 points per game is a tall order for a defense facing Troy, though. The Trojans are averaging 34 points a game and have hung 40 on opponents four times this season. Head coach Neal Brown, who I have known of for years as a fellow Kentuckian, is the real deal both in coaching and offensive prowess. Brown is old school Air Raid, with his teeth cut in the systems of Hal Mumme via Mike Leach. Suffice to say, offense is their strength.
Tonight’s Dollar General Bowl is going to be the next installment of an offensive versus defensive matchup, with a new school coach on one side against the wily veteran on the other. Who’d have thought that the old school defensive unit would be from the Mid-American Conference?!
Your pertinent 2016 Dollar General Bowl info...
Location: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL
Live Stream: WatchESPN app, pending cable provider
Line: Troy -5.5
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