Armed Forces Bowl. As expected, we've seen some weird bowl results thus far. Do I think Baylor has way more talent here? No question. The Bears also are playing only 90 miles from campus in Fort Worth (at TCU), but I doubt there's much of a home-field advantage for this lower-tier bowl. Baylor lost its final three to close the regular season, lost a starting offensive lineman and safety to the portal and fired its defensive coordinator and special teams coach. Air Force will feel comfortable in Fort Worth as it's the fourth game since the start of last season in the Dallas area for the school. It's going to be cold and windy tonight and that means a lot of running plays. Air Force (which rarely passes) leads the nation in rushing offense and is Top 10 in rushing defense. Service academies tend to thrive in bowl games because they are so disciplined (see news feed).
Match these teams in midseason, and Baylor might be favored by nearly double-digits. In December, with temperatures projected in the teens, motivation matters. Hence, the small line. Air Force strives for its 10th win against a rare Power Five opponent, while the more talented Bears mop up a disappointing year with two new coordinators replacing a fired pair and at least two new starters replacing the transfer portaled. Under veteran coach Troy Calhoun, the academy is 7-4 ATS in bowls, 6-5 straight-up. The cold should accommodate the Falcons' top-ranked ground game, with RB Brian Roberts (No. 3 in FBS) as leading man.
The Falcons own the better offensive line (No. 5 vs. No. 44), defensive line (No. 20 vs. No. 100) and special teams (No. 57 vs. No. 115) at Football Outsiders. It's going to be windy (20-30 MPH) and this benefits the Falcons' run-heavy attack. Air Force owns the No. 1 defense in yards allowed and No. 2 defense in points allowed. Take the Falcons plus the points.