Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NCAA Basketball and NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

The Thursday sports card features three college football bowl games along with action in the NBA and college basketball. The Texas Bowl in college football between Arkansas and TCU planned for an 8 PM ET kickoff on ESPN was canceled due to the COVID outbreak in the Horned Frogs program.

The Armed Forces Bowl kicks off the final betting day of 2020, with Tulsa playing Mississippi State. The Golden Hurricane finished with a 6-2 regular season record after they lost at Cincinnati on December 19th by a 27-24 score as a 13.5-point underdog.

Mississippi State raised their record to a 3-7 mark with their 51-32 upset win against Missouri on December 19th as a 1-point underdog. That victory snapped a three-game losing streak for head coach Mike Leach in his first season in Starkville.

Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas, is the site for this bowl game. Tulsa is a 1.5-point favorite with the total set at 44.5. 

Ball State plays San Jose State in a battle of conference champions in the Arizona Bowl at 2 PM ET. The Cardinals won the Mid-American Conference Championship Game on December 18th with their 38-28 upset win against Buffalo as a 12.5-point underdog. Ball State began their season with a 38-31 loss at Miami (OH) but then won six straight games going into this game. 

San Jose State is one of the four remaining undefeated teams in the FCS after winning the Mountain West Conference Championship Game with their 34-20 upset win against Boise State as a 6.5-point underdog. The Spartans won all seven of their games this season against conference foes.

Arizona Stadium in Tuscon is the site of this game broadcast on CBS. San Jose State is a 9.5-point favorite with an over/under of 64.

The final college football game of 2020 takes place at 4 PM ET on ESPN. West Virginia initially thought they were playing Tennessee in the 62nd Liberty Bowl. But the Volunteers were hit with a COVID outbreak and pulled out of this event. Army qualified for the Independence Bowl midseason but lacked an opponent amidst many programs declining to participate in bowl games. The Black Knights became a logical fit to replace Tennessee in this bowl game, with the decision becoming official on December 21st. This game is at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee.

Army closed out their season with three straight wins after they upset Air Force by a 10-7 score as a 1-point underdog. That victory gave the Black Knights their third Commander-in-Chief trophy in four years. Army’s only two losses were against Tulane and Cincinnati by 38-12 and 24-10 scores. While those are both teams that qualified for bowl games, the strength of schedule for the Black Knights remains a question mark, with two of their victories coming against FCS opponents in Abilene Christian and Mercer. 

West Virginia opened their season by winning three of their first four games, but they lost three of their last five games to close their regular season. They last played on December 5th when they lost at Iowa State by a 42-6 score. The Mountaineers are a 6.5-point favorite with the total set at 41.

The college basketball card tips off at noon ET with Gardner Webb playing at Hampton.

The nationally-televised schedule begins at 4 PM ET with Utah State visiting Air Force on the CBS Sports Network in a Mountain West Conference clash. The Aggies are 11.5-point road favorites with a total of 129.5.

At 7 PM ET, UCLA hosts Utah on FS1 in a Pac-12 showdown.The Bruins are 7.5-point favorites with an over/under of 136.5. Michigan travels to Maryland for a Big Ten battle on ESPN. The Wolverines are ranked 16th in the nation in the Associated Press poll and are laying 2 points with the total at 142. 

USC hosts Colorado at 10 PM ET on ESPN. The Trojans are 1.5-point favorites with an over/under of 140.

Seven games are on the NBA docket starting at 3:05 PM ET. None of the games are on national television.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2021 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.