Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg 2013 Preview: Ohio Bobcats vs. East Carolina Pirates

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Only one team hails from the Rust Belt, but this could be a reasonable simulation of MACtion.

Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg, Monday, 2:00 pm ET, ESPN

Suggested slogan: It's indoor football in the one place in the country where the outdoors feels good.

The teams: Ohio Bobcats vs. East Carolina Pirates

How Ohio got here: Consistency was not the Bobcats' strong suit this year. They got destroyed by Louisville to start, but then they got a couple of pretty decent wins over North Texas and Marshall. They kept on trucking for a while before falling to Central Michigan, a team whose four other wins over I-A competition came against teams with four combined wins. It later took a three-game skid against Buffalo, Bowling Green, and Kent State. It finished up by blowing out UMass by almost 30. The team had four wins by at least 28 and four losses by at least 27.

How East Carolina got here: If you thought realignment had somehow put this Pirates team into the ACC, you might be forgiven for a year. They have blowout wins over UNC and NC State, and they had a close 15-10 loss to Virginia Tech. ECU has an Air Raid offense, and QB Shane Carden is likely to head north of 4,000 yards on the season in this one. That said, the team will also produce a 1,000 yard rusher provided Vintavious Cooper exits this one with at least five net yards on the ground. I like both of them to get well past those marks.

College football fans care because: It's the only game on Monday, it's the final game for Ohio's standout QB Tyler Tettleton, and it's a chance to see a pretty good ECU team that you might not have caught yet this season.

SEC fans care because: These teams regularly appear on early season SEC schedules, but now you get to see them without having to listen to Andre Ware.

Bottom line: Ohio is not a very good team. Tettleton's a good player, but this team is not up to the standards of most of Frank Solich's pretty decent Ohio teams. East Carolina isn't bulletproof—it did lose to Tulane—but it's likely not going to run into a ton of resistance here. ECU is one of the bigger favorites of bowl season for a reason.

Brandon's Pick: East Carolina 37, Ohio 20

Line: East Carolina by 14

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