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Published: Friday, 12/5/2008

Ball State doesn't have much to play for in MAC championship

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT - Ball State is going to get shut out of the Bowl Championship Series even if the 12th-ranked Cardinals beat Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference championship game tonight.

Really, coach Brady Hoke insists that doesn't bother him.

"We don't control any of that, and that hasn't been anything we've been concerned with," Ball State's coach said. "Our concern is with Buffalo and the tremendous challenge we have.

"We don't even approach the subject, but I can't speak for the players when they're in their apartments and on campus."

Non-BCS schools Utah, Boise State and TCU are all ahead of the Cardinals in the latest standings, and only one of them is guaranteed a spot in one of the top bowls.

That likely leaves Ball State (12-0, 8-0 MAC) looking at a return trip to Ford Field for the Motor City Bowl.

Likewise, the Bulls (7-5, 5-3) probably won't change their postseason destination with a win or a loss in Detroit because they're likely making a short trip to Toronto for the International Bowl.

Buffalo is not about to quibble.

The Bulls are eligible for a bowl for the first time since moving up to compete with college football's top-tiered teams in 1999.

"We've accomplished quite a bit but we still have some things to get accomplished," coach Turner Gill said.

The Bulls are two-touchdown underdogs, but they don't sound content with just making it here.

"We talked in the offseason about getting to Detroit and winning the game," Buffalo quarterback Drew Willy said. "Emotions are going to be high and we're going to have a lot of confidence.

"We respect Ball State, but we're going for the win."



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