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BALL STATE vs. CENTRAL FLORIDA
Friday, Dec. 21, 7:30 pm
While this bowl game has one of the strangest names of any of the contests, there's no doubt that we will see two really good football teams. Both Central Florida and Ball State won nine games this year and the winner will get the rare opportunity to finish the season with double digit victories. Pretty impressive for each team. On Central Florida's side of things, we see that the Knights finished with a 7-1 record overall in Conference USA and lost in the title game to Tulsa. The Golden Hurricanes clearly had UCF's number this season, giving the Knights two of their four losses overall on the season. Their other two losses were to Ohio State and Missouri. The Knight's defense was pretty solid on the season overall. A fairly balanced squad, the Knights did a great job of keeping opposing defenses from being able to shut them down as they were consistent all season.
Ball State finished with a 6-2 record overall in the MAC this season, dropping games to Northern Illinois and Kent State — the two best teams in the entire league. The Cardinals had a very productive season in non-conference as well, with the only loss on the schedule coming at Clemson early in the year. Ball State closed the year with six straight wins, four of which came on the road. The Cardinals can score points at 35 per game, but playing in the MAC tends to inflate defensive numbers as the squad gave up more than 31 points per game this season, which ranked 91st in the country.
UCF will want to stop Ball State's ability to run the football effectively. Sure, they can move it around the field via the pass, but Ball State has won nine games this season by being a team that pounds the rock. Ball State relies heavily on their rushing attack, and if the Cardinals can watch film on what Tulsa was able to do against Central Florida they may be in good shape here or get a back door cover. These two teams are even when it comes to quarterback play, but Central Florida has more weapons at wide receiver. The game is in Florida, so it may feel like a home game for Central Florida. This is just a small play right now, I’ll roll with Central Florida to win this game by about 10 points. Expect a good one here in St. Pete. Also adding the Over as a play in the game. Remember the side is worth 2-3 times as much as the total so each unit with the side is really a 3 unit play while the total is just a 1 or 2 unit play.