Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia
Date & Time: Monday, January 1, 2018 at 12:30 PM ET
Spread: Auburn Tigers -9.5
Over/Under Total: 66.5
Quick Pick: TBD
This year’s Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl will take place on Monday, January 1, 2018 at 12:30 PM ET between the Central Florida Knights and the Auburn Tigers. The game will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia and can be watched on ESPN.
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl
The Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl is an annual football game played each year during the NCAA College Football Bowl Season. The Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl has been around since 1968 and played each year in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl has really only been referred to by 2 names in the history of the bowl, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl and the Peach Bowl. Chick-Fil-A took over the sponsorship in 1997 and has remained the main sponsor since that time.
The Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl truly doesn’t have conference tie-ins but instead, they choose at large from the Group of Five. This year, the Auburn Tigers will take on the undefeated UCF Knights. Auburn has played in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl 5 times in the past, going 4-1 in their 5 previous appearances. Their only loss came back in 2001 when they dropped a 16-10 battle to the North Carolina Tar Heels. In their last Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl appearance, the Tigers defeated the Virginia Cavaliers 43-24. This will be the first time the Central Florida Knights have appeared in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.
Previous Matchup History
The Auburn Tigers and the UCF Knights have played each other 3 times, in 1997, 1998 and 1999. The Auburn Tigers won all 3 games by the score 28-10, 10-6 and 41-14.
UCF Knights 12-0 (American Athletic Conference)
The Central Florida Knights ran the table and were the only undefeated team in the FBS. They ended the season 12-0 and won the American Athletic Conference by defeating Memphis in the Conference Championship. The Knights went from being a team that could win if their lives depended on it just a few years ago to a team that couldn’t lose even if they tried! They went from 0-12 to 12-0 in 2 years in what many are calling one of the biggest turnarounds in NCAA College Football history.
Head coach Scott Frost led the Knights to their best season and it earned him not only the AP Coach of the Year award, but nearly every other coaching award given out in the NCAA. It also got him a job with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Cornhuskers offered Frost the head coaching job following their AAC Conference Championship win and Frost excepted. All thought Frost has accepted the head coaching position to coach the Cornhuskers, he and his staff will remain on to coach the Knights in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.
Frost has basically been doing the job of two people. He is recruiting for Nebraska, while flying back and forth to Orlando to prepare for the Peach Bowl. Frost will lead his 5th ranked offense into the Peach Bowl with QB McKenzie Milton leading the team on the field. Milton has completed 69.2% of his passing attempts for 3795 yards, 35 TD’s and 9 INT’s. McKenzie will launch the ball down field to his plethora of wide receivers. Tre’Quan Smith has caught the team high 54 receptions and 1082 yards for 13 touchdowns. This offense is really good and they will want to play hard for Frost in his last game as head coach of the Knights.
The Knights have appeared in 8 bowl games in the history of the program. They are 3-5 in those bowl games and are coming in off back to back bowl loses in the 2016 Cure Bowl to the Arkansas State Red Wolves 31-13 and the 2014 St. Petersburg Bowl against the NC State 34-27.
Auburn Tigers 10-3 (SEC)
The Auburn Tigers were one of the most interesting teams in the nation this year. They beat some really tough teams and lost a few that were really close. At one time, they had beat two number one teams and lost to another.
The Tigers lost their second game of the year to the defending National Champions but showed in that game that they would be a legitimate contender throughout the year. They only lost 14-6 to the Clemson Tigers in a defensive battle upfront. The Auburn Tigers had their chances but just couldn’t get over the hum and lost the game but a touchdown.
Auburn ran off a 7-2 record before meeting up with #1 team in the nation, Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia was rolling along undefeated but Auburn proved that they were a team that should not be taken for granted. The Tigers blew out the Bulldogs 40-17 in a one sided dominating performance.
The Tigers followed that up 2 weeks later with another matchup against a #1 team in the Alabama Crimson Tide. Auburn again proved they can play with the best in the country and defeated a Nick Saban Crimson Tide team by the score 26-14. Then there was the SEC Championship game where the Tigers had a rematch with the Bulldogs. This time, the Bulldogs took advantage of some mistakes and won 28-7, ending the Tigers bid for a playoff spot in the College Football Playoff System.
Auburn won a majority of their games this year by playing balanced football. Their defense is ranked 14th in the nation and held 8 of their 13 opponents under 17 points. Their offense is also just as good as the defense. In 8 of their 13 games, they scored 40 or more points. The Tigers can adjust to their opponent and score points to keep up with higher scoring offenses in games.
The Tigers have appeared in 41 bowl games in the history of the program. They are 23-16-2 in those games and are coming into this bowl off a 35-19 loss to Oklahoma Sooners in last year’s Sugar Bowl.
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Handicapping
This game is one of the harder games to handicap in the bowl season. This breaks down to UCF’s offense ability to score points and move the ball against Auburn’s stout defense that restricts opposing offenses from moving the ball on them. This is Scott Frost’s last game and the Knights are going to want to play hard for him but moving the ball against teams like Memphis, Temple, UConn and SMU is a whole lot different than moving the ball against the Tigers defense!
Our system tells us that Auburn should win this game but we are going to wait to give out the official play until closer to gametime. We are leaning to Auburn but recommend you buying it down to 8 points to make the play. Please check back closer to gametime for the official play. Spooky Express Pick: TBD (Lean to Auburn)
Note: This bowl game is being handicapped and broken down weeks in advance of the game being played. Please be sure to check back periodically to determine if any changes have been made and be sure to check the day of the game, to receive and over/under plays that we may provide.
The line moved on us here and now we are put in a unique situation where our system tells us one team will win the game but the other team will cover the spread. In situations like this, we have to avoid the game and not play it. This will technically be a no play for us here at the Spooky Express. That being said, if you MUST play the game, we suggest you head over to GTbets, where they have it listed as UCF +13.5. Buy it up a half point and roll with the Knights at +14 for 1 star.
Auburn vs. UCF Over 66 (3 out of 5 Stars)
UCF +14 (Buy half point at GTbets)