Beef O’Brady’s Bowl Pick – December 21st
The Beef O’Brady’s Bowl will be a de facto home game for the UCF Knights, as they take the short drive from Orlando down to St. Petersburg for what should be a great bowl betting bash against the Ball State Cardinals.
UCF was unlucky not to win Conference USA this year, which would have sent it over to the Liberty Bowl instead of the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl. It’s not that big of a deal for the program, which probably makes out better because of this. Next year, it’s off to the Big East for the Knights, and it’s probably off to bowl ineligibility as well, knowing that the team has some NCAA sanctions coming. QB Blake Bortles isn’t worried about that right now though, as he is leading a very talented team onto to the field at the Trop for this one. Bortles threw for 2,787 yards and 22 TDs this year, and he was also one of the four men that had at least 200 rushing yards as well. RB Latavius Murray is the one that is going to be called upon the most, as he had 1,035 yards and 14 TDs on the campaign. Keep an eye on WR Jeff Godfrey in this one. He caught 36 passes for 400 yards and three TDs, but he is a converted quarterback and has also thrown for a pair of TDs on trick plays to boot.
Poor Ball State might be in line to lose its head coach in the closing days coming into this bowl game, as Head Coach Pete Lembo is on the short list for a number of more high profile jobs throughout the country. As it is though, this was a team that played well in the MAC this year, and it is a very deserving club to be in this bowl game when push comes to shove. The Cardinals won their last six games and covered five of those six, and they were very near to being a BCS busting type of team had they beaten the Northern Illinois Huskies (lost by 12) and the Kent State Golden Flashes (lost by two). QB Keith Wenning put the ball in the air a ton this year, throwing it 426 times. He only had 2,878 yards and 22 TDs though, while the ground game was picked up by RB Jahwan Edwards, who had 1,321 yards and 14 scores. Defensively, this team just gave up a slew of yards on the ground though, as the 205.8 yards per game isn’t going to cut it in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl.
Murray might have a huge game for the Knights, but Wenning isn’t going to back down with his very well-rounded offense. We do think that UCF is going to get a rare bowl win in this one, but we like the chances that the Cardinals have of covering this relatively big number in what should be a close call of a game in St. Pete. UCF 34 – Ball State 31