Liberty Bowl Free Pick: Georgia Bulldogs vs. UCF Knights
(6-6, 5-7 ATS)
(10-3, 10-3 ATS)
The UCF Knights are still searching for their first ever bowl win after four failed attempts, and they are going to be at the Liberty Bowl for the second time in their history on New Year’s Eve when they face the Georgia Bulldogs, who are trying to avoid their first losing season in the Head Coach Mark Richt era.
The Knights won Conference USA this year and are embracing the idea of being able to claim a scalp against the SEC is overwhelming. QB Jeff Godfrey probably made an impact on this offense a year ahead of schedule, as he was supposed to really take over next year. However, QB Rob Calabrese was knocked out of the lineup early in the season, and instead of just being the option/Wildcat signal caller, Godfrey, just a freshman, was thrown into the mix. He promptly won Conference USA Freshman of the Year. The frosh threw for 2,042 yards and 13 scores this year as a passer, and he actually was one of the most efficient signal callers in the entire country, completing 68.4 percent of his passes and throwing just six picks. Godfrey was also one of three men that rushed for at least ten TDs this year for the Knights, joining RB Latavius Murray and RB Ronnie Weaver. This trio was one of the two threesomes in the country that all accounted for double digits in TDs, and when you can be in the same sentence with the Wisconsin Badgers, you’re doing something fantastic.
Georgia started off this year terribly at just 1-4, but much to the credit of Richt and his staff, the team fought back, finished 6-6, and has arrived here at the Liberty Bowl. Still, many think that Richt needs to win this game and ensure a winning season to keep his job for next year, and there are still some others that don’t know if it makes much of a difference or not. QB Aaron Murray, also a freshman, has improved mightily over the course of the year. The game against the Florida Gators might have been lost in Jacksonville, but it was almost like a jumping off point in his season. Murray needs 149 yards in the Liberty Bowl to make it to 3,000 for the year, and he has 24 TDs against six picks. This young man will be a star in due time, but it might be a little soon to ask him to single handedly put a team on his back like this. Of course, it also helps when you have the talented RB Washaun Ealey and WR AJ Green to work with. Green was suspended for the first four games of the season, but he still led the team in receiving with 771 yards and nine scores. Ealey was the top scorer for the team with 11 TDs.
The time is here for the Knights. They’re going to beat up the Dawgs in the trenches on both sides of the ball and take down one of the biggest victories in school history here at the Liberty Bowl. The wrong team is favored on the Liberty Bowl odds.
Liberty Bowl Pick: UCF Knights +6.5
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