Ball State vs. Central Florida
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl – St. Petersburg (December 21st)
Ball State and Central Florida come into the Beef Bowl (seriously, is there a dumber name for a bowl game?) headed in different directions. The Cardinals have won six in a row while the Knights of UCF are coming off a heartbreaking loss in overtime in the Conference USA Championship game. If it’s any consolation, UCF won’t have to travel far as the game will be played in nearby St. Petersburg at Tropicana Field. Then again, Ball State is probably thrilled to leave the winter weather in Muncie, Indiana for some warm weather in the sunshine state.
Both Ball State and Central Florida are frighteningly similar on offense. Both teams use a balanced attack to put up 35 points a game on average and the quarterbacks and running backs of both schools are statistically speaking, one in the same. Kyle Wenning has thrown for 2,878 yards/22 TDs/10 INTs for the Cardinals and Blake Bortles has thrown for 2,787 yards/22 TDs/7 INTs for the Knights. Running back Jahwan Edwards of Ball State has rushed for 1,321 yards and 14 TDs as compared to Latavius Murray’s 1,035 yards and 14 TDs for UCF.
Defensively, Ball State has had major problems stopping its opposing offenses. Opponents are averaging over 31 points per game on 205 rushing yards and 217 passing yards. The fact that Ball State seemingly cannot stop the run or the pass does not bode well against a team as balanced as UCF, although the Knights give up their fair share of yards per game as well (217 passing, 162 rushing).
What Will Happen: Coming off a tough loss in the CUSA title game, will UCF be motivated to play this game? Are the Knights looking ahead to joining the Big East next year? In even games like this, I like the underdog who is treating this game like a vacation as opposed to the team who had is disappointed to be playing just down the road. There will be plenty of points in this game but I like the Cardinals to pull out a close game.
Prediction: Ball State 38 Central Florida 37
The Play: Ball State +7
Bowl Game ATS Record: 0-0