Wednesday, January 1, 2014

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2013: Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

The only way you can outscore this game is in Pin Ball.

The When/Where:
Wednesday, January 1st at 8:30 p.m. EST. Glendale, AZ.  ESPN

The Who:
#15 Central Florida Golden Knights (11-1, 8-0 AAC) vs. #6 Baylor Bears (11-1, 8-1 Big XII)

The Why:
The Fiesta Bowl loves a good mismatch. Here, both teams are making their BCS Bowl debut.  The Fiesta Bowl didn’t actually become a New Year’s Day bowl until the 1980’s.  It was the 1986 Fiesta Bowl between Penn State and Miami that secured its spot among the big boys.

UCF won the American Athletic Conference outright with an unblemished 8-0 record. They beat Louisville and survived against South Florida to win it. They also beat Penn State in the non-conference portion of the schedule but lost to the Gamecocks by a 28-25 score for their only stumble.

The Baylor Bears won the Big XII conference regular season with a loss in Stillwater, Oklahoma as their only miscue. Wins against Texas and Oklahoma were highlights for Art Briles' program that hadn't won an outright title since its SWC days.

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
The Bears feature the nation’s #1 scoring offense, proving that it wasn’t just RGIII. QB Bryce Petty leads an offense that averages over 600 yards per game. He has thrown for 30 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. RB Lache Seastrunk is again over 1,000 yards and has 11 touchdowns even though he was injured for two games. SR WR Tevin Reese is expected back and he makes Baylor even better with 33 catches and 8 touchdowns.

The Knights counter with their own prolific QB Blake Bortles. He has thrown for 3,280 yards, 22 touchdowns and 7 ints.  The Knights only overage 33 ppg and 432 yards per game.  Bortles spreads the ball around to his receivers and even RB Storm Johnson can catch the ball.  George O’Leary seems to have resurrected his career in Orlando.

Do I really need to go into defenses?

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
I’ve been to both Waco and Orlando. I have friends rooting for both schools.  However, I like a good underdog and UCF is definitely that.

The Vegas Edge:
Vegas casinos are seeing a lot of action on Baylor as a 16.5 point favorite and the over. That’s not surprising given what Baylor did to UCLA last year and the fact that UCF looks to help stack up the points. Its between 70 and 72, which is a lot of points, but doable.

The Sweatpants Verdict
UCF’s defense has not seen anything like this Baylor offense. I don’t think they can contain them. The question is whether Bortles can score as well and keep this close.

Baylor 45 UCF 30.

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