The UCF Knights (9-4, 7-1) will meet the Ball State Cardinals (9-3, 6-2) in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl. Due to location, this game will almost be considered a home game for the Knights.


Ball State comes into this game with 6 consecutive wins including a top 25 victory over Toledo. UCF isn't as happy to be in this game because they lost the Conference USA title game to Tulsa in overtime, 33-27. What's their consolation prize? A 100 mile trip from home to play in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl...WhooHooo!

Kickoff is set for Friday, December 21st, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. This game can be seen on ESPN.

5 Dimes Sportsbook currently lists Central Florida as a 7.5 point odds favorite and the betting total is listed at 61.5.

Can the underdog Cardinals take advantage of a UCF team that had higher aspirations is the question?

Avoiding mistakes

Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles hasn't been the most efficient passer of late, but he's managed to stay away from mistakes, and that's half the battle. The sophomore, Bortles, comes into this game with 2 out of his last 3 games under 50% completion percentage, but in his last 5 games, he's thrown 8 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

Bortles also comes into this game with an effective effort against Tulsa on the ground, rushing for 60 yards and a touchdown.

Even though Central Florida is a high scoring football team at 35.2 points per game, Blake Bortles isn't the type of quarterback to get into a shootout. He relies on the running game and has several target to throw the ball to.

Time to step it up!

UCF's running game revolves around senior Latavius Murray. Murray has had a solid senior season with 1035 yards rushing and 14 TD's. He's scored a touchdown in every game that's he played except for one. That said, Murray has dropped off a bit. He hasn't eclipsed the 100 yard mark in his last 3 games. UCF needs a big performance out of Latavius Murray as the offense works best when it's evenly balanced between the rushing and receiving games.

Ball State doesn't have one of the strongest defenses in the country, allowing 31.5 points per game and if Central Florida plays their usual game, lot's of points should be scored.

Central Florida's two leading receivers, J.J. Worton and Rannell Hall, are both coming off of subpar efforts in the Conference USA Title Game, but the Knights are basically 6 to 7 players deep at the receiver position and that shouldn't be a problem.

Check out some of our picks on the other Bowl Games here!

Winning without Wenning?

The status of Ball State's starting quarterback Keith Wenning is up in the air for this game. Wenning suffered an ankle injury while catching a pass in a victory over Miami of Ohio. Wenning accounts for 2878 yards and 22 touchdowns. To make things worse, backup Kelly Page was also injured in that game. If either Wenning or Page are unable to play, it will be up to freshman Kyle Kamman to keep the winning streak going. Kamman is officially 0 for 1 on the season with 1 sack. This could be a major problem for the Cardinals. Stay up to date on injury reports.

Jahwan Edwards

This is a team that can score like UCF, but without a legitimate starting quarterback with experience, the Cardinals will rely on sophomore Jahwan Edwards to put forth a huge effort.

On the season, Edwards has rushed for 1321 yards and 14 touchdowns. Edwards had 5 consecutive 100 yard games up until the victory over Miami of Ohio, but it can be excused; He ran for 98 yards and 3 touchdowns to take the pressure off of the starting quarterback issue. Expect to see Jahwan Edwards in heavy doses in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.

Outcome

One would have to like UCF's chances with the problem at starting quarterback for Ball State. If the freshman Kamman plays, expect this game to be much lower scoring than previously thought. Central Florida will still be up for this game in not wanting to disappoint the home-town fans. The total is a bit high in this situation. Take the UNDER as your Beef Bowl College Football Pick.

College Football Pick- UCF/Ball State UNDER 61.5 at Pinnacle