Beef O Brady's Bowl Preview
Friday, December 21st
Beef O Brady's Bowl - Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL 7:30 PM ET
Ball St. Cardinals vs. Central Florida Knights (-7/61.5)
How Ball St. got here
Ball St. is one of the hotter teams in the country as it won its final six games of the regular season to slide into this bowl game that was slotted for a Big East team but not enough qualified. The Cardinals were bowl eligible last season but were bypassed so they may be playing with a chip on their shoulder this year. Ball St. was picked by some to finish at the bottom of the MAC West but proved a lot of people wrong while playing the second toughest schedule in the MAC. The Cardinals three losses this year have come against Kent St., Northern Illinois and Clemson, which have a combined five losses.
How Central Florida got here
UCF is lucky to be here. Over the summer, the Knights were hit with five years of probation for major recruiting violations including a one-year postseason ban in football and in men's basketball. They appealed though and will not hear until January so they got to play in a bowl game after all. UCF won the C-USA East but lost to Tulsa in the Championship game, the second time in three weeks the Knights lost to Tulsa. Unlike the Cardinals, UCF played a soft schedule but the one quality opponent was Ohio St., which it lost to by 15 points. The Knights should have a crowd edge with this game just 100 miles from campus.
Ball St. surpassed 30 points in 10 of 12 games while Central Florida went over 30 points on offense in nine of 13 games.
Two potent offense will take the field as Ball St. is ranked 31st in the country and second in the MAC in scoring offense while the Knights are ranked 27th in the nation and second in C-USA in scoring offense. That means the game should come down to which defense plays the better game and on paper, that should be Central Florida. The Knights are ranked 45th in total defense and 29th in scoring defense while Ball St. comes in ranked 102nd and 89th respectively. MAC teams averaged 29 ppg while C-USA teams averaged 29.3 ppg so the majority of the offenses played is not a factor at all. Keep an eye on the injury status of Cardinals quarterback Keith Wenning as he missed the regular season finale against Miami Ohio with an Achilles injury and his absence would be a huge disadvantage.
Ball St. is 6-0 ATS in its last six games coming off a conference win by seven points or less.
Central Florida is 1-10 ATS in its last 11 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in its previous game.
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