Who: Ball State Cardinals (9-3) vs UCF Knights (9-4)
Where: St Petersburg, Florida
When: Friday, December 21st, 7:30 PM ET
Line: UCF by 7
Jay: This game is all about how UCF has responded to their heartbreaking loss to Tulsa in the Conference USA title game. The Knights had held Tulsa scoreless in the second half and appeared on their way to victory when a boneheaded special teams play resulted in a 50+ yard punt return for a touchdown that sent the game to overtime. If they're able to bounce back from such a bitter defeat, I expect the Knights to win by double digits. Ball State just doesn't have much to offer on defense. Not once this season did they hold an opponent to fewer than 20 points. However, if the Knights are suffering from a nasty hangover, this could be your classic case of a disparity in motivation leading to a bowl upset. This is Ball State's first bowl trip since the 2008 season, so there's no doubt they'll be up for the game. You see it happen every year. So why not here, why not now?
BALL STATE 28, UCF 27
Kevin (2-0 overall, 0-2 ATS) : Ball State finished the season with six straight wins including victories over bowl bound CMU, Ohio and Toledo. UCF on the other hand has lost two of their last three, of course both of those are to Tulsa and both were within one score. Outside of the Tulsa games, UCF is 9-2 with losses to Ohio State and Missouri. That sounds good but when it comes down to it, UCF only beat one team with a winning record this season (East Carolina). Like Jay mentioned, motivation is big in bowl games and that will play a key factor in this game. I think both teams will show up ready to play and I like UCF's running game against the Ball State defense. The Cardinals regularly gave up 200+ yards on the ground (USF, NIU, WMU, Army, Toledo and Ohio) and although they only lost one of those games, I think the combination of the UCF pass defense and rush offense will do a good enough job to win this game, I just wouldn't bet on it.
UCF 35 BALL STATE 31
For additional coverage of the Beef O'Brady's Bowl check out Over the Pylon. If you are thinking about betting on this game make sure you head over and read what our buddies at The Saturday Edge have to say before you plunk down any of your hard earned cash.