Auburn Tigers look to bounce back with a Bowl victory after College Football Playoff disappointment.
Auburn Tigers -11.5 vs. Central Florida Knights +11.5 Total 67
In terms of a points spread disparity this is the one Bowl match-up today that pits David vs. Goliath, but anything is possible in College or professional sports. Auburn opened at -9.5 and the line has crossed the 10 point barrier with the number as high as -11.5 at a few books along with a total that’s currently sitting at 67 as of this report.
Central Florida will still have their head coach Scott Frost on the sidelines for this game, but he will be coaching his Alma Matter, Nebraska next season. So one has to wonder what the mind set of the Knights players will be in this afternoons contest. They are the only remaining undefeated College team and their opponent is indeed worthy as Auburn is a Power 5 team in the SC and the Tigers were able to defeat Alabama, (26-14,) with three loses to Georgia, LSU and Clemson with those three teams all playing Bowl games today!!
Can the Knights be competitive in this contest? Well, vs. a softer schedule than the gauntlet that Auburn traversed through, yes if they don’t kill themselves with too many penalties. Central Florida is ranked 7th in passing, first in scoring and fifth in total offense. QB Milton passed for 3,795 yards while completing 69% of his throws with 35 touchdown tosses vs. 9 interceptions. Those numbers were good enough to rank him second trailing only Heisman Trophy winner, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield.
Two key areas of concern are applicable to each team, the true status of the health of Tigers running back Kerryon Johnson who will play today and the concerns that Central Florida must have with their left tackle Aaron Evans definitely out for this game.
The Bulletin Board
You never want to give an opponent fuel to add to the fire and that is exactly what Central Florida’s running back Adrian Killins did when he told an Orlando Sentinel reporter the following, “SEC teams don’t have a lot of speed!” He went on to say that Auburn hasn’t seen any speed that we have here! The Tigers didn’t need any motivation but you know that newspaper clipping will be on the locker room wall come game day!
Offense vs. Defense
The Knights averaged 49.4 on offense while allowing an average of 25.2 PPG. Their lowest scoring output of the season came at Annapolis, Maryland as they tallied 31 vs. Navy The Knights will be hard pressed to come anywhere near to that number vs. an Auburn team that held opponents to an average of 17.3 PPG while averaging 34.3 points per game vs. a much tougher schedule.
The Intangibles of Bowl Games
Both teams are happy to be here with the key distraction being a head coach that will not be here next season coaching his final contest. Stranger things have happened however. Big dogs often rise to the occasion, two years ago the Baylor Bears were +7 vs. Boise State and took the Broncos out to the woodshed, (31-12.) Ohio State had reeled off 19 straight wins entering their Bowl game with the Gators, quarterbacked by Tim Tebow, on January 8, 2007. The Buckeyes were -7 point favorites and ended up as “Gator bait,” losing to Florida, (41-14.)
- Auburn is 1-4 ATS in their last five Neutral site contests.
- UCF Knights are 13-04-01 ATS after allowing more than 450 yards in their last contest.
- Conference Title game losers, (applies to the Tigers,) are 4-8-1 ATS in Bowl games when favored by 8 or more points.
- Central Florida is live in a Bowl system that is on a run of 15-02 = 88% ATS.
I have made a wager on this contest. My Super Picks selection is on the University Central Florida Knights at +11.5.