Thursday, December 27, 2007

A look at the Liberty Bowl

Mississippi State (7-5, 4-4)
University of Central Florida (10-3)
Memphis, TN
Today’s Line: UCF -3

Bulldog Rankings: (Conference, Nationally)
Total Offense: 305.2 (12th, 112th)
Offensive PPG: 22.4 (10th, 93rd)
Total Defense: 341.2 (5th, 28th)
Defensive PPG: 24.8 (8th, 47th)

Knight Rankings: (Conference, Nationally)

Total Offense: 426.5 (4th, 32nd)
Offensive PPG: 38.4 (2nd, 13th)
Total Defense: 379.3 (3rd, 58th)
Defensive PPG: 27.8 (2nd, 65th)

Saturday’s Autozone Liberty Bowl kicks off the first of 9 bowl games for the SEC this season. The Bulldogs are making their first bowl appearance since the infamous Snow Bowl game when they defeated Texas A&M in a driving blizzard in Shreveport. The fans, players, and coaches are certainly excited to be in Memphis for the game, but the inexperience all around may serve as the undoing for MSU.

UCF head coach George O'Leary may not always tell the truth on his resume, but he’s a proven head coach who’s been to – and won – bowl games before. The Bulldogs were very fortunate this season in catching teams at the right time (Auburn, Kentucky) or getting to face certain teams at all (Gardner-Webb, Ole Miss). They certainly took advantage of the opportunities given to them, which is more than had done the previous years.

Unfortunately for Bulldog fans, they just don’t have the offensive firepower to match the Knights for 60 minutes. UCF RB Kevin Smith won’t break Barry Sanders record (he needs 181 yds, and that ain’t happening against MSU’s defense), but he will help the Knights control the clock and pound away at MSU. This game features two similar offenses in that each like to pound the ball with talented RBs while the QBS are relied upon to make short, smart throws to keep the opposing D honest. UCF just does it better than the Bulldogs do.

Dead Guy sees:
UCF 27
MSU 17

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