Week 13 – UAB at UCF

Posted Nov 23, 2012

Week 13 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – UAB at UCF

UAB (3-8) at UCF (8-3) Nov. 24, 12:00, FSN

Here's The Deal: UCF has yet to wrap up the East Division of Conference USA, but it's close.

The Knights lost in Tulsa last weekend, 23-21, but will be right back at Chapman Stadium a week from now if they beat UAB or if East Carolina loses to Marshall on Friday. UCF has to be careful not to get caught looking ahead—or back—against an opponent that doesn't stack up evenly on either side of the ball. It's been too good of a season in Orlando to squander it all now.

The Blazers suffered a setback last Saturday, losing badly to Memphis to snap a two-game winning streak. However, the program has made progress for rookie head coach Garrick McGee in ways that should pay larger dividends in 2013. An upset against one of Conference USA's top two teams would afford UAB an extra helping of confidence to carry into the offseason.

Why UAB Might Win: The Blazers are the meat in a Tulsa sandwich.

The Golden Hurricane is in UCF's rear view mirror … and possibly in the on-deck circle as well. The Knights can't possibly take the Blazers seriously, can they? Prior to last week's collapse, UAB had been showing a spark on offense, piling up points behind the running of Darrin Reaves and the passing of Austin Brown. It might be able to keep the division leaders napping, especially if it continues to spring leaks against the run.

Why UCF Might Win: Too much defense. Too much Latavius Murray.

Yeah, the Knights aren't air-tight, but they'll have few problems whipping the leaky UAB O-line with a combination of the Davis', DE Troy Davis and LB Jonathan Davis. UCF can also be tough on opposing quarterbacks, which will strip the Blazers of their quest for balance. Murray has become a scoring machine, reaching the end zone in each of the last six games. He'll be operating against a UAB front allowing 4.5 yards per carry.

What To Watch Out For: The Knights need better play out of their quarterback, Blake Bortles. He was shaky at Tulsa last week, completing just 13-of-31 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown. Okay, so maybe he won't be needed to get by UAB, but he will need to tighten up his throws and his decision-making before heading back to the state of Oklahoma next week.

What Will Happen: The East race will wind up being just a formality at BrightHouse Networks Stadium. UCF will shake off a slow start and a spirited opponent to run away with the win and the spot opposite Tulsa in next week's league championship game. Murray will run for 125 yards and two scores, getting to the bench late in the third quarter to avoid an injury.

CFN Prediction: UCF 37 … UAB 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) UCF -22 O/U: 58
Must Watch Rating (5 – Beware of Mr. Baker, 1 – Life of Pi): 1.5