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Fiesta Bowl Gives Two Schools An Unlikely Shot At College Football Glory And Prestige

Posted by Blake Frazier on 2/4/2014 5:34:34 AM

In the history of college football, few Fiesta Bowl matchups were as unexpected as this one. The UCF Knights are playing in their first BCS bowl. The Baylor Bears also have a rare opportunity.

2014 Fiesta Bowl
UCF Knights vs. Baylor Bears (In Glendale, Ariz.)  – Wednesday, January 1
Sport betting line: Baylor -16

Why UCF Will Win

When the best online betting sites tackle this clash, they will realize that the Knights simply find ways to win. It’s who they are, and it’s what they do. The Knights haven’t won by large margins against a lot of opponents this season, but they have indeed won… enough to get an 11-1 record and the outright championship of the American Athletic Conference. Head coach George O’Leary has turned in some of his best work as a coach, getting his defense to support the dynamic talents of quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Storm Johnson. UCF has the ability to contain Baylor’s offense in one of two ways. The Knights don’t give up a lot of big plays on defense, but they also have the ability to control the ball on offense, thereby keeping Baylor’s point-scoring machine off the field.

Why Baylor Will Win

The Bears received a very good piece of news last week. Receiver Tevin Reese, who missed the final four games of Baylor’s regular season, was cleared to practice in advance of this game. The fact that Reese received an early clearance should enable him to gain the benefit of a full (or almost full) practice schedule, which will give him a very good chance to be in very good physical shape for this contest.  Reese, who has been named as one of Baylor’s representatives on the All-Big 12 First Team, played in eight games for the Bears this season before being felled by a dislocated wrist suffered in a Thursday night game against Oklahoma on Nov. 7. Reese endured a surgical procedure on the wrist and sat out a quartet of games against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas. When in the Baylor lineup, though, Reese demonstrated the full measure of his quality, enabling Baylor’s offense to shine the way it did in 2013. Reese collected 33 catches for 824 yards with eight touchdowns, and that’s just in two-thirds of a season, not the full journey. Baylor has to be elated as a result of this development. Reese is going to restore firepower to an offense that struggled without him in the final three games of the season against Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas.

Who Will Win?

The Knights and Bears are both going to be very happy to play in this game. What should matter is that Baylor endured a lot of injuries during the regular season. Reese and other players will be healthy for this game, enabling the Bears to return to a place of near-total strength. That will likely make Baylor’s offense much too powerful for UCF to overcome.

College Football Betting Pick: Baylor -16

There’s a lot going on in college football during the bowls, so there are plenty of numbers to look at. It takes just one click to get the odds on every college football bowl game.

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