The Memphis Tigers and UCF Knights meet in the best game of the week that no one is talking about. The winner on Saturday night will jump up as a ranked team in the top 25. I think both of these schools could give more than a few teams in the top 25 a run for their money. Are they ready to compete against the Alabama, Clemson, and Michigan’s of college football?
No, they could spring an upset against certain teams under the right conditions. Memphis already have one upset under their belt, as they defeated the UCLA Bruins in a high-scoring shootout. Riley Ferguson and the Memphis offense is in the top quarter of college football offenses without a doubt.
The former Tennessee product has been flying up draft boards and for good reason. He possesses excellent accuracy and can drop a pass in to small windows with ease. The last quarterback to come out of Memphis is a guy you may know, Paxton Lynch, backup of the Denver Broncos. Lynch was looked at favorably going into his draft, and Ferguson will have a chance to be a higher draft pick as well with a strong 2017.
From what I’ve seen from watching Lynch and Ferguson in college, I personally like Riley Ferguson over Lynch. However, it isn’t always easy to rate quarterbacks playing in the smaller conferences. They are not going against elite defenses consistently, like other quarterbacks are in Power-5 conferences.
Ferguson will face an okay defense against UCF in Week 5. The problem with the Knights is that they haven’t been tested yet. The numbers are good, but nobody to test their limits. They’ve played FIU and Maryland. Well, okay? FIU has a bottom-5 offense, and Maryland was playing with a third-string quarterback. In any case, credit must go to the UCF front for slowing Maryland down on the road. This should be a good one. Head below for our free Memphis vs. UCF pick.
Memphis Tigers vs. UCF Knights Betting Odds:
vs. UCF -4(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Memphis vs. UCF Pick:
Memphis and UCF both enter without any blemishes on their records, Memphis at 3-0 and UCF 2-0. Note that this is a make-up game for what was an earlier scheduled contest, but was forced back due to the hurricane. It’s nice to see that they were able to fit this critical matchup of the AAC in. We could see some rain at moments, but there aren’t any indications that it would be heavy or windy. Wind and heavy rain can derail offensive plans, but light rain can result in a small advantage with defensive backs slipping all over the place. I’ve played on a wet field, both offense and defense, and it’s much easier to be a member of the offense.
Ferguson enters with 8 touchdown passes and 2 interceptions. He lit UCLA up like a Christmas tree a couple of weeks ago, passing for 398 yards and 6 touchdowns. You cannot forget about running back Darrell Henderson, too. Henderson has run for 345 yards for a whopping 9.1 average per carry. He can catch out of the backfield as well. Patrick Taylor Jr. is also another talented back who can help spill Henderson.
Memphis are averaging 43 points per game, 14th in college football. It isn’t just Ferguson handling the entire load either, their rushing attack is 32nd in the FBS. The Knights will counter with a defense that is allowing 13.5 points per game, and just 8th against the run. Like I said, though, they haven’t played anybody. Maryland, yeah, but they were operating with a third-string quarterback. UCF just played close to the line and clogged every lane up. There is no way that will work against Memphis who can facilitate offense in a number of different ways.
UCF quarterback, McKenzie Milton, is a dynamic player that will remind you a bit of Johnny Manziel. If you want a current college player to compare him to, it’d have to be Shea Patterson of Ole Miss. There is more structure to this UCF offense than Ole Miss, though.
What I mean is that Ole Miss just snaps the ball and Patterson runs around and freelances. UCF has a nice running game to compliment Milton. The Knights have averaged 49.5 points per game across their first two games, 2nd to only Oregon. Memphis has a ton of injuries on defense, especially the secondary. Last week they were playing with 8 or 9 players that were not projected starters in August. The total has moved down from the opening number of 71. I can’t say for certain, but I believe a reason for that is the potential rain. If it rains, it’s going to be spotty, and isn’t supposed to be long-lasting and heavy. I don’t expect that to impact either offense. With that said, I like a pick on the OVER in a game I like to finish in the mid 70’s.
PICK: OVER 68 (-110)