The Florida Atlantic Owls stay in the state of Florida as they make a short trip to the campus of Central Florida in Orlando. UCF are putting their 15-game winning streak on the line against the Owls. The Knights unofficially declared that they were National Champions in 2017 after finishing with an undefeated record. They apparently thought their 34-27 win over Auburn was the National Championship. While it was an impressive season for them, I don’t think they’re beating Auburn if it was a playoff game.
What kind of motivation did Auburn have in that game? Not much after losing to Georgia in the SEC Championship. The team likely mentally checked out after that game. I’m not taking anything away from UCF, they have a heck of a team, but the size of the bigger schools would have presented issues. With that said, nice season UCF, but no you are not the National Champions of 2017.
So, what will it take for UCF to get a playoff berth this season? For starters, they are going to have to go undefeated again. The other part, which might be the most difficult, is getting a lot of help along the way. The Knights are going to have to hope some top teams have bad seasons and the committee by default has to go with UCF as the fourth team in. The most realistic scenario is that they go to another New Year’s Six Bowl. Boise State lost to Oklahoma State this past Saturday, so they already have the upper-hand in that respect.
UCF may not be a Power 5 team, but they are a fun team to watch that’s for sure. McKenzie Milton is one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in college football and can get this offense motoring in any game. UCF has the potential of scoring on every drive against bad defenses, whether they want to play the ball control game or not.
He is Johnny Manziel without the theatrics, but I would argue, Milton has a better arm that might translate to the NFL. Lane Kiffin will look to his transfer freshman, Chris Robison, to keep pace with Milton and company. Robison made the jump from Oklahoma to FAU. His career got off to a rough start after getting arrested for public intoxication as a member of the Sooners. He’s looking for a fresh start as an Owl at FAU. Head below for our free FAU vs. UCF pick for Friday night on the gridiron in Orlando.
Florida Atlantic Owls vs. Central Florida Knights NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. UCF -13.5(-115)
FAU vs. UCF Pick:
Florida Atlantic must get pristine quarterback play from Chris Robison in this game. UCF and Milton are simply going to be too much to handle for the Owls if he doesn’t. FAU does not have a solid enough defense to pose a threat for the Knights, but if the offense gets going for the Owls, they could make things interesting in Orlando. The Owls opened the year in Norman, as they got blown out of the state of Oklahoma by a score of 63-14.
Oklahoma scored at will on the FAU defense, which isn’t much of a surprise. However, Kiffin was likely expecting more from his offense. The Oklahoma defense is pretty solid in 2018, but they are not an elite unit by any stretch of the imagination. Robison finished with 157 yards with no touchdowns on 15-of-26 passing.
Devin Singletary, who will be the most significant threat to the Knights in this game, led the Owns with 69 yards rushing. Following their loss to Oklahoma, FAU beat Air Force by a score of 33-27 and Bethune Cookman, 49-28. Robison struggled against Bethune Cookman, as he tossed 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Singletary had himself a game with 5 touchdowns rushing to power the offense.
Neutralize the run and the Knights should make out well on Friday night. They have allowed 198.5 yards per game on the ground. The brunt of that came against mobile quarterback David Pindell in Week 1. The majority of his yards came when he was scrambling for yards. They held the running backs in check, with their leading runner going for 59 yards on 20 carries.
Robison is not a mobile quarterback, so they won’t have to worry about him dancing around. The Knights have allowed an average of 8.5 points per game this season. They gave up 25.2 points a game in 2017, which I think is probably where the Owls are going to be in this game. They are going to force Robison into winning this game and I’m not sure he can do that at this point in his career.
The Owls have allowed 452 yards of offense and 39.2 points per game thus far. Obviously, the Sooners skew that number up, but they’re dealing with another talented offense this week. UCF are 2nd in the nation with 609 yards per game and 47 points per game. Kyler Murray passed for 209 yards with 2 touchdowns and 23 yards rushing.
Backup Austin Kendall was in the ball game for the second-half, so those numbers could have been double for Murray. Milton possesses a similar skillset as Murray. If they get ahead big, don’t expect UCF to pull him, though. The Knights need all the style points they can get. Kiffin is well aware his team is not as talented as a season ago. However, the public still have that season fresh in their minds, so the line looks a few points too short here. I expect us to see that on display Friday night, with Milton putting on a show and running the Knights away from the Owls.