The Memphis Tigers and Florida Atlantic Owls are scheduled to meet in the Montgomery Bowl in Alabama on Wednesday night. This is a replacement for the Fenway Bowl at Fenway Park in Boston. The Fenway Park was cancelled in October, so organizers created the Montgomery Bowl for one season only. The game will revert back to the Fenway Bowl for the 2021 season.
I am sure players would have preferred a trip to the historic Fenway Park for this game, but at least it will be warmer in Alabama? The forecast calls for 66 degrees with a chance of rain. There are two bowls on the schedule Wednesday, with Louisiana Tech and Georgia Southern battling in the afternoon in the New Orleans Bowl.
Memphis and FAU will fill the primetime slot on ESPN in the Montgomery Bowl. It hasn’t been a perfect season for Memphis and FAU. Especially with regard to Memphis, who planned on playing in a better bowl than the Montgomery/Fenway Bowl at the beginning of the season. In any case, if there’s any year not to live up to expectations, it has to be the Covid-19 season.
The Tigers went 12-2 last season with a trip to the Cotton Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Penn State pounded Memphis by a score of 53-39, though won the AAC Championship against Cincinnati to make it a really good season for Memphis. A conference championship and invite to the Cotton Bowl is a major accomplishment. Memphis haven’t been bad this season, but did not repeat in the AAC Championship.
They settled for a record of 7-3 in the regular season, ending on a high note with a 30-27 win over the Houston Cougars. Their marquee win of the season was a 50-49 win over UCF in a highly entertaining contest on October 17. The Owls are coming off a demoralizing loss versus Southern Mississippi on December 10. Backup Trey Lowe and a bad Southern Mississippi team exploited FAU for a 45-31 win. Head below for our free Memphis vs. FAU pick for December 23, 2020.
Memphis Tigers vs. Florida Atlantic Owls Montgomery Bowl Betting Odds:
Memphis vs. FAU Prediction:
In a normal season, maybe Memphis goes back to the AAC Championship and are in the mix for another premier bowl game. Who knows how teams were impacted negatively by the scheduling and protocols. For some it likely didn’t impact them at all, but it’s been a wacky season. Brady White passed for 33 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 64% completions in the AAC Championship season a year ago.
The one constant for the Tigers has been White. He has passed for 28 touchdowns and 9 interceptions on 60.1% completions as a senior. White is sixth in the FBS with 3,096 yards passing. He was playing this season to get the attention of NFL scouts. Don’t expect him to go early in the draft, though he might be a late-round flier for a team.
The FAU defense was exposed against a bad Southern Mississippi team recently. If they bring that effort to Alabama, then White is going to chew them up. The Tigers averaged 451.5 yards per game this season. They are fully capable of running up and down the field with their offense. FAU looked uninterested in their final two regular season games, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see White having the offense clicking.
Following a 20-3 loss against Georgia Southern on December 5, FAU failed to respond against a 2-7 Golden Eagles squad. The offense struggled again, as Nick Tronti passed for 162 yards with a touchdown and interception. Tronti was benched for Javion Posey early in the season. However, with Posey struggling to get the offense moving, Tronti was back in a starting role. Now the offense has been going absolutely nowhere and they have no identity.
Their identity has been stripped away since Lake Kiffin left for Ole Miss. The Tigers can be beat through the air, but FAU doesn’t have a quarterback to torch their weakness. The Owls haven’t looked interested in playing football in well over a month. I don’t see anything changing in the Montgomery Bowl. Expect White to be too much for the Owls to keep up with, as he leads Memphis to a win and cover.