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2010 AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Bulldogs vs. Knights Predictions

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Georgia vs UCF Preview

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Bulldogs vs Knights Handicapping Matchup

Date/Time: Friday, Dec. 31, 3.30 pm EST
Venue: Liberty Bowl, Memphis TN
Georgia Bulldogs (6-6) vs. UCF Knights (10-3) Betting Lines from Sportsbook.com
MoneyLine: Georgia -250, UCF +210
NCAA Betting Favorite: Georgia (-6.5) UCF (+6.5)
Over/Under: 55.5
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Georgia

It’s been a tricky, rebuilding year for the Bulldogs: if close losses to Arkansas, Colorado and Florida go slightly different, it is a season more in keeping with a typical Georgia campaign. Yet, most of the bounces weren’t going the way of the Bulldogs and star WR A.J. Green was injured for the first four games, three of which were losses. Yet excuses can only carry an SEC program so far.

Freshman QB Aaron Murray had a remarkable first year, completing 62% of his passes for 2,851 yards and 24 majors. Throwing to Green and senior Kris Durham helps, no doubt, but he still engineered an offense that finished in the Top 25 in points for (23rdoverall). Tailback Washaun Ealey finished with double-digit TDs, but the rushing game still registered in the bottom half of FBS play.

There’s no point beating it into the ground, but it’s never easy playing in the SEC, especially with a freshman field general. Yet, with a healthy Green (who just announced he will declare for the NFL Draft) and a healthy dose of size and speed throughout the roster, the Bulldogs have the tricks to handle the Knights in the Liberty Bowl.

Central Florida

The Knights, 7-1 in Conference-USA play, own the rare distinction of registering in the Top 25 in the nation in both points for and points allowed. Sure, UCF lost its three toughest games on its schedule (NC State, Kansas State and Southern Miss) but has handled the remainder of opponents without much trouble.

UCF owns a strong running game headed by workmanlike junior Ronnie Weaver. The six-foot, 211-lb starter finished with just under 900 yards and 11 TDs and toted the bulk of the carries. What Weaver didn’t gain, freshman QB Jeffrey Godfrey chipped in with 546 rushing yards and 9 rush TDs. When you add in Godfrey’s 2,000+ passing yards and 13-6 ratio, he’s had a decidedly strong first year under center.

The Conf-USA champion has strong units on this team, but after collapsing against an ACC opponent, a Big 12 opponent and an in-conference foe – all of whom are less talented than Georgia – it doesn’t bode well for a mid-major slaying a Big Dog come Dec. 31. Indeed, the team Central Florida has crushed this season are not good football teams.

The Pick

Godfrey, Weaver and Co. could find room to operate against a Bulldogs “D” that has been, at times, spotty. But the Knights don’t have anyone capable of covering Green; double-teaming him should allow Murray to find open men. The size differentials on the lines should be glaring as Georgia overpowers UCF and RB Ealey finds some real estate. In short, the disparities between the SEC and the Conf-USA will be exposed.

Georgia vs. Central Florida Score Prediction: Georgia 31 UCF 17

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James has been naming every player on the EA Sports video game rosters for half a decade now, he’s finally putting his knowledge to better use writing for us here at CappersPicks.com. Your comments are welcome below…Give Us Your Take!


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