Florida Atlantic vs. Akron: Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Florida Atlantic vs. Akron: Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Teams & Conferences

Florida Atlantic vs. Akron: Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl Prediction, Game Preview


Three reasons why you should watch the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


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Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl
Florida Atlantic (10-3) vs. Akron (7-6)

Broadcast

Date: Tuesday, December 19th
Game Time: 7:00 pm
Venue: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
Network: ESPN

Contact/Follow @PeteFiutak

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness
(1 best-39 worst): 
33 out of 39

2017-2018 CFN Bowl Central: Schedules, Picks, Love
CFN Expert Consensus Confidence Picks

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl

Lane Monte Kiffin. Is there a more interesting coach in all of college football? There isn’t a better tweeter, and there might not be a better head coach at a Group of Five program. All he did was step into a program that went 3-9 the year before and made it a dominant, championship force in a few short months. No biggie.

It’s just the third bowl game in Akron history. Kiffin might be the star head coach in the game, but Terry Bowden has a solid resume, too. Two games doesn’t necessarily mean much, but the two Zip bowl appearances – a 2005 Motor City Bowl loss to Memphis, and a 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl win over Utah State – were close battles. It means the team is going to try.

It’s just the 17th season of Florida Atlantic football. It’s taking a while to build things, but this is a young program that keeps on moving up. Two for two in bowl games – the 2007 New Orleans over Memphis, and the 2008 Motor City over Central Michigan – taking down the Zips in a home game would be a sweet end to the school’s best season ever.

Here’s Why Florida Atlantic Will Win The Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl

Akron isn’t all that great at this whole run defense thing. There are some nice parts of the Zip defensive puzzle, but there’s little to no pass rush and there aren’t enough plays in the backfield. On the year, Akron has allowed more than five yards per carry, giving up 240 yards or more in four of the last seven games. However …

Florida Atlantic is great at this whole running game thing. Sixth in the nation in rushing yards behind a line that’s been phenomenal, FAU ran for 3,682 yards and 47 touchdowns, averaging over six yards per carry. The Owls have three First Team All-Conference USA linemen and a tight end in Harrison Bryant who earned Second Team honors. This whole group is amazing in pass protection, and paving the way for …

Devin Singletary. Greg Howell has rushed for 18 touchdowns over the last two seasons with 690 yards this year, and he’s a complementary part of the puzzle.

Singletary ran for 1,016 yards and 12 scores last year – he wasn’t good just because Kiffin was hired – but he went off behind this line, running for 1,796 yards and 29 touchdowns in a brilliant campaign.

Here’s Why Akron Will Win The Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl

“Nobody believes in us.” Everyone uses that line as self-motivation – even the Alabamas of the world with invent ways to feel disrespected. However, really, nobody believes in Akron.

It’s the biggest underdog of the bowl season, it’s one of the weakest bowl teams – even as the MAC East champion – and it’s playing on Florida Atlantic’s home field. However, UCF played in its stadium in last year’s Cure Bowl, and it got whacked and whacked hard by Arkansas State. Florida Atlantic is supposed to win this easily – Akron can turn it loose.

The secondary makes up for a ton of problems with picks. This isn’t a great Akron pass defense – allowing over 3,000 yards on the season with 22 scores. However, it’s amazing at taking the ball away, with 19 interceptions with two in each of the last four games and multiple picks in seven of the 13 games.

Devin Singletary, meet Ulysses Gilbert III. One of the MAC’s best linebackers over the last few years, the Ocala, Florida native came up with 121 tackles with 11. 5 tackles for loss as a sophomore, and cranked up 127 tackles with five sacks and three interceptions – taking one for a score – this year. Akron might not have a great run defense, but Gilbert will come up with double-digit stops.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl

It’s amazing that Lane Kiffin is still the Florida Atlantic head coach. It might take one more year of doing this. Where’s the stepping-stone job after this, considering what he just did with FAU and with his overall resume? Take it and run, Owl fans. He’s still a rental, but you might really just have him for one more year.

It’s a nice island bowl game. With no NFL to take away the attention, and a few days past the bowl glut on Saturday the 16th to kick everything off, this Tuesday night bowl will get the full and undivided attention of the investment community, as well as the interest from the die-hard college football fans. Kiffin is a draw, Florida Atlantic is a draw, and this game should be worth tuning in for – at least for a little while.

Conference USA has a few other bowls to come – Louisiana Tech will be up next vs. SMU in the Frisco, and FIU will play Temple in the Gasparilla on Thursday – but this is the big one. The conference will already have four bowls under its belt from the opening Saturday, but Florida Atlantic is the superstar. Lose this, and it’ll be a massive black eye for the conference.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl?

The pressure is on, Lane.

He’ll come through with a good performance from his offensive front that will take over the game from the start. Akron will be fired up to prove to the world that it’s good enough to have a shot, but the only way it wins is if FAU is unfocused and overconfident.

The Zips don’t have the firepower with one of the nation’s worst offenses, and they don’t do enough besides take the ball away to compete with a team this sharp. FAU will give it up twice to allow Akron to stick around, but it won’t be nearly enough to overcome the Owl rushing attack.

Final Score

Florida Atlantic 38, Akron 21
More Bowl Info & Get Tickets

Line

Florida Atlantic 22.5, o/u: 61.5

ATS Confidence: 3
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar

Must See Rating: 2
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas

Boca Raton Bowl History, Results

Dec. 20, 2016 WKU 51, Memphis 31
Dec. 22, 2015 Toledo 32 Temple 17
Dec. 23, 2014 Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23

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