2016 AutoNation Cure Bowl, UCF vs. Arkansas State, Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

2016 AutoNation Cure Bowl, UCF vs. Arkansas State, Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

American Athletic

2016 AutoNation Cure Bowl, UCF vs. Arkansas State, Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores


2016 AutoNation Cure Bowl, UCF vs. Arkansas State, Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

Who’s going to win the 2016 AutoNation Cure Bowl? Check out the UCF vs. Arkansas State prediction, game preview, history and scores.

Three reasons why you should watch the AutoNation Cure Bowl between Arkansas State (7-5) vs. UCF (6-6), why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


Date: Saturday, December 17
Game Time: 5:30 pm
Venue: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
Network: CBS Sports Network

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Scroll down for the video preview and bowl history

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness (1 best-40 worst): 38 out of 40

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The AutoNation Cure Bowl

Will the UCF fans show up? It’s a trek for the Arkansas State believers, but there are worse places than Orlando in mid-December. It’s a home game for the Knights to close out a decent year. Of course, these are different teams and nothing from the past carries over, but at least Arkansas State has played in a few entertaining shootouts – mainly because the defense didn’t show up – in the last two bowl games, losing to Toledo and Louisiana Tech by a combined score of 110 to 72, but …

The Red Wolves are rolling. It looked like a lost season with an 0-4 start with a loss to Central Arkansas along the way, and then ASU kicked it all in winning seven of its last eight games. Meanwhile, this is a veteran UCF team – especially on defense – that should play at another level in a last-game-ever for most of the starters.

The two coaches are going to be a thing relatively soon. Scott Frost didn’t get the Oregon job, but he’s just a rental at UCF, while Arkansas State has been able to hold on to Blake Anderson for a few years. These are two young head men who should be a part of the coaching carousel next year.

Here’s Why UCF Will Win The AutoNation Cure Bowl

The secondary should close down the Arkansas State passing game. The Red Wolves and QB Justice Hansen have been able to wing it around a bit all year, while the running game that rocked last season has been just okay. East Carolina lit up the Knights earlier in the year, but over the last six games they’ve given up just three touchdown passes and picked off nine passes – and that’s including dates with Houston and Tulsa.

Shaquem Griffin is worth the price of admission. Built like a bulked up safety, the 6-1, 213-pound junior linebacker has done a little of everything in a dominant season for the Knight defense. A great popper on the outside, he came up with 85 tackles including 14 against Houston, while living in opposing backfields with 11 sacks with 19 tackles for loss. He’s a main reason that …

UCF doesn’t give up a thing on third downs. The offense might not go on enough big drives, but the defense picks up the slack by holding firm in the red zone and owning teams on third downs, allowing teams to covert just 30% of their chances. How good is Arkansas State on third downs? The O is the third-worst in college football at moving the chains.

Here’s Why Arkansas State Will Win The AutoNation Cure Bowl

The UCF offense is sad. Considering head coach Scott Frost was such a factor in some great Oregon offenses, it’s taking a little while for the Knights to get the ocean in motion. The points are there, mainly because the O converts on every chance, but the team wins on D. If ASU can get out to a hot start and make UCF throw, this plays right into the hand of …

The Arkansas State pass defense has been outstanding. It starts with the pass rush from the defensive front, but Money Hunter, Cody Brown and Justin Clifton are All-Sun Belt defensive backs who should shut down the Knight passing game cold. How good has the ASU pass rush been? It’s dominated the Sun Belt with 31 sacks in the last seven games, mainly because of …

The dominant tandem of Chris Odom and Ja’Von Rolland-Jones. The two First Team All-Sun Belt ends have traded off huge performances. Odom hit South Alabama and Texas State for three sacks in each game – and 12.5 on the year – while Rolland-Jones has been every bit as good as expected with 11 sacks, 19 tackles for loss, highlighted by a three-sack day against New Mexico State.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The AutoNation Cure Bowl

Okay, UCF – prove you belong. It’s been a fun year for the American Athletic Conference with lots of mega-coaching moves, some wild offenses, a great defensive performance from Temple, and seven bowl appearances. UCF might have made a massive step forward going from 0-12 to 6-6, but a bowl win would make this the hot AAC team for 2017.

8-5 would look a whole lot better than 7-6. Yeah, Arkansas State’s Blake Anderson is a solid head coaching prospect if he can keep the program winning, but if he loses, it’ll be two 7-6 seasons in the last three. That’s hardly miserable, especially considering the Red Wolves won a share of the Sun Belt championship, but it’s a bit under the bar set by Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn, as well as Anderson’s 9-4, 2015 season.

Want a reason to be nervous about watching this? Neither team has played a slew of tight games. Arkansas State has only played one game in the last seven closer than double digits, while the last four UCF games have been blowouts one way or another and only three games this year decided by a touchdown or less. If one of these teams gets hot early on, it should be able to take control.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The AutoNation Cure Bowl?

The matchup in Year Two of the AutoNation Cure Bow, is far better, last year getting a mediocre Georgia State team from the Sun Belt and an APR charity case in San Jose State. This time around, these are two decent teams with a Sun Belt champ and a UCF team that’s better than last year’s Spartan team that won the bowl.

Will the home field bowl game matter for UCF? Not really, but the defense will rise up after a rocky finish to the season. The few weeks off will matter, the pass rush will matter, and most importantly, the third down defense is going to matter as the Knights hold down an ASU offense that rolled for 31 points or more in five of the last six games. Too many of the Red Wolves’ drives will stall.

Final Score

UCF 24, Arkansas State 16


UCF -6, o/u: 49

ATS Confidence: 1.5
5: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score in your favorite bar
0: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score after covering a College Football Playoff semifinal

Must See Rating: 2
5: New Year’s Eve: Defected In The House, Ministry of Sound, London
0: New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Special Co-Host Kathy Griffin

Get Tickets For The AutoNation Cure Bowl

Cure Bowl History, Results

Dec. 19, 2015 San Jose State 27 Georgia State 16

More Bowl Projections