Ohio vs. UAB: Bahamas Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Ohio vs. UAB: Bahamas Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Bowls College Football Playoff

Ohio vs. UAB: Bahamas Bowl Prediction, Game Preview


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Three reasons why you should watch the Bahamas Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.

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Bahamas Bowl
Ohio (8-4) vs. UAB (8-4)


Date: Friday, December 22nd
Game Time: 12:30 pm
Venue: Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
Network: ESPN

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

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

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Bahamas Bowl

UAB is in a freaking bowl game. The Blazer program was in a coma for a few years – after being pronounced dead for a little bit – and this season was supposed to be about figuring out how to do the whole football thing again.

Instead, the Blazers turned out to be really, really good, going on a nice run of six wins in the final eight games in a magnificent 8-4 campaign. The only thing to make this better would be to close out with the first bowl win in the school’s history. UAB is 0-1 in the post-season, losing to Hawaii 59-40 in a wild 2004 Hawaii Bowl.

Ohio needs to show up and show something. The very subjective least-clutch, top-shelf Group of Five program over the last several years, this might have been the best team in the MAC, but it didn’t get the chance to prove it with a total gag in the one game it had to win against Akron. Worse yet, the Bobcat program has been miserable in bowl games, going 2-8 all-time and losing their last three.

You want rushing offense? Here you go. Ohio led the MAC in rushing, UAB was second in Conference USA on the ground, and the two are going to bash away. The mindset of the two fantastic coaches – Ohio’s Frank Solich and UAB’s Bill Clark – isn’t all about the ground-and-pound, but they’ll be happy to try getting their backfields going from the start.

Here’s Why Ohio Will Win The Bahamas Bowl

Toledo might have had the MAC’s best offense, but Ohio’s was the most efficient and often the most effective. The Bobcats led the leading rushing, red zone offense, and third down conversions. UAB isn’t great in time of possession, and Ohio should take advantage by owning the chains and dominating the tempo. And …

Ohio had the MAC’s best run defense, and that’s about to be a big, big problem. It’s not that UAB can’t pass, it’s that it’s not all that great at it. It’s an efficient passing attack, but if the Blazers aren’t rolling with the running game, there’s a problem. The Bobcats allowed over 200 yards on the ground to Purdue and Bowling Green – thats it. Ohio has allowed under 100 yards six times on the year, and UAB is 0-3 when rushing for under 165 yards.

Not only is Ohio’s Nathan Rourke second in the nation in rushing touchdowns, he was four scores better than any other quarterback. The Bobcat sophomore ran for 882 yards and 21 scores – only FAU RB Devin Singletary ran for more – and he can throw a little, too. He’s not always accurate – hitting just 54% of his passes – but he’s effective. On the ground, he’s deadly. 

Here’s Why UAB Will Win The Bahamas Bowl

The Blazers live on third down conversions. Yes, UAB came up with a great season, and yes, there is enough talent on both sides to make this all for real. However, one of the biggest keys in making this all work was an offense that seemed like it came up with every third down play. UAB converted a whopping 47.7% of the time on the year going over the 40% mark seven times.

For all of the good things Ohio did, it had a problem hanging on to the ball. The defense was decent at coming up with takeaways, but the offense turned it over 21 times, losing the ball two or more times in seven games, and eight times in the last three games. On the flip side, UAB has forced 13 takeaways over the last seven games. To put it simply, Ohio is 0-4 when it’s a -2 or worse in turnover margin, and 8-0 when it’s better.

Yeah, Nathan Rourke is amazing at rushing for scores, but UAB QB A.J. Erdely ran for 13 touchdowns. The ground game revolves around freshman RB Spencer Brown, who finished the season with 1,292 yards and ten scores. The Blazers are 5-1 when the 235-pounder ran for 100 yards, and 6-1 when he scores.

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

Yeah, Ohio needs a bowl win, and Frank Solich could really, really use one. Going back to Nebraska’s 2000 Alamo Bowl win, Solich is 2-8 in bowl games. He’s been fantastic at Ohio, with 96 wins and at least four East titles, but without any MAC championship. Beat UAB, and it’ll be the program’s first nine-win season since 2012.

Ohio will try winning on the ground, but it has to be really, really careful when it puts the ball in the air. The Blazers have 14 interceptions on the season with two or more in five games, taking three for touchdowns. Again, the Bobcats can throw, but they can’t be put in a position where they have to come back and make big things happen through the air.

Yeah, UAB and Ohio didn’t win their respective conferences, but who’s the real winner? Nothing against Mobile, Alabama, but Toledo is off to the Dollar General Bowl. Boca Raton is fantastic, but yippee – the Florida Atlantic players are playing their bowl game at home. UAB and Ohio get to go to the Bahamas. Win.

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

It all depends on whether or not Ohio is Ohio. If it’s cranking up the pass rush, and if it’s able to dominate defensively on third downs like it has for most of the season, and as long it’s not getting whacked on turnovers, it should be fine.

UAB is for real. This isn’t a fluke, and this isn’t just some nice-nice story. However, Ohio has the better run defense and the better rushing offense.

Can the Bobcats pull up out of the nosedive after losing the last two games? Yes, but both teams mostly do the same things. The Bobcats will do them a little bit better.

Final Score

Ohio 30, UAB 24
More Bowl Info & Bowl Tickets


Ohio -7.5, o/u: 55.5

ATS Confidence: 2
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar

Must See Rating: 2.5
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas

Bahamas Bowl History, Results

Dec. 23, 2016 Old Dominion 24, Eastern Michigan 20
Dec. 24, 2015 Western Michigan 45, Middle Tennessee 31
Dec. 24, 2014 Western Kentucky 49, Central Michigan 48


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