Conference USA Championship: Florida Atlantic vs. UAB fearless prediction and game preview.
Conference USA Championship: Florida Atlantic vs. UAB Broadcast
Date: Saturday, December 7
Game Time: 1:30 ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (click to watch for free)
Venue: FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
Network: CBS Sports Network
UAB (9-3) vs. Florida Atlantic (9-3) Game Preview
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Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Conference USA Championship
– No matter which way this goes, both these teams are impressive. UAB came out of its two-year coma, and a year later it was in the Conference USA Championship beating Middle Tennessee for the title. And now it’s back with a chance to defend its championship after a rebuilding year. It was one thing to get the pieces in place to hit the ground running again, but there were a slew of key parts missing from last year’s champion, and now the Blazers are back.
– Florida Atlantic got past an 0-2 start to win nine of its last ten games on the way to its second appearance in the Conference USA Championship in three years. This might team might not be quite the killer of 2017, but it’s effective and dominant – all nine wins were by double-digits.
– Is this an audition for these two head coaches? There might be fewer places more wonderful to live and work than Boca Raton, but Lane Kiffin – baggage and all – is destined for a bigger gig. Bill Clark has worked wonders with UAB, and he’s also going to be on several short lists for places looking to rebuild. One of them is about to be a two-time Conference USA championship head coach.
CFN Podcast: C-USA Championship Discussion
Why UAB Will Win
– The defense is the best in the league, allowing fewer than 270 yards per game. The Blazer secondary has been among in the best in the country helped by one of the best pass rushes in college football.
LBs Jordan Smith and Kristopher Moll lead a terrific group of linebackers who get all over the field, and the pressure is doing wonders for a pass defense allowed just one 300-yard day. Quarterbacks in the six of the last ten games have hit 50% of their passes or fewer. Get ready for more production because …
– The Florida Atlantic O line is way too leaky. It’s great for the ground game, and it has hardly been an Achilles’ heel, but it gives up a ton of tackles for loss. The pass protection isn’t too bad, but the Owls allow 8.5 tackles for loss per game. UAB should come up with at least ten.
– Stallllll ballllll. UAB doesn’t have the firepower, but it has the defense, and it has the ability to take the air out of the ball. Florida Atlantic works fast and it’s effective, but UAB should have its offense on the field for at least five more minutes. However …
Why Florida Atlantic Will Win
– UAB’s offense is awful on third downs. There were a few okay moments here and there against the truly miserable, but overall the Blazers are converting fewer than 34% of their third down chances. They might know how to control the clock – the defense gets off the field fast – but Florida Atlantic’s defense is outstanding on third downs, too.
– And the UAB quarterback is going to be … ? Tyler Johnston has been the main man for the program over the last few years, but he’s been banged up with a knee injury. He’s supposedly going to give it a shot, but Dylan Hopkins has been just okay. This isn’t a high-powered offense to begin with – 27 points might not cut it.
– Takeaways. UAB is a -4 on the year in turnover margin, and it’s about to be at least a -2 in this. FAU leads the nation in the stat at a +13 with 15 takeaways in the last four games. With the far stronger offense, all the Owls need out of their defense is to hold serve. Force a few turnovers, and they have a good mix to pull this off.
What’s Going To Happen
UAB had a wonderful season, but it was helped by playing a whole lot of miserable teams.
The team had the easiest strength of schedule in the country.
It’s not like FAU was rocking through the SEC West, but it at least came up with strong wins over three bowl-bound teams in the last four weeks.
The Owls is good at doing most of the things UAB does well, and they score. They’ve scored 31 points or more in each of the last six games and in nine of the last ten. UAB has scored more than 26 in just one of the last five games.
UAB always seems to play well when no one is expecting much, but FAU will rise up and rock at home to take back the Conference USA championship.
Conference USA Championship: Florida Atlantic vs. UAB Prediction, Line
Florida Atlantic 30, UAB 20
Bet on this with BetMGM, or for latest line
Florida Atlantic -8, o/u: 49.5
Live Stream: fuboTV (click to watch for free)
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3.5
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Must See Rating: 3
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Conference USA Championship History
2018 UAB 27, Middle Tennessee 25
2017 Florida Atlantic 41, North Texas 17
2016 WKU 58, Louisiana Tech 44
2015 WKU 45, Southern Miss 28
2014 Marshall 26, Louisiana Tech 23
2013 Rice 41, Marshall 24
2012 Tulsa 33, UCF 27
2011 Southern Miss 49, Houston 28
2010 UCF 17, SMU 7
2009 East Carolina 38, Houston 32
2008 East Carolina 27, Tulsa 24
2007 UCF 44, Tulsa 25
2006 Houston 34, Southern Miss 20
2005 Tulsa 44, UCF 27