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Date: Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
Time: 8:30pm (EST)
Network: ESPN

Game Line: Baylor -16.5
Over/Under: 69.5
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Analysis For Our 2013 Fiesta Bowl Pick Below: The American Athletic Conference champion Central Florida Golden Knights will take on the Big 12 champion Baylor Bears in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona.

Baylor comes into Wednesday evenings contest at 11-1 and off a 30-10 victory over Texas. The Bears lead the nation in total offense, averaging 624.1 yards per game. Quarterback Bryce Pettyfiesta-bowl-picksleads a Baylor offense that is also 1st in the nation in scoring averaging 53.3 points per game. They are also well balanced with 359.3 yards through the air and 265.2 yards rushing per game. The only blemish on their record was a 49-17 loss at OklahomaState. That was the third game of a tough three game stretch against the likes of Oklahoma and Texas Tech. As impressive as their offense has been their defense has also played exceptionally well. The Baylor defense is ranked 17th in the country and total defense allowing 344 yards per game. The Bears can also get after the quarterback tallying 32 sacks on the year.

Central Florida has had a phenomenal season at 11-1 and is currently on an eight game win streak. They’ve won 11 games for the second consecutive season, and are making their first BCS bowl appearance. The only loss this year was a 28-25 loss to South Carolina. They have some impressive wins on their resume, at Louisville 38-35, and against Houston. They are lead by quarterback Blake Bortles, who won AAC offensive player of the year honors. Bortles is ninth in FBS in passing efficiency (163.3) and had 3280 yards passing and 22 touchdowns. He also does an exceptional job spreading the ball around, with four receivers totaling at least 36 receptions. Rannell Hall had 53 for a team-best 773 yards, while J.J. Worton added 42 for 665 and seven scores. The running game is led by Storm Johnson, a powerful runner that has rushed for 1015 yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Central Florida’s defense is ranked 19th in the FBS allowing 346.3 yards per game. Their run defense is exceptional, allowing 116.5 yards per game.

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Say what you want about Central Florida about being in a weaker conference, but they have been rather impressive this year. I like how they were also competitive against a very good South Carolina team. They’ve put some points up against great defenses as well, against Louisville they put up 38 points. Louisville has the 2nd ranked defense in the FBS. Baylor has been dominant but were blasted by OklahomaState, a team that was playing at a high level at the time. While Baylor’s offense is explosive, Central Florida can put up some points as well, and can stay within two touchdowns. I like Baylor to win this one, but I expect the Golden Knights to relish in the underdog role and give them a game.

2013 Central Florida vs Baylor Fiesta Bowl Picks: Central Florida +16.5 & Under 69
Central Florida Knights vs. Baylor Bears Game Prediction: Baylor 38 Central Florida 27

 

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