UAB (9-3) heads to Bacon Raton to take on Florida Atlantic (9-3) this Saturday. This is one of the few conference championship games where a team has home field advantage, which FAU is fortunate to have. UAB is 3-3 in road games this season, so this could be the deciding factor on Saturday. As of writing this, 75 percent of people are siding with Florida Atlantic as a 7.5-point favorite, and 54 percent of tickets are taking the under.
Date: Saturday, December 7, 2019
Time: 1:30 PM ET
Location: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Florida
Coverage: CBS Sports Network
The UAB offense has struggled to move the ball all season. They rank 85th in points per game, and 98th in success rate. The haven’t had much success this season, and will be at a disadvantage with their offensive line. However, they do have a slight edge in explosiveness. UAB has an explosive passing attack that they can use to push the ball downfield. Florida Atlantic’s defense ranks 76th in allowing explosive pass plays. This is where UAB is going to need to have success if they want a chance at pulling off the upset. However, FAU’s defense ranks in the top-40 in havoc created. If UAB can’t hold off pressure from their opposition, then they might not be able to complete the big passes down field. Starting quarterback Tyler Johnston is questionable for Saturday, but it might not matter with how poor the offense has looked.
The Blazers have one of the best defenses in the country ranking 12th in points per game, fifth in yards per play, and third in success rate. Also, they have one of the best defensive lines in the country and will be able to control the line of scrimmage. However, their one weakness is allowing explosive plays in which FAU thrives in. UAB ranks 93rd in explosive defense, and 122nd in allowing explosive runs. FAU does not have a consistent rushing attack, but they can knock off big runs at times. This could be an issue for the Blazers to defend if they aren’t able to limit their opponents drives on big plays. UAB should be able to limit the Florida Atlantic offense, but if explosive plays become an issue, it could be a log day.
Florida Atlantic Analysis
Lane Kiffin has the Owls back in the conference championship game for the second time in three years. Their offense hasn’t been the most consistent in 2019. They rank 84th in success rate, and 66th in yards per play. However, they average 33.4 points per game, which is good for 25th in the country. This is thanks to their ability to make explosive plays happen. The rank third in that category, and top-30 in both passing and rushing explosiveness. UAB has struggled defending those types of plays on defense, so this could be a huge advantage for the Owls if they can get them going. Also, FAU is at a disadvantage on the offensive line as UAB has one of the best front seven’s in the Conference USA, and rank third in the nation in havoc. This comes down to whether or not FAU can make the explosive plays happen.
Florida Atlantic’s defense is one of the best in the nation in defensive success rate coming in at 19th in the country. They have held teams to 19.1 points per game in conference, and should be able to handle a weaker UAB offense. First, UAB’s starting quarterback Tyler Johnston is questionable for the game on Saturday. If he isn’t able to go, they will be up against Dylan Hopkins who has attempted 78 passes and 40 completions. The Owl’s defense should overmatch their opponents offense regardless of who is at quarterback on Saturday. They have a significant edge in the trenches with having one of the best defensive lines in the conference, and rank eighth in rushing success allowed. This is going to make it difficult for UAB to control the tempo of the game.
Betting Pick: Under 50
Taking is under is a bit nerve-wracking as both teams struggle to limit explosive plays at times. However, with UAB’s starting quarterback questionable, this does make it more enticing. Also, UAB does have one of the best defenses in the country. Both teams should struggle to move the football given the circumstances. Even if the explosive plays come, there shouldn’t be much consistency in the offenses on Saturday. Also, if UAB’s Tyler Johnston is out, I would also lean Florida Atlantic -7.5-points. Getting stuck with the hook is not great, but FAU should do enough to win by more than a score.