The Bulldogs and the Knights of Central Florida tee it up on New Years Eve in the only SEC vs Non BCS matchup of the bowl season.
When: Dec 31 3:30 PM
Line: UGA -6.5 (open -7)
Who Has The Better Team?
Georgia Offense Yards Per Point(YPP): 11.5
Central Florida Offense YPP: 11.4
Both teams have very good offenses (not sure why Georgia fans are so upset at Mike Bobo) that are very efficient on offense. The Bulldogs do it primarily through the air while UCF does it more so on the ground. I like yards per point because of the efficiency it captures on each side of the ball. Yards per play is good too, but doesn't take points scored/allowed into account.
Georgia Defense YPP: 14.6
UCF Defense YPP: 17.2
The Bulldogs much maligned defense has had a lot of trouble stopping offenses when they don't generate a turnover. UCF's defense looks good on paper, but there is a reason why (see below)
UGA Sagarin Rating: 36 with the 35th ranked strength of schedule
UCF Sagarin Rating: 49 with the 108th ranked strength of schedule
I thought the Knights schedule would be bad, but 108th is really bad. Hard to make any statistical comparisons when UCF has only played one or two teams that could compete in the SEC.
Which Coach Will Have His Team Better Prepared?
Mark Richt is 7-2 in bowl games and has been favored in seven of his last eight. The bowl record is one reason why UGA fans usually have high hopes the following season because it is much easier to when the last time you saw your team they were winning.
George O'Leary is just 2-5 and 0-3 at UCF in bowls. O'Leary matched up against the Bulldogs eight times when he was at Georgia Tech winning three. He squared off against Richt just once though in 2001 losing 31-17.
Which Team Will Be More Motivated?
The SEC has 10 bowl tie-ins and the Liberty Bowl is the only one that does not face a BCS opponent. I don't think the UGA players really respect UCF and the Knights players haven't forgotten that they were overlooked by the SEC.
Edge: Central Florida
As motivated as UCF will be I do not think it is enough to overcome the huge talent advantage UGA has. Central Florida does not have one player that Georgia offered a scholarship too. Couple that with Mark Richt's excellent bowl record and I think the Bulldogs win going away. So much so that I give Georgia my highest confidence rank.
Georgia 35 Central Florida 24