7-5 (6-2), 2nd Conference USA - East
7-5 (6-1), 1st Sun Belt
December 20th 8:00PM EST ESPN2
Florida Atlantic pulled a bit of a shocker and beat Troy to win the Sun Belt Conference title this year. Howard Schnellenberger has built this Owls team up for scratch and made them bowl eligible in 9 years. Memphis comes into the bowl game riding a three game winning streak, but did not play a team the entire season that was ranked in the Top 25.
The Tigers have a passing offense that is ranked 12th in the country, led by quarterback Martin Hankins who has thrown for almost 3000 yards with 22 touchdowns. Hankins has some big receivers to throw the ball to, which present match up problems for most of the teams in the NCAA. Their rushing offense would rank below average with Joseph Doss and his 715 yards for the year leading the way. Memphis struggles on defense against the run giving up over 209 yards per game and almost 440 yards total.
Florida Atlantic is almost as potent passing the ball as the Tigers are ranking 19th in passing and 83rd rushing the ball. Rusty Smith is the Owls quarterback and he has tallied over 3300 yards in the air with 27 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions. Their running back, Charles Pierre, has similar numbers to his counterpart on the Tigers team. Defensively the Owls are 74th against the pass but have the highest turnover margin in the country. Since these two teams are so close in stature, turnovers could become a key part of this game.
I think this has the potential to be a really good game. Memphis has slightly better stats on the offense and defensive team stats, but I think Florida Atlantic has played much better competition since the Owls have played four teams in bowl games to Memphis' two. Florida Atlantic defense is going to come up with a key turnover which will turn the tide in this game. Although, I don't expect this one to get out of hand either way. Florida Atlantic 28 Memphis 24
Picking Memphis to Win
MizzouRAH, Corn Nation, Sportsbone TV, Bastard Sons of Pinfall Marks, Rizzo Sports, ITB Ron Juckett, The Enlightened Spartan, Sunny Verma, Jason Stiver, Rodney Polston, Richard Dixon, Cyril Tircuit, Pete Boivin, Mrs Corn Nation, Logan Jaffe, Brant Chruscial, Timmy B
Picking Florida Atlantic to Win
ITB Brian Sakowski, Kansas Football-It's Business Time, The LSC Scoop, Football Frontier, MidWest Coast Bias, Pitch Right, Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, ITB Charlie Swager, Jeff Brancolini, Lou Nemec, Lorena the Dodgerchick, Dan Schoonover, Greg Gowins, Brian Isaacson