AAC Championship Game Picks: Memphis vs. UCF
Memphis Tigers (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. No. 9 UCF Knights (11-0 SU, 8-3 ATS)
NCAA Football Week 14
Date/Time: Saturday December 1st, 2018. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Spectrum Stadium Orlando, F.L.
Point Spread:MEM +5/UCF -5
Over/Under Total: TBA
Championship weekend has arrived in college football and one of the most popular non-Power 5 teams in the country will have a chance to keep their undefeated record intact when the no. 9 UCF Knights host the Memphis Tigers in the AAC Championship Game. The Knights became one of the most popular non-Power 5 teams after last year’s undefeated season and there self-proclaimed National Championship. While many considered it a joke, the Knights have backed up their 2017 season with another flawless season and the nation’s longest winning streak at 24 games. The Knights beat Memphis earlier this year in a 31-30 thriller and while we expect another exciting match-up; the Knights will have to find a way to win without quarterback McKenzie Milton.
UCF turns to QB Darriel Mack Jr in AAC Championship Game
Last week UCF capped off their 2nd straight undefeated campaign with a 38-10 victory over South Florida. However, the win probably felt like a loss in hindsight due to the fact starting quarterback McKenzie Milton suffered a gruesome knee injury that not only ended his season but may have put his career in jeopardy. As a result, the Knights lose their star quarterback that has led them to 24 straight victories and will have to turn to backup Darriel Mack Jr in the AAC Championship Game. Mack had minimal game time experience and completed just 5 of 14 passes in relief efforts last week. Therefore, there is definitely some concern moving forward for the Knights as they attempt to keep the nation’s longest winning streak alive.
Memphis peaking ahead of AAC Championship Game
Last week Memphis scored a 52-31 victory over Houston to secure their bid to the AAC Championship Game. For the Tigers, it was their 4th straight win and 4th straight victory by double-digit points. Since the back to back losses to UCF and Missouri, Memphis has played extremely well, and they are loaded on the offensive side of the football. The Tigers have many playmakers to help keep pace with UCF’s dynamic offense. Quarterback Brady White is a high percentage passer with 25 touchdowns and just 7 picks. WR Damonte Coxie has emerged as the go-to receiver in the passing game with more than 1,000 receiving yards with 7 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Memphis has the best backfield in the AAC and one of the best backfields in the entire nation. Running backs Darrell Henderson and Patrick Taylor Jr have combined for nearly 2,600 yards on the ground with 33 combined touchdowns. Henderson actually ranks 2nd in the FBS, behind only Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, with 1,699 rushing yards from scrimmage. Needless to say, Memphis has the weapons to attack this tough UCF defense as they proved in the first meeting this season. In that first meeting, Henderson rushed for 199 yards and helped the Tigers get a fast start where they led 30-17 at halftime. If Memphis finds a way to get another fast start, it could put a lot of pressure on the UCF offense with backup Darriel Mack Jr under center.
Memphis vs. UCF betting trends
Memphis has lost 5 straight against UCF and is just 2-4 ATS in their last 6 road games. However, if you talk about that recent momentum that I mentioned earlier, the Tigers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games. Meanwhile, UCF is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games at home. The Knights have also covered the mark 5 straight times against the Tigers at home.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I am not convinced in UCF’s quarterback situation, and I believe Memphis is playing extremely well. The Tigers had the Knights beat in the first meeting and let it slip away. They will not let it happen this time around. Take Memphis +5