Bowl Picks: 2016 Cure Bowl
[lead align=”default”]The first big day of bowl games rolls on down in Orlando on Saturday afternoon with the 2016 Cure Bowl.[/lead]
This contest features two teams that truly had to fight to get where they are. First, the Arkansas State Red Wolves were at one point one of the worst teams in the nation. They began the 2016 season at 0-4, but starting with a one-point win over Georgia Southern, the team from Jonesboro went on a roll. In fact, after the Central Arkansas loss on September 24, the Red Wolves only lost one of their final eight games. This got them a Sun Belt co-championship.
As for Central Florida, few teams had the deck stacked against them as much as the Knights. Last year, this was an 0-12 team with an interim coach. Now, they’re 6-6 and in a bowl game, looking to pick up a nice cash payout.
UCF was the team that turned things around big from one season to the next. Arkansas State was the team that turned things around big within the same season. Whose momentum is greater this time?
2016 Cure Bowl: Team Backgrounds
Arkansas State Red Wolves
Sun Belt Conference co-champions
7-5 (7-1 Sun Belt)
7th bowl appearance in school history (2-4)
Best win: at Troy, 35-3 on November 17
Worst loss: vs. Central Arkansas, 28-23 on September 24
One stat: DL Chris Odom leads the Sun Belt in sacks with 12.5
Central Florida Knights
American Athletic Conference
6-6 (4-4 AAC)
8th bowl appearance in school history (3-4)
Best win: vs. Tulane, 37-6 on November 5
Worst loss: at Michigan, 51-14 on September 10
One stat: Best team in the AAC at stopping teams on third down (29.9%)
2016 Cure Bowl: The Edge
UCF’s quality of victories this year isn’t that good, but their defeats aren’t that bad, either. For the most part, they lost to legitimate (or at least decent) teams. On the other side of the field, you have a team that’s red hot named the Red Wolves.
It’s hard to go against momentum, even though it’s been a couple weeks since either team last played. Nevertheless, UCF is the six-point favorite here. This doesn’t have the feel of a game where the Knights are that much better than the team they’re facing, though two things: one, the American is a better conference, and two, Arkansas State stunk outside of conference.
Here, you either go with the hotter team or the one from the better league.
2016 Cure Bowl: Pick
[header text=”Through Week 14 ATS” subtext=”37-45-1″]
[alert heading=”Arkansas State vs. Central Florida (-6)” type=”alert-info” block=”false” close=”false”]Arkansas State +6[/alert]