Central Florida Golden Knights at Houston Cougars, Robertson Stadium, Houston, TX
Friday, November 5, 2010, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Central Florida -4 1/2
Current Line: Central Florida -1 1/2
Opening Total: 61 1/2
Current Total: 62
Money Line: UCF -130 / Houston +110
These two teams are leading their respective divisions in Conference USA and could meet again in the Conference USA championship game in a month. But they have to take care of business in the regular season before that happens. Houston is 5-3 with a 4-1 conference record while UCF is 6-2 with a 4-0 record in conference. Though both teams have their records by different styles. Houston has overcome the loss of quarterbacks Case Keenum and Cotton Turner and are down to third stringer David Piland and true freshman Terrance Broadway takes some snaps as well. The Cougars high powered offense hasn’t suffered as they still score 41 points a game. Central Florida is winning on the strength of their top ten nationally ranked defense. Houston has the best offense in the conference and UCF has the best defense in the conference. This is only the third time these conference rivals have ever met and the home team has won all three meetings. Not surprisingly in the offensive minded Conference USA, all games in the series have gone over the total. Houston has gone 10-2 ATS in the last three seasons at home, including 6-0 ATS at home against conference foes. UCF has also done well recently against the number going 15-4 in all games in the last two years. That includes a 10-2 record as a favorite, 8-0 on the road, 11-1 against conference foes, and 12-3 on grass.
UCF is coming off a 49-35 victory over East Carolina last week. Like Houston, East Carolina has a prolific passing offense. Even in their losses, the Knights had not given up more than 28 points to any opponent, and that was to ACC powerhouse North Carolina St. In fact only Kansas St scored more than 14 points against UCF, and the Wildcats won 17-13. It isn’t clear if the game against East Carolina was an aberration or if the Knights will return to the dominant defense that is only giving up less than 17 points a game and just 280 yards a game. The Knights don’t force many turnovers as they only have 10 for the season and they have forced 19 sacks. The Knights score 33 points a game and average 377 yards a game, including just under 200 yards a game on the ground. Running back Ronnie Weaver gets the bulk of the carries with 131 for the season. Weaver has 638 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. Though quarterback Jeffrey Godfrey and running back Latavius Murray have 5 rushing touchdowns each. Godfrey also has over 1,000 passing yards with 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Rob Calabrese also takes some snaps and has 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions for the season. UCF doesn’t throw the ball very often but they do the spread the ball around. Five Knight receivers have at least 10 catches.
Quarterback David Piland has been brilliant since replacing Keenum and Turner who are both gone for the season with injuries. He has thrown for 1,108 yards 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Terrence Broadway also takes some snaps and has 3 touchdown passes and an interception. Patrick Edwards, James Cleveland and Tyron Carrier catch most of the passes for the Cougars, but 7 players have at least one touchdown catch for the Cougars. The Cougars rush for just under 170 yards a game led by Bryce Beall and Michael Hayes take most of the carries. Beall has 113 carries and 12 touchdowns, while Hayes takes 93 carries and 8 touchdowns. Defensively, the Cougars give up 391 yards a game and 28 points a game. They are vulnerable against the run as they give up just under 195 yards a game. The Cougars have a turnover margin of -1.
Usually the consensus is good defense will beat good offense most of the time. Bettors must not feel that way in this game as the line has dropped from UCF -4 1/2 to UCF -1 1/2. One thing that people might want to keep an eye on is Central Florida’s struggles in the kicking game. they have only converted 4 out of 10 field goals this season. Houston needs this game more than Central Florida as the Cougars already have a conference loss and are tied with SMU for the west division lead. UCF is undefeated in conference and have a game lead over East Carolina. It should be a great game with a ton of points scored as most C-USA games are.
Maddux Sports doesn’t have a pick on this game but does have football picks on the Western Michigan/Central Michigan game. We have nailed our first 2 plays this week and will do so again tonight. Visit the college football sports picks page of the site to get signed up for these winners.