2017 Bahamas Bowl Picks – UAB vs. Ohio

UAB didn’t even have a football team last year at this time, but the Blazers reassembled their program and have put together their best season in team history. The only way for this year to be capped off would be with an early Christmas gift in the form of a victory in the Bahamas Bowl against the Ohio Bobcats.

Ohio Bowl History

It’s hard to believe that Frank Solich has been coaching at Ohio for 13 seasons now. He’s taken the Bobcats to bowl games in eight of his last nine seasons, but he hasn’t exactly had postseason success.

Sure, the Bobcats won the 2011 Potato Bowl and the 2012 Independence Bowl, but aside from that, there aren’t any trophies sitting in Ohio’s locker room. The team was beaten in the Dollar General Bowl last season and the Camellia Bowl the year prior.

A win in the Bahamas Bowl would give Ohio its first nine-win season since 2012.

UAB Bowl History

The Blazers felt like they were around for a long time before shuttering their football program after the 2014 season. That said, they only started playing big boy college football in 1996 and reached just one bowl game in that span, the 2004 Hawaii Bowl.

The Blazers were beaten in that game by Hawaii 59-40, and they’re hoping their trip to Nassau will go a lot better for them.

UAB is already guaranteed of its best season in team history with eight wins.

Why Ohio Will Win the Bahamas Bowl

Theoretically, the Bobcats should have a big talent advantage here. Even though A.J. Ouellette isn’t expected to play in the Bahamas Bowl, Nathan Rourke is good to go. He is a fantastic runner, amassing 877 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground. He also threw for 2,031 yards and 15 scores.

Dorian Brown, Ouellette’s main replacement, averaged 6.1 yards per carry this year, and he’s capable of busting some humongous plays without notice.

Ohio also sports the No. 10 rush defense in America. Considering the fact that the MAC is a run-happy conference with all of its mobile quarterbacks, that’s a huge accomplishment.

Why UAB Will Win the Bahamas Bowl

Motivation certainly isn’t going to be a question for the Blazers, and that tends to mean a lot in the bowl season.

Darious Williams is one of the top corners in Conference USA with five interceptions—not bad for a man who wasn’t even playing JUCO football when he enrolled at UAB to play football after hearing the team was bringing its program back.

Freshman tailback Spencer Brown had a fantastic start to the season, amassing 1,177 yards in his first 10 games of the year. He tailed off a bit at the end of the campaign, but after touching the ball 207 times in his first 10 games, a slip was inevitable. With almost four full weeks off, Brown should be ready to roll once again and should be expected to average beyond his 5.5 yards per carry in this game.

Bahamas Bowl Prediction

UAB is definitely a live underdog in this game. The Blazers are going to be high as kites for the Bahamas Bowl, and there’s little reason to believe they won’t successfully move the ball against the Ohio defense.

The Bobcats are really going to miss Ouellette and what he brings to the table as a primary ball carrier.

Ohio slipped in its last two games of the regular season, and it was a heavy favorite in both contests against Akron and Buffalo. Even after an eight-win campaign, a third straight loss in the Bahamas Bowl could leave a sour taste in the mouth of the Bobcats going into the offseason.

Bahamas Bowl Pick: UAB 41, Ohio 31

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