In general, Group of Five programs aren’t respected all that much nationally across college football. However, they have eight postseason wins against Power Five teams since the start of the BCS.
The UCF Knights are one of the programs that have a victory against an elite team four years ago when they beat Baylor. Now, the Knights are going to have a second shot at making history when they play against the Auburn Tigers in the Peach Bowl.
Auburn Bowl History
Gus Malzahn has brought Auburn to a bowl game in each of his five years in charge of the Tigers. War Eagle, though, only has one victory thus far in four tries.
The Tigers’ National Championship against Oregon from 2010 feels like forever ago. That was the last time that Auburn won a big-time bowl game. Since that point, the Tigers have been beaten in the BCS Championship Game by Florida State and were beaten in last year’s Sugar Bowl by Oklahoma.
UCF Bowl History
UCF’s last bowl win was actually its Fiesta Bowl triumph over Baylor. The Knights have reached the postseason in two of their last three campaigns, losing in the St. Petersburg Bowl in 2014 and in last year’s Cure Bowl.
UCF has never won 13 games in a season in team history. This would be a first and would also let the Knights finish the year as the only undefeated team in America.
Why Auburn Will Win the Peach Bowl
There’s no doubt that the Tigers have the more talented team in this game. They have one of the very best defensive lines in America, and their offense features a ton of explosiveness.
Kerryon Johnson was dealing with two shoulder issues in the SEC Championship Game. He only ran the ball 13 times for 44 yards against Georgia in the biggest game of Auburn’s season. Not surprisingly, with Johnson struggling, the Tigers didn’t stand a chance against the SEC champs. With Johnson having a month off, he should be in much better shape.
Why UCF Will Win the Peach Bowl
If emotions count for anything in the bowl season, UCF is going to be in great shape. Scott Frost is on his way out the door, going back to his alma mater at Nebraska. However, he’s staying in Orlando for one more game, and that could be a huge boost to the squad.
It’s hard to gauge just how good the Knights really are. The AAC might turn out to be a lousy conference, and this game might end up being a laugher. However, if UCF’s fast-paced offense can get going, the Tigers might not quite know what hit them. They haven’t played against an offense anywhere near as quick as this UCF offense this year, and that might end up playing into the hands of the underdogs.
Peach Bowl Prediction
History is surprisingly on the side of the Knights. These Group of Five teams have won seven times against Power Five conference squads in the history of the BCS/New Year’s Six.
For as much as Frost has said all of the right things to be committed to this game, we aren’t so sure. Nebraska has to be his primary concern at this point, and with as competitive as recruiting has gotten over the years, it’s impossible to be out on the road getting kids to come to Lincoln while getting ready to coach an overmatched team in the biggest game of its history.
We think there’s a good chance UCF gets its doors blown off in this one.
Peach Bowl Pick: Auburn 55, UCF 17
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