The PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, which has the #8 UCF Knights (12-0, 1st AAC – East) playing the #11 LSU Tigers (9-3, 2nd SEC – West), will kick off at 1 pm ET. This is the second of five bowl games being played today. The third contest, the VRBO Citrus Bowl, also starts at 1 pm ET. Our Fiesta Bowl free pick odds offer the LSU Tigers at -7.5. The totals are listed at either 57.5 or 58.0.
The Tigers started their season with five straight wins, including victories over #8 Miami and #7 Auburn. They then played four nationally-ranked teams in a row, beating #2 Georgia and #22 MSU and losing to #22 Florida and #1 Alabama. They ended the season going 2-1 over their final three games, including a final game 74-72 OT loss to #22 Texas A&M. Although UCF posted a perfect season, they did not have half the schedule of LSU. They did meet and beat one nationally-ranked team. That was #24 Cincinnati who they beat 38-13.
LSU – Analysis
Our Fiesta Bowl free pick notes that the LSU offense, which averaged 31.8 PPG, offers a solid rush attack (174.7 YPG) and a passing game (214.7 YPG) utilized to support their runners. The Tigers held opponents to 20.9 PPG, allowing 139.2 YPG in rushing and 206.9 YPG in passing.
LSU certainly likes to run. They have three players with over 100 rush attempts. Together, those players have accumulated over 1,900 yards and scored a total of 28 TDs. Top RB Nick Brossette leads the way with 14 TDs and 922 yards while averaging 4.4 YPA. Junior QB Joe Burrow, with 119 carries for 375 yards and seven scores, is a dual threat. He passed for 2,500 yards and 12 TDs while completing 57.4% of his passes.
UCF – Analysis
The Knights scored 44.2 PPG and gave up 21.3 PPG. Our Fiesta Bowl free pick observes that this team’s offense could crank out the yards, as they averaged 545.4 YPG. That included 276.5 YPG in rushing and 268.9 in passing. Their defense had trouble stopping the rush, as UCF allowed 227.4 YPG on the ground. They also allowed opponents 196.2 air yards.
The UCF offensive weapons include junior QB McKenzie Milton (59.2 COMP%, 25 TDs, 6 INTs) and sophomore RB Greg McCrae (123 ATT, 1,101 YDs, 9 TDs). Milton accumulated over 2,500 yards in passing this season while McCrae averaged 9.0 YPA. Three receivers come to this game with 40 or more receptions each. The top pass catcher is sophomore WR Gabriel Davis (50 REC, 756 YDs, 6 TDs). He averaged 15.1 YPC.
Five Keys to the Game
- LSU played premium season and performed well
- UCF team faces biggest challenge today
- Tigers possess excellent secondary
- Knights D has solid turnover potential
- LSU option could be difference maker
Our Fiesta Bowl Free Pick
With two explosive offenses and two defenses that are better-than-average, we expect scoring and like the over at 57.5. Our Fiesta Bowl free pick also likes the Tigers. We do think they will beat the Knights by more than seven points. Our pick is LSU at -7.5. There are three more games today with the final one being the Allstate Sugar Bowl between Texas and UGA at 8:45 pm ET. To link to all of our bowl picks please click right on this link