By: Marcus “Mook” Washington
The difficulty of predicting bowl games ATS is you never know how motivated the teams are coming into the lesser bowl games so I’ll take a 3-2 ATS record after the first day.
There is only one game today so let’s see if the momentum can continue.
Western Kentucky (11-2, Conference USA) vs South Florida (8-4, AAC)
Miami Beach Bowl
The Hilltoppers will be facing their former coach, Willie Taggert (WKU coach 2010-2012) in the Miami Beach Bowl. Taggert took over a team that had lost 20 games in a row and eventually posted back to back winning seasons along with the school’s first bowl appearance.
Western Kentucky is currently being led by for Former Louisville QB, Jeff Brohm. Coach Brohm has moved away from the ground and pound attack Taggert used to an open passing offense that resembles what he liked to do when he was the Cardinals’ QB.
Quarterback Brandon Doughty led the nation with 45 touchdown passing but could be without tight end Tyler Higbee (left knee) but that won’t leave Doughty without his share of weapons. Wide Receiver Taywan Taylor led the team with 79 receptions and 17 touchdowns with Jared Dangerfield not being for behind having grabbed 76 receptions, 7 going for touchdowns.
When the Hilltoppers do decide to run, they lean on both Anthony Wales and D’Andre Ferby. Neither one rushed for 1,000 yards but they combined for 1,590 yards and 18 touchdowns.
The Bulls come in having won 7 of their last 8 including a 4 game winning streak that has landed them in the Miami Beach Bowl. In their last 3 games, they’ve won by an average margin of 33.3 points.
Just like when he was coach at Western Kentucky, Taggert has put together a strong rushing attack led by running back Marlon Mack and quarterback Quinton Flowers. During their current 4 game winning streak, the Bulls have averaged 301 yards rushing a game and they’ll need something in that neighborhood to keep a strong Hilltoppers’ offense off the field.
Prediction: Western Kentucky -3
When it comes down to it, the Hilltoppers (7-6 ATS) dynamic passing offense will do enough to clear -3. Expect this to be a high scoring game so if you’re not comfortable with the line look at Over/Under 67.
You can follow me on Twitter at @mtcwithmook