Boca Raton Bowl prediction roundtable with the Campus Insiders staff. Breaking down what will happen between Memphis and Western Kentucky.
Sneakily, this might be one of the better games during Bowl Season – both Memphis and Western Kentucky are very good teams. They also score points in droves. The Vegas consensus over/under is 80, which given the offenses (and relatively porous defenses) feels strangely low. I don’t trust teams who have gone through coaching turnover prior to a bowl game. What little focus still residing at season’s end tends to go out the window the same moment the head coach is behind a podium for his new employer. Memphis wins, based mostly on account of Mike Norvell keeping his players invested (that and the fact that Western Kentucky’s pass defense can’t stop a leaky faucet).
We could be gearing up for a high-scoring affair right here. Both Riley Ferguson and Mike White can sling the rock. Ferguson is going to hook up with Anthony Miller for a couple of touchdowns. Taywan Taylor and Nicholas Norris will be catching dimes from White all day, too. But when it’s all said and done, Western Kentucky is going to come out with the win because Anthony Wales will be the difference maker. He’ll rush for more than 100 yards and two touchdowns to give the Hilltoppers the victory.
I would be stunned if this doesn’t end up being a high-scoring, one-possession game deep into the fourth quarter. Western Kentucky has the better offense, but the Hilltoppers have a very giving pass defense. We also have WKU going through a head-coaching change, as interim coach Nick Holt is running the show with Jeff Brohm leaving for the Purdue opening. Former Notre Dame OC/QBs coach Mike Sanford won’t take over until after the bowl game, so motivation is always a concern for a team in this position. WKU was second in the nation in scoring at 45.1 points per game, and the Tigers’ defense isn’t exactly overwhelming. Riley Ferguson, Anthony Miller and the Memphis offense will make some big plays against a WKU defense that was 110th in the nation against the pass, but the Hilltoppers will play hard for Holt and sneak out with a victory over the AAC squad.
Bowling Green, Kenticky gave us the Corvette, while Memphis gave the world blues and Justin Timberlake. Memphis wins this battle, as my mother had a Corvette that was a horror to ride in when I was in middle school. I despised that car.
As far as the game, a high-scoring affair will ultimately be won by the Tigers combination of quarterback Riley Ferguson and wide receiver Anthony Miller. The absence of head coach Jeff Brohm will be too much for the Hilltoppers to overcome.