Today the 2014 NCAA College Football bowl match ups were announced and the University of Central Florida Knights (9 wins, 3 losses) will be facing the North Carolina State Wolfpack (7 wins, 5 losses) in the Bitcoin St Petersburg bowl. The St Petersburg bowl which presently carries the Bitcoin name was born in 2008 as the magicJack bowl, before serving as the Beef 'O' Brady's bowl from 2009 to 2013. The game will begin at 8:00 pm Eastern time December 26th at Tropicana field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team and air on ESPN. Let's take a look at the teams:
University of Central Florida
Wins – Bethune-Cookman (41-7), Houston (17-12), Brigham Young University (31-24, overtime), Tulane (20-13), Temple (34-14), Tulsa (31-7), Southern Methodist (53-7), South Florida (16-0), East Carolina (32-30)
Losses – Penn State (26-24), Missouri (38-10), Connecticut (37-29)
After winning the American Athletic Conference championship outright in 2013, this year UCF has a share of the conference championship along with Cinncinati and Memphis. This gives UCF at least a portion of the conference championship in both years of the conference's history. The team's only conference loss this year came against a two win University of Connecticut team, while one of their wins outside of their conference came against Bethune-Cookman which as an FCS team is normally part of a different, lower tier of competition. The other non-conference win came against Brigham Young University which as an Independent team unbound to any conference is essentially Notre Dame, but Mormon instead of Catholic.
University of Central Florida has appeared in this bowl in 2009 and 2012.
North Carolina State
Wins – Ga. Southern (24-23), Old Dominion (46-34), South Florida (49-17), Presbyterian (42-0), Syracuse (24-7), Wake Forest (42-13), North Carolina (35-7)
Losses – Florida State (56-41), Clemson (41-0), Boston College (30-14), Louisville (30-18), Georgia Tech (56-23)
After winning four games in a row, North Carolina State shat the bed as soon as conference play began. North Carolina State however did manage to win three out of their last four conference games in Atlantic Coast Conference play, which is an improvement over last year where the Wolfpack went without any wins at all in conference play. Also to North Carolina State's credit they generally lost to good teams who are going to bowls with higher priority to pick teams from the ACC.
North Carolina State finished fifth in the Atlantic division of the ACC ahead of Wake Forest and Syracuse. ESPN's power ranking of ACC teams place them ninth in the conference as a whole.
Points for Comparison
- Both teams played and defeated South Florida. Whether UCF's 16 point shutout was a better win than the Wolfpack's 49-17 drubbing of South Florida is debatable. Less controversial is that South Florida is not a very good team and can find any number of ways to lose.
- UCF's American Athletic Conference places a much higher value on this game as they are being represented by a co-champion of their conference while the Atlantic Coast Conference is one of their least competitive teams that achieved bowl eligibility. The potential for conference wide embarrassment if UCF loses is palpable.