2013 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl Preview

December 23, 2013

From the perspective of someone looking for exciting football, bowl season started off great. We had a crazy finish in New Mexico and a thriller in New Orleans that came down to a missed field goal to decide the game in the final seconds.

From the perspective of someone trying to win his Bowl Mania group (well, from my perspective), bowl season could have started a bit more smoothly.

I’m sitting at 1-3 currently, still wondering how I managed to lose 8 points on Washington State. The Tulane loss was acceptable; the Green Wave gave it a hell of a run. But Mike Leach may have lost his swashbuckling privileges after his team literally fumbled the New Mexico Bowl away.

Oh well. We’re on to the new week. There’s only one bowl game being played today, and oddly enough it’s a Monday afternoon battle so that it doesn’t conflict with Monday Night Football.

Here is the preview for the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg (Monday, 2 PM ET – ESPN)

East Carolina vs. Ohio

Normally a team from a generally chilly state during the winter such as Ohio would be thrilled to be bowling in Florida, right? Most definitely, unless the team draws the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl. This game manages to shut off all the natural Florida sunlight by staging itself in the domed monstrosity that is Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. On the bright (naturally or artificial, I’m not quite sure) side, the controlled climate provides the perfect atmosphere for an offensive shootout, which this game should be.

First we’ll take a look at the stronger of the two passing attacks. East Carolina has been lighting it up through the air this year, leading Conference USA by a wide margin racking up an average of 331.5 passing yards per contest. Naturally, the player to watch for the Pirates in this game will be quarterback Shane Carden, who will more than likely eclipse the 4,000 yard barrier for passing yards on the season. Carden’s favorite receiver by far is junior Justin Hardy, who has amassed an impressive 105 receptions on the year. Going up against an Ohio defense that has been banged up for a good portion of the season, expect Carden to Hardy to be a regular occurrence that should produce a lot of points.

Ohio isn’t too shabby in the passing game either, averaging 238.5 yards through the air. But Ohio has a dual threat weapon in senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton, and Coach Frank Solich is definitely going to use that to his advantage. Tettleton has the ability to buy enough time for his receivers to get open, and that is bad news for an East Carolina defense that is just plain bad against the pass. If Tettleton can avoid a pass rush that has accounted for 35 sacks on the year, the Bobcats have the ability to carve up the Pirates defense and hang around in what should be a high scoring affair.

I’m not quite sure why the Bobcats are a 14.5 point underdog in this game. East Carolina’s high-powered offense is nice, but it’s hard to discount the fact that Ohio will also have a good chance at tearing apart the opposing defense in this one. Plus, Coach Solich will have his team ready to play in this game, and motivation is half the battle in the postseason. I have East Carolina for a fairly confident 19 points, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Pirates don’t quite cover the spread. This one will stay interesting for four quarters.

My Pick: 45-35 East Carolina

If you’d like to share your opinion on Around The Corn for any of the upcoming bowls, shoot me an email with your thoughts and prediction to kbecks@aroundthecorn.com. Or you can like Around The Corn’s Facebook page or send me a tweet @KBecks_ATC. As long as you send your thoughts at least two games before the game is to be played, I can assure you that your thoughts will show up in an article.

– K. Becks

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