2014 Miami Beach Bowl Preview

December 21, 2014

After a wild first day of Bowl Mania, we get a bit of a breather before the next day featuring multiple games.

Not surprisingly, I ended the first day of the bowl season mired in mediocrity. At 3-2 overall and tied for fourth in the Von Hugendong group, it would appear that I had a pretty good day. But all of my games had confidence picks between 11 and 16, so any game that I lost yesterday could be considered important in comparison. That being said, I have burned more points than anyone else in the group besides my dad, who leads the group by 25 points.

On Monday we get just one game to watch, so let’s take a look at the preview for the December 23rd contest.

Miami Beach Bowl

BYU vs. Memphis (Monday, 2 PM ET – ESPN)

It seems odd that a bowl game without a title sponsor would opt for a 2 PM start time on a non-holiday, but that is the case with the inaugural edition of the Miami Beach Bowl. The Memphis Tigers return to the postseason for the first time since 2008 while the BYU Cougars are back in a bowl game for the 10th consecutive season. One team’s winning streak will come to an end at Marlins Park tomorrow afternoon as the Cougars are riding a four game winning streak while the Tigers boast a six game streak.

The turnaround by the Tigers this season compared to the 2013 campaign has been tremendous. Solid on both sides of the football, Memphis has improved the most on the offensive end where the running game reigns supreme. Senior back Brandon Hayes leads the charge as a traditional rusher, but sophomore quarterback Paxton Lynch has also been important to the attack. With 10 touchdowns on the ground and 28 total this season, Lynch is the most dynamic football player coming into this game. BYU is the No. 14 run defense in the country, however, so gaining yards against the Cougars will not be easy. Lynch is likely to have more success through the air, where BYU has struggled stopping the opposition this season.

As a traditional passing quarterback, BYU’s Christian Stewart does not scare opposing defenses nearly as much as Taysom Hill did. However, Stewart has played well in Hill’s absence with a season ending leg injury. He has had half a year to gel with his offense and BYU has been playing well in the second half of Stewart’s campaign. Memphis hasn’t played a team with a winning record since mid-October, a loss to 7-5 Houston. If BYU can get out to an early lead, some self-doubt could begin to creep in for the Tigers. But I think this one will be close throughout, which is why I have the AAC co-champions in a tight one for 18 points in Bowl Mania.

My Pick: 34-30 Memphis

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. You can also like Around The Corn’s Facebook pageor send me a tweet @KBecks_ATC. As long as you send your thoughts at least two days 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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