AAC Championship Game Prediction
Will the Memphis Tigers gain some measure of revenge against the UCF Knights when the rivals clash yet again in the AAC Conference Championship Game at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday? The Tigers will face a Knights team that lost starting quarterback McKenzie Milton for the season.
309 Memphis Tigers at 310 UCF Knights
3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, December 1, 2018
Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Public Betting Trends
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetNow.eu, the Knights are 3-point favorites to beat the Tigers. The total, meanwhile, sits at 64.5 points. As of this writing, 61% of the public betting tickets wagered on this matchup are on the Knights.
Memphis junior RB Darrell Henderson gobbled up 178 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries in Friday's 52-31 victory against Houston to set the AAC all-time single-season rushing yardage mark. Henderson moved past James Flanders of Tulsa (1,629 yards - 2016) for the top spot all-time in conference history. He also was instrumental in helping the team push a side a pesky Cougars team to secure a spot in the AAC Championship Game against UCF, a rematch of last season's entertaining game. Henderson will enter that game with 1,699 yards and 19 rushing scores on the season. The Mississippi native rolled up 199 yards and a touchdown vs. UCF back on Oct. 13.
UCF junior QB McKenzie Milton (knee), who has been ruled out for the season, may also miss time in 2019. Milton suffered what has been described as a "catastrophic" knee injury in Friday's win over rival USF. He was carted off the field and rushed to a nearby Tampa hospital for emergency knee surgery. Milton's family has not confirmed reports that he suffered a dislocated knee and required arterial repair to regain normal blood flow in his leg. Heupel declined to directly respond when asked if Milton would play again next season. "We won't get into that here at this point," Heupel said. "The family will release information when they want to, just as far as the medical updates with the type of injury it is." Darriel Mack will start for UCF at quarterback in the AAC championship game against Memphis on Saturday in Orlando.
The Tigers are a perfect 4-0 against the spread in their last four games overall and are 15-5-1 against the number in their last 21 conference games.
The Knights covered the spread in five of their previous six home games, are 4-1 against the number in their last five conference games and are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games against an opponent with a winning record.
A team doesn’t hold the nation’s longest winning streak at 20 games without being resilient. UCF will rally around fill-in starter Darriel Mack in the absence of Milton and if they do win today, there’s still an outside chance the Knights could punch their ticket in the college football playoff. That said, it feels like it’s Memphis’ time (or better yet, UCF’s time). The last two meetings between these two teams were decided by a total of eight points and Memphis had UCF on the ropes before collapsing in the fourth quarter earlier this year.
Mack isn’t the passer that Milton is and he won’t benefit this week from facing a South Florida defense that is No. 122 in rush defense. Memphis is 54th in the nation, holding four straight opponents to less than 3.7 yards per carry. The Tigers will also present all kinds of problems for UCF’s rush defense.
After a spirited back-and-forth for three quarters last week, Memphis eventually pulled away from Houston, clearly looking like the better team. This Tigers team is highly motivated and now that they’re getting another shot against the Knights, I don’t think Memphis misses this time around.
AAC Championship Game Prediction: Memphis Tigers +3