December 26 College Bowl Picks: Heart of Dallas, Quick Lane, and St. Petersburg

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Oct 18, 2014; Louisville, KY, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren watches from the sideline during the second half of play against the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John

December 26 College Bowl Picks: St. Petersburg Bowl

NC State vs. UCF (-2) | St. Petersburg, FL | 8pm ET (ESPN)

NC State heads to Florida to face the Knights in the St. Petersburg Bowl, and the Wolfpack are very pleased to be in a bowl — any bowl.

One would hope they do not take it for granted. NC State started the year with a 4-0 record, owed greatly to the fact that they played nobody decent and looked meh doing it. Then they lost four in a row, including a thumping by Boston College, and appeared to be in a state of collapse. They would go on to win three of their last four to make a bowl at 7-5.

Meanwhile, UCF, coached by Phil Donahue minus the glasses, has had one of the best defensive performances by any team this year. (Yes, yes, look at the rest of their conference.) Beating ECU was big for the Knights as it showed they could slow down a hot offense and ride to victory. Their only inexplicable loss was UConn, a horrible team and program.

Jacoby Brissett has had a nice year for NC State with 22 touchdowns, the his team’s offense is occasionally capable of competence, but all over the board, the Pack have been average. Yet, the better defenses NC State has faced have shut them down, except for that one inexplicable game against Florida State. Clemson shut them out, Boston College held them to 14, Louisville held them to 18, and even a more average Georgia Tech defense kept them at 23.

Nobody should live under the delusion that UCF’s defense is as good as Clemson’s or Louisville’s in reality, but it has been effective. Most teams do not move the football against the Knights, and with the Pack being average as they are, it could be a tough afternoon,

Put your Bitcoins on Central Florida.

UCF -2