2022 Military Bowl – UCF vs Duke

2022 Military Bowl – UCF vs Duke

posted December 23

The Game

If you’re looking for some sweet Power 5 vs Group of 5 action you’ve come to the right place, yo. The Blue Devils we’re one of more pleasant surprises of the regular season and they’ve booked eight wins for the first time since 2015 under first year HC Mike Elko. The Knights fell to Tulane in the AAC title game, and while winning nine games is nothing to sneeze at, they probably can’t help but be a wee bit disappointed after coming that close to winning all the AAC marbles.

Let’s goooooo !

The Details

Duke -3 UCF (62.5)


“Vegas” Implied Projected Score: Duke 32.75 UCF 29.75

Duke offense vs UCF defense

Riley Leonard has done a really good job in his first year as the starting QB and he’s been successful with his arm (64%, 20-6 TD to INT) and his legs (#1 rusher, 636, 11 TD). They’ve got a deep set of WRs and J Calhoun is a legit #1 threat (811, 14.5, 4 TD). The Blue Devils average 5.0 YPC as a team (28 rushing TDs) and have three doods at RB with 400+ rushing yards. That’s gonna be problematic for a UCF defense that’s been very weak vs the run (#78 FBS, #7 AAC). The Knights are #37 in pass efficiency D but they were lit up down the stretch (8-2 TD to INT L4G), thanks in some measure to injuries. They’ll be down some players for this game thanks to the transfer portal and injuries so we expect Duke to have success on offense. UCF is #8 in the AAC in sacks (22) and Duke has only allowed 17 sacks all year, so that bodes well for the Dukies.

UCF offense vs Duke defense

The biggest question heading into this bowl game is the status of starting QB JR Plumlee who’s faster than a SPEEDING BULLET ** when healthy and note that he’s leading the team in rushing yards as we approach press time (841, 5.8, 11 TD). The issue is his hamstring which may or may not be in good enough shape for him to do his usual damage on the ground. We’ll find out on game day. Back-up QB (and the better passer) M Keane has hit the transfer portal and the Knights will have to hope that they don’t have to roll with a lightly-used 3rd string QB. Duke has done a fine job vs the run (#24 FBS) so UCF will have to work for everything they get. Thankfully, they have a good set of RBs to go along with JRP. The team leader in receptions (R O’Keefe) has hit the transfer portal and we aren’t crazy about Plumlee’s ability to move the ball consistently via the THROW GAME. Overall, it’s a good match-up for Duke as their weakness is in the secondary. UCF’s OL isn’t great in pass protection and Duke has booked 30 sacks so far in 2022.

** fact check – True. PEW PEW PEW!

Trends, Intangibles and More!

UCF lost their OC and DC in addition to having a lot of guys leave the program……The Knights picked up four good wins (SMU, Cincy, Memphis, Tulane) whilst Duke only had one win of note (Wake Forest)……This will be Duke’s first bowl game since 2018 so they should be JACKED…..They’ve got a chance to hit nine wins for just the 3rd time since 1941…..UCF HC Gus Malzahn is 3-5 SU in bowl action…..Note that this game is being played in Annapolis and it’s gonna be chilly….Dress warm if you’re going to the game!…..It’s anyone’s guess who adapts better to the conditions but we lean slightly to the team that’s not from Florida and the team that’s not had a lot of personnel and coaching departures…..UCF is a candidate for #quitincoldweatherthissucks if Duke gets out to an early lead.


This would be a much more interesting game if UCF was healthy and had their full complement of top players available. Duke has the motivational and coaching edge, the better QB (!?), and the better defense. Let’s roll with the Blue Devils and see what happens.


Official pick – Duke -3 -110


‘Official play’ implies we have played the game for our standard wager amount.

‘Lean’ implies we are comfortable suggesting ‘small potatoes’ on the game if you want to get down on some sweet action.

‘No leanage’ implies we won’t be involved in the game from a betting standpoint. In-game wagering possibilities only.

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