Aengus Moorehead NCAAF Picks: Drama Galore as Ex-Coach faces Former Team in Miami Beach Bowl
Sunday, December 20, 2015
by Aengus Moorehead

Aengus Moorehead NCAAF Picks: Drama Galore as Ex-Coach faces Former Team in Miami Beach Bowl

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. South Florida Bulls

Hilltoppers: 11-2 SU,8-4-1 ATS
Bulls: 8-4 SU,9-2-1 ATS
2:30 PM ET, Monday, December 21, 2015
Where: Marlins Park, Miami, Florida

The Story
In the second year instalment of the Miami Beach Bowl, the stage is set for yet another storyline happening and many intrigues which features a non-playing participant in his quest for vindication.

This year’s game between the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and the South Florida Bulls doesn’t figure to produce a brawl like it did in the inaugural contest between Memphis and BYU which featured one of the most memorable games of the post season as the Tigers won 55-48 in double overtime.

This year, It is all about William Taggart. It is all about the former quarterback for WKU and all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 47 who also served eight years as an assistant and was the school’s head coach from 2010-2012 before leaving for Tampa. He is also one of four Hilltoppers to ever have their jersey retired.

Taggart's turnaround of the USF program in his third season likely comes as no surprise to followers of the Hilltoppers, since he did the same in three years as Western Kentucky's head coach.

After a 6-18 record and a spot on the hot seat after his first two seasons at South Florida, Taggart rebounded with an 8-4 campaign in 2015 and clearly has the program trending in the right direction.

The Bulls have ranked near the top of the American Athletic Conference in recruiting since Taggart arrived and return most of their core for 2016. With the young talent in place, combined with wins in seven out of their last eight games, South Florida could use the Miami Beach Bowl as a springboard to an even better 2016 campaign.

While Taggart established the foundation for WKU’s success at the FBS level, second-year coach Jeff Brohm has elevated his predecessor’s program and emerged as one of the rising stars in the Group of 5 ranks. Brohm is 19-7 in two seasons with the Hilltoppers and guided WKU to its first season of double-digit (11) wins on the FBS level.

The Hilltoppers also fared well against Power 5 competition, scoring a victory over Vanderbilt in the season opener, while holding their own against Indiana and LSU. has the Western Kentucky listed as 2˝- point favorites and the game's total is sitting at 66½.

On the NCAA Football Moneyline odds at BetOnline Western Kentucky are at -140.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. South Florida Bulls Early Odds & Betting Lines

Gm# Team
211 Western Kentucky
212 South Florida

Live College Football Bowl Odds & Scores - Click here

In their last action, South Florida was a 44-3 winner on the road against Knights. They covered the -24.5-point spread as favorites, while the combined score (47) was profitable news for UNDER bettors.

Western Kentucky was a 45-28 winner in its last match at home against Golden Eagles. They covered the -7.5-point spread as favorites, while the total score of 73 sent UNDER bettors to the payout window.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. South Florida Bulls NCAA Betting Odds & Trends

Western Kentucky:
Current Streak: won 5 straight games.
Western Kentucky is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Western Kentucky is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Western Kentucky's last 8 games

South Florida:
Current Streak: won 4 straight games.
South Florida is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games
South Florida is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of South Florida's last 6 games

The Reality:
The Hilloppers want to move quickly, score fast and exhaust anyone coming their way. However, South Florida will slow things down with a productive rushing attack that ranks No. 11 nationally at 243 yards per game. The Bulls want to wear down the Western Kentucky defense with a combination of RB Marlon Mack and dual-threat QB Quinton Flowers.

Moreover, the USF defense is going to be a handful. The athletic Bulls have an all-leaguer at each level, DE Eric Lee, LB Auggie Sanchez and CB Deatrick Nichols. And they generate the kind of up field push that’s resulted in 90 stops for loss and will disrupt Doughty’s rhythm. 

Doughty is a joy to watch, the C-USA Championship game MVP, leads the nation in several categories, including completion percentage (71.8), and touchdown passes (45).  Junior receiver Taywan Taylor broke the school’s single season records for both yards and touchdowns receiving his season with 17, and 1,363 respectively.

Taylor scores were the most in the country this year, while his receiving yards were good enough for fourth nationally.  Senior kicker Garrett Schwettman has the highest field goal percentage in the country at 93.3 percent which could come handy in a tight affair.

After a 29-17 loss at the hands of Navy dropped the Bulls to a 4-4 record deep into the season, this South Florida squad was not looking like anything special. That is when Taggert’s squad awoke from the remains. The Bulls followed up a 22-17 win at East Carolina with three more consecutive wins, scoring 44, 65, and 44 again in the closing three contests.

Mack is one of the best halfbacks in the country, topping the 100-yard mark in seven of the final eight contests this season, including 230 yards against Temple. His 115.7 yard average ranks him 18th nationally.  Overall the team ranked 11th in the country with 242.9 yards per game rushing. Eight Bulls were named to the American Athletic Conference All Conference team, a school record.

The result:
With Doughty at the helm, it is hard to bet against WKU. He will be the catalyst in this affair. Take Western Kentucky -2˝ and the over 66˝.

Aengus NCAA College Football Bowl Prediction and Pick: Western Kentucky -2½ at BetOnline


auggie sanchez - brandon doughty - deatrick nichols - eric lee - jeff brohm - marlon mack - quinton flowers - south florida bulls - western kentucky hilltoppers - william taggart

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