UCF vs Tulane American Athletic Conference Championship Prediction Game Preview

UCF vs Tulane American Athletic Conference Championship prediction, game preview, odds, how to watch. Championship Week, Saturday, December 3

UCF vs Tulane American Athletic Conference Championship Prediction Game Preview

Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

UCF vs Tulane How To Watch

Date: Saturday, December 3
Game Time: 4:00 ET
Venue: Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, LA
How To Watch: ABC
Record: UCF (9-3), Tulane (10-2)
Sign up and live stream college football on ESPN+

Why UCF Will Win

What did UCF do right a few weeks ago in the 38-31 win at Tulane? The passing attack wasn’t anything special, but the defense came up with two takeaways. The D struggled in the second half after the O came up with a 31-14 lead, but the running game took over when it had to.

The offense finished the regular season as the best in the AAC, it was the best on the ground, and it lead the way on third downs. To do it again, it all starts with the offensive line taking over right away and the running game rolling for well over 200 yards again.

The Knights mixed it up with QB John Rhys Plumlee running for 176 yards, running backs Isaiah Bowser and RJ Harvey combined for 137 yards, and that wasn’t even their best rushing performance of the season.

200 yards is the norm for the UCF ground game with 300 or more in four games. Tulane’s defense has been good overall but the line doesn’t get in the backfield enough, the disruption isn’t there, and …

College Football Playoff Final Top 25 Prediction
What it means for CFP: Utah beats USC for Pac-12 title

Why Tulane Will Win

Tulane’s defense didn’t generate any takeaways in the first meeting. That’s not the norm.

UCF didn’t turn the ball over in the win. That’s not the norm.

UCF is -5 on the year in turnover margin with six in the last two games and 13 over the last five – the Tulane game was the only one without a giveaway in the bunch. It gave it up multiple times in six of the last ten games.

On the flip side. Tulane beat SMU with five takeaways, got by Memphis with four, and force multiple takeaways in five games, winning them all on the way to finishing +7 in turnover margin.

Tulane’s offense is efficient, effective, and controlling. No, it can’t hang yard-for-yard with UCF if this gets into a battle of ground attacks, but it can keep the other O on the sidelines for long stretches.

But it needs those takeaways.

Not only is Tulane 8-0 when it forces at least one turnover, but it won by double-digits in all five games with multiple takeaways. Which is why …

Championship Week Schedule, Game Previews

What’s Going To Happen

Tulane will win this and be off to the Cotton Bowl with a good enough defensive performance to survive.

It’ll give up yards, and UCF’s offense will take over at times, but the turnovers will be there. Tulane will be +2 in turnover margin, and that will be just enough of a difference.

That, and the running of Tyjae Spears. The star back was used as a workhorse last week with 35 carries for 181 yards and two scores in the win over Cincinnati, but that’s not normally his his role. He ripped off big yards in the first meeting with UCF, and in this he’ll take over late.

Expert Picks College Championship WeekNFL Week 13

UCF vs Tulane American Athletic Conference Championship Prediction, Line

Tulane 31, UCF 27
Line: Tulane -3.5, o/u: 56.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
UCF vs Tulane American Athletic Conference Championship Must See Rating (out of 5): 4.5

CFN 1-131 Rankings | Rankings by Conference
Path to the Playoff: 6 teams still in the race 

Bowl Projections | Rankings

Story originally appeared on College Football News