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Missouri Vs. UCF Preview: When Being an Underdog Doesn't Make Sense

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Missouri is getting points at UCF. Really.

Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Missouri Tigers vs. Central Florida Knights, 12 p.m. ET, FSN

For the life of me, I can't figure out why Missouri is getting points in this game. Don't get me wrong -- this is not a "tough SEC vs. awful C-USA" kind of snobbery; I would have no problem working my mind around the idea of Arkansas being a dog on the road to UCF right now.

But Missouri? Sure, the Tigers haven't looked all that great in deflating losses to Georgia and South Carolina, but the Dawgs and the Gamecocks are supposed to be relatively good teams this year. In its game against a relatively good team -- and calling Ohio State or anyone else out of the B1G a "relatively good team" is generous right now -- Central Florida lost by two touchdowns. Aside from that, they've clobbered Akron and won somewhat comfortably against Florida International.

On the other hand, Missouri played Georgia tough and edged Arizona State in a game everyone seems to have forgotten about. (Yeah, Arizona State is probably not quite as good as they looked early in the season, but they're also not FIU.) Statistically, the Missouri defense is an average to slightly-below average unit; UCF's defense ranks better against weaker opposition. The Tigers offense isn't anything to write home about, but it's only marginally worse than UCF's even if you take the statistics at face value.

Maybe I'll be completely surprised and UCF will defeat Missouri. But until it actually happens, I'm going with the team that's actually proven something. Even if it's not all that much.

Missouri 21, UCF 17