Fiesta Bowl 2014: Baylor vs. UCF Provide Best QB Matchup of All Postseason Tilts

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IDecember 27, 2013

WACO, TX - DECEMBER 07:  Bryce Petty #14 of the Baylor Bears throws the ball against the Texas Longhorns at Floyd Casey Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

If glancing at the matchup for the Fiesta Bowl has led to you overlooking this New Year's Day game, hopefully the following will make you rethink that stance. 

When it comes to quarterback play, this college football bowl season won't see any better than it does in this game. 

Baylor's Bryce Petty and UCF's Blake Bortles have the tools to dominate college football and go onto have long, successful careers in the NFL. 

ORLANDO, FL - OCTOBER 26:  Blake Bortles #5 of the UCF Knights calls signals during the game against the Connecticut Huskies at Bright House Networks Stadium on October 26, 2013 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

That fact right there makes this game worth the price of admission. 

I'll break down the greatness of these two signal-callers, but first, have a look at when and where you can catch the action: 

Date: Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Start Time: 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz. 

Watch: ESPN

Live Stream: ESPN3.com

Baylor has transformed itself into a quality program that produces insane offensive numbers. This helped propel Robert Griffin III to the Heisman, and it also helped Nick Florence put up outstanding numbers as last year's signal-caller. 

Given that, it is easy to write off the success of Petty as merely the product of an outstanding system. That isn't fair to Petty's talents, however. 

Petty threw for 3,844 yards this season with 30 touchdowns and just two interceptions. 

The 6'3", 230-pound junior has good size, excellent accuracy and makes quick, smart decisions with the ball in his hands. 

As we've seen this season, Petty has the talent and tools to dominate college football. Those skills will also translate to the next level. His coach, Art Briles, definitely thinks so. Here is Briles, as quoted by Dan Greenspan of NFL.com, on Petty: "Now we have a good feel how Bryce functions, what he can do, and next year I think he'll be phenomenal. I think he'll be a top-five pick in 2015, no question."

Petty isn't the only junior quarterback with good size in this game. 

UCF's Blake Bortles checks in at 6'4", 230 pounds. He has good strength and the ability to stand tall in the pocket. 

For the season, he has 3,280 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. 

His play and tools are starting to draw comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Like Roethlisberger, Bortles isn't going to get a lot of yards with his feet. He does, however, do an excellent job of extending plays. He has solid mobility for his size and is a beast to try and bring down. 

Although future NFL success is never guaranteed for any player, this matchup provides what could end up being the first installment of what turns into a rivalry that extends to the NFL. 


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