Fiesta Bowl 2019: Date, Game Time, TV Schedule and Matchup Prediction

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 28, 2018

Central Florida's Greg McCrae runs past South Florida's Mike Hampton to score a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Mike Carlson/Associated Press

The Fiesta Bowl has been the site of spectacular offensive displays in recent years, but the latest edition might feature a different outcome. 

In four of the last five Fiesta Bowls, both of the participants scored at least 28 points, with Clemson's shutout of Ohio State in a national semifinal in 2016 the lone exception. 

A year ago, Penn State triumphed over Washington in Saquon Barkley's final collegiate game, but without a transcendent NFL talent on offense in the January 1 game, the Fiesta Bowl will feel more like an offensive struggle. 

If UCF still had McKenzie Milton under center, we could make the argument the Knights would put on a show in Arizona, but instead they'll be searching for an offensive rhythm against a LSU team that isn't known for its flashy offense.


Fiesta Bowl Information

Date: January 1, 2019

Time: 1 p.m. ET 



Matchup Prediction

LSU vs. UCF 

The latest College Football Playoff rankings threw a twist in the projections for the Fiesta Bowl. 

UCF will still qualify for the New Year's Six as the Group of Five representative, but instead of facing Washington State, the Knights will square off against an SEC foe for the second consecutive year. 

Mike Carlson/Associated Press

Since Florida and LSU were placed ahead of Washington State Tuesday night, we'll likely see the Gators and Tigers in high-profile bowl games, with the Gators headed to the Peach Bowl and Ed Orgeron's side off to the Fiesta Bowl as at-large teams. 

The Bayou Bengals would be the first SEC team to appear in the Fiesta Bowl since Tennessee made back-to-back trips to Arizona in 1999 and 2000 in the first two years of the BCS. 

A matchup with UCF would mark the second bowl in a row in which LSU faces a team from outside the power-five conferences, as it lost to independent Notre Dame in last year's Citrus Bowl. 

Unlike LSU, UCF has a history with the Fiesta Bowl, as it won the 2014 edition in a 52-42 shootout over Baylor, which was powered by quarterback Blake Bortles. 

In order to earn the opportunity to knock off another SEC team, the Knights have to adjust to using Darriel Mack at quarterback with Milton out for the season. 

Expect a dip in production on offense from the eighth-ranked Knights with Mack taking the snaps, but the drop off won't be extreme enough to cost them a chance at two straight undefeated campaigns. 

The running back trio of Greg McCrae, Adrian Killins and Taj McGowan combined for 19 touchdowns, and they'll try to wreak havoc against a LSU defense that enters the Fiesta Bowl off a seven-overtime defeat at the hands of Texas A&M. 

One of the biggest concerns for the Tigers will be keeping up with UCF if the Knights lock into a rhythm offensively. 

The Tigers cracked the 40-point barrier twice in their nine victories, and they only eclipsed 35 points on four occasions in wins. 

The running back duo of Nick Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire must provide support to quarterback Joe Burrow in order to attack UCF with a balanced offensive approach. 

Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

The Fiesta Bowl would be the perfect time for the LSU running backs to break out for their first 100-yard rushing game since Edwards-Helaire totaled 145 yards against Georgia on October 13. 

Since Burrow has a single 300-yard passing game to his name and Mack is still working on chemistry with his teammates, the quarterbacks could struggle throughout and leave points on the field. 


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Statistics obtained from ESPN.com