UAB vs. Northern Illinois, Boca Raton Bowl: Prediction, pick, odds, line, TV, watch online, live stream

It's still crazy to some to think that, just a couple years ago, the UAB football program was non-existent. Yet, coach Bill Clark has the Blazers not only competitive, but they've won 10 games this past season and have earned a trip down south for the Boca Raton Bowl on Tuesday. Meanwhile, they'll be taking on a Northern Illinois squad that shockingly came away with the MAC title following a stunning victory over Buffalo.

Let's take a look at what to expect from the Boca Raton Bowl.

Viewing information

Event: Boca Raton Bowl
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 18 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: FAU Football Stadium -- Boca Raton, Florida
TV:
ESPN | Live stream: WatchESPN

Storylines

UAB: The Blazers defense has been spectacular this year, giving up just 300.2 yards per game and 17.3 points per game. Defensive lineman Jamell Garcia-Williams, linebacker Chris Woolbright and linebacker Tre' Crawford have set up shop in the opponent's backfield virtually every week. Quarterback Tyler Johnston III stepped in for A.J. Erdely down the stretch after Erdely got hurt, and kept the ship going in the right direction. Johnston has 950 passing yards and 331 rushing yards in part-time duty, and is a versatile weapon. He has been a nice complement to running back Spencer Brown, who has 1,149 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2018.

Northern Illinois: Rod Carey has done a tremendous job keeping Northern Illinois in the MAC spotlight since taking over for Dave Doeren, and that culminated this year with a surprising conference title after things looked grim in the conference championship game. The Huskies lead the MAC in total defense with 347.8 yards allowed per game, 4.61 yards per play and 21.5 points per game. Running back Tre Harbison has been solid with 985 yards and four touchdowns, and quarterback Marcus Childers added 496 yards and six scores on the ground this season.

Game prediction, picks

If you want old school, you're going to get old school in Boca Raton on Tuesday night. Which defense wins out? Give me the Blazers to have enough success to handle the multi-dimensional Huskies offense, and the combination of Johnston and Brown to find some success late to cap off one of the most remarkable seasons in college football history. After all, you can't bet against Clark after all UAB has been through. Pick: UAB (-2.5)

So, which side of the UAB vs. NIU spread hits in well over 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see the pick for the 2018 Boca Raton Bowl, all from the model that has returned over $4,000 in profit for $100 bettors!

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, analyst for CBS Sports HQ and host for the SiriusXM college... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories