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Miami Beach Bowl Preview: South Florida vs. Western Kentucky

With a record 40 bowl games this year it is difficult trying to decide which of the early games will be worth watching and which are worth skipping.

There is no doubt one of the early games worth watching will be the Miami Beach Bowl on December 21 on ESPN at 2:30. This is only the second year of the game and last year’s contest between Memphis and BYU featured one of the most memorable games of the post season as the Tigers won 55-48 in double overtime and featured an ugly brawl between both teams after the contest was over.

This year’s game between the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and the South Florida Bulls doesn’t figure to produce a brawl but features as many story lines and intrigue of any of the bowl games. In fact, many are calling this “The Willie Taggart Bowl.”

Miami Beach Bowl Preview: South Florida vs. Western Kentucky

So who is Taggart? Well, he is a former quarterback for WKU and is the all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 47. He is also one of four Hilltoppers to ever have their jersey retired.

Taggart also served eight years as an assistant and was the school’s head coach from 2010-2012 before leaving for Tampa.

Since arriving in South Florida the Bulls have gone from 4-8 in 2014 to 8-4 this season and he recently signed a five-year contract extension after being mentioned for other jobs, most notably South Carolina.

The Bulls rank 11th in the nation in rushing yards at 243 per game and are led by running back Marlon Mack and dual purpose quarterback Quinton Flowers. Flowers has almost 3,000 total yards and 31 touchdowns on the season.

USF will have to try to control the ball in order to keep the high-powered offense of the Hilltoppers off the field. The Conference USA champs are led by quarterback Brandon Doughty who has thrown for 4,600 yards and leads the nation in touchdown passes with 45. His favorite target is wide receiver Taywan Taylor, who has 1,300 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns. Under head coach Jeff Brohm, the Toppers rank 4th in the nation in scoring at 44 points per game.

Brohm, who took over when Bobby Petrino went back to Louisville, has been mentioned in some coaching circles but seems pretty content in staying in Bowling Green.

I think the Toppers high-powered offense will eventually overpower the Bulls and finish with 12 wins and a Top 25 ranking. If you can, I would definitely go out of your way to catch this game on Monday.

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