As Andy Williams tells us, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Although, when he released that song in 1963, there were only a measly nine bowl games. But the 2022 Bahamas Bowl will be the first of 41 bowl games to close out this college football season. It was also one of the first bowl matchups that were set well before the season ended. Down in the tropics, the college football public gets a battle between the MAC and Conference USA. For those looking for an excuse to cut their Friday workday short, I can think of no better way to spend it than watching the UAB Blazers clash with the Miami (OH) RedHawks.
How To Watch The 2022 Bahamas Bowl
Date: Friday, December 16
Game Time: 11:30 am EST
Venue: Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, NP
How To Watch: ESPN
Blazers Coaching Controversy
The coaching carousel in college football spins faster and quicker these days between the transfer portal and the early signing period. UAB was one of the programs that were looking for a new head coach to lead their program. And while there was plenty of lobbying from current players to remove the interim tag from Bryant Vincent, the Blazers caught the entire landscape off guard by highering former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer. While many certainly recognize Dilfer’s name from his time in the NFL and ESPN, his coaching acumen certainly is lacking. Dilfer was the head football coach at Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, TN for four seasons where he led the Mustangs to a 44-10 record. He also has been a head coach of Elite 11 and Elite 11 Academy. It is worth noting, as of this publication, UAB hasn’t had a mass portal exodus and Vincent will still be the acting coach for the 2022 Bahamas bowl.
Red Hot RedHawks
RedHawks head coach Chuck Martin had to deal with a major shift in the quarterback position. Three-year starter Brett Gabbert played in only four games this year due to injuries. Gabbert also has decided to transfer. Aveon Smith was the starter for the rest of the season. Smith posted pretty pedestrian passing numbers as he only completed 48.7% of his passes for 1,137 yards with nine touchdowns and five interceptions. Overall, the Miami offense hit just 4.6 yards per play against FBS opponents. This ranked 115th nationally while only averaging 20.3 points per game.
However, Miami (OH) is playing its best football down the stretch. They won their final two regular-season games (and three of their last four) in order to become bowl eligible. If the RedHawks are going to win the 2022 Bahamas Bowl, the running attack needs to get cooking. They are 5-1 when running for 120 yards or more and 1-5 when they don’t. Running back Keyon Mozee and Tyre Shelton spilt work out of the backfield, while Smith also is a contributor to the rushing attack for Miami (OH).
Blazers Want To Run Too
Unlike Miami (OH), the Blazers stumbled across the finish line. They lost four of their last six games, but one of those wins came in their season finale against Louisiana Tech to earn that critical sixth victory. Just like the RedHawks, UAB has a rushing attack headed by more than one player. And while it might not be a true Hydra employed by the Blazers, it is a two-headed attack that combined for over 2,500 rushing yards this season. It starts with DeWayne McBride, who averages 7.4 yards a rush, led the nation in rushing yards (1,1713), and ran for 19 touchdowns. But he is spelled by a back in Jermaine Brown that had 832 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
And while McBride and Brown are talented in their own right, it helps to have two first-team All-Confernece USA offensive linemen paving the way in Sidney Wells and Kadeem Telfort. This high-powered rushing attack is the engine behind the 30.6 points per game average of the Blazers. The defense is limiting teams to an average of 23.4 points per game. This unit is spearheaded by two first-team All-Confernece USA linebacker Noah Wilder and defensive back Starling Thomas.
20225 Bahamas Bowl Prediction
Both UAB and Miami (OH) are 6-6 teams vying for a win to secure a winning record in the 2022 season. It likely won’t be a traditional high-flying shootout many college football fans are accustomed to seeing. But, particularly UAB, can create explosive plays through the rushing attack a lot easier than Miami (OH) can. And, ultimately, the RedHawks won’t be able to keep up with the Blazers.
UAB 35, Miami (OH) 21