Central Florida vs. South Florida Preview + Free Pick
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Posted on 10/11/2007 6:28:18 PM
College Football Betting: South Florida Moves to Number Five
CENTRAL FLORIDA at SOUTH FLORIDA
Oct. 13, Noon ET
BetUS College Football Betting Odds: South Florida -12
Our top sportsbook – NOTABLE STAT: Central Florida giving up 29.8 points per game
KEY NCAA FOOTBALL BETTING TREND: South Florida 6-1 ATS in last seven home games
(For more stats and trends on this weekend’s games, check out our Matchup Tool)
Think the stakes are high for the University of South Florida? Consider that there is a somewhat realistic scenario by which this team, which only began playing Division I football in 2001, could find itself playing for a national title. There are four teams ahead of South Florida in each of the two major polls, the AP and the USA Today – LSU, California, Ohio State and Boston College. Let’s assume for the moment that South Florida can score wins over Rutgers, Cincinnati and Louisville and capture the Big East title (which gets them into the BCS).
California could easily lose to USC and has to visit Arizona State, which is undefeated. Boston College still has to play Virginia Tech, Miami, Clemson and Florida State. Ohio State is looking strong, but has Wisconsin and the traditional showdown with Michigan remaining on the schedule, not to mention Illinois and Penn State. If those teams lose, the door could be open for the upstart Bulls. If they walk through it, they will be, by far, the youngest program ever to accomplish that feat.
The point is, South Florida has gotten to a position a lot of programs dream of, which is to be poll-conscious. If they’re not careful, they could get leapfrogged by teams like Oklahoma, who plays Missouri this weekend. It was understandable that following the huge emotional win over West Virginia that the Bulls might be suffering a letdown as they traveled to Fort Lauderdale to play Florida Atlantic. It showed, as USF was burned for over 400 yards and found itself in a tight game deep into the third quarter.
However, I would expect their full focus to be on this matchup, which is not just an effort to stay undefeated, but is a recruiting battle as well. USF is in Tampa, and UCF is in Orlando, so they will invariably compete for some of the same players. Central Florida, under George O’Leary (he of the padded resume, which got him exiled from Notre Dame) has had something of a revival in football. The Knights possess the leading rusher in the nation in Kevin Smith, who has gained 172 yards a game. South Florida’s defensive front (3.2 ypc allowed), which did a real number on West Virginia, appears equal to the task of at least slowing Smith. That will leave more than usual in the hands of Kyle Israel (53%), who had completed only 38 passes in four games before last week’s 51-38 loss at East Carolina (was 28 of 45). He’ll be throwing into the teeth of a South Florida defense that has picked off 11 passes and limited opponents to less than five yards an attempt.
UCF gave Texas a very close call, losing a 35-32 heart-breaker to open the new Bright House Networks Stadium. But, the Knights have had their problems on defense, surrendering almost 30 points per game, and 28 points in a catastrophic third quarter at ECU last week. Bulls QB Matt Grothe and his running back-by-committee should have some success moving the football.
We give the edge to a South Florida team, the 12-point favorite that has covered six of its last seven games at home.
JAY’S PLAY: SOUTH FLORIDA ** (Graded on a scale of 1-4 stars)
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(Charles Jay of TotalActionExtra.com still has some of that college spirit. He is a regular contributor to the Top Sportsbooks Locker Room)
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