Cincinnati (6-4, 3-3) at South Florida (6-4, 4-2)
When: Friday, November 20th 2015
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: CBS Sports Network
The South Florida Bulls not only became Bowl eligible last week when they beat Temple 44-23, they moved to within one game of first place in the American Athletic Conference East Division. Temple currently leads at 5-1, but now USF owns the tiebreaker. Running back Marlon Mack ran for 230 yards on just 21 carries last week and found the end zone three times to earn AAC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He is now in fourth place on USF’s all-time rushing list with 2,106 yards in just his sophomore season. He leads the AAC and is 16th in FBS with a 118.3 yards a game average. The Bulls lost three of their first four games this season against stiff competition, but have now won five of their last six with the only loss being at 8-1 Navy. South Florida has the 15th best rushing attack in the nation led by Mack and quarterback Quinton Flowers. He’s been very effective as a passer, but has only attempted 207 passes this season. He leads the team with 8 touchdown rushes and is averaging 4.9 yards a carry totaling 747 yards. The defense ranks a modest 47th in the country allowing 370.1 yards a game. USF finishes the season next week at Central Florida.
Cincinnati is the opposite of South Florida and relies heavily on the passing attack, which ranks 4th in the nation. Quarterback Gunner Kiel ranks third in the conference in both yards per game (302.9) and touchdown passes (18), despite missing two games with a neck injury. The running game isn’t completely inept. They have a three-headed attack in Mike Boone, Hosey Williams, and Tion Green – each of whom have run for over 600 yards on the season and have combined for 17 touchdowns. The Bearcats lead the AAC with 585.6 yards of total offense a game and have won three of their last four games. Chris Moore is the big play receiver and is ranked 7th in the conference with 74.6 receiving yards per game to go along with his six touchdowns. Cincinnati will play at East Carolina next week and closing out with two wins would make them 8-4 and more attractive to a better Bowl game.
I have to take USF in this one. They’re really playing well right now and the Cincinnati defense is 88th at stopping the run. The Bearcats will score some points, but in the end, South Florida prevails.
Pick: South Florida +2.5