No. 13 Florida State Seminoles (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. South Florida Bulls (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS)
College Football Week 4
Date/Time: Saturday, September 24th,, 12:00PM (EST)
Where: Raymond James Stadium Tampa, F.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: FSU -7/USF +7
Over/Under Total: TBA
If there was one thing that we learned last week, it was either the fact that Florida State was not as good as most previously thought or simply that Louisville is a lot better than most previously thought. We learned that by way of Louisville’s demolishing 63-20 defeat over Florida State last week which marked the worst defeat in Seminoles history. The Seminoles were ranked no. 2 in the nation at the time of that thrashing by the Cardinals and slid all the way down to no. 13 in this week’s rankings. On Saturday, the Seminoles try to regroup as they go on the road for an in-state meeting with the undefeated South Florida Bulls inside Raymond James Stadium.
Perhaps this week we also may get a better idea of just how good this South Florida team is as well. The Bulls are 3-0 on the season and have not been challenged thus far. They handled Syracuse last week rather easily by a score of 45-20 and this week’s meeting with the Seminoles marks their first big test of the year. On paper, the Bulls have been performing well in nearly every aspect of the game. Quarterback Quinton Flowers has thrown for 711 yards with 7 scores and just 1 pick. The Bulls have combined for 746 total rushing yards in just 3 games and they have a wide array of targets in the receiving corps to target as well. In fact, 7 different players have caught touchdown passes this season for South Florida.
This week we get to see if the Bulls are a legitimate strong team or if there stats are just inflated by their competition throughout the first 3 games of the season. Let’s face it Towson and Northern Illinois are not the greatest gauges of talent. However, there is nothing that Head Coach Willie Taggart and South Florida would love to do more than knock off one of the big in-state schools in Florida State. Surprisingly, this will be just the 4th time that South Florida and FSU have collided on the college gridiron. The Bulls did get the win in the first meeting in 2009 but the Seminoles have scored two wins since including a 34-14 victory in Tallahassee last year.
Since we are talking a little about history, it would be inexcusable to not point out the fact that Jimbo Fisher is 11-1 against other Florida schools at Florida State. The only loss during that time was a 37-26 defeat to no. 4 Florida back in 2012. Therefore it is not going to be an easy task for South Florida this weekend even with the Seminoles on the heels of the biggest loss in school history. I feel pretty confident that Jimbo will get his team refocused because they can still make a run towards the playoffs.
The biggest obstacle that the Seminoles may face immediately is just getting some of their confidence back especially on the defensive side of the football. Lamar Jackson shredded the defense last week with 146 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground along with another 216 yards with a touchdown through the air. This week the defense has to respond and become more aggressive towards getting after the quarterback.
On offense, Fisher needs to get some plays called to get Dalvin Cook going. Cook was bottled up again last week and has just 228 yards through the first 3 games. As the top offensive threat following a 1,691 yard campaign in 2015, Cook has to produce better to get this offense going. Quarterback Deondre Francois has done a fairly solid job since being thrown into the role with the loss of Sean Maguire in fall practices. Maguire has a few weeks before he will be back and in the interim this offense needs to find a way to survive because they will definitely be more dangerous when Maguire is back under center.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I still believe Florida State is a very good football team despite the final score of last week’s game. They will prove that fact this Saturday. Take FSU -7
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