Memphis Tigers (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. South Florida Bulls (1-2 SU, 2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Friday October 2nd, 7:00PM EST
Where: Raymond James Stadium Tampa, F.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MEM -9.5/USF +9.5
Over/Under Total: 62
Last week the Memphis Tigers withstood a shootout against Cincinnati in a 53-46 victory in a game that featured more than 1,300 yards of total offense. The win moved the Tigers to 4-0 on the season and proved that they are going to be the team to beat in the American Athletic Conference. This week Memphiss undefeated streak will face another challenge as they go on the road to Tampa for a meeting with the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium.
The Bulls had an extra week of preparation to heal their wounds after suffering back to back losses to Florida State and Maryland. Their lone win of the season came against Florida A&M in the opener out of the FCS. South Florida has actually lost 6 of their last 7 games against FBS opponents as head coach Willie Taggart continues to try and get USF back to relevancy. The path has not been easy despite consistent progress in each of Taggarts first two years.
The problem for USF has mainly resided on the offensive side of the football throughout Taggarts tenure in Tampa. The Bulls have simply not had the talent to match the major FBS schools. The talent deficiency has been evident again thus far in 2015 as well considering the Bulls currently rank 92nd in offense averaging just 376 total yards per game. The lack of offensive production has come from struggles at quarterback for several years now. An interesting fact that supports that argument is that South Florida has not had a season since 2011 where they have thrown more touchdowns passes than interceptions in a full season.
Obviously it is hard to win football games when not only do you have trouble throwing the football but you are also throwing more interceptions than touchdown passes. So far this season, USF has thrown 6 touchdowns compared to 4 interceptions to better that mark. However, quarterback Quenton Flowers has not exactly been overly impressive with a 57.4% completion percentage behind center. Rather the offense has relied on the legs of Flowers in the run game along with star tailback Marlon Mack as their primary means to move the football. Mack is an excellent back that rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2014 and Flowers has proven to be effective running the football as well.
The problem is that you have to question if the USF running threat will be enough to keep pace with a high powered offense like Memphis? The Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch has been excellent completing an amazing 73% passing for 1,230 yards with 8 touchdowns and 0 interceptions through the first 4 games. Lynch currently owns the 5th highest quarterback rating in college football. The entire Memphis offense is loaded with weapons that make it easy to share the wealth.
Running backs Jarvis Cooper and Sam Craft provide a solid 1-2 punch in the backfield. Each back has produced 4 rushing touchdowns already this year while averaging 5 yards per carry. Anytime you have a running threat that can complement an outstanding pass offense, then you are going to keep defenses off balance. Not to mention it helps that Memphis has a big time receiver on the outside in Mose Frazier and an emerging threat in Anthony Miller. Look for both of those receivers to keep the pressure on the USF secondary this week as Memphis looks to put another W in the win column.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: A tale of two different teams in this game. USF typically plays slower paced games with their running attack and gone under the total in 16 of their last 23 games. Meanwhile Memphis has gone over the total in all 5 of their last 5 games with their fast pace passing offense. I think the offense that is able to set the tone early will have the upper hand in this game this Friday night. Unfortunately for USF, I think they will be playing from behind which will get them out of their comfort zone. Take Memphis -9.5
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