No. 17 Miami Hurricanes (8-3, 5-5 ATS) at South Florida Bulls (7-3, 3-5 ATS)
Raymond James Stadium Tampa, F.L. Saturday November 28th, 3:30PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Miami -7/South Florida +7
The no. 17 Miami Hurricanes attempt to cap off their rather surprising year this weekend when they head to Tampa to take on the South Florida Bulls in a season finale for both teams. The Hurricanes hold an impressive 8-3 mark on the year and have a legitimate shot at a 10 win season if you include the postseason Bowl berth. South Florida had held their ground in the Big East similar to the way Miami has in the ACC at 7-3 on the year. The Bulls took down Florida State earlier this year in their only match against an ACC opponent and they will look to repeat those results this Saturday.
Miami was able to handle Duke convincingly last week in route to a 34-16 victory. QB Jacory Harris racked up 348 yards and 2 touchdowns during the game after attempting 48 passes on the evening. The passing attempts are just a testament to the faith Miami has in their own running game. If the Hurricanes get behind in the game, they will keep throwing the ball until they get some results. Usually the running game is not a factor unless they are trying to put games away or have the lead in the ball game.
Harris has had a strong year completing 60% for 21 touchdowns while also eclipsing the 3,000 yard plateau this past weekend. However, Harris does also carry the likelihood in turning the ball over hence the 17 interceptions on the year. There is little doubt that Miami will keep it in the air, but they must keep the turnovers from happening. Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson continues to be the primary target in the receiving game. Hankerson had 8 catches for 143 yards last week and when he has big performances to compliment Harris the Hurricanes are a difficult force to beat.
On defense, Miami has been rather inconsistent for the most part. However, the Hurricanes can play good and stack up well against the run. The running game will be the focus when the take on the Bulls this Saturday. South Florida is averaging 170 yards per game on the ground behind freshman quarterback BJ Daniels. Daniels has rushed for 671 yards this season to lead the team as a great dual threat behind center. In reality, Daniels is also becoming a solid quarterback with his arm as well. Daniels threw for 304 yards in last week’s 34-22 win against Louisville and when the Bulls are throwing the ball well to compliment their running game they can be tough to defend. Of course everything relies on Daniels as he carries the offense.
So the Hurricanes defense must attempt to shake him up and not allow him much time to pass; or he will pick them apart while also pulling down the ball and taking off for big runs. The Bulls defense has proven that they are a solid group that can contend. South Florida held the Christian Ponder and the Seminoles to just 7 points earlier this year. The Bulls have held opponents to juts 19 points per game and just 190 yards per game through the air. If they can keep the Miami passing game from hooking up with big plays, they can control the clock to keep the Hurricanes offense off the field. If that happens, it will give South Florida every opportunity to capture the upset.
South Florida is just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 contests, but have reached the over total in 5 of their last 6 contest during that stretch. The Bulls are also 2-1 as home underdogs this season as well. Miami is also 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games while reaching the over in 4 of their last 5 games.
Jay’s Pick - I think South Florida could be in store for an upset here. The running game gives them the ability to match-up well here and if they force a few turnovers they could pull out the win. I will take USF plus the points here and ride with it.