South Florida Bulls vs. Florida Gators Point Spread and Pick – Analysis

South Florida Bulls (1-0, 0-0 ATS) at No. 4 Florida Gators (1-0, 0-1 ATS), Week 2 College Football, Saturday September 11th, 12:21PM Eastern The Swamp Gainesville, F.L.
By Jay Horne of

Point Spread: USF/ +17/University of Florida -17
Over/under: TBA

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The no. 4 Florida Gators put their top 5 ranking on the line when they host the South Florida Bulls in The Swamp at Ben Hill Griffith Stadium early this Saturday afternoon. Despite a lot of big time upsets last weekend, it was perhaps the Gators lackluster performance that was perhaps most surprising. The Gators battled with Miami (Ohio) and produced just 13 yards of total offense during the first half. Despite the Gators prevailing 34-12, it was still the worse offensive performance in the Urban Meyer era in Gainesville. The Gators now get the chance to shake off the rust as they prepare for Skip Holtz South Florida Bulls.

The Bulls stampeded over Stony Brook last week 59-14 in Coach Holtz first game in Tampa. South Florida racked up 563 yards of total offense while the passing game assaulted the unmatched Stony Brook secondary for an additional 383 yards in the air. The Bulls are led by sophomore QB B.J. Daniels who completed 15 of 22 passing for 264 yards and 2 scores in the openers. Daniels exploded onto the scene for South Florida last season as a freshman providing the offense with a dual threat from behind center. If Daniels has progressed with consistency from a year ago, he should be able to provide some sparks for the South Florida offense.

The Bulls main concern entering 2010 is replacing a lot of playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. South Florida lost 4 players to the NFL from 2009 and replacing the talent on the defensive side of the ball will be fairly hard to accomplish. However, the Bulls still have the opportunity to be solid defensively even with the losses. Considering how bad the Florida pass offense appeared against Miami (Ohio) last week, the Bulls must prepare to stop the Gators up front and force freshman quarterback John Brantley to beat them with his arm. If South Florida’s defense can target stopping talented tailbacks Jeffery Demps and Emmanuel Moody on the ground, it will greatly increase their chances at scoring what would be a milestone upset for the South Florida program.

Florida as stated before appeared very predictable for the first time in several years last Saturday. The ground game behinds veteran Jeffery Demps who rushed for 98 yards on just 8 carries was nothing new out of the playbook. However, the pass offense was simply non-existent. Freshman QB John Brantley completed 17 of 25 passing for 113 yards for 2 touchdowns. While Brantley did not turn the ball over, there were some miss opportunities in the passing game as well which we have come to expect from Florida. Florida did not have one receiver to total over 50 yards receiving and it just appeared that nobody wanted to step up and lead the receiving core. The Gators lost both top receivers from a year ago in Riley Cooper and Aaron Hernandez. With Brantley still getting his feet wet on the college scene, the Gators desperately need a receiver to step up and make some plays to assist the passing game.

On the other side of the ball, the Gators defense performed pretty much as expected. The Gators speedy defense kept the Redhawks offense to just 212 total yards on the game and also prevented Miami’s offense from finding the end zone throughout the game while having to settle for 4 different field goals. In fact, the game may have been much closer if the Gators defense had not picked off 4 passes on the afternoon. Janoris Jenkins picked off a pass and returned it 67 yards to score the Gators first touchdown. Then in the 2nd quarter, Ahmad Black returned an interception 40 yards to the Miami 2 yard line to setup another easy touchdown. If those interceptions had not occurred, the game may have been much closer and frustrating for the Gators.

The defense will again look to make plays against South Florida’s B.J Daniels who had consistency problems in 2009. However if more scores are not setup by the defense, the offense must be much more productive going forward. After bombing as 38 point favorites last week, the betting lines have opened favoring the Gators by 17 points over South Florida for this week’s match-up. I would not be surprised to see some action lay with the Bulls after Florida poor performance last week. However, the Gators are still receiving 60% of the public’s votes early in the week.

Jay’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Skip Holtz is famous for getting the most out of his players and drawing up wonderful game plans in the big games. Holtz and the Bulls catch the Gators in a position where they are still trying to work out a lot of kinks on offense. With those factors in consideration, I really expect South Florida to cover the points here and hope the Gators offense does not come to life. Take USF +17.

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