South Florida Bulls vs. Syracuse Orange Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread

South Florida Bulls (4-4 SU, 3-5 ATS) vs. Syracuse Orange (5-4 SU, 3-6 ATS), Week 11 NCAA Football, 8:00 p.m. EST, Friday, November 11, 2011, Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y. TV: ESPN2
by Ryno, College Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: USF -3.5/SYR +3.5
Over/Under Total: 51.5

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South Florida and Syracuse are sitting at the bottom of the Big East standings. Both teams are hovering around .500 overall and desperate for a conference victory. Both teams need this win to give themselves a chance to make a bowl game. Both teams need this win to not be in last place in the Big East. This Friday night battle will not be an easy game for either team.

The Syracuse Orange have been very good at home this year. With a 4-1 record at the Carrier Dome, the Orange’s lone setback was a 19-16 loss to Rutgers. Meanwhile, they defeated Wake Forest, Rhode Island, Toledo and West Virginia. The West Virginia win was especially notable, the only conference win thus far for the Orange, because they blew out a team, 49-23, that was then ranked No. 11 in the country. But they have not gotten a win since then, losing two in a row on the road to Louisville and UConn. Now that they’re back home, the Orange will look to build upon their win over West Virginia three weeks ago and get back into the mix in the conference standings.

The South Florida Bulls started off great at 4-0 with a road win over Notre Dame and blowout victories over Ball State, Florida A&M and UTEP. But once Big East play started, it was a different story for the Bulls. They lost four in a row to Pitt, UConn, Cincinnati and Rutgers. The last three losses, though, were all by six points or less. The Cincinnati loss, to a team that is in first place in the Big East, was only by three points. The Bulls, despite being winless in conference play and only 4-4 overall, have proved to be a decent team overall and a pretty good team at home. But they have to find a way to win games. This will be their final road game before three straight home games to finish the season.

South Florida is led by dynamic quarterback B.J. Daniels, who has 2,027 passing yards, 12 passing touchdowns, five interceptions, 300 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns this season. His top target is Sterling Griffin, who has 40 receptions for 493 yards and two touchdowns. The Bulls have a solid running attack with Darrell Scott (604 rush yards, 5 TDs) and Demetris Murray (330 rush yards, 5 TDs).

Syracuse also has a pretty solid quarterback in Ryan Nassib, who has 1,960 passing yards, 18 passing touchdowns and six interceptions this season. Nassib also has two rushing touchdowns. He has a few reliable receiving options in Alec Lemon (47 receptions, 531 yards, 4 TDs), Nick Provo (39 receptions, 410 yards, 6 TDs) and Van Chew (29 receptions, 379 yards, 3 TDs). Antwon Bailey is the team’s starting running back. He has 761 rushing yards and six rushing TDs this season.

This game is all about the quarterbacks: Daniels and Nassib. It will come down to which defense can stop the opposing quarterback. Both teams can mix it up with their running game. Daniels is a dynamic QB who can scramble and run as well as throw the ball down the field. Nassib has the better arm and more options to throw to. Both of these teams have inconsistent offenses but are capable of putting up a lot of points. Syracuse put up 49 points and 33 points, respectively, in each of its last two home games. South Florida has only scored 17 points or less in three of its last four games. Syracuse defeated USF 13-9 last year when the two teams met.

USF is 5-1 ATS in its last six Friday games, 0-6 ATS in its last six conference games, 0-5 ATS in its last five games as a favorite, and 0-5 ATS in its last five games overall. Syracuse is 1-4 ATS in its last five games overall. South Florida and the favorite are both 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings between these teams.

Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: There are many better games to bet on this weekend, as there is no clear point spread winner here. However, if forced to make a pick, I believe that South Florida has a VERY slight advantage. Good luck with whatever pick you make!

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