South Florida Bulls (4-0 2-1 ATS) vs. Syracuse Orangemen (2-2 3-1 ATS) Archbold Stadium Syracuse, New York 12:00 PM EST Saturday October 3, 2009 TV: ESPN 360
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bulls -6.5 / Orangemen +6.5
In a Big East match up this Saturday afternoon the Syracuse Orangemen host the undefeated South Florida Bulls. In the past few seasons the Bulls were ranked in the top 25 at the start of the season, but they had disappointing losses and missed out on playing in any BCS Bowl games. This season they are off to a fast start at 4-0 as they head into Big East play. They began the season with 3 cream puff games, but looked good in last week’s home win over then #18 Florida State. The Orangemen have won 2 in a row after dropping their first 2, but those wins came over Northwestern and Maine, who are 2 teams that will not be playing in any bowl games soon.
Last week South Florida beat Florida State 17-7 while Syracuse beat Maine 41-24.
In last week’s win over Florida State red-shirt freshman B.J. Daniels got his first start after replacing senior Matt Grothe, who is out for the season with an injury. Daniels was solid in the game with 215 yards passing with 2 TD and 2 INT and 126 yards rushing, but it was the Bulls’ defense and the Florida State turnovers that won the game. The Seminoles lost 4 fumbles, the Bulls were solid against the Florida State rushing attack, and they sacked FSU QB Christian Ponder 5 times. FSU was favored by 12.5 points so the Bulls easily covered the spread and since it was a low scoring game the posted total of 50.5 was not reached.
In their win over Maine last week the Orangemen moved to .500 for the first time since 2006. Maine used a full bag of tricks in the game including executing 2 onside kicks and 2 fake punts, but Syracuse blew up in the 2nd half. After Maine led after the 1st half 17-13 the Orangemen scored 14 points in the 3rd and 4th quarter to pull away. Even though they played against a pretty weak Maine team the Orangemen could not cover the 21.5 point spread.
The Orangemen are pretty much a pass-first offense led by QB Greg Paulus (888 yds 6 TD 4 INT) and RB Delone Carter (284 yds 5 TD).
On the down side Paulus does have 4 INT’s this season and Carter is only
averaging 3.8 yards per carry. Paulus has his work cut out for him since
the Bulls rank 5th in the nation in passing defense only allowing 130 yards
per game through the air. Still, Paulus has a couple of legit WR’s in Mike
Williams (28 rec 437 yds) and Donte Davis (11
rec 129 yds 1 TD). Williams is the main target and he is averaging an impressive
15.6 yards per reception. The Orangemen will have to find a way to move
the chains and score against a South Florida defense that ranks 11th in
the nation. The big question in this game is can Syracuse play any defense?
Last week they gave up 430 yards to Maine. The Orangemen rank 96th in the
nation giving up an average of 394 yards per game. They will have to contain
Daniels, which will not be easy, as he can pick up big yards with his arm
and legs. Besides QB Daniels, who is averaging 6.8 yards per carry, the
Bulls have RB Moise Plancher (220 yds 4 TD). Daniels also
has a couple of WR’s that are averaging over 15 yards per catch, so the
Orangemen will have to have a good all around game on defense.
The Orangemen may have to air it out early and often in this game and hope to get into a shootout, as while they have a good offense their defense is weak.
Jason’s Pick: The Bulls are flying under the radar so far this season, but their win over Florida State last week opened some eyes. They are solid and they have a gem in QB Daniels. On the flip side, for whatever reason, the game opened at six and was bet down to +6.5. The public is all over South Florida while the sharps/wiseguys are hitting Syracuse. Every so often, a spread comes out that makes absolutely no sense. This is one of them. Either take Syracuse or pass, because something STINKS with this spread!