Week 4 - South Florida at Ball State

Posted Sep 19, 2012

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction – South Florida at Ball State

South Florida (2-1) at Ball State (2-1) Sept. 22, 4:30, Big East Network

Here's The Deal: South Florida remains an enigma, a program that's begun to lose a lot of its momentum under third-year head coach Skip Holtz. One week after a stirring comeback win over Nevada, the Bulls were a no-show in Thursday night's Big East opener with Rutgers. USF maintains plenty of raw talent, but consistency and sustained execution continue to elude it. Ball State is gearing up for its third straight opponent from a BCS conference, with a rare chance to host a larger program at Scheumann Stadium. The Cardinals were dominated by the Bulls, 37-7, last September, but are coming off an exciting last-second win over Indiana.

Why South Florida Might Win: The Bulls will boast the better defense when these two teams meet in Muncie. Ball State ranks 108th nationally in total and scoring D, and have been downright hideous against the pass. South Florida QB B.J. Daniels will look to get on track against a secondary that has yielded 11 touchdown passes without a pick. Led by Andre Davis, USF houses a collection of wide receivers that are big, athletic and eager to get their mitts on balls.

Why Ball State Might Win: The Cardinals are above .500 because their offense has succeeded in overcoming the leaks of the defense. The backfield is among the best in the MAC, blending the short-range passing of Keith Wenning with the dynamic playmaking of RB Jahwan Edwards. Edwards, who's getting quality breathers from Horactio Banks, has helped lead Ball State to a No. 14 national ranking in rushing through three games.

What To Watch Out For: A banged-up and at times ineffective South Florida O-line will need to pay special attention to Ball State DE Jonathan Newsome. The Ohio State transfer, who was suspended for the first two games, provided an immediate jolt to the Cardinals pass rush, collecting two of his team's season-high four sacks against the Hoosiers.

What Will Happen: South Florida has had three extra days to get over the Rutgers loss, and prepare for its trip to Indiana. Ball State, on the other hand, might still have its head in the clouds after beating the in-state Hoosiers. Both teams will move the ball, but the Cardinals' inability to contain Daniels and make third-down stops will ultimately prevent a second straight win over an AQ conference school.

CFN Prediction: South Florida 36 … Ball State 21
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) South Florida -10.5 O/U:
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ray Lewis: A Football Life, 1 – Frankenweenie): 1.5