Week 8 – South Florida at Louisville

Posted Oct 19, 2012

Week 8 Fearless Prediction – South Florida at Louisville

South Florida (2-4) at Louisville (6-0) Oct. 20, 3:30, ABC

Here's The Deal: The nightmare that has been the 2012 season for South Florida won't get any easier with this week's trip to Louisville to face one of the Big East's three remaining unbeaten programs. The Bulls own the indignity of being this year's biggest disappointment in the league, riding a four-game losing streak that includes misfires against Ball State and Temple. If they can't become finishers—in games and seasons—in a hurry, it's going to be an offseason filled with change and turmoil for the program and the staff. The Cardinals are clinging to their spotless record, but not without plenty of tenuous moments. Each of their last four games has been decided by 10 points or fewer, capped by last week's Pittsburgh trip that required a second-half rally. The good news is that Louisville survived a tricky three-game road trip, and won't have to leave Kentucky for nearly a month.

Why South Florida Might Win: Time away from the field has been good for the Bulls, like QB B.J. Daniels, who used break to rest a sore ankle. Holtz and the staff want to design more running plays that get the multi-dimensional senior out into space. The Louisville defense has been a mild disappointment in 2012, showing occasional breakdowns, and waiting until last weekend before flashing signs of a pass rush. Daniels will have to be the catalyst, making things happen on his own, and liberally getting the ball in the hands of RB Demetris Murray and shifty WR Lindsey Lamar.

Why Louisville Might Win: A bye week allowed South Florida to rest, but did it help a defense that yielded an average of 33 points over the last three games? The Cardinals are determined to find out. The Bulls possess the requisite speed and size, but just haven't been getting it done at the line of scrimmage. A physical, Mario Benavides-led O-line ought to be able to create holes for backs Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry, who have combined for 15 rushing touchdowns, and protect QB Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater has thrown less in recent weeks, but can still be effective through the air, especially versus the nation's last remaining team without a pick.

What To Watch Out For: The Cardinals produced five sacks last week, and five in their first five games. Has the pass rush suddenly awoken from its slumber, or was it a blip on the screen that had more to do with a leaky Pitt O-line? The Panthers are awful up front, while South Florida is giving up just a little more than a sack per game. One of this year's problems is that Louisville lacks that one relentless pass rusher, who requires constant attention and occasional double-teams from the opponent.

What Will Happen: After leaning heavily on the ground troops in recent weeks, Louisville might be inclined to open up Bridgewater's arm a bit more on Saturday. Oh, Perry and Wright will get their fair share of touches, but Charlie Strong will want to test that beatable South Florida secondary. Daniels will keep the Bulls afloat for at least the first half. However, South Florida doesn't have enough playmakers on either side of the ball at this time to knock off a quality Cardinals team at Papa John's Stadium.

CFN Prediction: Louisville 31 … South Florida 23
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Louisville -7 O/U: 52.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Seven Psychopaths, 1 – Here Comes the Boom): 2.5