Week 10 – Connecticut at South Florida

Posted Nov 1, 2012

Week 10 Fearless Predictions - Connecticut at South Florida

Connecticut (3-5) at South Florida (2-6) Nov. 3, 7:00, ESPNU

Here's The Deal: Two of this year's biggest disappointments in the Big East will square off on Saturday night, both looking to snap nagging losing streaks.

Connecticut has lost three straight, while South Florida hasn't won a game since rallying to beat Nevada in Reno all the way back on Sept. 8. The Bulls have been maddeningly inconsistent all year, especially in close games. During the six-game losing streak, they've fallen by an average of just six points, with the last two games being a microcosm for the season. Two weeks ago, USF fell to Louisville on a touchdown pass with 95 left, and on Saturday, Syracuse dinged it on a touchdown pass with just three seconds left.

The Huskies had their own run of near misses for a while before getting smoked by Syracuse, 40-10, two weeks ago. Just 8-12 in nearly two seasons, Paul Pasqualoni could be coaching for his future over the next month. Heck, so, too, might South Florida's Skip Holtz, who's been a massive flop in Tampa.

Why Connecticut Might Win: A visit to Raymond James Stadium might be the perfect remedy for the stumbling Huskies offense.

Connecticut has been atrocious with the ball this season, but South Florida has had a knack for making attacks appear more potent all year. The once-proud unit still hasn't picked off a pass, while yielding at least 30 points in five of the last seven games. Plus, pocket pressure has been non-existent since the opener with Chattanooga. The well-rested Huskies will look to get on track by attacking the shiftless Bulls secondary with QB Chandler Whitmer and his favorite targets of receivers and tight ends.

Why South Florida Might Win: The Huskies have plenty of individual talent on defense, but if they play the way they did in the Carrier Dome, the Bulls are going to capitalize.

In Tampa, the D has lagged behind an offense that has shown some occasional pop. South Florida is second in the Big East in rushing, and played very well on Saturday against a Syracuse defense that was peaking. In fact, the team ran for 369 yards, getting explosive runs out of QB B.J. Daniels and backs Lindsey Lamar, Demetris Murray and Marcus Shaw. That deep ground game, even with Lamar out with a broken clavicle, coupled with Daniels to Andre Davis through the air, is going to keep the Huskies on their heels all night.

What To Watch Out For: What has happened to the South Florida defense this season? The group used to be fast and athletic, but this season it's been lethargic and painfully short on fundamentals. Linebackers Sam Barrington and DeDe Lattimore have been exceptions, but they alone have been unable to compensate for the rest of the Bulls. Whitmer might as well takes shots downfield on a secondary that's looked lost for much of the 2012 season.

What Will Happen: Who wants it more? South Florida is at home, but Connecticut has the better defensive personnel. The Bulls have been close all year, and have to eventually come through with their backs against the wall. This will be the week, with Daniels willing his team to a much-needed win to finally put the brakes on the six-game skid.

CFN Prediction: South Florida 27 … Connecticut 21
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) South Florida -8.5 O/U: 46
Must Watch Rating (5 – The Man With The Iron Fists, 1 – Election coverage until Tuesday morning): 2