Week 13 – South Florida at Cincinnati

Posted Nov 21, 2012

Week 13 Fearless Prediction – South Florida at Cincinnati

South Florida (3-7) at Cincinnati (7-3) Nov. 23, 7:00, ESPN

Here's The Deal: It's almost over, Skip.

Head coach Skip Holtz can finally see the end of another dismal campaign, one that'll finish on the wrong side of the .500 mark. Will he be back in Tampa to clean up the mess? We'll see in two weeks. His South Florida squad has been a major disappointment, losing six straight at one point before losing linchpin QB B.J. Daniels. The Bulls were throttled by Miami last Saturday, an unmistakable sign of how far they've fallen from the state's name brand programs.

Any hopes Cincinnati had of winning the Big East championship dissipated following Saturday's 10-3 loss at Rutgers. The goals in the Queen City now shift from appearing in a BCS bowl game to simply getting a berth in the best available destination, possibly the Belk Bowl in Charlotte. The Bearcats can also still win 10 games for a second straight year, a potential feather in the cap of head coach Butch Jones.

Why South Florida Might Win: Cincinnati is demoralized, especially on offense.

The Scarlet Knights may have taken some of the life out of the Bearcats, keeping them out of the end zone. Brendon Kay threw two picks, and the team was 3-of-11 on third downs. And while it's been a rough year all around for the Bulls defensive unit, it still can point to a handful of athletic, promising players. USF is strong up the middle against the run, jamming up lanes with linebackers DeDe Lattimore and Sam Barrington, and veteran tackles Cory Grissom and Luke Sager.

Why Cincinnati Might Win: South Florida isn't the same team without Daniels under center.

The senior presented problems for opposing defenses with his athleticism and tough running style. Stepping in has been redshirt freshman Matt Floyd, who's predictably unsure, and is out of synch with his receivers. The Bulls have scored just one touchdown over the last two games, and don't figure to erupt at nippy Nippert Stadium. The Bearcats have quietly played well on defense all season, ranking No. 15 nationally in scoring. Led by linebackers Greg Blair and Maalik Bomar, Cincinnati is short on stars, but even shorter on big plays allowed.

What To Watch Out For: After getting bottled up by Rutgers last week, Cincinnati RB George Winn is hoping to recapture his usual form on the ground. The unlikely 1,000-yard rusher is the unrivaled centerpiece of an attack that's been iffy when the ball is in the air this fall. He'll be looking to navigate a South Florida defense that just got done holding Miami and budding rookie RB Duke Johnson to only 85 yards rushing on 30 carries.

What Will Happen: South Florida is going to be cold and eager to put a period to the end of this season. It doesn't particularly want to be in Cincinnati this Friday night … and it'll show.

Even if the Bearcats are unable to completely uncork the offense, it won't matter in the final tally. The D will have few problems controlling and wrapping up a rudderless Bulls offense that no longer has a front man. Floyd versus John Jancek's underrated crew will be a mismatch that favors the home team. Cincinnati will never be threatened en route to win No. 8.

CFN Prediction: Cincinnati 33 … South Florida 13
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Cincinnati -13 O/U: 48
Must Watch Rating (5 – Beware of Mr. Baker, 1 – Life of Pi): 2