The predictions: Lovie should have a tough time at Rayjay

by Gary Shelton on September 15, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Charlie Strong hopes his USF team can break out./JEFFREY S. KING

Charlie Strong hopes his USF team can break out./JEFFREY S. KING

Friday, 2 a.m.

The oddest thing about tonight is that, finally, fans are hoping that Lovie Smith won't win at Raymond James Stadium.

Go figure. For two seasons he was head coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs, Lovie almost never won at the Ray Jay. Remember the old joke? The one place in town that Lovie had never visited was the RayJay end zone.

In 2014, Smith didn't win at all at the RayJay. And in 2015, he won only three of eight. Then he was gone.

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Now the head coach at Illinois, Lovie brings his team to town tonight to face the Bulls. And while Illinois isn't a power (three wins last year), it is a Big 10 team, and USF has been running in quicksand for two games.

Still, USF is favored from 14-18 points, meaning that the oddsmakers still like USF's talent a lot more than Illinois', For two weeks, the Bulls have hoped that Quinton Flowers would break out. Maybe this will be the game.

Prediction: USF 21, Illinois 17

This week, Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will call plays from the press bo. Trust me, the Gators have looked particularly ugly from there.

The Gators' offense produced only three points and only 192 yards of offense last week in losing to Michigan, and neither quarterback – freshman Feleipe Franks and transfir Malik Zaire – looked ordinary.

It should change at the Swamp, where the Gators should play better. Still, there may be too may suspensions for the Gators.

Predicition: Tennessee 24, Florida 17

The pros

For most of the preseason, the Tampa Bay Bucs' offense was in storage, wrapped in bubble wrap. Sunday, when the team finally opens its season, it will hope for instance stardom.

If you judge from last season's 26-point win, the Bucs should have an easy time of it. But Chicago has a better running game with Tarik Cohen. But if you do a tale-of-the-tape, the Bucs are the more talented team. If they're really going to make a playoff run this year, Chicago is a team it needs to win.

Prediction: Tampa Bay 28, Chicago 21

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