Predictions: Can Bucs manage to upset Rams?

by Gary Shelton on September 28, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Saturday, 3 a.m.

Ronald Jones needs to have a big game./Photo By:© Joe Mestas

One week after suffering one of their worst defeats in years, the Tampa Bay. Bucs now must play the franchise that delivered perhaps their worst loss ever.

It still stings, doesn't it?

You remember the 1999 Bucs that went to St. Louis when the Rams were located there, don't you? They lost 11-6, a loss made worse by a non-catch call on receiver Bert Emmanuel -- receivers made that catch all the time in those days -- and fell just short of their first Super Bowl (they won it in 2002).

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The Bucs won their next three games against the Rams. They have lost their last five. They matched the best defense of a decade against the best offense. But nothing has taken the sting out of that loss.

Now, they are underdogs again.

This Bucs team hasn't figured out this winning thing. They had a shot at San Francisco in the opener, but they kept throwing away points. They should have beaten the Giants, but they blew an 18-point lead and missed a potential winning field goal. Now, they have to travel to another coast to face Aaron Donald, Jared Goff and Todd Gurley.

The problem is that you don't quite trust the Bucs yet. Jamies Winston has played well in two of three games, but can you count on a third one? The defense has stopped two great running backs, but do you believe they will stop a third? The Rams won 24 games the last two years, and they're 3-0 this time around.

It's a lot for the Bucs to overcome. I think the defense is playing well enough to keep it close, and Winston might have a chance in the fourth quarter.

But until the Bucs learn how to win, games like this will escape them.

Prediction Rams 27, Bucs 20.

The Colleges

SMU at USF. Now that the quarterback situation seems settled, the Bulls have a chance to make this season interesting. But to do so, they'd have to upset the unbeaten SMU Mustangs.

For the Bulls, the key might be in stopping another quarterback. SMU's Shane Buechele is 12th in the nation passing with 1159 yards and seven touchdowns.

USF counters with new starter Jordan McCloud, who played well against South Carolina State. But McCloud hasn't played a big-time opponent yet. At 4-0, SMU seems to qualify.

Prediction: SMU 24, USF 14

Towson at Florida: The question on everyone's mind isn't what Kyle Trask will do in his second start.

It's this: What's a Towson?

Actually, the Tigers aren't bad against schools their size. They're ranked No. 10 in the country in the FBS. Still, that shouldn't help much against the Gators, who should wear Towson down and pull away.

Prediction: Florida 33, Towson 7

N.C. State at FSU: Here's how bad it has gotten. Here it is at the end of September, and FSU is searching for a two-game winning streak. Yeah, expectations change.

The Seminoles will turn to quarterback Alex Hornibrook to pull out the win. He'll be good enough get FSU the lead -- heck, FSU always gets the lead -- but can the defense hang on down the stretch.

Prediction: FSU 28, N.C. State 26.

UConn at UCF. UCF is good. UConn is not.

Ouch.

Prediction: UCF 61, UConn 3

Virginia Tech at Miami: The Hurricanes haven't proven they can play with anyone who is any good.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 23, Miami 17.

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