Predictions: USF, UCF need to win to set up their ‘war’

by Gary Shelton on October 20, 2017 · 0 comments

in College Sports in Florida, Florida State University, general

Charlie Strong'S team still looking for complete game../STEVEN MUNCIE

Charlie Strong's team still looking for complete game../STEVEN MUNCIE

Friday, 2 a.m.

Already, you can see it coming. Already, they are glaring at each other across I-4.

USF.

UCF.

This time, it really may be a war.

Oh, things can still get in the way. UCF plays a pesky Navy team this week. Next week, USF plays a stubborn Houston team. But, really, those seem to be the major threats to perhaps the best USF-UCF game in memory.

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USF is ranked No. 16 in the AP poll. UCF is ranked No. 20. USF quarterback Quinton Flowers hasn't played quite like the Heisman Trophy contender he was advertised to be, but he's still capable of keeping a defensive coordinator up nights. UCF seems to have jumped a year in the growing department, and McKenzie Milton has grown into a threat. UCF leads the nation in scoring; USF is 12th in the nation in total defense.

First things first, though. Against Navy, Central Florida faces the top rushing offense in the country (against the Knight's 19-ranked rushing defense). In a way, that may hint as to how well UCF will be able to stop USF's rushing attack.

USF, meanwhile, has had its focus fade in and out much of this season. That could make for a tesky first half against Tulane, which is 3-0 at home this season.

Still, this should end up being the Bulls' 12th straight win and its 23rd straight scoring at least 30.

Prediction: USF 34, Tulane 10

UCF 24, Navy 22

Florida State at Louisville

A year ago, the Cardinals ran off and hid behind Lamar Jackson against FSU. It's doubtful that will happen in Tallahassee, but Louisville still has the fourth-ranked offense in America. The Seminoles are playing behind freshman quarterback James Blackman, but the rest of the Seminoles haven't played up to their rankings so far.

Odds are, they won't do it this time, either.

Prediction: Louisville 27, FSU 20

Miami at Syracuse

Finally, we'll get a clue as to how good Miami is. So far, Miami is unbeaten, untied and unconvincing. The Hurricanes barely got past FSU, and otherwise, really haven't played a lot of teams. But Syracuse earned some attention with its victory over Clemson, and their fastbreak offense will test the Hurricanes.

At home, that might be too much for Miami.

Prediction: Syracuse 24, Miami 21

The Pros

Bucs at Buffalo

How important can the sixth game of the season be?

For Tampa Bay, this one feels huge. If the Bucs can pull out a victory over Buffalo on the road, they can even their record at 3-3 as division play begins. It won't be easy. The Bucs never competed last week against Arizona.

Buffalo doesn't have the offensive prowess of the Cardinals, however. That should give the Bucs a chance. Eventually, the game may be decided by how well the Bucs tackle elusive quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

Prediction: Tampa Bay 17, Buffalo 16

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