Bulls should handle UConn … just barely

by Gary Shelton on October 19, 2018 · 0 comments

in College Sports in Florida, Florida State University, general

Friday, 2 a.m.

In college football, the road to success is built on a good defense. Isn't it?

Why, look at unbeaten Cincinnati, which is third in the nation in scoring defense. Or Clemson, which is sixth. Or Alabama, which is seventh. Frankly, seven of the eight unbeaten teams in the nation have scoring defenses in the top 28 in the nation.

Then there USF, which will join the conversation as soon as it lines up for the next extra point.

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How in the world can a team be undefeated when it is ranked 59th in the nation on defense? USF has given up 150 points this season, which explains the skin-of-their teeth season. The Bulls are 113th in the NCAA (out of 129 teams) against the run.

Perhaps that is why USF doesn't feel like as big a favorite as the oddsmakers say (33.5 points) against UConn Saturday night. The Bulls, frankly, have had to pull several games out at the end/

Against UConn, which has given up at least 49 points in every game this season, that shouldn't be a problem. Should it? But as the Bulls get ready to play Houston, Cincinnati and UCF, they're going to have to grow on defense.

Prediction: USF 38, UConn 31.

Wake Forest at FSU: By now, it's been established that this isn't an FSU team for the ages. Still, it should be a solid favorite against a Wake Forest team that was clobbered 63-3 by Clemson last week.

The Seminoles have struggled to run the ball this year, but Wake Forest hasn't stopped anyone. Look for Cam Akers to have a big day, and the Seminoles to win comfortably.

Will that get everyone off of Willie Taggart's back? Why, no, it won't.

Prediction: FSU 33, Wake Forest 17.

UCF at East Carolina: UCF keeps winning, but it still isn't gaining any ground.

The Knights were the only member of the AP Top 10 to win last week and not move up, a direct slap at the schedule the team plays in the AAC.

Still, the winning should continue for UCF this week. ECU is better, but it still isn't good. McKenzie Milton should have another big day.

Prediction: UCF 30, ECU 10.

FAU at Marshall: The Owls have played a heavyweight schedule so far, but they haven't won any games because of it. They won't win this one, either.

Marshall is a pretty good football team with running back Tyler King leading the way. The thought here is that the Thundering Herd wins in the fourth quarter.

Prediction: Marshall 26, FAU 21.

Rice at FIU: The Panthers look to be a solid favorite over Rice, which has given up 40 points or more in five of their seven games this year. James Morgan is coming off a 311-yard effort for FIU.

It shouldn't be close.

Prediction: FIU 35, Rice 14.

The National Games

Michigan at Michigan State: One of the teams that has given Jim Harbaugh fits. Prediction: Michigan 17, Michigan State 15.

N.C. State at Clemson: Like Clemson, N.C. State is undefeated. That won't continue: Prediction: Clemson 30, N.C. State 10.

Alabama at Tennessee: The Vols are coming off a nice upset. It won't happen again. Prediction: Alabama 31, Tennessee 0.


Cleveland at Tampa Bay: Can the Bucs' pressure Baker Mayfield? Can they cover an unimpressive group of receivers? We'll see.

Gut feelings: Ronald Jones gains 50 yards, and the defense plays just well enough. Prediction: Tampa Bay 23, Cleveland 21.

Carolina at Philadelphia: The Eagles have slopped around long enough. It's time they showed why they won the Super Bowl last year. Prediction: Philadelphia 27, Carolina 20.

New England at Chicago: The Bears looked good the last time they were at home, but the Patriots aren't the Bucs. Prediction: New England 28, Chicago 17.




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