The Predictions: Is UConn a rival for USF?

by Gary Shelton on November 2, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Friday, 2 a.m.

When it comes to rivalries, the folks at USF seem to save a certain slice of Hell for those at UCF.

That's where the punch-lines are aimed. That's where the hate is pointed. That's the game that no one wants to lose, under any condition, in any season.

Yeah, UCF is a rival, all right.

Louisville? Louisville used to be a rival. USF won some of its biggest games against Louisville. And West Virginia was a rival for a while. There for about a minute, FSU was a rival.

Ah, but how about UConn? Where do the Huskies fit in as a rival for the Bulls?

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Granted, no one around here really cares about UConn, a rather bland opponent from a rather bland state. No one circles the date that USF plays UConn. No one sends hate mail northward.

But if you look, well, UConn plays USF like a rival in most years.

Yeah, yeah. USF has won five straight over the Huskies. That's not really rivalry stuff.

But the games? The games have mostly been tight, and too often, they've gone the wrong way. Of the 14 games the teams have played, 11 have been decided by eight points or less, including nine straight games from 2007-2015.

UConn? It's the place where the Voodoo Five – a silly quarterback-throw-back in 2005 – was born. It's where a 6-1 USF team lost to a 6-1 UConn team in 2007. That was the year that USF rose to No. 2. UConn made sure they didn't finish there.

This year, the Bulls once again travel to UConn, where the offense has been – traditionally – stuck in the mud. This time, USF has to rebound from blowing a game against Houston. For USF, a win over UConn probably returns the team to the Top 25. It sets up the big game against UCF. It keeps most of the possibilities possible.

USF is favored by 23 points, but it has underachieved its last two games. Besides, weird things happen to USF in Storrs.

Prediction: USF 29, UConn 17

Syracuse at FSU

Every week, you expect FSU to snap out of their season-long funk. Every week, they do not.

Syracuse is dangerous. An upset win over Clemson earlier in the season. A loss to Miami, however, showed that the Orangement haven't quite arrived.

Syracuse will cause some problems with its up-tempo offense, featuring quarterback Eric Dungey. And FSU has been vulnerable lately.

You wait for the Seminoles to play up to their recruiting rankings. It hasn't happened so far, however.

Prediction: Syracuse 27, FSU 20

Florida at Missouri

The Gators start the Randy Shannon era Saturday, and even though he's a defensive guy, it'll be hard for the offense to play any worse. The quarterback job is up for grabs, and all around, there will be a team trying to get the taste of Jim McElwain out of its mouth.

One thought: Can you imagine how dumb Jim McElwain would feel if first-time starter Malik Zaire were a star?

Interim coaches generally do pretty well at Florida. Shannon will, too, if his defense can hold up against Missouri quarterback Drew Lock.

Prediction: Florida 17, Missouri 14

Virginia Tech at Miami

Can an undefeated team be an underdog? The Hurricanes (7-0) might be against Virginia Tech (7-1).

The Hurricanes have won close for most of the year, never quite impressing. This is their chance. If this Hurricane team can handle the Hokies, they might be a team to be reckoned with.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 20, Miami 17

The Pros

Tampa Bay at New Orleans

The Bucs don't seem to be playing well enough to challenge the Saints at home. There isn't enough pass rush, and the coverage still loses track of receivers. Throw in that New Orleans has a better running game, and it looks uphill for Tampa Bay.

Prediction: New Orleans 27, Tampa Bay 17

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