The Thursday night game (7:30pm ET) for week 3 of the 2012 college football season features two undefeated Big East teams as the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers (2-0) travel to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL to take on the host South Florida Bulls (2-0). Rutgers is 0-2 ATS this season, while South Florida is 1-1 ATS. Rutgers defeated Howard University by a score of 26-0 last week, and won their opener at Tulane 24-12 in week one, failing to cover the spread as a favorite in both games. South Florida squeaked by Nevada on the road last week by a score of 32-31, winning that game ATS as well as a 1-point underdog, and the Bulls rolled 34-12 over Chattanooga in week one, failing to cover a 30 point spread. Rutgers has won 5 of the last 6 meetings between the two teams, including a 20-17 win at home last season; going 5-1 ATS in the process.
The Scarlet Knights feature a run-heavy offense that ranks 60th among FBS teams with 171 yards per game and relies on running back Jawan Jamison, who has run for 222 yards (7.9 YPC) and 1 TD so far this season. Rutgers passing game ranks a dreadful 116th among FBS teams with an average of 144 YPG through the air, and the defense has been stellar thus far ranking 4th in points allowed with 6 per game and 6th in total defense with 205.5 YPG surrendered.
South Florida dual-threat quarterback B.J. Daniels has thrown for 588 yards and 6 TDs so far this season, including 363 yards and 3 TDs against Nevada last week to go along with 53 yards on the ground. Two of those touchdowns came la tint he game to rally the Bulls from a 31-20 deficit to a 32-31 win. The defense allowed 5.2 YPC and a whopping 278 yards rushing to the Nevada pistol offense last week, and currently ranks 80th among FBS teams with an average of 163.5 YPG allowed on the ground.
Rutgers vs. South Florida Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Rutgers Scarlet Knights +7.5
@ South Florida Bulls -7.5
Over 44.5 (-110)
Under 44.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.ag
Rutgers vs. South Florida Pick:
Rutgers is 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games against a team with a winning record, and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 Thursday games. South Florida is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games against a team with a winning record, and 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games overall. The under is 6-1 in Rutgers’ last 7 games overall and 5-2 in their last 7 Big East games. The under is 5-2 in south Florida’s last 7 Thursday games and the over is 5-2 in their last 7 games against a team with a winning record. In head-to-head play, Rutgers is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings between the two teams, and the underdog is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings. The over is 5-2 in those last 7 meetings.
USF is coming off of the longest road trip in school history at 2,700 miles last week to play a Thursday night game against a conference opponent. The quick turnaround does not give the Bulls much time to prepare or adjust to their jet lag and they are facing a program that has owned them in recent years. Rutgers has won 5 of the last 6 meetings between the two teams outright, and catching more than a touchdown they are a strong play here as well against a South Florida team that is coming off of a close victory that took everything they had to pull off. This line has come down from +9.5 on Monday, and it would be advisable to lock it in at better than +7 for the Scarlet Knights. Take Rutgers in this game.
PICK = Rutgers +7.5