The Tulsa Golden Hurricane and South Florida Bulls meet at Raymond James Stadium on Friday night in an AAC matchup. This isn’t the most attractive looking game of the week, I can tell you that much. In any event, I’m not so interested in the on-field product as long as we come out of it with a winner. The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles were painful to watch at times last night, but 3-0 on the props will put you in a good mood regardless of how bad the game was.
There are four games on the FBS schedule tonight, with Illinois and Wisconsin the big matchup of Friday. That game will kick off the much anticipated Big Ten season. Fortunately, we will have the best four teams in the College Football Playoff now. South Florida are not going to the College Football Playoff, nor are they going to be close to a bowl game in 2020. Tulsa might have a case, though they’re likely going to be fighting for a bowl.
It’s been a rough few years for the Bulls. When Charlie Strong was freed up after getting fired from Texas, the South Florida athletic department must have felt like they found gold. South Florida moved quickly and signed Strong. So much for that. Strong is gone, while Jeff Scott is left to pick up the pieces at USF. This wasn’t a premier destination for head coaches, so the former wide receiver coach at Clemson was what USF settled with. I don’t feel that Scott is a bad coach, but he’s working with little talent right now.
South Florida welcomes Tulsa to Tampa Bay on Friday night with a record of 1-4. They have a win over The Citadel to open the season on September 12 by a score of 27-6. That’s going to impress just about no one. Despite being presented with an opportunity to slaughter The Citadel, their offense sputtered throughout that game. They followed up with losses against Notre Dame, 52-0, Cincinnati, 28-7, East Carolina, 44-24, and Temple 39-77. Tulsa doesn’t provide the Bulls with the toughest challenge, but they aren’t bad at all.
Tulsa opened the season with a hard-fought 16-7 loss against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on September 19. Containing Chuba Hubbard, one of the finest running backs in the FBS, is an impressive feat by the Tulsa defense. In their most recent outing, the Golden Hurricane were in good form again, with a 34-26 win over UCF, the No. 11 team in the country at the time. That is the only two games they’ve played. This is their first time on the field since the win over the Knights on October 2. Head below for our free Tulsa vs. South Florida pick for October 23, 2020.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. South Florida Bulls Betting Odds:
Tulsa vs. South Florida Prediction:
The Golden Hurricane were able to catch Oklahoma State a bit off guard in early September. I don’t believe Oklahoma State believed they were going to see as much resistance as they did. It was an impressive performance by Tulsa, as three different quarterbacks passed for 138 yards and an interception. But what kept the game close was keeping Hubbard under wraps.
Hubbard ran for 105 yards on 27 carries. That is just 3.9 yards per carry, which is more than acceptable for a defense against one of the best runners in college football. Tulsa showed that their defensive prowess in that game was no fluke. They were in great form two weeks later against UCF as well. The Golden Hurricane held a very decent UCF offense in check on October 3.
Holding Dillon Gabriel to 330 yards with a touchdown and interception doesn’t look too great, but Gabriel is a quarterback who could have easily exploded for more than that. On the ground, Tulsa were effective in that regard as well, with USF gaining 3.9 yards per carry. Through two games against two fairly good offenses, Tulsa has passed the defensive test.
Their offense came around UCF for 34 points behind a productive performance by Zach Smith at the controls. Smith passed for 273 yards and 3 touchdowns with an interception. I think the South Florida defense can keep the Tulsa offense in check for the most part, but I’m concerned with how the Bulls are going to move the ball on the Tulsa defense. If Oklahoma State and UCF failed to consistently string drives together, I’m not too confident in USF accomplishing it.
South Florida scored 27 points against The Citadel in Week 1, and averaged 10.3 points per game in three games that followed. 24 points against a bad East Carolina defense two weeks ago is their second best offensive output in FBS competition. That said, the run game was ineffective with 2.7 yards per carry on 34 attempts, and sophomore Jordan McCloud wasn’t outstanding.
Their best effort offensively was last week in a 39-37 loss against Temple. McCloud passed for 182 yards and 3 touchdowns, though the run game was not all that impressive with 3.3 yards per carry. Dumb turnovers by quarterback Anthony Russo was the biggest catalyst for the Bulls’ offense in the loss. Against a fresh Tulsa defense, look for McCloud to run into issues. He’ll need the backfield to help him out, but they haven’t been a strong unit thus far. I’m on Tulsa in what looks like a 33-17 win.