Can South Florida Spoil Central Florida’s Perfect Season in 'War on I-4'?

south florida ucf

Willie Bee

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 2:16 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 2:16 PM UTC

Central Florida’s top-ranked offense collides with South Florida’s strong defense, and we have a free college football pick for the Friday afternoon AAC East Division winner-take-all showdown.

NCAAF Season Record: 39-42-5 (-4.05)

Free NCAAF Pick: South Florida +11Best Line Offered: Heritage

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South Florida at Central Florida

Instead of the focus for Friday’s encounter between South Florida and No. 15 Central Florida being on two solid football teams and how the outcome will impact the American Athletic Conference Championship Game, the PC police have gotten involved over Bulls head coach Charlie Strong’s use of the word ‘handicap’ when talking about Knights linebacker Shaquem Griffin.

I’m assuming the same folks won’t be offended if I use the same term to describe wagering options for the 3:30 PM (ET) kickoff in Orlando. Handicap angles include UCF favored by 11, that spread starting -9½ at Bookmaker and showing signs of going up to -11½. Playing the scoreboard means a decision on a 63½-point hurdle.

 

Strong Taking Bulls Bowling In 1st Season As Coach

In actual football news surrounding Strong, he has USF headed to a bowl game in his first season running things in Tampa. Rumors persist it may be his last with the Ole Miss job a possibility after Rebels went through this season with Matt Luke on an interim tag. The Bulls haven’t been a good team to follow on the spread, dropping cash in the last four and 6 of 10 overall, though playing the ‘under’ on the NCAA football odds has paid off 7 of 10 games.

Scott Frost took over a Central Florida program that had gone 0-12 in 2015 and improved the Knights to a bowl invite in 2016. A year later, he has them on the cusp of the program’s greatest season ever, and you can bet there will be grumblings about them being included in the College Football Playoff if they win their next two. Unbeaten and leading the nation with a 48.5 PPG average, UCF’s only real tests came on the road at Navy in late October and at SMU three weeks ago.

 

Rivalry Trends, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

South Florida has won the last two meetings to build a 6-2 overall advantage in the young grudge match, Central Florida’s two wins coming consecutively in 2013-14. Last year’s battle in Tampa resulted in a 48-31 final, the Bulls covering at -12½. The last meeting in Orlando was an easy 44-3 skate for South Florida on a -24½-point line. The previous two matchups at Spectrum Stadium never reached the totals.

A stormy Thanksgiving Day in Orlando is supposed to leave a 60% chance of rain into the early afternoon hours of Friday, so an updated forecast is a must before making your play. It’s a classic case of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object for me, and when that happens, I’ll almost always go with the points for my free college football pick.

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