College Football Picks: South Florida vs. Rutgers

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 4:25 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 4:25 PM UTC

Take one last glance at the alignment in the American Athletic Conference. The first-year league is going to look a lot different in its sophomore season. With both teams facing a losing season, who will get the college football pick for this game.
<p>The soap opera that is the ever-changing conference landscape is going to hit the AAC next year with two subtractions plus three additions, and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights are one of the schools abandoning the new conference after just one campaign. <st1:place>Rutgers</st1:place> will be joining the Big Ten which continues to grow, and the Knights' final home game of 2013 marks their first and last AAC matchup against the South Florida Bulls.</p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">ESPN2 will carry the 7:30 PM (ET) kickoff Saturday at High Point Solutions Stadium, and a quick check of the <a target="_blank" title="Live college football odds for Week 15" href="/betting-odds/college-football/">college football betting odds</a> shows </span><st1:place style="font-size:1em">Rutgers</st1:place><span style="font-size:1em"> as 5.5 to 6 point chalk.</span> <span style="font-size:1em">That spread has come down a rung since opening with the Scarlet Knights laying 7.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">Scoreboard bettors will have to decide high or low on a 46.5 point total that hasn't budged since it first went out.</span> <span style="font-size:1em">The last two gridiron battles between the two teams failed to reach the number.</span></p> <p><st1:place style="font-size:1em"><b>Rutgers</b></st1:place><b style="font-size:1em"> Out To Stop 3-Game Slide</b></p> <p><img style="font-size:1em" src="/picks-pictures/rutgersknightssss.jpg" class="imgSelectedPicture article-image" alt="Image preview" id="ctl00_head_ArticleAdministrator_picturePreview_imgSelectedPicture" />The 2013 season started out well enough for Kyle Flood and the Scarlet Knights. A tough overtime loss at <st1:placename>Fresno</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>State</st1:placetype> in the season opener was followed by four straight wins, including a win and cover vs. <st1:state>Arkansas</st1:state>. But that's where the fun stopped for <st1:place>Rutgers</st1:place> (5-6 straight up, 3-8 against the spread).</p> <p><span style="font-size:1em"><a target="_blank" title="Read our preview and picks from the last game we covered" href="/college-football/free-picks/college-football-betting-action-central-florida-vs-rutgers-a-35089/">The Scarlet Knights have since dropped five of six</a>, the most recent setback an embarrassing 28-17 loss last week at </span><st1:state style="font-size:1em">Connecticut</st1:state><span style="font-size:1em"> where they were 2-point favorites, their fifth consecutive game without covering the spread.</span> <span style="font-size:1em">A weak offense that has been turnover prone all season was once again the culprit as the Huskies rallied from a third-quarter deficit for the win.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">Injuries have been one problem for Flood and the Knights, perhaps none more damaging than the early-season concussion suffered by 1st-string quarterback Gary Nova.</span> <span style="font-size:1em">The junior pivot never really seemed to recover and was inconsistent after that, leading Flood to replace Nova with senior Chas Dodd a week ago at UConn.</span> <span style="font-size:1em">Dodd                                         did throw for nearly 290 yards, but was picked up twice.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">Those two interceptions plus a fumble brought the Scarlet Knights' season total to 25 giveaways.</span> <span style="font-size:1em">Their -10 turnover margin ranks near the bottom of the country, and has been a big factor in the team allowing 32 points per game (94th).</span></p> <p><b style="font-size:1em">Bulls Want To Avoid 10-Loss Season</b></p> <p>If Flood thinks his second season on the job at Rutgers has been rough, he's certainly not going to get any sympathy from his counterpart at <st1:place>South Florida</st1:place>. Willie Taggart is about to finish his first year as head coach of the Bulls (2-9 SU, 5-6 ATS), and it has been anything but fun for the former <st1:place>Western Kentucky</st1:place> head coach and Stanford assistant.</p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">It all got rolling with a 53-21 setback at home to </span><st1:placename style="font-size:1em">McNeese</st1:placename><span style="font-size:1em"> </span><st1:placetype style="font-size:1em">State</st1:placetype><span style="font-size:1em">, a game in which the Bulls were giving up nearly three touchdowns, and it's coming to an end with </span><st1:place style="font-size:1em"><a target="_blank" title="Check out the preview and picks from last weeks game against UCF" href="/college-football/free-picks/college-football-picks-south-florida-vs-ucf-a-35339/">South Florida</a></st1:place><span style="font-size:1em"><a target="_blank" title="Check out the preview and picks from last weeks game against UCF" href="/college-football/free-picks/college-football-picks-south-florida-vs-ucf-a-35339/"> in the midst of a 5-game skid</a> and heading towards a potential 10-loss season.</span> <span style="font-size:1em">That's something the Bulls have never experienced since joining the FBS ranks in 2000.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">South Florida has actually turned it over more often than </span><st1:place style="font-size:1em">Rutgers</st1:place><span style="font-size:1em">, but has tempered some of that with 24 takeaways.</span> <span style="font-size:1em">The Bulls have one of the most impotent offensive attacks at the Div-I level, and without a decent defense would possibly be facing a winless season.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">A brisk forecast is up for Saturday evening in </span><st1:place style="font-size:1em">Piscataway</st1:place><span style="font-size:1em">.</span> <span style="font-size:1em">The thermometer is expected to be right at the freezing mark for the start of the game, and dipping into the 20s with a light north breeze.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">It's tough to tell what mindset either team will have for a game that has very little meaning, other than Rutgers wanting to finish .500 and South Florida looking to avoid a 10th loss.</span> <span style="font-size:1em">There isn't much of a rivalry here, with the teams first meeting as Big East foes in 2005</span> <span style="font-size:1em">and </span><st1:place style="font-size:1em">Rutgers</st1:place><span style="font-size:1em"> winning six of the eight clashes since then.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">The total is rather low, but I'm going to add the 'under' to my list of <a target="_blank" title="Free college football picks from SBR" href="/college-football/">free college football picks</a> in Week 15.</span></p> <p><b style="font-size:1em">My picks:</b><span style="font-size:1em"> South Florida-Rutgers Under 46.5</span></p> <p> <b>Season:</b> 26-13 (+11.7); 7 picks pending</p> <p>[gameodds]6/251558/?r3=43-19-349/dec&amp;r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]</p>
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