Despite Losing Head Coach, USF To Roll Gamecocks In Birmingham Bowl

South Florida Bulls

Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 5:06 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 5:06 PM UTC

The South Florida Bulls will lock horns with the South Carolina Gamecocks at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., on Dec. 29 in the Birmingham Bowl. Let’s review the matchup and find the sharp side in our college football picks.

South Florida Vs. South Carolina

South Florida came up just short in its bid for a shot at the AAC title. The Bulls notched a 10-2 regular-season mark and rewarded those who backed them in their college football picks this season by cashing in eight of 12 occasions. Unfortunately, a 46-30 conference loss to Temple back in October proved to be their undoing in winning the AAC East Division as the Bulls tied the Owls with a 7-1 conference mark and thus lost the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The Bulls wrapped their season by reeling off four consecutive wins and covering the spread in three of those contests. In their last appearance, South Florida was installed as 12½-point home favorites by the college football odds makers over rival Central Florida and did not disappoint. Junior quarterback Quinton Flowers and junior running back Marlon Mack each had a pair of rushing touchdowns and the Bulls scored at least 30 points for the 16th consecutive game in the 48-31 victory.

USF will have an interim head coach for this one as co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach T.J. Weist will run the team after offensive-minded head coach Willie Taggert took the Oregon head coaching job. South Florida already has hired former Texas coach Charlie Strong to replace Taggert full time. 

The Gamecocks hail from the vaunted SEC and struggled down the stretch in dropping two of their final three games. The Gamecocks proved no match for nationally ranked powers Florida and Clemson, getting blown out on the road in both contests by the scores of 20-7 and 56-7, respectively. Wedged in between those losses was a 44-31 win over lightly regarded Western Carolina, which resulted in a much closer game than the 31-point spread would have indicated.

There is no doubt South Carolina has played a higher-caliber schedule this season than South Florida, but the results demonstrate the 'Cocks were not up to the task. The highlight of their season came at home against Tennessee in a 24-21 victory as 15-point home dogs. But that seems like ancient history now as the team prepares for a high-octane South Florida club that has won a school-record number of games this season.

Despite South Carolina’s slight advantage defensively, ranked 45th and allowing 24.8 PPG vs. South Florida’s 86th ranked defense surrendering 31 points per game, it comes nowhere near overcoming the huge disparity in offense. South Florida is averaging 43.6 PPG (15th), while the Gamecocks check in with one of the most anemic attacks in all of college football at a paltry 13 points per game -- which places them above only Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Tulane. The Bulls will stampede in the Birmingham Bowl, and we will gladly lay the double-digit impost.

NCAAF Free Pick: USF -10.5Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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