South Florida-Tulsa: Newly-Ranked Bulls Do Just Enough for Cover

tulsa south florida

Matthew Jordan

Monday, October 8, 2018 5:04 PM UTC

Monday, Oct. 8, 2018 5:04 PM UTC

Looks to be a bit of a mismatch on Friday night from the American Athletic Conference as unbeaten South Florida visits struggling Tulsa.

No. 23 South Florida (5-0 SU, 2-3 ATS) at Tulsa (1-4, 2-3 ATS)Friday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)Free NCAAF Pick: Bulls (alternate line of -6.5)Best Line Offered: JustBet

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OK, this writer is tired of previewing Tulsa games! Never been to Tulsa, never will be in Tulsa (although I have been to Oklahoma – both Norman and Oklahoma City). Although, the Golden Hurricane have been good to us on weeknight games.

On Sept. 20, we recommended against them at Temple, and the Owls easily covered in a 31-17 win. Last Thursday, Tulsa opened at a 14.5-point underdog at Houston and we went with the Cougars – who won 41-26. I can all but promise this will be my last Tulsa preview of 2018 as it doesn’t play on a weeknight again. Good riddance!

Under Coach Charlie Strong, South Florida probably has the most talent in the American Athletic Conference and could be on a crash course with I-4 rival Central Florida to represent the East Division in the AAC title game. Frankly, it’s ridiculous those two are in the same division with how much better they are than everyone else (and Cincinnati is good in the East too). USF and UCF do close the regular season against one another per usual, this year in Tampa.

Just the third meeting between these schools with USF leading 2-0. The Bulls won last year on a Thursday night in Tampa 27-20. Quinton Flowers (now gone) threw two TD passes and rushed for 119 yards. The second half was really ugly as each team scored just 3 points in it.

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Jordan Cronkrite ran for an #AmericanFB single-game rushing record 302 yards on Saturday afternoon as @USFFootball remained undefeated with a 58-42 victory on the road at UMass. pic.twitter.com/ZBkhZamz1o

— American Football (@American_FB) October 6, 2018
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Welcome to Top 25!

South Florida moved into the AP poll this week at No. 23 following its 58-42 win at UMass on Saturday. University of Florida transfer Jordan Cronkrite blew up with 302 yards rushing, a conference record, and three touchdowns. Deservedly, he was named AAC Offensive Player of the Week. The 302 yards were the second-most in the FBS this year and the fourth-most rushing yards ever by a player from a state of Florida FBS program. Cronkrite’s 567 yards in his last three games rank as the second-most ever over a three-game span by a USF player, and he leads the AAC in rushing.

Alabama transfer and former top recruit Blake Barnett completed 17 of 24 for 209 yards, a touchdown and a pick. That game was originally scheduled to be played last year in Tampa but was moved due to Hurricane Irma. I’m really not sure if the Bulls are all that good as they have played a really crappy schedule – the only reasonably decent team on it is Georgia Tech and the Jackets are meh. USF is one of 11 remaining unbeatens.

Tulsa’s loss in Houston was the Golden Hurricane’s fourth straight – they led 13-7 after one and 23-17 after three but were outscored 24-3 in the fourth. UH somehow scored 17 points in 91 seconds. Tulsa freshman Seth Boomer made his career start at quarterback, replacing Luke Skipper. Boomer passed for 227 yards (second most ever by a Tulsa freshman making his NCAA debut) with one touchdown and one interception. That pick came in the fourth and he also lost a fumble in the quarter.

Ironically, Skipper was benched because of turnover problems. It sounds as if Boomer did enough for Coach Philip Montgomery to stick with him Friday. Sophomore tailback Corey Taylor II had career highs with 152 yards and 33 carries at Houston.

  • Bulls are 8-2 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
  • Golden Hurricane are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games.

This is all going to come down to how well Tulsa defends the run, and that’s probably not going to be well since the Golden Hurricane allow 207.4 rushing yards per game. I don’t love this at USF -7.5 and would recommend an alternate line/buy down to 6.5. Go Bulls at that number for a Friday NCAAF pick.

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