Who: USF Bulls (4-6, 3-3 AAC) vs. Memphis Tigers (5-1 AAC)
What: A game to keep Memphis' conference championship hopes alive, and their head coach Justin Fuente as a candidate for some bigger jobs this off-season. For USF, a chance to keep their slim bowl hopes alive. Just cover a double digit spread on the road like you used to all the time Bulls!
Where: The Liberty Bowl in the birthplace of
freedom BBQ, Memphis, Tennessee
When: 4 p.m. on ESPNews
Why: Because you're going to miss this in February. As bad as it is, it's still college football, and every game is a gift.
Spread: Memphis -19ish.
Memphis' QB Paxton Lynch is a perfectly competent quarterback from Deltona, FL with dual threat capabilities. He's got a serviceable running game led by Brandon Hayes (4.8 ypc), and the Tigers run it on almost 58% of called plays. They score when they get in the red zone 94% of the time. They're not flashy or overwhelming, they're just capable.
Defensively they're a beast in AAC terms. Opponents get just 4.8 yards per play overall (22nd in NCAA), and complete less than 55% of their passes against the Tigers. What are they going to do to a USF team that averages just 4.7 yards per play (#112th out of 128)? Can USF even get 200 yards today?
Unless and until something happens to spark the USF offense (trick plays, some more vertically-inclined playcalling), there's no reason to think the Bulls have a chance of hanging around today. The square peg-round hole relationship between the current talent on the field and the philosophy of the offense would seem to make you think it's highly unlikely.
Unless and until. Prove us wrong, USF. Please.
Also: we are reporting that Mike White will be the starting quarterback, and that Quinton Flowers will play. If it's on the third possession of the game (as Quinton has been used so often this season), well then that should tell you a lot about whether or not changes have been planned.
Also+: Thor Jozwiak didn't make the trip, and neither did Elkino Watson (same suspension as last week).