College Football Pick: West Virginia vs South Florida
NCAA Football Betting Favorite: West Virginia -1
West Virginia went through a brief period of underperformance in late October and early November, but they have bounced back with consecutive narrow victories over Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the last two weeks. South Florida started the season with a big win at Notre Dame, and they went on to start out 4-0. It has been all downhill since then for the Bulls. South Florida has lost six of their last seven games. Can the Bulls get it back together and get back to .500?
Dana Holgorsen has brought a lot of changes to the West Virginia Mountaineers team. Under Bill Stewart the Mountaineers offense never really got on track, but this year West Virginia has the best offense in the Big East. Geno Smith has bought into the new system, and he is having a massive breakout season at quarterback. Smith has thrown 25 touchdowns and just five interceptions this season. Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin both have over 1,000 receiving yards this year. Eight players on this squad have at least ten catches, so Smith has plenty of targets on the outside. The Mountaineers are averaging 35 points per contest.
Most expected the Mountaineers defense to take a step back this year, and they certainly have. This unit ranked in the top ten in the country last year, but they rank 25th in total defense and 59th in points allowed per game in 2011. This is a young defense that has struggled against solid running games this year.
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South Florida looked like it was ready for a big season after the first few weeks of the year, but things have completely fallen apart for Skip Holtz and this team. The offense was brilliant at the beginning of the season, but they have been held to 17 points or less in four of their last seven games. B.J. Daniels has improved at the quarterback spot this year, but he is dinged up right now. Daniels missed last week’s game, and he is listed as questionable for this one. If Daniels misses this game, the team will rely even more on the running game.
The Bulls defense has been a disappointment this year. Last season this unit was one of the best in the country. The front seven has been very good this year against the run, but the secondary has been terrible against the pass. This is certainly a cause for concern for the defensive coaches at South Florida because West Virginia is so good at spreading the field and airing it out. The Bulls must find a way to pressure Smith or it will be a long day for this defense.
West Virginia has more at stake in this game, and I think they have fewer question marks right now. Look for the Mountaineers to win this game and be in position to get the Big East’s BCS berth.
Free College Football Pick: West Virginia S Florida – Under
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