The No. 21 ranked South Florida Bulls will open their season on the road against the San Jose State Spartans. Kickoff for this early non-conference action is set for 7:30 EST on Saturday, August 26th at CEFCU Stadium. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
South Florida vs San Jose St Vegas Odds & Game Preview
There’s a ton of hype surrounding this USF squad. Despite the fact that last year’s head coach, Willie Taggart left to take over the same job at Oregon. The Bulls are happy with their replacement in former Texas (’14-’16) and Louisville (’10-’13) head coach Charlie Strong.
He steps into an ideal situation, as South Florida returns 16 starters from a team that went 11-2 last season. The Bulls did miss out on playing for the American Athletic title. While they tied Temple at 7-1 on top the East Division, they lost the head-to-head matchup. USF went a respectable 7-5-1 ATS last year and were a solid 4-1 outside of league play.
San Jose St will also be debuting their new head coach, as Brent Brennan takes over for the departed Ron Caragher. The Spartans never won more than 6-games under Caragher. They ended 4-8 last year, but easily could have been 1-11. Three of the four wins came by 6-points or less. Not a lot to go off with Brennan, as he’s spent the last six seasons as the WR coach at Oregon State.
He has 15 starters back from last year’s team, but hard saying how many of those fit his new schemes. San Jose was dead even on the money at 6-6 ATS, but were just 1-3 SU and 1-3 ATS in non-conference games.
Looking to place a wager on this contest? Our Week 1 betting odds show the books have USF listed as a 20-point favorite with the total at 66 points.
Free NCAAF Football Betting Selection: USF -20
I don’t think there’s any question that South Florida is the more talented team in this one. I’m not a big fan of laying nearly 3 touchdowns on the road in a season opener, but I have to lean that way given the circumstances.
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The Bulls figure to be dynamic offensively behind senior quarterback Quinton Flowers. He’s not just one of the top signal callers in the AAC, but the entire country. He’s got a lot of the same skills as last year’s Heisman winner Lamar Jackson. In fact, Flowers threw for 2,812 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also led the team in rushing with 1,530 yards and 18 scores (7.7 yards/carry). He helped USF finish the year with 43.8 ppg (4th) and 511 ypg (11th).
The most important thing is that Strong isn’t going to change the scheme up. He’s keeping a fast-paced attack that fits Flowers strengths. Keep in mind that Strong brought along one of the top offensive coordinators out there in Sterlin Gilbert.
Factor in that USF has 9 starters back from a defense that only figures to improve and it’s hard to see how the Spartans can keep this close. San Jose State is in a major rebuilding phase. They got new schemes on both sites of the ball and unlike the Bulls have to find a new starting QB. You also have to keep in mind that Brennan and his staff don’t have a ton of experience to fall back on. Their new OC is 28-year-old Andrew Sowder. The youngest FBS coordinator in the country.
I just don’t see San Jose State being able to prepare themselves for the speed that will take the field for South Florida. The Bulls aren’t going to take their foot off the gas and their’s no reason to look ahead with a cupcake home game against Stony Brook on deck.
Good chance the public will be all over USF in this one. If you like the Bulls, best jump on them now, as I don’t see this line dropping.