South Florida vs


at Boca Raton
Thu, Dec 21
5:00 PM Pacific
Rotation: 218
Odds: Syracuse -2.5, Total: 58.5

Game Analysis

Create an account to get analysis and updates sent to your inbox.

Strong Opinion – Under (58.5) – Syracuse (-2.5)  28   South Florida 23

I understand that Syracuse has an interim coach (who will remain on the staff) and that this game is being played close to South Florida’s home, but the Bulls are a bad team that got their 6 wins against other bad teams. The best team that USF beat all season is Rice, who is about 6 points worse than an average FBS team, and the Bulls have lost 4 games to teams that I rate worse than Syracuse (and one to a team I rate about the same). Syracuse is 6-6 too, but the Orange have beaten 3 teams that are better than South Florida (Purdue, Pitt, and Wake Forest) and haven’t lost to a team as bad as the Bulls.

USF has been 0.4 yards per play worse than average offensively, (5.9 yppl against teams that would allow 6.3 yppl to an average team) and they’re at a disadvantage against a solid Syracuse defense. The Orange are down a couple of defenders, as Leon Lowery and Terry Lockett have transferred. Lockett is replaceable but Lowery was second on the team in total tackles for loss. My algorithm suggests that those two are worth 1.3 points in a game in which USF will have close to 80 snaps. However, star LB Marlow Wax has been practicing and when asked about his NFL plans has said that he’s focused on the bowl game. Safety Justin Barron, who was also an opt-out candidate, has also been practicing and is on the depth chart as the starter for the game. Veteran DC Rocky Long, who did a great job turning the defense around this season, has stayed on to coach the defense for the bowl game and that unit still rates at 0.3 yppl better than average without Lowery and Lockett, which is 0.7 yppl better than USF’s offense. I project just 392 yards at 5.0 yppl for the Bulls in this game, which equates to about 23 points. USF only faced one better than average defense all season (UTSA) and they scored just 21 points in that game (and 24 points against the next best defense they faced – Western Kentucky, who is worse than average).

The projected points for USF could be even lower if Syracuse limits the possessions by running the ball 80% of the time with the Wildcat duo of TE Dan Villari and RB LeQuint Allen. Starting QB Garrett Shrader is out due to surgery on his shoulder and the Orange went exclusively to the Wildcat offense in week 11 vs Pitt and week 12 against Georgia Tech when Shrader was injured and racked up an average of 293 rushing yards and 25 points per game. Running the ball more, which I certainly expect with an unproven quarterback atop the depth chart (Braden Davis is listed at QB1 and has 1 career pass), makes the USF defense better given how horrible they are defending the pass (2.1 yppp worse than average) compared to their run defense (0.4 yprp worse than average). In fact, if Syracuse runs the ball 70% of the time, which I expect, the USF defense would be 4.3 points better than normal, as teams have averaged 55% pass plays against them this season. A run-oriented game-plan should work pretty well, but the Orange wouldn’t be taking full advantage of South Florida’s defensive weakness.

Villari was originally a quarterback prospect at Michigan before transferring to Syracuse and being converted to a tight end, and he’s completed 19 of 22 passes – although for just 122 yards. He’s capable of beating USF’s porous secondary with downfield throws if they stack the box to stop the run, but thus far they haven’t trusted him to throw the ball down the field. It may also be Davis getting most of the snaps at quarterback, but I still think the Orange would run the ball 70% or more of their plays. I’d prefer it if they went with the Wildcat because I know the level of their offense when they’ve done that (0.5 yppl worse than average). I have no idea how bad, or good, Davis would be in his first start, but I have the Orange pass attack averaging 5.9 yppp in this game with the run game at 5.6 yprp – for a total of 386 yards at 5.7 yppl, which should net them around 28 points. I would have bet on Syracuse in this game if Shrader were healthy and I’m projecting nearly 7 points less for the Orange without Shrader, who would have torn apart that horrible USF secondary. I still think Syracuse is the right side but the under is where the value is at – unless Davis is much better than expected and they let him throw it 30 times rather than running the ball 70% of the time, as I expect.


Strong Opinion Under 57 points or more.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • South Florida
  • Syracuse


  • Run Plays 41.1 32.1
  • Run Yards 209.2 161.5
  • YPRP 5.1 5.0


  • Pass Comp 22.5 23.6
  • Pass Att 35.2 38.0
  • Comp % 63.8% 62.2%
  • Pass Yards 280.0 315.6
  • Sacks 3.0 1.6
  • Sack Yards 18.8 10.2
  • Sack % 7.9% 3.9%
  • Pass Plays 38.2 39.6
  • Net Pass Yards 261.2 305.5
  • YPPP 6.8 7.7


  • Total Plays 79.3 71.6
  • Total Yards 470.4 467.0
  • YPPL 5.9 6.5


  • Int 0.9 1.1
  • Int % 2.6% 2.9%
  • Fumbles 0.7 0.6
  • Turnovers 1.6 1.7
  • Points 30.8 34.9
Share This