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West Virginia vs. South Florida Pick

12/1/11

We may not have a playoff system in college football (yet), but towards the end of the season, we do get some "playoff like" games. This Thursday nights Big East clash between West Virginia and South Florida would fit the bill. For West Virginia, they'll see post season play whether they win or not thanks to an 8-3 record. However, a win here and they could grab a piece of the Big East title, and depending on what happens with Cincinnati this week, they could earn a birth in the Orange Bowl, a BCS bowl game. For South Florida, at 5 wins on the year, it's win or their season is over. Fittingly, the game is a pick em affair at Betonline with a posted total of 50.

The Big question mark for South Florida is QB B.J. Daniels. He's listed as probable, so we'll proceed with this write up as if he's playing, although, we're going to side with the Mountaineers here so, if he doesn't start, it only strengthens are position.

If we take a look at the season to date numbers for both teams, we could make a case for South Florida. Both teams can move the ball though West Virginia has the better offense, with the South Florida defense performing almost 3 points better when referring to yards per point. If we use the yards per point stat to make a line here, South Florida would be a field goal favorite. Likewise, when we run season to date stats through our model, South Florida comes up the winner by a score of 31-27.

However, it might be more telling to take a look at common opponents. When we do, we see that West Virginia is 4-2 against those teams while South Florida is 1-5. When we run only the stats from common opponents through the model, we get a predicted final score of West Virginia 30-27.

West Virginia is the better football team here. While defense has been a problem, that unit is coming off it's best game of the year registering 10 sacks in their win over Pitt. The offense has never been a problem and in fact is only getting better as WVU coach Dana Holgorsen has let QB Geno Smith use his legs more and more making him even more of a threat and keeping defenses on their toes. That could be huge here as the WVA running game has lacked all year but they get to go up against a South Florida team that has had problems against the run.

It should be a good one and fun to watch as it's do or die for South Florida. We're simply siding with who we feel is the better team here in a game where we're simply asked to pick the winner. West Virginia +1

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