Schedule and Odds
South Florida has not benefitted from an easy Schedule in recent seasons and 2015 is the same. Last year, the Bulls finished with eight losses, but all of those came against teams that made it to a bowl Game. Not to say USF was a good team, but its Schedule didn’t help matters. Their over/under is set at 4 wins again (at betonline), but oddly, have the same championship odds (+60000) as teams like Iowa and UCF, who have over/unders near seven wins.
The good news for South Florida is that their offense can’t be much worse than a year ago when they averaged 17.2 points per Game and struggled to do anything outside of running back Marlon MACk, who reached 1,000 yards as a freshman and is primed to be a top back in the Conference and future NFL player. MACk will see a heavy load and will be complemented by Darius Tice. The question for the Bulls comes at quarterback where a starter still isn’t set.
Mike White transferred away in the spring and the job will come down to Steven Bench or Quinton Flowers. Flowers is said to have the upper hand, but lacks experience and finished just 8-of-20 with zero TDs and two INTs last year. He brings athleticism to the table, however, and ran for 73 yards as well. Unfortunately for the QB, USF lacks at wide receiver with Rodney Adams (23 receptions) being the top returning option along with tight end Sean Price. They are hoping Kentucky transfer A.J. Legree can make an impact, though. The offensive line only returns two starters so that’s another area of concern.
South Florida’s defense hopes to take a jump with Tom Allen at coordinator, who comes over from Ole Miss. They’ll switch to a 4-2-5 scheme with Allen that should highlight a deep secondary that has Four starters returning. The Bulls also will have two returning starters in their two linebacker spots with both Nigel Harris and Auggie Sanchez being solid options. The line is a different issue for this team and an area they’ll need to improve in to get wins from their tough Schedule.
Things won’t be easy for South Florida out of the gates with three of its first Four Games coming against Florida State, Maryland and Memphis. That will likely be three losses, but the Bulls will have a chance against Syracuse in their final non-Conference Game. That win could give the team a boost before getting into the bulk of their AAC Schedule at UConn and against SMU, two winnable Games. In their final five Games, they travel to Navy, East Carolina and UCF, while also hosting Temple and Cincinnati. To surpass last year’s win total, the Bulls will need to get an upset or two this season.
The opportunities will be there, but if the offense doesn’t improve, it’s hard to see them reaching a bowl Game this year. Defenses will focus on Marlon MACk and the ground Game until Flowers, or whoever is at QB, can be a threat through the air.
2015 South Florida Football Schedule
Sept. 5 vs. Florida A&M
Sept. 12 at Florida State
Sept. 19 at Maryland
Oct. 2 vs. Memphis
Oct. 10 vs. Syracuse
Oct. 17 at Connecticut
Oct. 24 vs. SMU
Oct. 31 at Navy
Nov. 7 at East Carolina
Nov. 14 vs. Temple
Nov. 20 vs. Cincinnati
Nov. 27 at UCF