Who: UCF (10-0) at USF (7-4)
When: Friday 4:15 p.m.
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Spread: UCF by 14 points (Courtesy VegasInsider.com)
Here’s what to watch:
Keep on rolling
As you probably know by now, UCF has the nation’s longest win streak at 23 games in a row. And, they come off an impressive showing against number 20 Cincinnati last Saturday night on national TV.
They clearly have momentum and swagger on their side. Oh, and they have an explosive dual-threat quarterback in McKenzie Milton that will be a handful for USF Friday afternoon. Milton is the best player in the American Conference with 33 total touchdowns this season and triggers the most explosive offense in the AAC.
The bottom line is: not unlike what Mike Tyson repeatedly did in heavyweight title defenses in the late 1980s, the Knights right now have a psychological advantage over opponents. They get up on you, they run off two or three touchdowns one row in the first half, and you are knocked out. Let’s see, if that scenario plays out again against the Bulls
USF Defense must come to play
As the point above implies, the Bulls defense has to be better than what we’ve seen in their four-game losing streak. While it may seem obvious, the Bulls have no shot to pull the upset in a track meet high scoring game.
The Bulls defense gave up 500 yards and 7 touchdowns in their loss to Houston. They gave up over 300 yards rushing and 41 points the next week to Tulane. Then, Cincinnati running back Michael Warren ran all over them for 150+ yards and three scores. And, Temple put almost 300 yards on the board in the second half and had a 17-point comeback for the win last week in Philadelphia.
By no means are you going to shut out UCF with their powerful offense, but if Charlie Strong’s D cannot at least slow down the likes of speedy Adrian Killins (above) and play better than what we’ve seen, it’s going to be a long Friday.
Will the atmosphere favor the Knights?
There is speculation and real concern on the part of USF, that UCF’s fanbase will make the drive en masse’ from Orlando Friday, and you will see at least 15 and maybe 20,000 or more Knights fans invade Raymond James Stadium to root them on.
It only makes sense with the proximity of Orlando making it an easy drive, and the 23 game win streak against a rival, that the #9 ranked UCF fans will want to show up in big numbers.
Will it be a pro black and gold crowd in USF’s home?
We’re about to find out.
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