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Gamenight- USF meets Marshall in Gasparilla Bowl

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Who: USF Bulls (7-5) vs. Marshall Thundering Herd (8-4)

What: 2018 Gasparilla Bowl

When: Thursday night 8:00 p.m.

Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

Spread: Marshall by 3 points (Courtesy of Vegasinsider.com)

Who quarterbacks the Bulls?

When last we saw USF in action in late November, their 5th Year senior quarterback who transferred from Arizona State, Blake Barnett, had been too banged up to play. So, USF has had to utilize backups Brett Kean and Chris Oladokun in Barnett’s absence. Neither quarterback distinguished themselves in either the Temple or UCF losses to end the year.

It’s now a month later for this matchup, and there is still a question mark entering tonight’s, as to whether Barnett will be healthy enough to play? If the Bulls can’t have some balance by throwing the ball on offense, it’s going to make things very difficult.

The Thundering Herd won 8 games, including a C-USA regular season ending win at FIU, which cost the Panthers a spot in the title game. They are going to be tough opponent.

Something’s Gotta Give with the Run game

The Bulls have an outstanding running attack led by former Florida Gator transfer Jordan Cronkrite and small speedster Johnny Ford (above) as a one-two punch in their backfield. They combined 1,832 rushing yards and eight combined 100 yard rushing games. It’s the Bulls best chance to move the ball and score.

However, USF is going against one of the best run defenses in college football. The Thundering Herd are ranked 9th nationally (103.9 yards per game) against the run per game. As we laid out above, it’s already going to be an  inexperienced backup quarterback that’s like they’re going to be out there for the Bulls.

So, if Marshall contains Cronkite and Ford it’s big trouble for the Bulls.

Battle the elements

Usually bowl games in Florida are a selling point, but the weather has not cooperated the last couple of days in Tampa. Reports are that over an inch of rain has fallen continuously on Thursday alone.

The good news is the field at Raymond James Stadium, where the Bulls and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play home games, is traditionally one of the better surfaces in football.

How much will footing be an issue due to the rain and the slick conditions?

It will be a factor, as rain is expected to fall throughout the game Thursday night.

USF Bulls

Report- Alabama will hire Charlie Strong as consultant

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Former USF coach Charlie Strong has decided on a new role for the upcoming 2020 season, and it won’t be in Gainesville.

ESPN college football insider Chris Low reported Tuesday morning that Strong has agreed to join Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama as a defensive “consultant” for this season

As we wrote last week, Strong had visited Saban and the Tide about the possible position on his staff, while considering a similar opportunity to join either Dan Mullen’s Gators staff or a couple of others in a consulting role. None of this will affect the nearly $3 million that USF still owes him as the buyout on the final two years of his contract.

Strong was fired after the Bulls collapsed losing their final four games to finish 4 – 8 this season. They were beaten by 27 or more points five times this year, including the last two losses to Memphis and rival UCF. This combined with the Bulls having lost their final six games, including their bowl game last year, meant that Strong had lost 14 of his final 18 games.

USF hired Clemson Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott earlier about a week later and gave him a 5-year, $12 million deal to become a first-time head coach in FBS football.

There had been some debate about Strong’s buyout being the amount of compensation that was remaining on his original five-year contract that he signed when he took the job in December of 2016 after being fired by the University of Texas. That contract called for Strong to be paid to $2. 5 million on average for 2020 and 2021.

However, USF informed Strong in his termination letter that the amount would be approximately $3 million under clauses in his deal.

Saban has a history of taking in former head coaches to come to Bama and observe and assist as a consultant with either his offense or defense. He’s done this for the last two years with former Tennessee coach Butch Jones and obviously, took in both Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian both of whom had been fired as coaches by USC at different stages.

Strong is known is an outstanding defensive coach from his previous days, as the Gators defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. He later went on to success at the University of Louisville before taking The the Texas head coaching job in 2014.

Strong was fired after three seasons in Austin in 2016, but immediately hired by USF to replace Willie Taggart.

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USF Bulls

Former USF coach Strong to be consultant for Alabama?

Florida Football Insiders

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

And intriguing item popped up Friday morning involving former USF head coach Charlie Strong and him visiting Nick Saban the Alabama football program.

According to Alabama Insider and radio host, Aaron Suttles, Strong, who was dismissed last December after his third season with the Bulls, was in Tuscaloosa Thursday meeting with Saban and his staff:

Strong had also been reportedly talking with the University of Florida about a possible consultant role, which likely would not affect the nearly $3 million that USF still owes him as the buyout on the final two years of his contract.

Strong was fired after the Bulls collapsed losing their final four games to finish 4 – 8 this season. They were beaten by 27 or more points five times this year, including the last two losses to Memphis and rival UCF. This combined with the Bulls having lost their final six games, including their bowl game last year, meant that Strong had lost 14 of his final 18 games.

USF hired Clemson Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott earlier about a week later and gave him a 5-year, $12 million deal to become a first-time head coach in FBS football.

There had been some debate about Strong’s buyout being the amount of compensation that was remaining on his original five-year contract that he signed when he took the job in December of 2016 after being fired by the University of Texas. That contract called for Strong to be paid to $2. 5 million on average for 2020 and 2021.

However, USF informed Strong in his termination letter that the amount would be approximately $3 million under clauses in his deal.

Saban has a history of taking in former head coaches to come to Bama and observe and assist as a consultant with either his offense or defense. He’s done this for the last two years with former Tennessee coach Butch Jones and obviously, took in both Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian both of whom had been fired as coaches by USC at different stages.

Strong is known is an outstanding defensive coach from his previous days, as the Gators defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. He later went on to success at the University of Louisville before taking The the Texas head coaching job in 2014.

Strong was fired after three seasons in Austin in 2016, but immediately hired by USF to replace Willie Taggart

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