You won't find the Syracuse Orange (3-4) and South Florida Bulls (2-5) in any of the Top 25 rankings around college football, but plenty of eyes will be on Raymond James Stadium when the two Big East foes get together on Saturday night.
It's homecoming for the Bulls, and being the homecoming opponent is certain to annoy a Syracuse squad coming off a 40-10 rout of Connecticut last week.
South Florida is still looking for it's first conference win but feeling confident after almost pulling off the upset on No. 16 Louisville on the road this past Saturday, falling 27-25 on a Cardinals touchdown with under two minutes remaining.
Here's everything you need to know heading into Saturday's Big East showdown.
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
When: Saturday, October 27 at 7 p.m. ET
Watch: Big East Network
Live Stream: ESPN3
Listen: Syracuse IMG Sports Network, 98.7 FM The Fan (South Florida)
Betting Line: South Florida (-7.5) via Vegas Insider
In 2011, South Florida traveled to Syracuse with a 0-4 record in Big East play, and they walked out of the Carrier Dome with a 37-17 victory.
With the Bulls staring at an 0-3 conference record so far in 2012, Skip Holtz is certainly hoping that history repeats itself Saturday night in Tampa.
Who Might Not Play For Syracuse (via USA Today)
WR Jeremiah Kobena (Wrist), Questionable for Saturday
Who Might Not Play For South Florida (via Tampa Bay Times)
Minor injuries for USF RB Demetris Murray (ankle) and DE Tevin Mims (groin) but Holtz said both should be fine for Syracuse on Saturday.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 22, 2012
There's nothing to see here as far as the Top 25 or BCS is concerned, as the closest either team will get to the rankings in 2012 is by reading about them on B/R.
What They're Saying
South Florida coach Skip Holtz is concerned about his team's ability to contain Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib, who is completing over 65 percent of his passes and averaging more than 300 yards per game through the air. (h/t Tampa Bay Times)
USF's Skip Holtz says his pass defense isn't what it needs to be, especially with Syracuse up next (309 pass yds/gm).tampabay.com/blogs/bulls/co…— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 22, 2012
Key Player for Syracuse: Ryan Nassib, QB
Syracuse's senior signal-caller has quietly put together an excellent season for the Orange, throwing for 2,159 yards, 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He leads the Big East in both passing yardage and total offense with 2,250 yards from scrimmage.
Nassib is a pocket passer in every sense of the word, but he's got the poise and arm strength to find open receivers and stretch the field. Syracuse's offense starts—and stops—based on how Nassib is throwing the ball on any given day.
Key Player For South Florida: B.J. Daniels, QB
B.J. Daniels threw three second-half touchdown passes against Lousiville last week, the last one putting South Florida ahead 25-21 with just over three minutes remaining, but the Bulls are a better team when he's not throwing the ball 38 times a game.
He's a threat to take off and run, having carried the ball 82 times for 277 yards and four touchdowns, and that dual-threat ability makes him a dangerous player whenever he's on the field.
If South Florida is going to win on Saturday night, it's going to be because Daniels put together a complete game, both through the air and on the ground.
Key Matchup: Ryan Nassib vs. South Florida's Pass Defense
South Florida's pass defense struggled against Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville last week, and Bridgewater only attempted 25 passes on the day.
Nassib is going to throw more often than Bridgewater did, not good news for a defense that is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete nearly 70 percent of their passes for almost 11 yards a completion—and a unit that has yet to intercept a pass in 2012.
On the Hot Seat
Since starting 2011 with a 5-2 record and looking like things were headed in the right direction, Doug Marrone has watched Syracuse go 3-9, including seven losses in a row between the end of last year and the beginning of 2012.
Skip Holtz took the reins at South Florida in 2010 when the Bulls were coming off of four consecutive seasons with at least eight wins.
After going 8-5 in 2010, the Bulls have gone 7-12 under his guidance, including their 2-5 record thus far in 2012.
Both coaches enter this game in need of a win, Holtz more than Marrone.
Neither team is very good, but Ryan Nassib's ability to pick apart South Florida's secondary will be the difference in what promises to be a hard-fought contest on both sides.
B.J. Daniels will keep things close for awhile, but Nassib and the Orange will prove to be more than the Bulls can handle, ruining their homecoming.
Syracuse 35, South Florida 28
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