South Florida vs. Miami (FL): Latest Spread Info, BCS Impact and Predictions

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 29: Phillip Dorsett #4 is congratulated by Joey McNeill #24 of the Miami Hurricanes after scoring a touchdown against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 29, 2012 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes (5-5) head home after getting shocked by the Virginia Cavaliers for their fifth loss of the season. Stephen Morris and Co. still have a hold on the ACC Coastal lead but need to get on the right track with a win against South Florida.

The Bulls (3-6) lost B.J. Daniels for the season, but they have able backups that should be able to challenge the Miami secondary. They’ve had two weeks to prepare for the showdown in South Florida, so they’ll be raring to play spoiler.

For odds, keys to the game and predictions, keep reading.

When: Saturday, Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. ET

Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Fla.

Watch: ESPN3

Live Stream: Watch ESPN

Radio: Free Football Radio

Odds: (via Fox Sports Odds)

Miami (-7)

Over/Under: 56.5

The Hurricanes have been in shootouts galore this season, so a seven-point spread makes a lot of sense if the ‘Canes are going to get a victory. The defense has been porous and has always allowed even middling teams like South Florida to hang around.

The question people who want to play these odds will have to ask is this: Can South Florida still contend down the stretch with a backup quarterback? They will hold the key to the totals discussion, because Miami won’t pass this number on their own.

After a bit of a letdown against Virginia last weekend, there may be some uncertainty about whether Miami will come home with an inspired effort. If they do, the seven points is merely a cushion.

 

Injury Report via USA Today (as of 11/15/2012)

South Florida

John Lejiste, DB, Probable

Danous Estenor, G, Questionable

D’vario Montgomery, WR, Questionable

Derrick Hopkins, WR, Questionable

Willie Davis, RB, Questionable

Evan Landi, TE, Doubtful

B.J. Daniels, QB, Out for season

Lindsey Lamar, RB, Out for season

 

Miami

Eddie Johnson, LB, Questionable

Deon Bush, DB, Questionable

Denzel Perryman, LB, Questionable

 

BCS Implications

Luckily for them, the Hurricanes still possess the inside track to their first ACC Championship Game. They have yet to play in the game since they joined the ACC less than a decade ago. 

In addition, Miami has an outside shot at an Orange Bowl bid if it can win out and upset Florida State in the championship game. Certainly they have a ton to play for in what was thought to be a rebuilding year.

The Bulls need to win out to be bowl eligible, but will have an uphill climb to do it. Wins against Miami, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh with a backup quarterback may be too tall an order for South Florida.

Regardless of talent, though, Skip Holtz’s teams are always scrappy. They’ll have motivation to compete in Coral Gables.

 

Keys for South Florida Victory: Air It Out

The Bulls rely on the passing game for big plays, and they’ve had two weeks to decide on which quarterback will make the throws.

Coach Holtz has yet to announce the starter, but whether it’s Matt Floyd or Bobby Eveld, the Hurricanes won't have an idea until game day (h/t Tampa Tribune's Joey Johnston):

Looks like (at least publicly) we won't #USF starting QB until Sat at Miami. Eveld or Floyd? Holtz jokes about setting up boxing to decide

— Joey Johnston (@JJohnstonTrib) November 14, 2012

Also with Lindsey Lamar out for the season, USF can’t be certain what they’ll get out of its running game. It makes it all the more important for Eveld and Floyd to carry the offense in this late-season matchup.

Eveld led the Bulls to a win over Miami in 2010 which led to then-coach Randy Shannon’s firing.

 

Keys for Miami Victory: Find Their Defense

A win over Virginia would have strengthened Miami’s case for the Coastal Division, but the ‘Canes defense gave up 41 points in a heartbreaking road loss.

If the defense merely comes to play and shuts down essentially the Bulls second-team offense, the Hurricanes will run to victory

If the defense allows this game to be competitive, though, it’s anybody’s game. The Canes offense can run up the scoreboard with Duke Johnson and Mike James out of the running game, as well as Stephen Morris and a band of receivers through the air.

Yet, if they have to get in a back-and-forth shootout like the Virginia game, they may have to wait for the ACC Championship Game another year.

 

Prediction

Miami will be fired up to protect home field following the Virginia loss. If the Bulls had B.J. Daniels in this contest, it might end differently. Lucky for the 'Canes.

Miami 35 South Florida 27