The Memphis Tigers (9-1) head to Tampa, Fla. to face the University of South Florida Bulls (4-6). It is their final regular season road game of the year.
The University of Memphis football team got the job done last week. Now, they face a South Florida team, who has to win out to reach a bowl game. The Tigers are in a win-out situation of their own even though they sit on top of the West Division.
Even though there is a “trap-game” feeling that I have right now, I still believe Memphis gets the job done. They are on a five-game winning streak and are hot as ever on the offensive end. The defense can be better. I hope that they are better so they can have momentum heading into the battle with Cincinnati next week.
Brady White and that rocket arm will keep putting up 40 points as they have during this winning streak. Give me Memphis in a beat down.
Score Prediction: Memphis 49-20 USF
This will be an important matchup for the Tigers as they look toward a New Year’s Six Bowl game. Last week’s first-half score against Houston proved to be an eyeopener for the team not to undermine any conference foes.
The Bulls will be facing their second ranked opponent in a row for the first time since 2014, and they look to win their remaining games to be bowl eligible. Their defense looks to stifle a dangerous Memphis defense, and Norvell’s offense looks to break USF’s 10-game streak with at least one takeaway this year.
Memphis will need to be consistent on the attacking end and should allow Taylor Jr. more carries in order to regain his true form. Their run game should prosper enough to give Brady White enough opportunities to pass for another 300 yards. For once, I do not expect the Tigers to struggle at any point in this matchup.
Score Prediction: Memphis 42-10 USF
Before getting caught up in the hype surrounding next week’s regular-season finale against Cincinnati, the Memphis Tigers must first go on the road for a matchup with South Florida. The Bulls, who enter this week at 4-5, are in the second year of head coach Charlie Strong’s tenure and will be looking to play spoiler at home.
Against Houston, Mike Norvell’s team got off to a slow start before waking up offensively and never looking back. This late in the season, they can not afford rough starts, and it will be important to see how they look in their first few drives. Brady White continues to silence his critics, and he will be looking to build on his six-touchdown performance from a week ago.
For USF, Saturday is a must-win if they hope to keep their bowl chances alive. Senior running back Jordan Cronkrite has been one of the focal points offensively, and he will be in line once again to receive a lot of work against a Tigers defense that has been susceptible to giving up big plays.
For Memphis, the most important thing may be making sure they are not looking too far ahead to Cincinnati next week. Ever since their loss to Temple, however, it seems like this team has been on a mission to make it back to the AAC title game.
South Florida may make some plays, but Memphis will ultimately have too many playmakers for their opponents to handle in a game that is closer than some may expect.
Score prediction: Memphis 27-16 USF
The Memphis Tigers travel to USF to get one last practice game before the Cincinnati game. However, if Memphis loses one of their final two games, then it could be the end of the discussion for a New Year’s Six game or the AAC West title.
Mike Norvell has not won a game in the state of Florida or against a team from the state of Florida in his time as the Memphis head coach. Norvell lost to South Florida in 2016 during his first year. Later, the team would lose to WKU in Boca Raton, Florida. Then, Memphis would lose to UCF four times in two seasons. This game in Tampa might be the best shot for Norvell to end the Sunshine State drought.
The Bulls face bowl-game elimination if they lose one more game this season. South Florida has lost three of its last four and will have to perform well to change that. USF is probably disappointed in the position they are in after failing to stop Temple and not doing better against Cincinnati.
I expect USF to fight for 60 minutes and come up short. Their offense has appeared lacking in recent weeks. Their defense, however, has been very dependable. They have earned one takeaway in every game this season.
Memphis may be looking too much at the Cincinnati game, and I think it could be a real concern if they do not focus on the Bulls. Houston was a slow, scary start for them, and I hope that was enough of a lesson for them.
Score Prediction: Memphis 32-24 USF