Three Top 25 CSJ Sagarin Top 25 match-ups take place this week with Houston at USF highlighting the week. The other two match-ups include Air Force visiting Colorado State and Tulane visiting Memphis.
I will take a look at this one top game and make my pick and also pick the other Top 25 team’s games this week.
#10 Houston (4-3, 2-2 American) at #2 USF (7-0, 4-0 American)
|Date||Saturday, Oct. 28|
|Time||3:45 p.m. EDT|
|Venue||Raymond James Stadium|
Houston is looking to avoid its first three-game losing streak since 2013 after dropping a 42-38 decision to Memphis while USF, owners of the nation’s longest active winning streak at 12 wins, enters looking to keep pace with co-American East division leader UCF.
USF set a new NCAA record with its 24th consecutive 30-plus point game at Tulane last Saturday.
It is a match-up of first year head coaches with Major Applewhite for Houston and Charlie Strong for USF. But both are not really acting like first year headmen at their respective schools in the way each has performed.
The Bulls and Cougars haven’t met too often as this game will be just the fifth game for the two teams, with the series tied 2-2. USF won non-conference games in 2001 and 2002, and Houston won American contests in 2013 and 2014.
The 2013 game in Houston, which was won by the Cougars, 35-23, marked Mike White’s first USF quarterback start. Marvin Kloss connected on his 13th straight field goal attempt in that game, a team record that was tied by Emilio Nadelman this season.
Quarterback Quinton Flowers is now 27-7 as a Bulls starter. Only Marquel Blackwell (30) and Matt Grothe (28) have more wins as a starting USF quarterback. Flowers has the best winning percentage (.794).
D’Ernest Johnson caught the 68th pass of his USF career last week, tying him with Rafael Williams for most ever by a Bulls running back.
The Bulls got their 16th interception of the season last week against Tulane, and they continue to lead the nation in that category.
Houston has won 25 conference games since the beginning of The American, more than any other team in the league.
Houston nearly knocked off Memphis last week in its third 30-plus point outing of the season. The Cougars are 2-1 on the road this year so focusing on the Bulls should not be an issue from that respect.
The Cougars feature one of the top defensive linemen in college football in sophomore Ed Oliver. He had 23 tackles for loss as a freshman in 2016.
Saturday’s game will be the fifth this season the Houston defense has faced one of the nation’s top-15 scoring offenses as USF enters the game No. 9 with an average of 41.6 points per game and has an NCAA record 24 straight games with at least 30 points.
In its first four games vs. top-15 scoring offenses, Houston has held two (SMU and Arizona) to 20+ points below their scoring average and Texas Tech to 16 points below its average.
The Cougar defense is also taking the ball away in the air, ranking No. 9 nationally with 10 interceptions while safety Garrett Davis is tied for The American lead and fifth nationally with four interceptions.
Houston’s offense is headed by its wide outs. Linell Bonner is 11th nationally with an average of 7.5 receptions per game while Steven Dunbar is 17th with an average of 6.9.
Coach’s Pregame Press Conferences
USF’s Charlie Strong
Houston’s Major Applewhite
While USF is one of just eight FBS teams overall that are currently undefeated, the Bulls started the season a little slow but still came up with victories. USF, however, are coming on strong now. On the other side, Houston has lost two games in a row and are kind of going the other direction.
With the home field and the momentums working in their direction, I like the Bulls to take this game.
USF 38 Houston 28
Remaining CSJ Top 25 Schedule and the Picks
Here is the remaining Top 25 schedule and my picks in BOLD.
|#1 UCF||vs. FCS Austin Peay|
|#2 USF||vs. #10 Houston|
|#3 Boise State||at #20 Utah State|
|#4 Fresno State||vs. UNLV|
|#5 Memphis||vs. #24 Tulane (Fri)|
|#6 Toledo||at Ball State|
|#8 San Diego State||at Hawai’i|
|#9 Colorado State||vs.#22 Air Force|
|#11 Marshall||vs. Florida International|
|#12 SMU||vs. Tulsa (Fri.)|
|#13 Northern Illinois||vs. Eastern Michigan|
|#15 Florida Atlantic||at Western Kenucky|
|#16 Arkansas State||at New Mexico State|
|#19 Troy||vs. Georgia Southern|
|#20 Utah State||vs. Boise State|
|#21 Appalachian State||at Massachusetts|
|#23 Southern Miss||vs. UAB|
|#25 UTSA||at UTEP|