CSJ 2018 Week 8 Preview: South Florida at Houston

When: Saturday, October 20, 2:30PM CDT
Where:TDECU Stadium, Houston, Tex.
TV/Streaming: ABC/ESPN2 / WatchESPN

South Florida Bulls (7-0, 3-0 AAC)

USF is one of just five remaining FBS teams that are undefeated. But it has not come easy for the Bulls.

Four of the Bulls’ last five games have been decided by one possession, including last week’s 38-30 victory over UConn. The Bulls have been fortunate not to drop a game along the way considering that they have shown some flaws. Last week, the Bulls had three turnovers, but UConn was unable to turn that help into a win. The Bulls were also down 19-7 against Illinois before scoring 18 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

For the second year in a row, the Bulls have matched the best start in school history. After opening 7-0 last season, USF lost to UH 28-24 in Tampa.

Key Player: RB Jordan Cronkite has five consecutive 100-yard rushing games, matching the school record set by Marlon Mack (2016) and Quinton Flowers (2017). He ranks third nationally with an average 151.4 yards per game. He will need that streak to continue again this week for South Florida to stay undefeated.

Fantasy Bonus Baby: Cronkite will be the best possible performer for the Bulls in this game and look for him to have some good numbers from a fantasy point of view.

Houston Cougars (6-1, 3-0 AAC)

The Cougars have been winners in four straight games and has a one-game lead in the AAC West Division. USF marks the toughest home opponent in terms of record since TCU (7-0) visited Robertson Stadium on Oct. 25, 2003.

Houston is a very tough team at home and have scored no less than 41 points in all seven games this season.

Houston has won all of its games by double digits with the exception of its lone loss at Texas Tech.

This is the game of the week for the Group of Five and within the American Athletic Conference. The winner of this game will still need to get through UCF most likely but it looks as if (especially after Appalachian State lost this week) that the AAC will be the representative in the New Year’s Six Group of Five bid.

Courtesy of Texas Monthly

Key Player: DT Ed Oliver is a favorite to be a Top 10 NFL draft pick but is coming into this game questionable. He has a bruised right knee that kept him out of practice this week and will be a game-time decision. He will be key to stopping the USF running game. Without him, the Bulls just maybe able to move the ball in this one.

Fantasy Bonus Baby: QB D’Eriq King is completing 63.5 percent of his passes for 1,984 yards, 23 touchdowns and three interceptions. King has three or more touchdown passes in six of his last seven games. Look for those numbers to grow against a Bulls defense that has struggled at times.

Fearless Prediction: On paper, Houston looks like the more talented squad and playing this game at home also lends this to be a Cougar victory. Houston has won its AAC games easily as USF has struggled yet still has come back to win all of its games. But with USF, it just seems to know how to win this year despite playing to the level of its competition. I like the Bulls to pull out another close one in this one to stay undefeated. USF 31, Houston 28