How many wins will USF have this season?

Posted: August 6, 2013 in Football

At the season draws ever closer, all the speculation and guess work begins in guessing how every team will do this year.  Many magazines, writers, and other media types roll out their predictions on how many wins teams will have and where they will finish in their respective conferences.  Many predictions end up being wrong, but there are some that are right.  People who are guessing Alabama and Oregon will be good this year, are probably on the right track.  However, for USF, coming off of a 3-9 year makes it hard to guess how they could finish in 2013.  With a new head coach, new conference, new players at key positions and depth wide open, 2013 is going to be an interesting year.

Before I go game by game and try to rationalize a result for each contest, we have to take a lot into consideration for the Bulls.  Coaching change, conference change, a roster in flux, and a new playbook means there are a lot of things to factor in when predicting these games.  So, some people will be angry, some will call me an idiot, but we are looking into a fake crystal ball, so take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

Saturday, August 31st – McNeese State – Raymond James Stadium

The season opener.  The first game of the Coach Taggart era comes at Raymond James Stadium against FCS foe McNeese State.  USF beat the Cowboys way back in 2006, 41 to 10, in a game that was close at first but got ugly late for the guys from Louisiana (Bulls scored 27 unanswered points in the 4th quarter of that game).  I expect a coming out party of sorts for the Bulls.  I could see a slow starting first half, but as the depth charts begin to flex their muscles and the talent and skills shows out, the Bulls will pour it on late and come away with a nice start to the 2013 year.  1-0 to start the season.

Saturday, September 7th – Michigan State – East Lansing, MI

The first road game of the year and the first for Coach Taggart and crew comes against the hard-nose Spartans of Michigan State.  MSU went 7-6 last year and start their 2013 year against in-state foe Western Michigan before welcoming the Bulls to East Lansing.  Michigan State is known for its hard-nose defense and power run offense behind its massive offensive line.  The Bulls, with a little more speed, will be able to challenge the Spartans, making for a tough game to predict.  I think USF will hang with MSU for most of the game, but I think with the Bulls still learning and growing, the Spartans come away with a close win.  1-1 now.  Honestly, this game could go either way, a win or a loss, but I’m playing the role of the pessimist throughout the prediction.

Saturday, September 14th – FAU – Raymond James Stadium

The Bulls return back to Tampa the following week to face new C-USA member FAU.  The Owls went 3-9 last year and will be in the midst of three straight road games to open their season.  USF is 3-0 all time against the Owls, with the last meeting coming back in 2010.  The Owls have always played the Bulls tough in the past,  but I think the talent on the USF roster, being back at home, and simply having their number, will help the USF get their second win of the season.  I’m expecting a very close game though, making USF fans grow grey hairs in the process.  So we are 2-1 so far, not a bad start.

Saturday, September 28th – Miami – Raymond James Stadium

After a week off, the Hurricanes of Miami come to town.  USF lost last season to the Canes 9 to 40, in a game that USF was beaten up in every possible way, the same game Bobby Eveld hurt in (also the game Holtz forgot we had a timeout before the end of the first half).  A week off will give the Bulls a chance to rest and plan for their big home game against the Hurricanes, which is always a good thing.  This game is going to be another hard one to call.  Miami has talent and has gotten better, there is little to debate there. And after the game we saw last year, any sort of effort will be an improvement.  I see the Bulls losing this one, but again, in a close fight.  Now 2-2 on the year.

Saturday, October 5th – Cincinnati – Raymond James Stadium

The first conference game of the year for the Bulls, the first conference game of the American Athletic Conference (I can feel your enthusiasm already).  The Bulls lost 10 to 27 last season to the Bearcats in what was probably one of the ugliest games I’ve ever seen ( loss to Pitt to end the year was right up there too).  USF had nothing on offense and the Bearcats just ran all over the defense.  This year, I expect things to change and for the Bulls to ready for this one, matching the quick Bearcats step for step.  However, as much as we have improved, I still USF falling in a hard fought game.  I probably sound like a record on repeat, but this was another game that could go either way.  Now 2-3 (0-1), all is not lost though.

Saturday, October 12th – Uconn – Hartford, Connecticut

Our lone Big East win last season came at the hands of the Huskies.  It was also the same game the Bulls recorded their first interception of the year (woof).  The Huskies lost a lot of players to the NFL, especially on defense, making them a little more vulnerable this year.  Their offense has always been sluggish and the Bulls have always been able to handle them.  The Bulls are on the road for this one, but it won’t be in the snow, making it a little easier.  I see the Bulls winning here, but probably in another close game (Uconn and USF always love the low scoring games).  But hey, wins are wins.  3-3 (1-1) now.

Saturday, October 26th – Louisville – Raymond James Stadium

The Cardinals, the favorite among many to win the AAC before they depart to the ACC and arguably the most talented team in the league.  Teddy Bridgewater is a Heisman contender and could be a big time NFL draft prospect next year leads the Cardinals offense that is loaded at every position.  Coach Charlie Strong is one of the better coaches around and with his loaded team, it will be a fight. The Bulls nearly beat Louisville last year, but fell apart late (like most of their games).  The game is at home for the Bulls and with more talent this year and better coaching, I would expect the Bulls to hang in there for this one, but the Cardinals are just too loaded to keep up with.  USF now at 3-4 (1-2), yuck I know.

Thursday, October 31st – Houston – Houston, Texas

Yep, a Thursday night game on ESPN.  The Bulls don’t have a great track record during these week night games, but facing Houston could be the chance they need to break their curse.  Houston is coming off of a 5-7 season last year where they allowed 36 points a game on defense.  They averaged 32 points per game on offense, so they could keep up last season but often fell late.  I think this could be a high scoring game for both sides, but I think the talent of the Bulls front 7 could rise up in this game and help make at least one stop during the battle to secure a win for the Bulls.  USF would be 4-4 (2-2) now at this point, equaling the total from last season.

Saturday, November 16th – Memphis – Raymond James Stadium

The Bulls return home to face Memphis, a team that went 4-8 last year, allowed 30 points a game and was picked to finish 10th in the league.  The Bulls, who should be hot coming off of a win against Houston (in my projection), are the better team, at least on paper.  USF has the talent on both sides of the ball and the overall team speed that will give them the big advantage in this one.  Being back at home will help as the Bulls win their 5th game of the year and bring their overall record to 5-4 (3-2).  Feeling better now about this season?

Saturday, November 23rd – SMU  – Raymond James Stadium

SMU is  coming off of a 7-6 last year and is known for its passing offense under Coach June Jones (averaged 235 yards a game in the air).  While the Bulls will be able to score on them, I wonder how well our thin secondary can hold up to an up-tempo team that likes to fling it all over the field.  I think this could be one of those games we are expecting a big win, but the team will just come up short at the end.  This game could go either way, but something tells me the Mustangs steal one in Tampa.  Bulls would be 5-5 (3-3) now on the year after a loss here.

Friday, November 29th – UCiF – Close to Disney world

Screw that, that’s all.  We win, 6-5 (4-3).

Saturday, December 7th – Rutgers – Piscataway, NJ

Ah, the fighting Snookis.  This is the final time USF and the Snooks will battle it out before they head to the Big 10 (I’m still trying to figure that move out).  Rutgers has had our number for years now.  For whatever it is, the Snookis just have a way to create one fumble, make one more stop, or get one last score to upset USF, no matter how much more talent the Bulls have on their roster.  Somehow, someway I just see the Scarlet Snookis doing it one more time to end their tenure in the Big East/AAC.  Do I think USF should and could win this game, of course, but just the way the world turns, it will end the year on a bitter close loss.  USF ends the year at 6-6 (4-4).

Generic results, huh? 6-6 (4-4) and picked to finish in 5th, right in the middle.  There are a lot of games on the schedule that could turn either way for the Bulls.  If the team comes together and Coach Taggart gets everything going right, they could win 7 or 8 games, but they could easily lose 8 games as well.  Every game feels like its on the edge of where it could go and after going 3-9 last year, there is good reason to feel that way.  I love Coach Taggart, but there is still so much work to be done.  If this team does go 6-6 and possibly makes it into a bowl game, it would be a huge success for the first year.  From 5-7, 3-9, and no bowl game and looking awful, to going 6-6 and a bowl game, I’d take it.  Let’s hope they win more than that and shock everyone, but have to be realistic.

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Comments
  1. CO Bull says:

    Really wish the Michigan State and Miami games were later in the season. I think with a little more time, we would have a much better chance to win them. And I agree…if we only win one game this season it needs to be against UCiF!

  2. RaiderBull says:

    I am also predicting a 6-6 record, the only difference for me being we lose to Houston and beat SMU. Until the Bulls show me they can win on Thursday night Football on ESPN, I will always pick against them on Thursdays.

  3. mstaton says:

    Bingo. The team will probably come together late, unlike the previous years when they fell apart later in the year. The game in Orlando is a must win, can’t drop that one.

  4. mstaton says:

    Yeah, Thursday nights have always been our curse for whatever reason. I think 6-6 would be a solid start to the Taggart era.

  5. RaiderBull says:

    Can you imagine the feeling of dread we would all have if Skip were still the coach and we have UCF on the schedule this season? Honestly, I would not even watch that game if we still had Skippy as coach. Thank God for Willie!!

  6. mstaton says:

    I would imagine the results would be something like this:

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