Predicting the 2014-15 USF football schedule

Posted: July 18, 2014 in Football, Fun

As the season draws ever closer, it’s time to take a deep breath and look at the schedule again and begin to predict how the team will finish in 2014. Last season I thought the team would at least get to a bowl game and we all know how that turned out. Entering the 2014-15 season, there are a lot of unknowns with this team (starting RB, QB, 3-4 defense switch, etc.) making it hard to predict how the season will go, but let’s have some fun and take a stab at it. 

So for those who have been following the blog for a long time know I hate to do predictions for all the obvious reasons. There are so many factors that go into a season that can’t be predicted by looking at numbers and stats on paper. But this is a blog, it is the off season, and I like having some fun so let’s see how things go when I look at each game.

Western Carolina – Alright, let’s be real clear here, we have to win this game. Last season started with that awful, disgusting, and several four-letter word loss to McNeese State and fans are still angry about it. McNeese State was at least one of the top FCS schools last year and while that doesn’t take any of the salt out of the wound, it still counts for something. Enter Western Carolina, one of the worst FCS schools out there. The Catamounts have won 14 games since 2006, let that sink in. We have to win this game. Fail to do that and good luck putting the fire out! USF begins 1-0.

Maryland – This is a game that could be hard to figure out. In the first meeting between the two schools, Maryland, now members of the Big Ten, comes in after a 7-6 campaign last season. The Terrapins (fear the turtles?) are coached by former Uconn coach Randy Edsall and will bring a strong defense to the field along with a spread offense that struggled at times last year. Aside from their fancy uniforms, most USF fans are not real sure what to make of Maryland and I’m in the same boat. I have us falling in this game, but the Bulls could easily turn it around and beat my prediction (please do). USF is 1-1.

NC State – USF is 1-1 all time against the Wolf Pack, the last game coming back in 2008 where the Bulls won 41-10 (man, times have changed). NC State went 3-9 last year and were nearly as bad as USF, so its a match-up of two programs trying to rebound after bad years. I think USF should and will have the edge in this game. They are at home, could be 2-0 and things could be going well for the Bulls at this early stage of the year (keeps fingers crossed). So I’ll say USF is 2-1 to start the year.

Uconn – One of our two wins last year came against Uconn and now they are on our field. USF is only 6-5 all time against the Huskies, but I feel that this USF squad just has way more firepower and overall speed than the Huskies. Considering that Uconn dismissed long time running back Lyle McCombs in the spring, will leave the Huskies without one of their most consistent offensive threats at the beginning of the year, giving USF an advantage. I don’t think it will be easy, but I say USF wins and moves to 3-1 on the year.

At Wisconsin – First road trip of the year and its a big one. The Badgers went 9-4 last year and heading to Camp Randall will be a huge eye opener for the young Bulls and their first real taste of a insane road game. Wisconsin has a powerful run game and with the Bulls and their 3-4 system in place, it could be a long afternoon and a very physical game. USF held their own against Big Ten foe Michigan State last year, so the Bulls should be able to match up physically with the Badgers, but I think Wisconsin is just too strong and wins, sending USF to 3-2 on the year.

East Carolina – The newest member of the AAC, ECU went 10-3 last year and brings an offense that likes to air it out and put up big numbers on opponents (Holtz’s old team, still makes my stomach ache a bit). USF is 4-0 all time against the Pirates, but the last game was all the way back in 2006, so times have changed and ECU has gotten a lot better in that time. I think USF can keep up in this game and might be able to get the upset win, but I’ll ECU could be a little too much against a good offense in ECU, putting them at 3-3 on the year.

At Tulsa- Another new member of the AAC, Tulsa went 3-9 last year and is retooling their offense heading into the season. Its the second road game of the year, but it won’t be as crazy as the Wisconsin game was for the Bulls and with several games under their belt, they’ll be ready. I have USF winning this one and moving to 4-3 on the year (doubled last year’s total!!)

At Cincinnati – The Bearcats went 9-4 last year and one of those losses was to USF (how on earth did we do that?). Cincinnati is still a very solid team with playmakers all over the field and this time, the game is on their homefield where the Bulls are just 1-5 all time against them. I think history continues and the Bearcats prove to be just a little too much for the Bulls, dropping their record to 4-4 on the year.

Houston – The Bulls lost 35 to 23 last year, but it was a game that felt a lot closer than the final score. It was a game where Mike White went off and some bad calls went against the Bulls, costing them late. Houston is a rising team and has a great young roster, but so do the Bulls and I think they will be able to get their “revenge” in this one. I think it could be a high scoring game but a game the Bulls could pull out late and come away with a win. 5-4 at this stage.

At SMU- SMU went 5-7 last year and beat the Bulls, but it was 16 to 6, not exactly exciting. SMU has a pass-happy offense and while the Bulls were able to keep them in check for most of the game, they couldn’t get off the field and the offense continued to sputter. This is another road game that just doesn’t feel real great right now so I have to lean towards SMU winnings, but not by much. 5-5 on the year at this stage, still better than last year.

At Memphis – On the road again, the Bulls head to Memphis, a team that went 3-9 last year but beat USF back in Tampa. Memphis hasn’t been good for a while now and they could still be in a building period, making for an interesting battle between two programs that are trying to right their respective shifts. Sort of like SMU, I don’t have a reading either way for this game, whether USF has a chance or it will be a loss. I’ll pencil in the Bulls for a win here, but its so far down the road I’m not sure how this game will go. 6-5, BOWL ELIGIBLE!

UCF – Please win, please.

So 7-5 is the mark after reading through the schedule and making some educated and some uneducated guesses along the way. I’m cautiously optimistic and have high hopes, but also take things with a big grain of salt. Things should be better this year, the real question is, how much better? Is this a team that can make a huge leap forward or will they still take baby steps in the process. I’m probably drinking too much of the green and gold kool-aid but I hope my predictions happen. Many are thinking the team will go 6-6 or 7-5 and I’m right there with them. I don’t think this team is worse than the 2-10 team we saw last year, but how much better will they be? We will find out in just over 40 days.

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Comments
  1. Western Carolina – W

    Maryland – L

    NC State – L

    Uconn – W

    At Wisconsin – L

    East Carolina – L

    At Tulsa- W

    At Cincinnati – L

    Houston – L

    At SMU- L

    At Memphis – W

    UCF – L

    I’ve got us at 4-8. I think that SMU, Houston, and Memphis are winnable, but I’m betting on a L until I’m proved otherwise.

  2. mstaton says:

    4-8, improvement over last year but still brutal. I think NC State is a winnable game and SMU is a wild-card kind of game. I think it all comes down to what we see after game one. We thought the team would be at least competitive last year and we see how that turned out after McNeese.

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