HARTFORD, CT – Greetings from Connecticut! We are on the road with the USF Bulls as they get set for their meeting with UConn.
The game was originally set for 7 p.m.
Saturday night but that changed due to the recent outbreak of the EEE virus carried by infected mosquitos throughout much of New England.
UConn Public Health advised the teams to move the game to noon to avoid the typical time of mosquitos being out, which is usually between dusk and dawn.
REMINDER: The game will be streaming LIVE on CBSSports.com and on the CBS Sports App or your mobile phone or smart TV. The game will be shown in its original timeslot in tape-delay form at 7 p.m.
The Truth About Charlie
Most USF fans have been asking the same question for a few weeks, now: "What is Charlie Strong’s buyout?" The truth is we don’t know.
That is a private agreement with the USF Foundation. One thing that shouldn’t worry USF fans is that Athletic Director Michael Kelly will do what is in the best interest of the Bulls.
There are plenty of rumblings going on around the program about Charlie’s future at USF.
But the most important thing is he will be leading the team on to the field Saturday at UConn.
So let’s just focus on that... for now.
If UCF and UConn had the short-lived "Civil ConFLiCT" then it’s fair to give the USF/UConn series its own title. I am dubbing it the "Critical ConFLiCT" because it has usually been close, especially in East Hartford. Heck, last year in Tampa the Bulls squeaked out a 38-30 win over Randy Edsall and his Huskies.
I know Bulls fans don’t want to hear this... but that was the last USF win over a D-I FBS school. Since that victory over UConn at Ray Jay on Oct. 20, 2018, the Bulls have lost nine straight against FBS opponents.
(Cue Ed Rooney from "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off": "Nine times.")
Yes, USF has won a series-best seven in a row against the Huskies dating back to 2012. And, yes, UConn is going to be without their starting QB, Steve Krajewski, due to a fractured clavicle. Yes, UConn is leaving the AAC and will become an independent because the university finally realized it’s a basketball school and belongs in the Big East.
BUT UConn plays USF tough. The Huskies have played some of USF’s more talented teams close. So now you are asking me to believe that a (slightly) banged up Jordan McCloud and this offense will get it going in blowout fashion on Saturday? Sorry, I don’t see that happening.
No Blake Barnett for the Bulls due to an ankle issue. That’s a tough break because Blake is a big supporter of McCloud and also could be a valuable player if McCloud were to re-aggravate his wrist or was not playing well.
On top of all of that there has been increased frustration with the offense. Players know this offensive line has been subpar (being generous). Offensive Coordinator Kerwin Bell said this week he was starting East Lake alum and walk-on Bryce Miller at slot. Expect other guys to get their chances at different positions. Bell is also hoping that a "simpler" version of his offense will help create opportunities.
Do Your Job, Defense
UConn quarterbacks have thrown six interceptions this season. USF has six interceptions on the season. USF has also forced seven fumbles. The Bulls’ 13 forced turnovers is the best in the American.
USF defense needs to sure things up and can’t allow a big play. Momentum is a funny thing for UConn. You give them an inch and they will take advantage and stick around. That means Mike Hampton can’t let a guaranteed pick-six slip through his fingers. That means no pass interference on third down.
If USF’s defense plays fast and physical, particularly upfront, then they should force some pressure for new UConn QB Mike Beaudry (Oviedo-Hagerty alum). You do that and you will have a minimum of three turnovers.
UConn is not good. USF is not having a good season. There is a big difference between not being good and not having a good season. USF has the better talent. They should have the better TEAM. Can the Bulls come together for a full 60 minutes and win convincingly at UConn?
USF has scored no less than 37 points in each of their last three games against UConn.
I think they extend their streak of 30+ points vs. UConn.
USF 34, UConn 13
If it’s not convincing…well…you know what could happen.