After toppling Temple last week to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2010, USF sets its sights on a division championship as Cincinnati visits on Friday night. The Bulls trail Temple by a game in the American Athletic Conference’s East Division and will complete their home schedule against the Bearcats before a road tilt at UCF next week.
Coach Willie Taggart is thrilled with his team’s progress this season but told the school’s website their work isn’t finished just yet. “When I came here, I said my goal and my vision for this football program is to win multiple championships in a first-class manner. We’re not there yet but we’re climbing.” Cincinnati was fortunate to get past Tulsa last week and coach Tommy Tuberville indicated as much following the 49-38 win. “It was very important to get this one, knowing we had to (play) two on the road in some very tough games (to finish the season).”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network.
LINE HISTORY: Books opened the Bearcats as 3-point road faves but that has moved to -2. The total opened at 63.5 and moved to 64.
Cincinnati – WR Johnny Holton (Questionable, hamstring), LB Clemente Casseus (Out indefinitely, suspension).
South Florida – DT Deadrin Senat (Questionable, knee), WR Deangleo Antoine (Out indefinitely, suspension), DB Lamar Robbins (Out indefinitely, personal), OL Benjamin Knox (Out indefinitely, suspension), DB Hassan Childs (Out for season, knee), Stanley Clerveaux (Out for season, knee).
WEATHER: Temperatures in the mid-70s with an 18 percent chance of rain. Wind will blow across the field at around 7 mph.
ABOUT CINCINNATI (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS, 5-5 O/U): Wide receiver Chris Moore, seventh in the AAC with 74.6 receiving yards per game, pulled even with Mardy Gilyard for Cincinnati’s school record in touchdown receptions, snagging the 25th of his career in the win over Tulsa. “I wanted to get it really bad,” Moore told reporters. “But I’m always going to to do what I have to do for the team to win. I’ve still got two more weeks to break it.” Quarterback Gunner Kiel ranks third in the conference in both yards per game (302.9) and touchdown passes (18), despite missing two games with a neck injury.
ABOUT USF (6-4 SU, 7-2-1 ATS, 4-5-1 O/U): Running back Marlon Mack eclipsed 200 rushing yards in a game for the second time in his career in the victory over Temple and found the end zone three times to earn AAC Offensive Player of the Week accolades. Despite moving into fourth place on USF’s all-time list with 2,106 career rushing yards in just his sophomore season, Mack is following his coach’s lead in aiming for bigger and better goals to close out the season. “Coach T just keeps telling us to fight,” Mack told reporters. “That’s what we’re doing.”
* Bearcats are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 meetings.
* Bulls are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five home games.
* Under is 5-1 in Bearcats last six games overall.
* Under is 17-5 in Bulls last 22 conference games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Sixty-four percent of Covers users are backing the Bearcats.