Temple Owls vs. South Florida Bulls
Date and Time: Thursday, September 21, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Opening College Football Odds: South Florida -17.5
Temple vs. South Florida TV Coverage: ESPN
Quinton Flowers probably isn't going to win the Heisman Trophy this year, but he's going to have a darn good case for it when it's all said and done with in spite of the fact that he's going to play one fewer game than everyone else in America.
Flowers is leading an offense that has put up 120 points against San Jose State, Stony Brook and Illinois, and he's the key man behind one of the few rushing attacks in America averaging over 280 yards per game.
If the Bulls are going to win this one, Flowers is going to have to put up some major stats once again with both his arm and his legs as he did last season when these two teams met. The Heisman candidate threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 90 more yards and a score.
The Owls still don't have that look to them that they could win the AAC this year. They're 0-for-3 from an ATS standpoint this year, and all of the top college football sportsbooks are trying to figure out exactly what to do with them. On paper, this Temple team is good enough to beat anyone left on its schedule, including South Florida. But squeaking past Villanova and UMass and getting ripped apart by Notre Dame by 33 points in South Bend does little to inspire.
The thing Temple probably has to do more is to get the ball in the hands of its big receivers. The Owls don't have any dominant receivers, but all four of Keith Kirkwood, Isaiah Wright, Adonis Jennings and Ventell Bryant run at least at 6-foot-2, and as they showed against UMass last week, they can really put on a great show against lesser defensive backs. But that's up to Logan Marchi to get his act together.
Marchi hasn't thrown a pick in 106 attempts thus far this season, but he also is completing just 57.5 percent of his passes. He's got to do a better job getting the ball in positions where his receivers can flat out go get it.
The Last Meeting
The best way to ground a high-flying offense is by keeping it off of the field. Temple did just that last season, holding the Bulls to just over 20 minutes of possession for the entire game. USF still did its damage, amassing 30 points on 352 yards on just 53 plays, but the Owls never let off the gas pedal.
If Temple can figure out how to run the ball 48 times for 322 yards again in this one, South Florida is going to have a tough time getting going.
Temple vs. South Florida Free Picks
We're not supremely confident in Temple right now, but we just don't see the value in backing this highly overrated USF team at -17.5. Flowers is awesome, and the team that Charlie Strong inherited this year was excellent. That said, there's a reason why Temple blew out the Bulls last year in Philly even though it was a 6-point underdog.
South Florida will get the job done and win this game, but we think the Owls figured something out last week against the Minutemen even though they didn't cover the spread. They'll do enough to keep this one close throughout before Marchi finally succumbs with too many mistakes.
College Football ATS Pick: Temple +17.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: South Florida 33, Temple 24