Week 7 Prediction Vs. South Florida

After playing two long-time rivals the previous two games, Bearcat Insider has the Bearcats taking an undefeated record into their matchup with the South Florida Bulls. Can UC remain unbeaten after this Big East matchup?

For the third consecutive game the Cincinnati Bearcats will be taking on a team with a new head coach in South Florida and Skip Holtz. Holtz comes over from East Carolina where he guided the Pirates to back-to-back Conference USA championships and posted a 38-27 record in five years with the Pirates.

Holtz now moves to the Big East and becomes only the second head coach in Bulls history, taking over for Jim Leavitt after an 8-5 campaign in 2009. Of course the Bulls record is not the reason Leavitt is no longer the head man in Tampa.

Holtz inherits an offense with some experience as the Bulls return nine starters on offense. Chief among the returnees is quarterback B.J. Daniels.

In 2009, Daniels showed himself to be a real weapon, leading the Bulls in both passing and rushing stepping in for injured quarterback Matt Grothe. Daniels passed for 1983 yards with 14 touchdowns, nine interceptions and completed 53.7 percent of his passes.

Those numbers may not be that eye-popping but when you factor in that he ran for 772 yards with nine more scores on the ground, Daniels is certainly someone the UC defense will have to key on if they want to win this matchup.

Last season, the Bearcats defeated the Bulls 34-17 in Tampa and held Daniels in check for the most part. Daniels managed 208 yards through the air on 15-32 passing with one touchdown and two interceptions. He also had 74 rushing yards with one score.

Cincinnati, of course, will counter with a dual-threat quarterback of their own in junior Zach Collaros. In the matchup last season Collaros broke free for 132 rushing yards, including a 75 yard touchdown run. He had two touchdowns on the ground in that game.

One thing that will help Daniels, and the running game, in 2010 is his offensive line. The Bulls bring back all five starters on the line from a year ago which includes three seniors and two juniors.

On defense, South Florida returns six starters from 2009, but lose four big players from that defense.

The biggest names missing from the defense are the defensive end tandem of George Selvie and Jason Pierre-Paul. The duo was one of the most feared in the Big East the past two seasons.

The two less talked about subtractions from the defense are Nate Allen and Jerome Murphy who were the co-interception leaders for USF in 2009. The two combined for eight interceptions.

This game has the potential to be close one, especially if Daniels has the kind of game he is capable of having. However, I believe the losses to the Bulls defense will be too much to overcome in this matchup against the potent Cincinnati offense.

Prediction: 35-20 UC. Look for Isaiah Pead and Collaros to have some good games on the ground and for the UC defense to put the clamps on Daniels.

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