(Thursday, 6:30 pm, ESPN)
Talk about hobbling into a game. Both of these teams have suffered significant injuries this season. South Florida will be playing without leading rusher Mike Ford and linebacker Brouce Mompremier on Thursday night. Ford is an important cog in the offense because without him the Bulls struggle to get production from the ground game. Mompremier is a solid linebacker and vocal leader on defense. Safety Danny Verpaele, offensive lineman Zach Hermann, and kicker Justin Teachey also are likely to miss the game. Cincinnati is in no better shape as they have gone through several quarterbacks already this year. Dustin Grutza started the season strong but broke his leg in the first half against Oklahoma. Tony Pike took over as the starter and later broke his arm. He attempted to come back last week against UConn but lost feeling in the injured arm and had to be taken out. That leaves freshman Chazz Anderson to man the position, where he’ll face the awesome pass rush abilities of USF defensive end George Selvie. You know Selvie will be coming too because Cincinnati isn’t much of a threat to run the ball. Go ahead and pencil in at least one sack for the All American. Cincinnati won the game last year in Tampa, Florida, but I’ll give the edge to South Florida this year. Cincy isn’t forcing nearly as many turnovers as they did a year ago, therefore they don’t play enough defense to keep Matt Grothe out of the end zone.
J.Pike’s Pick: South Florida 26, Cincinnati 23