This week’s schedule of games may not be feature a top five showdown, but it is rich in meaningful games. The outcome of this weekend’s games will go a long way in shaping the conference races and BCS chase.
Here is the look at the first big game this week.
Game: South Florida vs. Cincinnati
When: Thursday, October 15, 730 p.m.
Why it matters: This matchup continues to fly under the radar, despite pitting two top-25 unbeaten teams from the Big East against one another. Tony Pike, the Bearcat quarterback, will have to get rid of the ball quickly against the Bulls’ vaunted pass rush.
This game has begun to take on the moniker as the de facto Big East championship game, but there is still Pittsburgh sitting atop the conference standings. The winner of this game will have the inside track to an automatic BCS bid, but there is work left to do for both squads.
Player to watch: George Selvie, the Bulls’ All-American defensive end will have his eyes on Pike the entire game. If he’s lucky, he’ll have his hands on Pike much of the game too. Selvie has 20 tackles in five games this season, including two sacks. He will face double-team blocking schemes as usual tonight, but he can still disrupt any offense. The burden of keeping Pike out of a rhythm falls primarily on Selvie.
Who has the edge? The Bearcats are the higher-ranked team, but the Bulls are at home and are hungry. B.J. Daniels will be making his third career start. The freshman replaced Matt Grothe three weeks ago after the senior quarterback was lost for the season with a torn ACL. He has six touchdowns and only two interceptions so far, and will not be fazed by the Bearcats defense.
The Bulls have more to gain from winning this game. If South Florida were to win out this season, that would include a victory over Miami at the end of the season, which could maybe leave them with an outside shot at a national title game. If Cincinnati wins tonight and runs the table, they are not likely to move much farther ahead in the rankings.
That being said, South Florida is my favorite to win a memorable one on Thursday night.