WHO: Marshall (8-4) vs. South Florida (7-5)
WHAT: The 11th Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
WHEN: 8:00 p.m., ET, ESPN
WHERE: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
THE SKINNY: South Florida may be playing a bowl game in their home stadium, but the Bulls will do so with a rash of injuries that have taken a toll on the team this season. Among those players who have been roughed up this season is quarterback Blake Barnett, who is looking to close out his well-traversed collegiate career with a win.
A shoulder injury took Barnett out of action late in the season, leading Charlie Strong to look to sophomore Chris Oladokun as the next man up against UCF in the regular-season finale. Oladokun ended up benched in favor of Brett Kean, who also struggled. In short, quarterback play is a concern for the Bulls in this one. Marshall’s defense has given up 231.7 passing yards per game this season and the Thundering Herd have picked off 12 passes.
Injuries certainly took South Florida’s season off course. After starting the year with a record of 7-0, the Bulls limp their way into the bowl season on a five-game losing streak. Marshall is coming in much warmer, although they took a loss in their last-second addition to the schedule with a road loss to Virginia Tech to help the Hokies keep their bowl streak alive. Doc Holliday and the Herd won five of six before the Virginia Tech game.
Marshall wide receiver Tyre Brady, a former Miami Hurricane, will be the go-to receiver against a South Florida defense with 11 interceptions this season. The Bulls can also keep teams from having overwhelming success through the air, but Brady will be a constant threat all game long.
THE LINE: USF, +3
THE PREDICTION: Marshall 27, South Florida 23