Sun Bowl Preview: Oregon vs. South Florida

Brut Sun Bowl
Dec. 31, 11 a.m. PST
Oregon (8-4) vs. South Florida (9-3)
El Paso, Texas
Payout: $1,900,000
Spread: South Florida – 6.5

At the half-way-point of the year, this could have been the national championship game. But neither could live up to those lofty expectations.

Oregon is a different football team without quarterback Dennis Dixon. His ability is magnified by the spread offense the team runs. Without his athleticism at QB, the Ducks have found their way to the Sun Bowl instead of a BCS bowl. It’s a testament to how important the quarterback is to the spread offense. The season is in two pieces for Oregon, with Dennis Dixon (8-1) and without him (0-3).

South Florida was disappointed some with their three-game losing streak after climbing to No. 2 in the polls but this isn’t a No. 2 caliber team. The three loses were all to good football teams as Rutgers, UConn and Cincinnati will all be in bowl games. This season was still a big step for the young program and they’ll get their first 10-win season if they beat Oregon.

The USF defense will destroy a Dixon-less Oregon offense. Future NFL running back Jonathan Stewart may be the Ducks only chance. He’s run for over 1,400 yards and 10 TD’s this year. He’s 230 lbs and has game breaking speed. If there’s one player the strong USF defense will have trouble with, it’s Stewart, but expect the defense to be ready for him and stack the box with defenders accordingly. If they can force him to move laterally along the line of scrimmage and string out plays to the sidelines, they may just bottle him up. Oregon won’t have much success through the air, making Stewart’s contributions all the more important. USF corners Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams are two of the best in the country. The speed of Oregon’s WR’s won’t bother them much, especially if the Oregon QB (either Cody Kempt or Justin Roper) can’t get them the ball.

Because of their anemic offense, the Duck defense will have to win this game for UO. They’ll have their hands full with freelancing USF quarterback Matt Grothe. He is a capable runner but he tends to press and force the issue when the team is struggling. If the Ducks can get out in front early then their athletic defense will be able to keep them out in front. If they don’t South Florida will be able to burn clock with a newfound running back in Mike Ford. He’s only a freshman even though he signed with Alabama out of high school in 2005. In the past three games he’s taken the bulk of the carries and run for over 300 yards with six TD’s. Oregon uses a 4-2-5 alignment defensively and it can be inviting for a good running game. Ford should have a big game. Corners Walter Thurmond and Jarius Byrd can’t get beat deep. It’s important for this team to put USF in third and long situations and get off the field when they can. Oregon’s offense will need every possession it can get if they’re going to win this game.

I expect turnovers and a lot of them. The Oregon defense knows they can’t give up an inch and they’ll keep this game low scoring. If South Florida controls time of possession they’ll win this game. Oregon needs someone on offense to take the burden off of Stewart or it won’t be close.

Prediction:
South Florida 17 – Oregon 10

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8 Responses

  1. Excellent analysis and prognostication.

  2. thanks I pride myself on my ability to come off looking like an idiot.
    – TM

  3. […] Sun Bowl Preview: Oregon vs. South Florida Brut Sun Bowl Dec. 31, 11 a.m. PST Oregon (8-4) vs. South Florida (9-3) El Paso, Texas Payout: $1,900,000 Spread: South […] […]

  4. You need to stop writing blogs. Just watch the games never give your opinion out again ever again. I am serious. You need to stop. Please.

  5. I’m overwhelmed by your kind words of support. I hope I can live up to the lofty expectations you’ve placed on my shoulders as you read our site in the future.
    – TM

  6. Man that sucked how their D “destroyed” our offense. GrotheUSF – Fresno>USF

  7. Man that sucked how their D “destroyed” our offense.
    Who’da-thunk-it. Their conference is ultra soft and the Pac10 just exposed it BIG TIME (note the caps there).

  8. I read that article prior to the game and thought, what an idiot…post game, I’m thinking, you are the biggest idiot since Beano Cook. This comment was all I needed to read to know you had no clue:

    “Oregon won’t have much success through the air, making Stewart’s contributions all the more important. USF corners Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams are two of the best in the country. The speed of Oregon’s WR’s won’t bother them much, especially if the Oregon QB (either Cody Kempt or Justin Roper) can’t get them the ball.”

    Oregon ran and threw at will…500 plus yards of offense (4 TD passes from Roper)….Oh and by the way…where was selvie and those all american DB’s you were touting?

    Please…from now on try to needle point or crocheting, because you sure don’t know squat about football.

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