It’s always a big deal when a Group of 5 team hosts a Power 5, but in the case of the Big Ten, it might even hold a larger slice of dangling fruit. For No. 22 South Florida, it will take on Illinois (7 p.m. ET) as a 16.5 point favorite tonight. A win against the Illini is expected, so tonight’s game should to be a showcase for the Bulls (2-0 overall).
One way that will happen is for Quinton Flowers to keep on doing what he is doing. In two games, he has been solid with four TDs and nearly 400 yards passing. But we all know the Bulls have been holding back the playbook a bit against San Jose State and Stony Brook. Flowers also has 137 yards on the ground and a rushing TD.
(All this of course as there is no hangover from Irma, which has devastated so many people in Florida.)
The bar is high for South Florida this year as they eye a NY6 berth, but of course that road will get tougher tonight as they welcome former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, Lovie Smith, who is in his second year as the Illinois coach (5-9 overall record).
After tonight, the schedule is quite favorable for the Bulls as they have limited challenges. However, don’t count out Houston or Central Florida later in the season.
As for tonight, Flowers will be too much to handle for the Illini, but it will be closer than expects.
Prediction: South Florida 31, Illinois 24