After a tough start to the season with two home losses, Temple has been on a bit of a roll on its way to clinching bowl eligibility. Temple looks to follow up its big win against Houston last week with a home game against South Florida. The Bulls have been trending in the opposite direction of the Owls lately, but can Temple take advantage of a struggling USF program this weekend?
The home team has won each of the previous four games in this series, which dates back to 2012, and the home team has won each of the last three games in the series by double digits. With Temple getting a big spread in its favor, the oddsmakers appear to feel that the trend will continue.
Here are a few things to know about this week’s AAC matchup going down in Philadelphia this weekend.
USF at Temple
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 17 at 12 p.m. ET
Spread: Temple -14.0
Three Things to Watch
1. For USF, a promising season has turned sour
It was not so long ago that the Bulls were looking like a viable contender in the AAC championship picture, but Charlie Strong’s program has dropped three straight games by double digits. Two of those losses, against Houston and Cincinnati, have come on the road. The way Temple has been playing, this week presents another difficult road challenge for South Florida.
2. Owls RB Ryquell Armstead scored six TDs last week
Temple’s senior running back Ryquell Armstead has scored 12 rushing touchdowns this season. Half of those came last week in a 59-49 win at Houston. After missing back-to-back games in October due to injury, Armstead has rushed for 342 yards in the last two games against UCF and Houston. The New Jersey native is about to be Temple's first 1,000-yard rusher since 2012 (Jahad Thomas, 1,262 yards). Armstead could be primed for another big game, because South Florida has the AAC’s 11th-ranked rushing defense. Only UConn has given up more rushing yards this season.
3. Temple still in the running for a division championship?
It’s true, Temple has reached the final two weeks of the season and still has a chance to win the division crown, although that remains highly unlikely to happen. Temple must win its final two games and have UCF drop each of its final two games. That would allow Temple either to clinch the AAC East Division outright or take the division thanks to a head-to-head tiebreaker with Cincinnati. The odds are not in Temple’s favor, but the Owls have a chance to keep the pressure on with a win against the Bulls.
One of the big sparks for Temple’s success this season has been the play of quarterback Anthony Russo. Although Russo has thrown 12 interceptions this season, he avoided throwing a pick last week against Houston. If Russo can avoid making costly turnovers again this week, Temple appears to have a strong enough offense powered by Armstead to take care of business against the beat-up Bulls. Temple should be able to clinch a winning season as a result.
Prediction: Temple 38, USF 24
— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. McGuire also contributes to College Football Talk and The Comeback as well as hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB and Like him on Facebook.
(Top photo courtesy of gousfbulls.com)