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UCF Knights vs. South Florida Bulls Prediction and Preview

UCF Knights vs. South Florida Bulls Prediction and Preview

UCF Knights vs. South Florida Bulls Prediction and Preview

The UCF Knights have won 23 straight games, the longest active winning streak in FBS college football. That streak will be on the line Friday afternoon in Orlando when UCF hosts I-4 rival South Florida to bring the regular season to a close.

UCF won a thriller last season to clinch the division, but the Knights already have the division title wrapped up. The stakes are still high, though, as UCF continues its sales pitch to the College Football Playoff selection committee.

UCF at South Florida

Kickoff: Friday, Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Spread: UCF -14.0

Three Things to Watch

1. UCF coming off an impressive defensive effort

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Going into last week’s home game against Cincinnati, the biggest question about UCF was how the defense would hold up. The Knights have struggled on defense at times this season, leading to a couple of close calls against Memphis and Temple, but the offense has been good enough to overcome those struggles. Against Cincinnati, though, the defense rose to the occasion, and the Bearcats were unable to pose much of a threat. It was an encouraging night, as UCF's defense allowed the fewest yards per play since the beginning of October.

2. South Florida’s second-half slide continues

This season is certainly not ending the way it started for the Bulls. Since starting the year with a 7-0 record, South Florida has seen injuries and a tougher schedule stack the deck against them to the tune of a four-game losing streak, each of them by double digits. Last week, it looked like South Florida would bounce back, but the Bulls blew a 17-0 halftime lead by giving up 27 unanswered points at Temple. Snapping the losing streak against UCF will be no easy task with the way the Knights are playing on offense.

3. UCF is 1-4 at South Florida since 2005

UCF may be a significant favorite this weekend in Tampa, but the Knights have had some trouble winning in Tampa. Since 2005, UCF has just one win in four tries on the road against South Florida, with the lone win coming in 2014. This will be the first time UCF will be ranked for a visit to Tampa, and this is a rare occasion when UCF is the favorite on the road against the Bulls.

Final Analysis

UCF and South Florida are clearly heading in opposite directions this season. With McKenzie Milton and UCF looking to put the finishing touches on an undefeated season while stating their case for the College Football Playoff, Jordan Cronkrite and Blake Barnett are looking to find a way to stop a losing skid that has turned this season sour in a hurry for the Bulls. Rivalry games should never be taken for granted, but UCF has all of the advantages this week in the War on I-4.

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Prediction: UCF 38, South Florida 23

— 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.