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Courtside Players Club

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Gridiron Players Club (12/21/23)

(1 Pick, 4 Units)

Follow the Unit instructions. They're there for a reason.


8:00PM EST: USF +3.5 (4 Units).

Bowl Games aren't as simple as X's and O's. Between Injuries, Opt-Outs, Transfers, and just overall motivation level, things get weird. This is one of those spots to back an ascending program in their Home State over a Syracuse program in transition.

Syracuse HC Dino Babers was fired with 1 game left in the regular season. He led the Orange since 2016 and peaked at 10-3 in 2018 but led the team to just 2 bowl games during his tenure. Every kid at Syracuse was recruited and chose to play for Babers. The defense was the strength of the Syracuse team throughout the Season, but they allowed 31 points in each of their last 2 games to 4-8 Wake Forest and 6-6 Georgia Tech. They've also lost a couple key defensive players to the Portal, DL Terry Lockett and LB Leon Lowrey. Two significant blows here with how much USF likes to run the football.

Syracuse already found their next HC in Fran Brown. He was with Georgia and widely considered one of the best recruiters in the Nation. He's already made his impact felt, leading Cuse to its top recruiting class of the Modern Era. He won't be coaching this game though. It will be interim HC Nunzio Campanile. It's just a weird spot for a program to be in. This game’s rather meaningless and next year's coach is actively shopping for your replacements.

They're also without their starting QB Garret Schrader. He underwent shoulder surgery and will miss this game. He's been their starter for 3 years and was a true dual threat QB. He was the leader of this team and one of the few guys who could help keep this thing together. Without him they're onto Carlos Del Rio-Wilson wo's thrown just 102 career passes for 4 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He's played just 57 snaps this year. He's mobile enough but half the passer that Schrader was. It's hard to see an overly engaged Syracuse team coming into this game all things considered.

On the flip side USF turned things around under first year Head Coach Alex Golesh. After going 1-11 a season ago, he came in and led this team to a 6-6 record. Their defense has been hit or miss at times, but they can say they held Alabama to their season low. They have been good at stopping the run though. Their front 7 has led the way, ranking inside the top 45 of Rushing Success Rate Allowed, Defensive Line Yards, and Stuff Rate. Going to come in handy with Cuse down to a 3rd string QB.

It's been the electric Redshirt Freshman Byrum Brown who's been the key cog to the Bulls success. He completed 64.3% of his passes for 3,078 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions this season. He's also added 189 carries for 745 yards and 11 Touchdowns. Excluding sacks, he averages 6.2 yards per carry. It's a huge reason why the Bulls run the ball on over 56% of their plays. They also rank 14th nationally in rushing explosiveness, again, in large part to Brown.

South Florida just has a good thing going. The programs headed in the right direction, Brown chose to stay when he could have easily transferred. He's received high praise from Senior members of the Team regarding his leadership. They haven't lost much to the portal at all. The guys stepping onto the field today will play a huge part in USF's success next year which is something that's just not true for Syracuse. They'll want to end the year on a high note and finish with a winning record. Which is something USF hasn't done since 2018. They also haven't played in a Bowl Game since then and haven’t won one since 2017. This games also in their home state just over a few hours away.

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