Teams: Syracuse Orange (6-6, 2-6) vs. USF Bulls (6-6, 4-4)
Day & Time: Thursday, December 21, 8:00 pm ET
Location: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Fla.
Line: Syracuse opened at three-point favorites, but the line has shifted to favor the Orange by only two points according to DraftKings.
TV/Streaming: ESPN, WatchESPN
Rivalry: 8-2, USF
Current Streak: 2, USF
First Meeting: The first Syracuse-USF meeting saw the Orange program officially retire the No. 44 jersey on November 12, 2005. However, Syracuse, in its first season under Greg Robinson, couldn’t match the history of the number on the field as the Orange were out-gained by 221 yards on the ground. USF running back Andre Hall accounted for 222 of USF’s 338 rushing yards as the Bulls comfortably rolled to a 27-0 win in the Carrier Dome.
Last Meeting: The third game of the Dino Babers era seemed to get off to a good start as the Orange led 17-0 after the first quarter. However, USF roared back with 28 unanswered points to take a commanding lead into halftime. The Orange could only muster a field goal in the second half while USF tacked on 17 more points as the Bulls grabbed a 45-20 win from the Dome. Eric Dungey did have 350 passing yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Nunzio Campanile (interim, 1-0) | USF - Alex Golesh (first year, 6-6)
Coach Bio: Golesh didn’t play collegiate football but served as a student assistant at Ohio State as his first collegiate experience. He was a graduate assistant at Northern Illinois and Oklahoma State before joining Toledo in 2009 for his first full-time assistant job as the running backs and recruiting coordinator for the Rockets. Golesh joined Illinois in 2012 as tight ends and recruiting coordinator. He followed Tim Beckman to Illinois, as the pair worked together at Oklahoma State and Toledo.
Another Toledo connection got Golesh his next job as he went to Iowa State in 2016. He and Matt Campbell worked together while at Toledo. Golesh continued to coach tight ends and serve as recruiting coordinator. He’d get his first coordinator job at UCF in 2020 as co-offensive coordinator. Golesh followed Josh Heupel from UCF to Tennessee the following year, where he served as sole offensive coordinator. USF hired Golesh after the 2022 season as its sixth head coach in program history.
Last Year: USF continued to massively struggle under Jeff Scott, who couldn’t get going in South Florida after Charlie Strong was fired. Scott didn’t see out his third season with the Bulls as he was fired after a 1-8 start. Scott finished his USF head coaching stint with a 4-26 record and only one win over an FBS opponent, both the worst in program history. The Bulls went 1-11 in 2022, with the only win coming over Howard.
Last Game: USF gained bowl eligibility with a 48-14 win over Charlotte in the last week of the regular season. The Bulls had 503 yards of total offense to Charlotte’s 298.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Redshirt freshman quarterback Byrum Brown became USF’s first 3,000-yard passer after eclipsing the mark with 253 passing yards against Charlotte. His production led the Bulls to the 17th best mark in offensive yards per game nationally with 455.3 yards.
If Syracuse Wins: A sweet sendoff to the 3-3-5 defense and the Thundercat run offense.
If Syracuse Loses: Time for Fran Brown to hit 180s and 9-darters with his recruits (shoutout to all my darts fans).
Fun Fact: Both of Syracuse’s wins over USF in the series history have come at South Florida. So even though this game isn’t taking place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the Orange can still add to the tally of wins over the Bulls in the Sunshine State.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.