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CFN Picks the BULLS

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South Florida (3-2) at Pittsburgh (2-4), 2:00 pm EST

Why to watch: South Florida returns to Pittsburgh, where they first gained national recognition four years ago with a 35-26 upset of the Panthers.  Today, the roles are reversed, and both teams are members of the Big East.  The Bulls sucker punched league bully Louisville last month, and have the very early inside track on a BCS bowl berth.  They’ve played real well as an underdog, but beginning this weekend, must show they can still excel with a target on their chest. The Panthers will be trying to gain a head of steam after stopping the early season hemorrhaging with an easy win over Cincinnati a week ago.          

Why South Florida might win: The Bulls are built to attack and exploit two of the Panthers’ biggest weaknessesâ€â€run defense and protecting QB Tyler Palko.  Despite already facing Penn State, Miami and Louisville, USF is averaging 231 yards on the ground behind the No. 2 Big East rusher, Andre Hall.  Palko’s days of running for his safety will not end this week against an athletic Bull front seven that already has 17 sacks.

Why Pittsburgh might win: After bottoming out in the first half of the Rutgers game, Pitt has played its best football of the year over the last six quarters and believes it has seized a nugget of momentum.  The defense is the closest thing to a constant they’ve had in 2005, and against a one-dimensional offense, such as South Florida’s, which is ranked 114th in passing, the Panthers will be able to dedicate its safeties to slowing down the running of the Bulls.    

Who to watch: The fate of the Bulls’ season rests squarely on the shoulders of QBs Pat Julmiste and Courtney Denson.  USF is talented enough elsewhere to win the Big East, but unless one of the quarterbacks can give defenses a reason not to stack the box, the offense is going to sputter.  Julmiste’s grip on the starting job is slipping, and Denson, an Auburn transfer, should see plenty of action Saturday.        

What will happen: In a game that’ll be dominated by the defenses and place kickers, South Florida will repeatedly torment a very green Pittsburgh offensive line, and force Palko into the kinds of mistakes that change outcomes and have plagued him all year.            

CFN Prediction: South Florida 23 ... Pittsburgh 16 ... Line: Pitt -2 | Must See Rating: (5 lock yourself in a room to watch - 1 Freddie) ... 2

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I disagree about the comment that PJ is barely hanging on to his starting job. Denson will not play anywhere near as much as they expect-- at least not at QB.

Must Watch rating of 2 huh?

How about a "can't watch" rating of 4 (would be a five if there were literally NO way to see the game besides attending or the pesky internet feed thingy

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    "For me, I never considered it that way (as a stepping stone), honestly. When I was offered the head job at South Florida, and I'm sincere about this, I never thought I would ever go anywhere."

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