The BYU Cougars take on the South Florida Bulls. Check out our college football odds series for our BYU South Florida prediction and pick.
BYU entered the 2021 season wondering how well its offense would be able to perform. Remember, Zach Wilson was the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL draft. He was the engine behind BYU's offense in the 2020 season. Losing a top-tier NFL draft pick usually has a profoundly negative effect on a team's offense the next season, unless the conversation revolves around a program such as Alabama, which is able to reload on an annual basis.
BYU is not Alabama.
Yet, the Cougars were able to field an offense which did extremely well in 2021. Tyler Allgeier was the Swiss Army knife, do-it-all player who enabled the Cougars' offense to come alive. BYU and offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick were able to deploy Allgeier in a number of ways. The Cougars had multiple lines of attack, mostly through Allgeier but also through their receivers, who were able to take advantage of the extent to which defenses tried to stop Allgeier. The different supporting-cast members of the offense were able to work in tandem with Allgeier and create confusion, hesitancy, and matchup problems for opposing linebackers and safeties. The result was a 10-win season for BYU, highlighted by some offensive explosions such as a 66-49 win over Virginia and former BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
BYU loses Allgeier this season, but after seeing how the Cougars thrived in 2021 without Zach Wilson, you're not hearing as many questions about BYU's ability to reload on offense with new faces in the lineup.
South Florida is at the opposite end of the spectrum relative to BYU. Coach Jeff Scott left the Clemson juggernaut under Dabo Swinney — where he coached Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence — to take on the rebuilding project in Tampa with USF. It has been a tough road for Scott, who was just 2-10 last year. South Florida scored just 278 points in 12 games, under 24 points per contest, and allowed 416. A minus-138 season-long point differential reflects the extent to which South Florida was outclassed in 2021. The Bulls will look for any progress they can possibly make this year.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the BYU-South Florida College Football odds.
College Football Odds: BYU-South Florida Odds
BYU Cougars: -10.5 (1)
South Florida Bulls: +10.5 (1)
Over: 58.5 (-110)
Under: 58.5 (-110)
Why BYU Could Cover the Spread
The Cougars are simply a lot better than the Bulls. We can discuss various other storylines or plot points on the margins of the debate, but it gets down to that fundamental truth. Even if we acknowledge that BYU in 2022 might be slightly worse than in 2021, and that South Florida might be moderately better this year, we're still looking at a situation in which BYU (worst-case) will be 8-4 and South Florida (best case) will be 4-8. That is a lot of ground for South Florida to make up relative to BYU, and it's simply not likely to occur, even in a home game for the Bulls. BYU is not going to be intimidated by what is expected to be a modest crowd for USF's home opener.
Why South Florida Could Cover the Spread
After an offseason trying to build optimism in the program, South Florida is going to come roaring out of the gates. This is a huge prove-it moment for everyone in the USF locker room. It's a chance to show the players have grown and that the program has the potential to be relevant. BYU might evolve into a good team with a good offense, but in the first game of the campaign, you might see a lot of rough edges and some shaky moments which will enable USF to stay close and maybe even steal an upset win.
Final BYU-South Florida Prediction & Pick
If South Florida keeps this game close, you should be very, very surprised. BYU has earned the benefit of the doubt here, and USF quite plainly has not.
Final BYU-South Florida Prediction & Pick: BYU -10.5