The Bulls hit the road right after Thanksgiving to take on the Cincinnati Bearcats. Can they pull this one out somehow?
1. It's Matt Floyd's team now. With Eveld out for the year with a shoulder injury, the team belongs to Matt Floyd (and trust me, there's not much behind him). Floyd has to play smart, deliver the ball quickly, and move out of the pocket when it collapses. The team will try to help him out with running plays, quick screens, anything they can do to get this confidence up, but it's his time now. USF will need him to have a strong game to stand any chance.
2. Dealing with the weather on the road: The Bulls are on the road, right after Thanksgiving in Cincinnati, and the weather (mid-30s at kickoff with blustery winds) will be a factor for the decidedly warm-weather Bulls. It's Skip Holtz's first time in cold weather with this team, and while Jim Leavitt had his team mentally prepared for the weather, we'll see if Skip can do the same thing.
3. Injuries everywhere: There are a ton of new faces all over the field as the Bulls continue to work in young players, some by choice, others by injury. Stars Mark Popek and Evan Landi are back, but not having B.J. Daniels and others available still leaves a hole. The veteran leadership and playmaking ability will be missed, especially on the road in front of a national television audience. Can the younger players (who just so happen to be Holtz's recruits) step up?
4. Coaching decisions: Skip trolled everyone hard last Saturday, whether it was burning Bobby Eveld's redshirt, not calling any timeouts at the end of the first half, or kicking not one but two completely meaningless field goals in the fourth quarter. USF needs the coaching staff to be at their best tonight with so many young players on the field. Todd Fitch will have to cater the game plan to Floyd's strengths, and Chris Cosh will have to find a way to get pressure on Brendon Kay and the Bearcats offense. If the coaching staff continues these mistakes, it will be another night of rage and #FIREEVERYONE-ness.
5. Any fight left? At 3-7, the bowl hopes are gone, people are focusing on other programs and fans are hoping for major changes in the offsseason (the calls for Holtz's head continue to echo everywhere). The players that are out there are playing for pride and for future playing time. For the seniors, this is not how they wanted to go out, but now they must focus, get ready, and try to do something positive this season. While the fans are upset, the players are still battling and the team will try to salvage something from the season. A road win over a good Cincinnati at the end of the year, when no one expects them to do anything, would help.