Ahead of this weekend's game, SOTU sits down for a friendly Q&A with our partners over at Voodoo 5, SB Nation's resident South Florida blog.
As per usual, we have managed to rope someone into answering our idiotic questions ahead of a game. This time, we wrangled Jamie DeVriend over at Voodoo Five. In the spirit of last year's 6-3 barn burner Canes victory, we limited the questions to 9, or the total that both teams managed to score in ONE ENTIRE COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME.
You can find our answers to their questions HERE, or by clicking the link above and heading over to their site!
SOTU: Let's start off with a hard hitter. You guys allowed my alma mater UT-Chattanooga to score 13 points. How the hell did that happen?
VOODOO: Turnovers. Chattanooga had a four-yard touchdown drive and a three-yard drive for a field goal. Other than that they got nothing.
SOTU: I'm looking through your schedule, and I am seeing a lot of close games against good teams. Should this worry me, or are some of those scores closer than the games actually were?
VOODOO: No, they really were that close. The problem is that USF wants to play these close games every week, no matter how good or bad the opponent is, and then rely on their defense to close the games out for them, but they just can't do it. UConn was the only game they've been able to protect a lead in, and that was more because the Huskies are so incredibly pathetic and poorly-run on offense.
SOTU: How do you guys hope to contain Duke Johnson this week? Will you kick it to him?
VOODOO: The Bulls probably can't stop him on defense. The defensive line hasn't gotten much push against most offensive lines and Johnson is fast enough and shifty enough to run away from the linebackers and break a big one. Fortunately Marvin Kloss has 33 touchbacks on 47 kickoffs, and many of the non-touchbacks were because he was kicking into the wind. So they should be able to neutralize Duke's impact on special teams.
SOTU: It feels like BJ Daniels has been there forever. Between him and the running game, should Canes fans worry about being gashed?
VOODOO: As you realized about 1 second after sending this, Daniels broke his ankle against UConn and is done for the year. Also Lindsey Lamar, who was leading the team in rushing, was hurt against Syracuse and he's also done. That leaves the USF running game in the hands of Demetris Murray, who has not been as good as he was the last two years, and Marcus Shaw, who Skip Holtz trusts about as far as he can throw him.
Remember how the USF running game completely shut down last year against Miami when Danels got knocked of the game? Gangly Bobby Eveld was no threat to carry the ball and all the option run stuff was dead in the water. They haven't used that package as much this year, but it is still part of the run game, and if Matt Floyd is not credible as a runner, it shouldn't be too hard to slow down the Bulls running game. (Please note that I don't buy into the idea of Eveld starting at quarterback for one second, and it's driving me crazy that Holtz is trying to play possum when he said way back in August that he was planning to redshirt Eveld.)
SOTU: Not seeing any of your games, how is your defense performing so far? Specifically, are you better against the run or the pass?
VOODOO: This defense sucks. I already talked about the underwhelming defensive line. The linebackers are halfway decent, but the secondary is injury-ravaged and they were a mess even when they were healthy. This defense isn't coached well, it doesn't get sacks, it rarely forces turnovers, and it can't get off the field on third down. The worst part is that they're probably equally bad against the run or the pass.
SOTU: How does the Bulls' offensive line work? Will our defensive line be able to do anything? Please say yes.
VOODOO: We're really going to find out how good the line is with B.J. Daniels out. Earlier in the season, he covered up for a lot of bad O-line play because he could run away from sacks and keep plays alive. Then starting with the FSU game and going forward from there, the line stabilized, even with some injuries robbing it of all its experience. Mark Popek and Danous Estenor (both senior starters) may be back this week, which is good because Floyd is not nearly as confident in the offense as Daniels was, and he'll need as much time as the line can give him.
SOTU: Do you think the Big East is on its death bed?
VOODOO: I might have had a different answer six months ago, but despite John Swofford's best efforts, it is not. The big key was finding out on Monday that the Big East and all the conferences underneath it will still have guaranteed access to BCS 2.0 (the highest-ranked team from that group will get a bid). Yes, the Big East was weakened in realignment, but they in turn weakened the Mountain West and damn near destroyed Conference USA. That guaranteed bid to a "host bowl" should belong to the Big East almost every year, and if it doesn't, at least we'll all be spared the embarrassment of sending another 8-4 UConn team to the Fiesta Bowl.
I think the conference is going to be stable for awhile because of the guaranteed bid, because there's no incentive for anyone else to expand, and because the conference will get a new TV deal here pretty soon. Not surprisingly, the Big East declined to re-up with ESPN (you wouldn't either if they'd spent a year bashing you and possibly colluding with the ACC to try and destroy you) and the deal will probably be divided up among a number of networks to maximize its value. I don't think they can get ACC-level money, but they should end up much, much better off than they are now.
SOTU: What is your prediction for the game? Who wins, by how much, and who performs the besets?
VOODOO: Even with Miami getting some of their guys back on defense, I don't think either team is very good on that side of the ball. Miami will get their points. It all comes down to whether or not Matt Floyd and the offense can keep up with them. I think the Canes win regardless, but it could get ugly if Floyd struggles.
SOTU: BONUS QUESTION: from our writer aint no lobos: Magic Mike - just how many Oscars? Channing Tatum rocks the Tampa heartland. Accurate depiction of everyday Bay life?
VOODOO: It better be all of the Oscars, especially one for the casting director for putting Matthew McConaughey in the role he was clearly born to play. My wife and I saw the movie together and laughed hysterically all the way through. My Facebook summary: "Strippers, hurricanes, illicit money, diving off bridges, tattoos, pickup trucks, day laborers, bad credit, Ecstasy pills, and a broken-down pro wrestler. I've concluded that 'Magic Mike' is the most Tampa movie ever made." And of course I support any depiction of any everyday life in which Olivia Munn takes her clothes off a lot. (makes phone receiver with his hand and mouths "call me")