2018 Gasparilla Bowl AAC v C-USA
This will be the 11th playing of this much-renamed bowl and C-USA side marshall will be looking for their 3rd success having won it in 2011 & 2015. Standing in their way is inaugural winners South Florida who took what was then the St Petersburg Bowl beating now fellow AAC side Memphis 41-14. Both sides had Ok seasons with Marshall ending 8-4 while South Florida after an impressive seven-win start lost their final five games.
Ordinarily this would be a huge red flag, however, the teams they lost to are all bowl bound (or already a winner in Tulane’s case). Their final loss was to UCF who is heading to the Fiesta Bowl and the combined record of these five teams is 45-16 so not as bad as it looks. Wins wise their best was probably the shootout with Georgia Tech
Marshall’s losses include Power Five NC State & Virginia Tech but also disappointing ones against Mid Tennessee who rolled over in the New Orleans Bowl and Southern Miss. Wins wise their best is probably a 3 point one over FIU.
Looking at that there is not much to choose between them.
Stats wise Marshall has the edge in points scored and conceded and has a better yardage differential, however, the caliber of teams they have played is much lower and when they took on a Power Five team their limitations were exposed. Marshall were 41-13 down against VT before a garbage time TD made the score look more respectable, and we think that had they played USF’s schedule they may not have been bowl eligible. They are 4 points favorites and that looks too much for us.
We think this will be close but we are taking USF with the points and think they might just edge it straight up too.
Prediction USF 21-19
For those interested in betting we are 5-1 straight up and ATS so far this season.