9-3 (4-3), 3rd Big East
8-4 (5-4), 4th Pacific-10
December 31, 2:00pm, CBS
Even though these two teams are on different coasts, they share one thing in common; both at one time during the season were ranked #2 in the BCS. South Florida was the first to do it starting the season 6-0 before losing their next three games. Oregon reached #2, then lost the last three games of the season. The Ducks have not been the same team since losing starting quarterback Dennis Dixon.
It is anyone's best guess who will play quarterback for the Ducks in the Sun Bowl. After Dixon's injury, Cody Kempt, Brady Leaf and redshirt freshman Justin Roper have all seen time behind center. Combined the three have thrown for almost 500 yards, only 2 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. With that ineffectiveness at quarterback, it puts all of the pressure on Jonathan Stewart's shoulders. In 12 games, Stewart rushed for 1469 yards and 10 touchdowns. Without Dixon in the lineup the Ducks have struggled moving the ball and not turning the ball over. Defensively the Ducks are better against the run than the pass and lead the nation in tackles for loss.
Like Oregon, the Bulls rely on their quarterback to be the catalyst of their offense. Sophomore Matt Grothe leads the Bulls in passing (2473 yards and 13 touchdowns) and rushing (832 yards and 10 touchdowns). He is a tough player for defenses to defend but since he is still young he has shown he will turn the ball over, throwing 12 interceptions on the year. On defense the Bulls are extremely tough, and you don't have to look any further than defensive end George Selvie. Selvie leads the nation in tackles for a loss and is an excellent pass rusher too. He is able to rush the passer so well because South Florida has a pair of superb cornerbacks that allow the defensive coordinator to play a lot of man and blitz. South Florida's 19th rank rush defense will be put to the test when the go up against Stewart.
If Dennis Dixon were healthy, this would be a great game and a very tough one to pick. But given the fact that he is out, the other Ducks quarterback have struggled, and South Florida has such a fast, attacking defense; I think the Ducks are doomed in this one. Their defense will need to force Grothe to turn the ball over and hope that Jonathan Stewart can overcome the stacked boxed that he will see against Oregon. Any way you put it, I think that South Florida has the upper hand and will win this game. South Florida 38 Oregon 17
Picking South Florida to Win
ITB Brian Sakowski, ITB Charlie Swager, Football Frontier, Corn Nation, Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, Sportsbone TV, Rizzo Sports, MizzouRAH, ITB Ron Juckett, The Enlightened Spartan, Bastard Sons of Pinfall Marks, Kansas It's Business Time, Pitch Right, MidWest Coast Bias, Pete Boivin, Jason Stiver, Lorena The Dodgerchick, Matt Kieta, Timmy B, Richard Dixon, Dan Schoonover, Brian Isaacson, Logan Jaffe, Brant Chruscial
Picking Oregon to Win
The LSC Scoop, Rodney Polston, Cyril Tircuit, Sunny Verma, Greg Gowins, Lou Nemec, Mrs Corn Nation, Jeff Brancolini