This is not the 2013 UCF team that went 12-1 and won a shootout vs Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl (the only loss coming at home against a South Carolina team playing Dylan Thompson at QB for most of the game after an injury to Connor Shaw). That team had 2 1st Round draft picks and a total of 13 players that went on to play in the NFL. This year's team is 0-3 and has racked up losses to FIU and Furman (!). So, yeah, this team is going to be somewhat of step down in terms of competition from what we've seen in the first 3 weeks. Having said that, however, it's interesting to note that Vegas only predicts the Cocks winning by 15, which tells you more about their opinion of USC than UCF.
Despite the struggles on both sides of the ball in the first quarter of the season, USC has the definitive advantage on offense and defense here. They SHOULD come out with an easy victory. The most interesting aspects of this game are the changes being made to Gamecocks' personnel. Lorenzo Nunez will be starting the game at QB in hopes of providing a spark to an anemic offense. Other true freshmen that will be making their first starts are D.J. Neal at WR and Zack Bailey at Center. On the defensive side of the ball, T.J. Holloman will be starting at MIKE with Skai Moore moving over to WILL. David Johnson will be at DE opposite Lewis in place of Cedrick Cooper. I'm optimistic to see what Nunez can do when he gets a majority of the snaps. We already know that he can run the ball, but let's see if he can put it in the air when needed as well. Hopefully the shake-up on defense will improve consistency there, but I'll reserve judgement until I see it. Prediction: USC 31 - UCF 14