This is one of¬†The Fizz’s favorite images.¬†Our road trip to Tampa for the USF-SU football tilt in ’08 displayed for us the classic sports characteristics of any school in Florida.
Prioritize football. Ignore basketball. Tailgate in the sun. Wear tight-fitting t-shirts.
Today, USF Girls rock just a little less. The 82-65 Syracuse win over the Bulls at the Dome was about as ho-hum as it gets. Been there, done that. The Bulls have sent DePaul’s Jerry Wainright boxes of Gulf Coast clementines every year as a thank you for so solidly taking up residence in the basement of the Big East.
But USF’s hoops outfit is pretty darned uncompetitive itself. Here are some notes¬†from the South Florida official release:
-The Bulls are 0-5 at the Carrier Dome all-time.
–USF is 2-34 in BIG EAST road games. The Bulls’ last road BIG EAST win was Jan. 10, 2009 at DePaul (thanks Jerry).
-USF is also 9-81 against ranked teams overall and¬†3-19 since joining the BIG EAST Conference.
Today, Bulls fan is still sorting through the Jim Leavitt-firing mess. Via his lawyer, Leavitt¬†says he wants his job back, which for all intents and purposes is impossible.
While plenty of USF fans and alumni would be thrilled with his return, the scorched Earth which stands between Leavitt and the athletic department is untenable.
For Orange Nation, there is also a worrisome reality in the Leavitt firing. USF has always had the location, facilities and academic mediocrity to become¬†the football behemoth of the Big East.
It’s an enormous, sprawling state school with impossibly low acceptance standards. USF sits in the heart of one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in America. The Bulls play in an NFL stadium and regularly draw 50,000 fans.
USF’s administration has put a huge value on football, since watching donations and financial support boom with the rise of the program.
Leavitt built the program floorboard by floorboard, winning some recruiting battles over the in-state Big Three and pushing the Bulls to a perennial bowl team.
But there’s always been the uneasy feeling that USF could be so much more. In a weakened football conference, with all the advantages USF holds, it’s arguable Leavitt has actually held them back in some regards. Leavitt has been known as a workaholic and good football mind, but with a few too many personal idiosyncrasies to ever reach the next level.
How come the Bulls haven’t vaulted themselves into the annual preseason Top-10 discussion? Never played in a BCS bowl game? Never even won the Big East?
Under Leavitt, USF was a very good team who often beat Syracuse. But without him, the Bulls may very well become the conference’s singular power.