Is USF the best team in Florida?
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 2, 2007 at 12:36 a.m.
You went into a coma five years ago and just came out of it this morning, so let me be the first to welcome you back. And you might want to take a look at The Associated Press college football poll today.
Or not. It night be too big of a shock.
(I won't even bother telling this guy that we don't use the AP poll for anything more than fish wrap or that O.J. is in trouble with the law again because he tried to steal Tim Tebow memorabilia or that the cute little Britney girl you used to see on the Mickey Mouse Club gets a free sub the next time she goes into rehab. We'll take all that very slowly).
Check out line six. It's no typo.
Go down two spots. That's right.
No sir, I did not hand you a women's tennis poll.
I know that five years ago, South Florida had just become a Div. 1 team. Although since you have been out, the NCAA has changed the name of its evolved football programs. I'd tell you what it's called except I and 99 percent of all football fans have chosen to ignore the new moniker.
And I know that five years ago, Kentucky was a basketball school that could never quite get over the hump in football. When you went into the coma - and again we're happy to have you back - Kentucky was coming off a 2-9 season under Guy Morriss.
It got better. Morriss went 7-5 the next season ... and left for Baylor.
It gets better. Kentucky's basketball coach left last year for Minnesota. Not the Timberwolves. The Golden Gophers.
And now Kentucky is ranked ahead of Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas and Nebraska in football.
Dude, you OK? You look a little wobbly.
(I'd better stay away from the whole Notre Dame signed a coach to a $40 million contract and he responded by going 0-5 thing. My man looks a little pale).
OK, so you're grasping this Kentucky thing. But what about South Florida? A commuter school is the best football program in the state of Florida? Is that possible?
The Bulls don't have a home stadium, instead piggy-backing with the city's pro team. USF's last five recruiting classes have been ranked an average of 54th in the nation by Rivals.com. Before Friday night, three-fourths of the nation's college football fans thought South Florida was located in La Boca Vista.
But so much changed on a crazy weekend. Not only did the national landscape shift as if a 4.5 quake hit along the Mike Gundy Fault Line, the SEC went kablooey and the state power structure was reduced to shambles.
Florida lost a game it wasn't supposed to lose.
South Florida won a game it wasn't supposed to win.
Florida State won a game everyone couldn't wait to see and then nobody could stand to watch.
And when the dust and the cobwebs cleared, you woke up to people asking this question:
Is South Florida the best football program in the state?
Well, of course not. One big win does not a tradition make. Only a fool would even consider that USF has passed the Big Three as far as being a college football program goes. Florida, FSU and Miami have won nine national championships and six Heisman Trophies among them.
South Florida has a nice up and coming program. But it's nowhere near the level of the other three. I mean, play in a BCS bowl game before you start talking about the Big Four.
Which leads us to the next question - Which is the best team in the state?
Better question. Florida is still ahead of South Florida in the coaches' poll as well as the Harris Poll. Since you've been in a coma, you don't know about the Harris Poll, but it is basically a collection of former coaches, former players and current sportswriters - some of whom actually watch games. It's a joke, so you know that at least one thing hasn't changed in five years, that we still don't have a proper way to decide a champion.
This weekend certainly changed the way we look at the state. On Friday morning, it was Florida on top and everybody else fighting for the scraps. Now, you can make a legitimate argument that South Florida is a better team this year than any of them.
Including the defending national champs.
After all, South Florida won at Auburn, which won at Florida.
And FSU, which was showing signs of rigor mortis, suddenly can make an argument for being in the discussion because it beat a middle of the pack SEC team on the same day Florida lost to a middle of the pack SEC team.
Those teams, by the way, were Alabama and Auburn. I know, things have changed. While the nurse is taking your vitals, I'll tell you about the last five years in Tuscaloosa.
Let's all remember, of course, that college football is neither a marathon nor a sprint. It's a steeplechase. Florida tripped and fell face first in the water. USF has the lead but that bandwagon can be heavy.
Come see me in November.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or email@example.com.
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