Wednesday, 4 a.m.
Most of the time, they play games on the border of What You Barely Notice and What You Do Not Care About.
Their fans are intense, but there isn't as many of them as say, Florida or FSU or Michigan. Their players are talented, but they don't dominate the NFL draft the way that Ohio State or Notre Dame or Clemson do. They are the Little Team that Could, and they are trying to make you notice. As teams fight for greatness, they are thought of to be pretty good.
But for crying out loud, isn't it time the USF Bulls got a little love?
Just a little?
Content beyond this point is for members only.
Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (its at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!
Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.
Look, no one should suggest that USF should be anywhere close to the playoff conversation. No one is being silly here. But shouldn't USF's 8-2 start get them a bit of buzz? Shouldn't someone pay attention nationally? Shouldn't the Bulls' dynamic offense get a little noise?
Not in the polls, it seems. In the AP Poll, the gold standard of are-you-having-a-good-season, the Bulls are only 34th in most votes achieved. Navy has more than twice the votes of USF. In the Coaches' Poll, they're tied for 27th. With Navy. Who they beat.
If you look around at those rankings that used to matter in the BCS, it's more of the same. In the Anderson and Hester poll, the Bulls are 24th. In Peter Wolfe's rankings, they're 26th. But in Billingsley's Rankings, they're 46th, behind a 4-6 UCLA team. In the Massey Rankings, they're 35th, behind a 5-5 Northwestern team.
Huh? Don't you at least have to have a winning record to be rated above one of the most impressive offenses in the country?
Let me repeat. I'm not a homer for USF. I know their poll history isn't very good. Most years, when they've cracked the poll, they've made a quick exit out. But the Bulls have never had an offense like this with Quinton Flowers and Marlon Mack and Rodney Adams. They're pretty good, too. Not great. But pretty darned good. Surely, they should get some consideration to be, say, 23rd in the nation. 24Th?
Of course, their defense isn't helping things. The Bulls gave up 55 to FSU, 46 to Temple, 45 to Navy to 42 to Memphis. A lot of times, it's like watching someone else play pinball. No one stops anyone.
And how about Flowers? Have you heard his named mentioned for any of the big-time awards. Put it this way: There are two quarterbacks in America who have 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing. One of them, Lamar Jackson, is the man to beat for the Heisman Trophy. The other one is Flowers, who isn't mentioned. Some Heisman watches go 14 players deep; no mention of Flowers.
How about a smaller award? How about the Doak Walker and the team's star running back, Marlon Mack. To be fair, Mack is one of the candidates listed on the award's website. So are 67 other backs.
Maybe this is the way it's supposed to be. Maybe the Bulls' offense is suppose dto be Tampa Bay's own little secret, not to be shared with outsiders. So far, this Bulls' team has its best-ever quarterback in Flowers, it's best-ever running back in Mack and it's best-ever receiver in Adams.
Someone outside the area ought to notice.
If they don't, well, it's still a lot of fun to watch.