Should USF’s fall from the top 20 annoy anyone?

by Gary Shelton on November 1, 2017 · 2 comments

in general

So far, the Bulls have played a weak schedule./CARMEN MANDATO

So far, the Bulls have played a weak schedule./CARMEN MANDATO

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

If it had been Alabama, it would have cost them one spot in the poll. Maybe two.

If it had been USC, it would have cost them two spots. Maybe three.

If it had been Clemson, it would have cost them three spots. Maybe four.

Alas, those are the muscle teams from muscle conferences. Heck, most of those guys would have been ashamed to have been ranked No. 17 in the first place. A

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previous loss would have had to have ensued. For the big boys, there had to be some toe-stubbing to get to that neighborhood to begin with.

On the other hand, there is USF, which lost for the first time this season, which had a 12-game winning streak stopped, which lost with 11 seconds to go, which lost when God Himself answered a prayer from the Houston Cougars (one that was up there with the pillars of salt).

And the Bulls fell like a stone.

USF dropped from 17th to out of the AP poll this week. In the coaches' poll, USF fell from 14th to 23rd, and are now rated between Michigan and Harvey Weinstein. It was as if voters couldn't wait to show USF the door.

Now, unless you are heavily into USF, it probably doesn't outrage you. Most teams finish about where they should in the Top 25. If USF can beat UCF and win the AAC, they'll come back.

Besides, it seems that since the advent of the college football playoff, most of the grumbling is left for whoever finishes fifth. No one really argues over being ranked 17th or 18th, really.

This is at work, too. Frankly, USF ilesss playing a schedule that could include Keiser University and Apex Tech. The McDonald's School of Hamburgerology is coming in soon for homecoming.

So who should USF blame for falling out of the Top 20? Maybe they should blame their own schedule-makers, the ones that put marshmallows and cotton candy on the schedule. It's hard to be taken seriously when you avoid the better teams in the country.  It's like jousting on a stationary horse.

Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings, for instance, has USF as the 35th-ranked college in America. Houston, the highest-ranking USF opponent, is 56th.

It's embarrassing, to tell the truth. San Jose State is ranked 174th. Stony Brook is 136th. Illinois is 107th. East Carolina is 138th. Then there is the murderer's row of Temple (98th), Tulane (95th) and Cincinnati (111th). These teams aren't bad, they're bad forever. In 10 years, most of them will be the pushovers that some team beats on its way to the Birmingham Bowl.

Look, in college football, teams have long since proven that it doesn't matter who you beat. Alabama beat Fresno State. Georgia played Samford. Clemson played Kent State. But eventually, you have to beat someone who can line up in the proper direction and count to 11. Who's next for USF? Hogwarts? UC Sunnydale.

Hey, I like USF. I was at their first game, and since then, I've watched them grow. I saw Jim Leavitt's ambitious teams, and I saw Skip Holtz's disappointing teams, and I saw Willie Taggart rebuild a program. But this year, USF is playing air. There is no FSU, like last year, to prop up the rest of the schedule.

It isn't like USF, which has a history of taking on the giants. The Bulls have played Alabama, Oklahoma, Auburn, FSU, Florida, Miami and Notre Dame, among others. But instead of the one or two on the schedule this year, there were none.

Granted, that's not the players' fault. No one gets to vote on who the Bulls play. They get on the bus, and they go to the airport, and someone flies them to wherever their next game is.

Don't worry, though. The schedule ahead gets a little testier. And if USF can come of out this season with two losses or less, it should break into the top 25. That's no small thing. USF has finished in the top 25 only once (last year).

Until then, boolah-boolah.

And in that game against Faber College, well, go get 'em.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller November 1, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Because of their weak schedule USF needs to win out and if they beat an undefeated UCF they will have proven themselves and will be ranked. Anything less than that and they will not be given any thought by the pollsters. This schedule was set up for them to run the table and get some national recognition but it didn’t happen. An opportunity has been lost.

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Gary Shelton November 1, 2017 at 10:49 pm

I don’t know if it’s been lost yet. The Bulls, even unbeaten, wouldn’t have made theplayoffs. If they can win out and finished ranked, they can still have a nice season. But one more loss, and I agree. They let the season slip away.

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