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Yahoo Sports -- Monday Morsels: USF no surprise


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USF is on the front page of Yahoo! Sports - College Football page...

http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf

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Bull Market


The Monday Morsels (from Rivals) are about USF as well...

Monday Morsels: USF no surprise

By Mike Huguenin, Rivals.com College Football Editor

Mike Huguenin

Rivals.com

OK, maybe it's because we lived in Florida for the past nine years, but why is everyone so incredulous that USF beat Auburn 26-23 on Saturday night?

(Please don't call it "South Florida." Like UCLA, UNLV and many others, the school prefers to be known by its initials.)

It's not as if USF is some kind of a small, "directional-state" school that hasn't been here before. And it's not as if Auburn is some kind of offensive juggernaut (more on that in a minute) that merely needs to show up to win.

At one point during Saturday night's telecast, the ESPN announcing crew referred to "little South Florida." Tsk tsk. The school isn't little; it has more than 44,000 students, is located in Tampa and plays its home games in an NFL stadium (Raymond James Stadium). And it has beaten big-time opponents before – in each of the past two seasons, as a matter of fact (24-19 over No. 7 West Virginia in Morgantown last season and 45-14 over No. 9 Louisville at home in 2005).

USF has been to a bowl in each of the past two seasons, and by the end of last season, it was the second-best team in its football-mad state. Right now, it looks as if it might be the second-best team in the state again.

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Coach Jim Leavitt and his staff have done a superb job taking second-tier in-state recruits and molding them into solid units on each side of the ball. Nothing derogatory is meant by "second-tier recruits." The state of Florida annually produces more than 300 players who sign Division I-A grants. USF rarely signs guys considered among the state's top 50; instead, they focus on the Tampa Bay area and dabble in Jacksonville, in the state's Panhandle and in South Florida. USF has one out-of-state starter, and that guy (SS Carlton Williams) is from Valdosta, Ga., about 30 miles north of the Florida border.

Truth be told, USF should've won easier than it did against Auburn. The Tigers turned it over five times – including two interceptions by senior quarterback Brandon Cox, who looks like a shell of his sophomore self – but USF converted only one of those turnovers into points (a field goal). Had USF kicker Delbert Alvarado not gone 2-for-6 on his field-goal attempts, the game wouldn't have gone into overtime.

"They gave us three turnovers inside their 20 and we couldn't capitalize; sometimes that happens," USF quarterback Matt Grothe told usfbullseye.com. "But in the end, we showed we are not just an ordinary team."

Besides coming up with the five turnovers, USF's defense limited Auburn to 290 total yards and stayed in Cox's face all night. The Bulls finished with two sacks, but they applied good pressure throughout and were credited with 15 quarterback hurries. Auburn had some rushing success at times but couldn't sustain it, and the Tigers don't have a game-breaking wide receiver.

Part of the Tigers' offensive problems is a rebuilt offensive line. But a bigger part Saturday is that USF simply has a lot of good defensive players. Make that good and fast defensive players.

There's a really nice linebacker corps headed by Ben Moffitt, and junior Brouce Mompremier had his coming-out game with nine tackles against Auburn. End George Selvie is a big-time pass rusher. The Bulls also have the best cornerback duo in the state - and one of the best in the nation - in Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams. USF's secondary had seven pass breakups in addition to the two picks Saturday.

"We are on top right now and the sky is the limit," Selvie said after the victory.

One problem with USF in the past has been living with success. In 2001, in their first full season in Division I-A, the Bulls won at Pittsburgh then lost at home the next week to Memphis. In '05, while they crushed Louisville, they also lost to Connecticut. And last season, they looked bad in losses to Kansas and Cincinnati.

It may be good that the Bulls are off this week. They get to rest and get ready for visits from North Carolina on Sept. 22 and West Virginia on Sept. 28. Road games against Rutgers and Pitt and home contests against Cincinnati and Louisville are also on the schedule.

But nobody was worried about that Saturday night. Instead, the Bulls were busy celebrating their first victory over an SEC team.

"Everyone is hyped-up," Selvie said. "We just want to go home so we can get to the party."

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

Mike Huguenin is a Yahoo! Sports college sports editor. Send Mike a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

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I'm actually surprised that this article was put out by this particular writer. He writes for the Orlando Sentinel too. He's generally a UF fan boy, and doesn't give us too much credit.

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i like selvie's quote at the end.

good article though.  and its nice to get front page exposure from yahoo sports.  specially during fantasy football week 1 on a monday.  that page has to see some serious traffic

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• Yet another reason the coaches' poll leaves you scratching your head every single week. Auburn was ranked 13th last week, then loses at home to USF. Auburn falls out of the top 25, but still gets more votes than USF. Yeah, that makes sense.

I think we are getting more pub due to the fact that we are NOT ranked after that awesome win! It's great to be a Bull!!!

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• Yet another reason the coaches' poll leaves you scratching your head every single week. Auburn was ranked 13th last week, then loses at home to USF. Auburn falls out of the top 25, but still gets more votes than USF. Yeah, that makes sense.

I think we are getting more pub due to the fact that we are NOT ranked after that awesome win! It's great to be a Bull!!!

We don't care about pub. We got enough of that from the summer and before this week. What we want is respect and acknowledgment for what we're doing down here.

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http://collegefootball.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=712028

I haven't been able to post because of site being up and down.. but this article is FANTASTIC.

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Has anyone heard from Smazza? I have been waiting to read one of his negative post about Coach Leavitt, the football team, the lack of quality athletes and the play calling against Auburn and thus far the season.

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