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Bulls Confident As Tar Heels Await

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By BRETT McMURPHY The Tampa Tribune

Published: Sep 18, 2007

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TAMPA - As far as University of South Florida wide receiver Taurus Johnson is concerned, the No. 23 Bulls are not only among the nation's best teams but also among Florida's ''Big 3'' schools.

''I thought we already were in the 'Big 3,' '' Johnson said today. ''I didn't know Miami was still in there.''

Florida, Florida State and Miami are generally considered the ''Big 3'' and while USF (2-0) isn't facing Miami this week, the Bulls meet another Atlantic Coast Conference team - North Carolina (1-2).

This will be USF's first game since cracking the Associated Press Top 25 Sunday. USF coach Jim Leavitt said the ranking doesn't change what he thinks of the program.

''I'm not gonna get moved on those things,'' Leavitt said.

The Bulls are two-touchdown favorites, but Leavitt is expecting a tough game. Last year USF won at UNC 37-20.

''North Carolina is a very good football team,'' Leavitt said. ''I'm very impressed with their quarterback [T.J. Yates], he has good range.

''It's going to be a heck of a challenge, playing an ACC team in Raymond James Stadium. We've never been in that situation.''

The Tar Heels are the first non-conference BCS team to play USF in Tampa.

''They seem to be focused on North Carolina pretty good,'' Leavitt said. ''We see how good North Carolina is.''

USF defensive end George Selvie said he has noticed more excitement around campus after beating Auburn two weeks ago and getting ranked this week.

''Two years ago nobody would come to our games,'' Selvie said. ''Now everybody is ready to come to our games.''

Johnson is confident the Bulls will improve to 3-0 for only the third time.

''We're going to win the game,'' Johnson said. ''It will be a pretty good game.''

Reporter Brett McMurphy can be reached at bmcmurphy@tampatrib.com or (813) 259-7928

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The Tar Heels are the first non-conference BCS team to play USF in Tampa

Pitt was

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