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May of 1994 St Pete Times says "Bulls can't play top football"


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Thought you all would find this interesting.  Make sure and read the bold!  lol  GO BULLS!!

-Gurly

St. Petersburg Times

USF can't play top football

[CITY Edition]

St. Petersburg Times - St. Petersburg, Fla.

Author: HUBERT MIZELL

Date: May 22, 1994

It's not that I'm against the University of South Florida spending $5-million to create a football team. It's just that my slick-from-wear senses tell me to not hop a community bandwagon to shout "Yes!"

USF has big enrollment but not a big national reputation. Bulls people understandably hunger for a big-time ego fix. For universities in our state, big football comes to mind as a visibility vehicle.

Until now, men's basketball has been South Florida's prime athletic investment, but the bouncing Bulls are yet to escalate to the NCAA Final Four or worldly celebrity.

Football is a monster tease.

Plato, Curie, Edison and King have historically preached that it's good to be a dreamer, but USF's football inventors owe it to students, faculty, alumni, fans and taxpayers to fully consider major-college football reality.

Bulls football zealots, openly or not, surely imagine an eventual stadium smash in the standing-room-only league of Gainesville, Tallahassee, Tuscaloosa, Columbus and Lincoln.

Football's birth at USF is virtually assured. Five-million dollars is all but raised for the great ego chase. But I wonder, are Bulls financiers being realistic about where South Florida football can be by, say, the year 2020?

If the Bulls are crafty, nifty and lucky for 10 to 15 seasons, USF might approach the status and appeal of the football program at the University of Central Florida.

In Orlando, the Knights play a schedule all but devoid of major football names, drawing 15,000 on a good Saturday night. Just now, after a generation of dues-paying, UCF is straining to get enough attendance and other vitals to jump to Division I-A, where the big boys play. If that brings snorts of excitement from the Bulls, they should put up their $5-mil and go for it.

But c'mon, isn't USF fantasizing about far more, including eventual year-to-year football schmoozings with the 'Canes, Gators and 'Noles? Have they examined how long that could take and how much money it could cost?

Hey, teacher, call on me . . .

Aware of the costs of playing NCAA major football, my answers to those questions would be "forget it!" and "forever" and "megafortunes." Big-time college football is too expensive, too complex and too competitive for USF - for any school - to initiate in the '90s.

There are alternatives.

Mid-sized NCAA football, including divisions II and I-AA, might be realistic. But how long would that be acceptable to USF's ego? This is a big school in a big metropolitan area. Small is a word that makes for a bad chew. Could the Bulls be content to spend the 21st century trying to compete with Troy State, Georgia Southern and Eastern Kentucky?

If so . . . go for it!

If USF itches to become a party to UF-UM-FSU-style football, even 20 or 30 years from now, the odds-against are horrendous. They'd have a better chance for success by plunging for 5-million $1 tickets in this week's Florida Lottery.

Here's the big question:

Among the 50 most prominent Division I football efforts, including FSU, UF and UM, along with Notre Dame and Penn State and all the other heavies, what program is the newest?

It's FSU, heading to a 48th football season since the Tallahassee school went coed in 1947. Miami is also one of the younger programs; the Hurricanes are in their 65th year. Most big-name football universities were already deep into the game by 1912, when Arizona became the 48th state.

There was a 1950s exception. Air Force Academy football was christened 38 years ago, but that was a federally funded case. I doubt the Bulls can expect football financial aid from the Clinton administration.

I'm for USF doing the right football thing. Who has the heart to give a total thumbs-down to Lee Roy Selmon, the Bulls' chief football fund-raiser and former Tampa Bay Bucs defensive Goliath? But it's too much of a longshot to gamble on USF ever swimming with our state's big football fish.

USF could probably better spend $5-million, but if the FootBulls have minds made up, they should work at building the best mid-sized NCAA program around, understanding the FSU-UM-UF level is permanently out of reach.

Unless, of course, USF wishes - once the Bulls rise to current UCF football ilk, well into the next century - to sign an occasional deal with the 'Noles, Gators or 'Canes to be a homecoming opponent amenable to 60-point clobberings.

If it tips your tankard, Bulls, go for it.

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Wow, is Hubert still around?  He had a radio show with Scott Brantley back then.

Thank goodness USF didn't ask him for advice.

Thanks goodness Coach Leavitt and company had bigger plans in store.  

Funny side note about catching UCF in 10-15 years.  

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Is it too late to ask for a retraction?

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This dude knows his stuff.

Sounds like he writes for Lou Holtz

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You can e-mail Mr. Mizell here to remind him of this article, if you wish:

http://www.sptimes.com/columns/mizell.shtml

If you do, please be courteous and respectful.  Mizell, although short-sighted on this one  ;D, was a tremendous writer and an asset to the media in this town.

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Too bad Dave Scheiber, Times Staff Writer, didn't ask him about his earlier prediction for the Bulls and what he now thinks. Hopefully, Greg Auman will see this thread and ask him about that.  ;D

Q&A with Florida Sports Hall of Fame member Hubert Mizell

By Dave Scheiber, Times Staff Writer

Posted: Aug 16, 2008 12:50 AM

For 27 years, Hubert Mizell was a fixture on the pages of the St. Petersburg Times, chronicling the sports landscape of the Tampa Bay area and beyond.

The Mizell box score includes 42 bowl games, 33 Masters, 10 Olympics, eight Wimbledons and countless columns about the personalities, events and issues that shaped sports in four different decades.

In recognition of his body of work, he was inducted on Aug. 16 into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame at Cypress Gardens Adventure Park in Winter Haven along with fellow Class of 2008 honorees and former NBA greats Otis Birdsong and Darryl Dawkins.

The Class of 2007 — featuring Bill Buchalter, Chandra Cheeseborough, Michael Irvin, Tino Martinez and Hulk Hogan — also was inducted.

Mizell, 69, retired from the Times in May 2001, then wrote a Sunday column for two more years. We touched base with him to see what he's been up to — and get his thoughts on a few familiar topics.

So, how's retirement treating you?

It's all about keeping your health. I underwent open-heart surgery to replace my aorta valve in January; recovery has been terrific. Marcy and I are in our 44th year of marriage and feel hugely blessed. We have a beautiful home in Gainesville where I see a lot of Gators playing stuff. I try to golf twice a week at Haile Plantation. Life is good. Our son, Kevin, also now lives in Gainesville. We first moved from St. Pete to the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. It was gorgeous but a bit remote for my blood. Gainesville is much better for me; more like home. I see plenty of familiar faces. I do two sports commentaries a week called "The Mizell Minute" for the local ABC television station. I just began writing features for Gator Country, a magazine whose executive editor is Buddy Martin, once one of America's more renowned sports editors and the man who hired me 35 years ago for the St. Petersburg Times. Small world, huh?

What does being inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame mean to you?

Recognition is especially nice when it registers big with the public. Some journalism rewards are known more to people in the business; they're dandy but a bit of an insider thing. This Hall means being remembered alongside some of our state's great athletic figures; it's an honor to be put in the company of persons I could never outrun, out-throw or outhit."

It's certainly quite a group.

It seems weird, me being with Michael Irvin, Tino Martinez, Darryl Dawkins, Otis Birdsong and such huge athletic talents. I hope they don't think a couple of sports writers weaken the show. That other newspaper guy, Bill Buchalter of the Orlando Sentinel, is special to me. I've known him more than 45 years, since we were college students.

What are your thoughts about the 2008 Bucs?

Having traveled to report on Tampa Bay's NFL franchise for 25 years in the Times, most of those seasons being less than triumphant, I enjoy seeing the team succeed and it was one of my greatest disappointments to not have been in San Diego when the Bucs won a Super Bowl. Maybe they'll give me another chance, but the NFC South will be a major challenge this year as New Orleans bounces back strong.

What did you think about the Brett Favre situation?

I don't blame the Packers, since they were put into a "move on" gear by Favre himself. I will pull hard for Aaron Rodgers. As for Brett, I love watching him play with those unique emotions, but I don't think he will lead the Jets to playoff glory. … I think the Bucs are as well off with Jeff Garcia.

You've seen plenty of Olympic competitions during your career. What are your thoughts about the Beijing Games?

We were visiting friends in Chicago during the first week so I got a late start. I did report from 10 Olympics, six summer and four winter, and they provided some of my most memorable experiences, including the Miracle on Ice hockey game in 1980 at Lake Placid.

It all began in 1972 at Munich, where the story lines would be so explosive and terrifying. I worked for the Associated Press at the time, and on every one of Mark Spitz's seven gold medals and world records I wrote the AP story that was read by millions of persons in thousands of newspapers around the world. So the wonderworks of Michael Phelps have special meaning to me.

But it is athletics — track and field events — that are the Olympics' centerpiece for me. Although, the rich dudes in U.S. basketball are of interest, partly because I was in Barcelona for the Times to write about exploits of the real Dream Team led by Jordan, Johnson, Bird and Barkley. Olympics have frankly gotten too big and too expensive. But the efforts of China are intriguing and also both impressive and perplexing.

These are the last Games in which softball will be played. It won't be around for London in 2012. Your thoughts?

It's sad, a real shame. Softball, to my eyes, is the most entertaining team sport played by women. Players always seem so honored, so happy and so supportive of one another. I love watching the NCAA softball playoffs. This must be another of the anti-USA plot by Olympic masses who envy our country so much.

Finally, how about the new Rays?

I follow them daily, on cable TV and Internet. They're fun — good young pitching, outstanding defense but not enough right-handed hitting. I speak often with Rick Vaughn, the Rays' vice president of communications. I feel such a strong connection to the team, having written so many words in pursuit of a major-league baseball franchise. I'm looking forward to October."

[Last modified: Aug 21, 2008 11:35 AM]

http://www.tampabay.com/sports/article773004.ece

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You can e-mail Mr. Mizell here to remind him of this article, if you wish:

http://www.sptimes.com/columns/mizell.shtml

If you do, please be courteous and respectful.  Mizell, although short-sighted on this one  ;D, was a tremendous writer and an asset to the media in this town.

I read his farewell editorial in 2004.  The dude worked for the St. Pete times for 30 years.  Feel free to send him a good natured ribbing, but be polite.  The guy's got class.

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That page for Hubert is four years old, so not sure if that e-mail is still a good one for him or not. As for the story, don't look at me -- I was a college freshman back then ...

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Gurly, great article. 

I can see how that that would have been his opinion back then, given the nature of the state of florida's football landscape at the time.  UF/FSU/UM, were dominant programs always featured in the top 10 - 15. 

However things have changed a bunch since then.

I sent him a very nice email, just asking for an updated opinion of the program and the football landscape.  The man is retired and survived heart surgery, so I was very careful to indicate that I was merely inquiring to see if his opinion of USF football had changed. 

IF he replies, I'll let you all know and post it to this thread. 

He was a great writer and sports editor back in the day.  Very well respected.  A lot better than the current pompous windbag who never covered our program until the last few years (ie after we were wildly succesfull).  But hey, don't get me started on that one....

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