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Trib: USF ready for 'big' game vs. Miami


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USF ready for 'big' game vs. Miami

By SCOTT CARTER

scarter@tampatrib.com

The University of South Florida football program is still an infant compared to the tradition-rich programs of Florida, FSU and Miami.

However, after defeating Florida State earlier this season at Doak Campbell Stadium, the Bulls reached another milestone that closed the gap between the state's Big 3. While they quickly appeared to take a step back with Big East losses to Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Rutgers, a win against the Canes would officially place a stamp of success on this season in the eyes of most.

"That's a big one," receiver A.J. Love said. "You always hear about Florida State, Miami and Florida. That would be huge, because Miami is a school with a lot of history and has won a lot of championships. They just have a lot of prestige. If we could beat them, that would turn the tables a little in our favor."

No. 19 Miami makes its first visit to Raymond James Stadium on Saturday in only the second meeting between the schools. In 2005, host Miami beat USF 27-7. The Bulls became bowl eligible by beating Louisville, but they could become nationally relevant in next year's preseason poll with a win against Miami.

"We all know Miami is a great team and is an important game for us," freshman QB B.J. Daniels said. "It's very important to finish the season on a good note."

Following Saturday's 34-22 win against Louisville, Bulls coach Jim Leavitt voiced frustration that USF didn't play better. He thought there were too many penalties and too many mistakes, including a fumble late in the fourth quarter and the special teams' breakdown that allowed Trent Guy to return a punt 60 yards for a TD.

Leavitt let everyone know why he was so upset, saying he thinks this is the most talented team he has had in 13 years leading the program.

His frustration boiled over at halftime when he slammed his head into a player to get the team fired up for the second half despite leading 17-16 on a field goal on the final play of the first half.

"I was hot because of the way we played," Leavitt said. "I was so hot ... whether we got that field goal or not, it was more about playing good football, and doing the right things, and doing things with discipline."

The Bulls can expect intense practices this week preparing for UM. Leavitt understands what beating FSU and Miami in the same season could do for his young program. While those two programs have fallen behind Florida on the state's power chart, they still have seven national titles between them.

The mission in their final two regular-season games is simple in Leavitt's eyes. "I want to get better," he said. "I don't look at it as the same as maybe some people. I'm not into winning and losing to be quite honest. I'm more into playing good football."

Still, you can bet Leavitt would love a win against the Hurricanes more than playing well against them and losing.

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The University of South Florida football program is still an infant compared to the tradition-rich programs of Florida, FSU and Miami.

How dare he...

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not into wins or losses?  I guess witht the good football comes wins, is that his thought process?

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not into wins or losses?  I guess witht the good football comes wins, is that his thought process?

Yes.  He's reiterating that the wins will come if they play good football.  Kind of like saying "good things will happen if I work hard".

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thats what i said...

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The University of South Florida football program is still an infant compared to the tradition-rich programs of Florida, FSU and Miami.

How dare he...

when comparing tradition hes right...we have none

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The University of South Florida football program is still an infant compared to the tradition-rich programs of Florida, FSU and Miami.

How dare he...

when comparing tradition hes right...we have none

He wasn't comparing tradition.  Sorry.  Read it again.

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The University of South Florida football program is still an infant compared to the tradition-rich programs of Florida, FSU and Miami.

How dare he...

when comparing tradition hes right...we have none

He wasn't comparing tradition.  Sorry.  Read it again.

oh, i think he was referring to the fact that they played when there were no helmets.

college football is much different now. you don't need 100 years to become good. we have the BCS label and recruit in florida. can't ask for anything more.

USF isn't the only team to become relevant in a short period of time

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Name 10 others since 1997.

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Name 10 others since 1997.

no need to search the web for answers...

the alignment of the BCS and the fact that the ACC expanded allowed for our meteoric rise.

i never said 13 years, i said a short time.

for example a brand new school can start playing football next season and if the stars align just right... like they did for us... can be just as successful as our program in the same amount of time.

i don't buy into the young age of the program... what does the age of the program have anything to do with the results on the field when all else is equal?

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