12 in 12: Day 2 — South Florida

Team: South Florida
Play Western: Sept. 12, at Western
‘08 Record: 8-5
Coach: Jim Leavitt
Returning starters: five offense, six defense
The Buzz: After hosting Ball State last season, Western brings South Florida home to Bowling Green as a premiere name on the non-conference docket. Only this year’s foe is an upgrade from FBS home games of the past. USF is the only BCS conference-affiliated team to visit Smith Stadium in the history of the program and comes in fresh off a blowout victory over Memphis in last season’s St. Petersburg bowl.
While the Bulls won’t come to Bowling Green sporting top-25 status, they have been known to frequent the polls over the last few seasons and are the model F.C.S-F.B.S. transition team of the modern era. It took USF only 106 weeks of poll rankings to vault from the cellars of college football’s top division to the AP top 10 and 112 weeks worth of Coaches Polls to earn a top-five ranking. Both are records.
Outlook: South Florida’s figureheads have been aboard for quite awhile. Head coach Jim Leavitt has been with USF for 12 seasons, the only coach in the program’s history, and Matt Grothe is entering his fourth year starting at quarterback for the Bulls. Consistency in personnel doesn’t explain South Florida’s in-conference slide last season, but does provide reasoning for their flawless non-conference record.
Experience hasn’t been kind to Grothe, who threw 14 interceptions for the third straight season last year. Returning the team’s best wide receiver in Jesse Hester, coming back from an off-season foot injury, should lend some comfort to the fourth-year starter as well as running backs Mike Ford and Mo Plancher to assist in the ground game.
South Florida will continue to use its deep southern speed on the defensive side of the ball, now a staple in the Bulls’ secondary, but it’s the man up front that leads the charge. George Selvie, a two-time all-American defensive end, has 166 career tackles headed into his senior season on the USF defensive line.
How Western can win: While most are looking at a win over USF as more feasible than snagging the upset at Tennessee in Week One, there’s no easy way to say it: Winning at home against the Bulls is going to be an equally difficult task as upsetting a team coming off a 5-7 record, under a new head coach and injury-ridden at the offensive skill positions.
South Florida lost four of its front five on the offensive line — the only glaring weak spot an offense that already lacked a prolific rushing attack. Grothe has done a lot of work with his legs the past few seasons, but if Western’s defense can contain Grothe with the Toppers’ 3-4 look, at least the Bulls won’t be running in Bowling Green on Sept. 12.South Florida
Play Western: Sept. 12, at Western
‘08 Record: 8-5
Coach: Jim Leavitt
Returning starters: five offense, six defense
The Buzz: After hosting Ball State last season, Western brings South Florida home to Bowling Green as a premiere name on the non-conference docket. Only this year’s foe is an upgrade from FBS home games of the past. USF is the only BCS conference-affiliated team to visit Smith Stadium in the history of the program and comes in fresh off a blowout victory over Memphis in last season’s St. Petersburg bowl.
While the Bulls won’t come to Bowling Green sporting top-25 status, they have been known to frequent the polls over the last few seasons and are the model F.C.S-F.B.S. transition team of the modern era. It took USF only 106 weeks of poll rankings to vault from the cellars of college football’s top division to the AP top 10 and 112 weeks worth of Coaches Polls to earn a top-five ranking. Both are records.
Outlook: South Florida’s figureheads have been aboard for quite awhile. Head coach Jim Leavitt has been with USF for 12 seasons, the only coach in the program’s history, and Matt Grothe is entering his fourth year starting at quarterback for the Bulls. Consistency in personnel doesn’t explain South Florida’s in-conference slide last season, but does provide reasoning for their flawless non-conference record.
Experience hasn’t been kind to Grothe, who threw 14 interceptions for the third straight season last year. Returning the team’s best wide receiver in Jesse Hester, coming back from an off-season foot injury, should lend some comfort to the fourth-year starter as well as running backs Mike Ford and Mo Plancher to assist in the ground game.
South Florida will continue to use its deep southern speed on the defensive side of the ball, now a staple in the Bulls’ secondary, but it’s the man up front that leads the charge. George Selvie, a two-time all-American defensive end, has 166 career tackles headed into his senior season on the USF defensive line.
How Western can win: While most are looking at a win over USF as more feasible than snagging the upset at Tennessee in Week One, there’s no easy way to say it: Winning at home against the Bulls is going to be an equally difficult task as upsetting a team coming off a 5-7 record, under a new head coach and injury-ridden at the offensive skill positions.
South Florida lost four of its front five on the offensive line — the only glaring weak spot an offense that already lacked a prolific rushing attack. Grothe has done a lot of work with his legs the past few seasons, but if Western’s defense can contain Grothe with the Toppers’ 3-4 look, at least the Bulls won’t be running in Bowling Green on Sept. 12.

Team: South Florida

Play Western: Sept. 12, at Western

‘08 Record: 8-5

Coach: Jim Leavitt

Returning starters: five offense, six defense

The Buzz: After hosting Ball State last season, Western brings South Florida home to Bowling Green as a premier name on the non-conference docket. Only this year’s foe is an upgrade from FBS home games of the past. USF is the only BCS conference-affiliated team to visit Smith Stadium in the history of the program and comes in fresh off a blowout victory over Memphis in last season’s St. Petersburg bowl.

While the Bulls won’t come to Bowling Green sporting top-25 status, they have been known to frequent the polls over the last few seasons and are the model F.C.S-F.B.S. transition team of the modern era. It took USF only 106 weeks of poll rankings to vault from the cellars of college football’s top division to the AP top 10 and 112 weeks’ worth of Coaches Polls to earn a top-five ranking. Both are records.

Outlook: South Florida’s figureheads have been aboard for quite awhile. Head coach Jim Leavitt has been with USF for 12 seasons, the only coach in the program’s history, and Matt Grothe is entering his fourth year starting at quarterback for the Bulls. Consistency in personnel doesn’t explain South Florida’s in-conference slide last season, but does provide reasoning for their flawless non-conference record.

Experience hasn’t been kind to Grothe, who threw 14 interceptions for the third straight season last year. Returning the team’s best wide receiver in Jesse Hester, coming back from an off-season foot injury, should lend some comfort to the fourth-year starter as well as running backs Mike Ford and Mo Plancher to assist in the ground game.

South Florida will continue to use its deep southern speed on the defensive side of the ball, now a staple in the Bulls’ secondary, but it’s the man up front that leads the charge. George Selvie, a two-time all-American defensive end, has 166 career tackles headed into his senior season on the USF defensive line.

How Western can win: While most are looking at a win over USF as more feasible than snagging the upset at Tennessee in Week One, there’s no easy way to say it: Winning at home against the Bulls is going to be an equally difficult task as upsetting a team coming off a 5-7 record, under a new head coach and injury-ridden at the offensive skill positions.

South Florida lost four of its front five on the offensive line — the only glaring weak spot in an offense that already lacked a prolific rushing attack. Grothe has done a lot of work with his legs the past few seasons, but if Western’s defense can contain Grothe with the Toppers’ 3-4 look, at least the Bulls won’t be running in Bowling Green on Sept. 12.

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