All kind of great links: It is what it is
So many good links to share just two days before the big USF-West Virginia game. Here we go ...
-- Even more intrigue up in West Virginia, where one story suggests that Rich Rodriguez hired Rod Smith away from USF so Smith couldn't use his background as a player and assistant under Rodriguez to help the Bulls figure out West Virginia's offense ... again. Yep, there's a Bill Belichick reference.
"It seemed like they had our plays before we'd run them," linebacker Reed Williams told the Times West Virginian.
Smith does his best to dispel that notion, acknowledging the scuttlebutt but dismissing it.
“When I first got here last winter, that’s what I heard: That’s the reason why South Florida beat West Virginia, because I gave away the game plan,” Smith said. “That’s like someone saying, ‘Can you give out South Florida’s secrets?’ I don’t think there are secrets. They know me. I know them a little bit. It is what it is.”
-- Want an anti-Bulls perspective on things? Check out Sundaymorningqb.com's rant against South Florida. How's this for a pullout quote:
"For so many reasons, South Florida cannot win Friday, because it is not really a good team, because its success has been fluky, an illusion, and because I still need South Florida to be in the Big East what it signed up to be: a fifth-place punching bag whose occasional competence kept it hovering around mediocrity. This is who you are, South Florida. Only West Virginia can send the Bulls staggering away, punch drunk, disillusioned and violated now, perspective smacked back into their impudent faces."
Methinks the message-board types won't like this guy much today.
-- The Bradenton Herald and Sarasota Herald-Tribune have stories on the frenzy for student tickets at USF's Sarasota campus, and the Lakeland Ledger wrote about the line for tickets there. With 400 tickets available Thursday afternoon in Tampa, I'm curious what the turnout will be, since USF officials are saying fans can't line up before noon. If more than 400 people are randomly gathering next to the start of the line before noon, it'll be interesting to see how things turn out.
-- Speaking of the Ledger, columnist Dick Scanlon is angry -- angry! -- that the USF-West Virginia game is being wasted on a "horrible" Friday night. I understand the reverence for high school football, but I think this game gets much more national attention on a Friday than it does lost in the shuffle of a Saturday afternoon.
-- USF's official site has a story and photo gallery on ESPN's production crew interviewing Matt Grothe and George Selvie for Friday night's broadcast.
-- Lots of Selvie stories coming this week, like one in the Herald-Tribune. I need to come back and write Selvie again in the next few weeks, though we were way ahead of the curve last year in telling his story early last season. Think I threw my shoulder out patting myself on the back there.
-- Just to push back some of the crazy "Auman hates UCF" crowd a bit, the Orlando Sentinel points out today that Central Florida leads Conference USA in ticket sales. Lots of good football stories all over the state right now, and that UCF-USF game is another one we'll be writing a lot about.
-- Former USF offensive coordinator Rod Smith, discussing the Bulls' offensive gameplan in last year's upset win against the Mountaineers, sounds a lot more like a West Virginia quarterbacks coach than he does a former USF assistant. "We threw a lot of screens and a lot of possession-type passes that we knew were easier throws for our quarterback, safe throws we thought we could complete and use to move the ball," he told the Charleston Daily Mail. "We knew we wouldn't score a lot of points that way, but they wouldn't, either."
-- Check out ebay.com, and you'll find plenty of USF-West Virginia tickets up for auction, many selling far above face value. That also means more West Virginia fans in what would be USF seats -- here's an auction for two front-row seats that went for $480. Seller's from Palm Harbor, and the winning bidder recently won an auction for a pair of West Virginia cargo pants.
-- More love for USF from the New York Times, this on their blog, The Quad, wondering how defensive end George Selvie, leading the nation in sacks, can help the Bulls contain West Virginia's vaunted running game. Worth linking again to Pete Thamel's feature on Ben Moffitt, and for some great pics of Ben with his children.
-- Nothing to do with USF-West Virginia, but men's basketball coach Stan Heath was quoted in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story about two-sport athletes -- he wanted football star Jamaal Anderson to play for him at Arkansas. Wonder who USF's first football-basketball player will be. ...
Thoughts on all this? I hate to bump the Rodriguez-Yankees thread down, because that looks like a blog-comment goldmine, but want to get you guys as much information as possible. Thoughts? Questions? Keep 'em coming ...