Alumni trash talk for USF-UCF game
USF's season opener against Tennesee-Martin is now just eight days off, but some Bulls fans may already be looking ahead to the Sept. 6 game at Central Florida. The last game scheduled between the in-state rivals should bring barbs from both ends of I-4, and we have the first shot fired, from the Manatee-Sarasota chapter of the USF Alumni Association.
You've probably heard that USF has a "Go Green!" campaign for its home game against Kansas, encouraging fans to wear green to Raymond James Stadium. A flyer sent out by the Manatee-Sarasota chapter plays off that campaign, with a shot of a UCF mascot's coat of armor trashed in a recycling bin. The watch party for Sarasota-Manatee fans who can't make it to Orlando is at two Lee Roy Selmon's restaurants, on Cortez Road in Bradenton and Cooper Creek Boulevard in Sarasota. You can find more info here.
Speaking of UCF, an online poll on the blog of Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi asks UCF fans what their biggest game of the year is. USF is getting 63 percent of the votes as of Friday morning ...
-- Stan Heath isn't the only USF basketball coach losing recruits to academic issues. Women's coach Jose Fernandez has matched Heath's three lost signees, as forward Tawatha Tucker of Raeford, N.C., did not qualify and will attend Trinity Valley Community College in Texas. It's the same juco where USF found guards Dai Packer and Chanae Early, so Fernandez has a good relationship with the coaches there. Tucker joins Lakeland's Andrea and Andrell Smith, who signed with USF but will play at Gulf Coast Community College this season.
-- Lots of press for the Bulls today. The Lakeland Ledger's Tom Zebold has a season preview complete with video clips of Jim Leavitt and a story on the challenges of sustaining success. The Orlando Sentinel's Chris Harry writes about Matt Grothe and how he might be improved this season. And former USF standout Andre Hall is mentioned in an AP story on the Broncos' Michael Pittman that ran in the Times today. ESPN.com's Brian Bennett is in town this weekend, so expect more USF coverage there.
-- Remember how former Countryside and Delaware kicker Zach Hobby considered transferring to USF last year? He wound up at FSU, where he'll likely open the season as the starting kicker, since Graham Gano is out with a knee injury. It's all on Brian Landman's FSU blog.
-- College football site Palestra.net not only has USF No. 14, they have a music video for the Bulls.
-- Looks like USF has a new title sponsor for Leavitt's spring golf tournament, so expect signage at Bulls events for Whitney National Bank.
-- OK, if you get quotes like this, you almost have to throw them a plug. USF volleyball coach Claire Lessinger, encouraging fans to come out for an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday afternoon at 3 in the Sun Dome's Corral, says that her players are so eager to play an actual match (she said "anxious," but don't get me started) that it will be like "unleashing caged lions." The real fun, I'd think, is getting the leash on in the first place.