Beware of dog: Terriers not quite that small
Having heard plenty of the hyperbole served up by college football coaches in sizing up their upcoming opponents, we know to take such talk with a large grain of salt -- no, in fact, the largest grain of salt this blog has faced in its history or may ever see again. (See how easy it is?)
Anyway, it's not surprising then to read that Wofford coach Mike Ayers, speaking at a booster function in South Carolina, is playing the overmatched underdog card (a literal underdog, no less) as a I-AA coach should as he prepares for a trip to a I-A opponent.
"We're four inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter everywhere," he said, according to the Times and Democrat. "We're just the Wofford Terriers ... a little, short-hair dog. It's just a small dog. But, that dog ain't going to be nothing but fight, baby."
We have no problem with the dog metaphor -- heck, even the authority that is Wikipedia writes that terriers are "typically small, wiry, very active and fearless dogs." But four inches and 30 pounds everywhere? Taking the spirit of our colleagues at the Pulitzer-winning Politifact.com, we went to the depth charts to see just how smaller and lighter those Terriers should be.
As it turns out, the Bulls are bigger, to be sure, but across 22 projected starters, USF is just 1.5 inches taller and only 7.2 pounds heavier on average. The difference on the offensive line is about nine pounds in the Bulls' favor, and George Selvie is six inches taller than his Wofford counterpart, but then again, Wofford left guard Pat Illig is 38 pounds heavier than USF left guard Chaz Hine.
If there's one place where size could really work in USF's favor, it might be in the Bulls' big receivers lining up against Wofford's starting cornerbacks, who are both 5-foot-8. That means an eight-inch advantage for Carlton Mitchell, or seven inches for A.J. Love.
Morning links to share ...
-- The Sarasota Herald-Tribune's Alan Dell writes about senior cornerback Jerome Murphy.
-- The Cumberland Times-News of Maryland (thanks for catch) predicts a 28-17 win for USF on Saturday, then has the Bulls going to the Papajohns.com Bowl in Birmingham in December.
-- NFL update: Chiefs blog Arrowhead Pride thinks Taurus Johnson will be among the Chiefs' cuts. He didn't have a catch in Thursday's preseason finale. The Colts' Chad Simpson had four carries for 16 yards and six kickoff returns for a lackluster 26 yards; cornerback Trae Williams had a solid three tackles for the Eagles. Again, Andre Hall is in town tonight with the Texans as they face the Bucs.
-- The Daily Iowan looks at former players and coaches under Hayden Fry who are now coaching, including USF's Jim Leavitt.
-- Everydayshouldbesaturday.com has given USF its not-so-coveted Fulmer Cup trophy for off-season arrests, though it's somewhat misleading as most of USF's "points" came from tight end Trent Pupello, who wasn't part of the team when he was arrested in April. It's now more than four months since Pupello's arrest and the state attorney's office still hasn't decided what if any charges to formally pursue.
-- Both pickers at Uponfurtherreview.com take USF to win the Big East.
-- The folks at Talksports365.com pick USF to finish second in the league with a 6-1 record, just behind West Virginia. Cincinnati gets only two conference wins? I think they get one on Monday.
-- More insight on Terriers, thanks to the folks at the American Kennel Club.
These are feisty, energetic dogs whose sizes range from fairly small, as in the Norfolk, Cairn or West Highland White Terrier, to the grand Airedale Terrier. Terriers typically have little tolerance for other animals, including other dogs. Their ancestors were bred to hunt and kill vermin. Many continue to project the attitude that they're always eager for a spirited argument. Most terriers have wiry coats that require special grooming known as stripping in order to maintain a characteristic appearance. In general, they make engaging pets, but require owners with the determination to match their dogs' lively characters.
It's like they wrote this as a weird mascot horoscope for college football blogs. Did I mention my sister -- who went to college in South Carolina -- owns a Westie?