Bowl picks: Bulls to Orange? Back to St. Pete?
There's only so much to be written about college football in May, so there's a lot of fun conjecture about what we'll be writing about in December and January. That includes bowl projections, which are largely guesswork at this point but still good for conversation in the offseason. Where will USF be bowling after the 2009 season? The guesses are all over the place.
-- Realfootball365.com, for instance, is picking USF to win the Big East and go to the Orange Bowl to face Ohio State. The site concedes that USF "flopped" last season after a strong start, but likes the fact that Cincinnati and West Virginia play in Tampa this fall. Their predictions also include Florida playing Virginia Tech for the national title.
-- Collegefootballnews.com, meanwhile, goes to the other extreme, offering an extremely unlikely scenario, with USF returning to the St. Petersburg Bowl to face Southern Miss. USF is arguably an ideal match for St. Pete, just based on attendance, but it's rare to see a bowl bring back the same team two years in a row -- the schools don't like it and neither do fans. If USF is in a lower-tier bowl, expect them to get sent to Birmingham, rather than being shipped north while a northern team must travel far to Alabama.
Speaking of the St. Pete Bowl, it's worth noting that Conference USA is no longer linked to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, which means after the champion goes to the Liberty Bowl, ESPN Regional has control of the next three Conference USA bowl selections, for games in Hawaii, Fort Worth and St. Pete. That could mean a bigger name like East Carolina, or a local draw like Central Florida if the Knights can get to six wins after a 4-8 season in 2008. And three months after a January 31 deadline to renew as title sponsor, the folks at magicJack still haven't made a decision on coming back to St. Pete, so the bowl has been actively seeking a new sponsor for this year's Dec. 19 game.
-- It's no bowl projection, but Draftzoo.com has USF No. 21 and the only ranked Big East team in its way-early top 25.
-- How could an unrelated arrest in Louisiana help Cedric Hill's NFL chances? Saints tight end Kolomona Kapanui was waived Tuesday, two days after he and a teammate were arrested for lewd conduct, indecent exposure and public drunkenness. That means there's one more roster spot for a tight end, and the Saints are talking about bringing in Hill as a tryout player to their rookie minicamp this weekend, according to his agent, Edwin Dix. Hill tried out for the Bucs this past weekend but was slowed by back spasms and was not offered a contract; former Bulls defensive tackle Richard Clebert is already headed to the Saints' minicamp as a tryout player.
-- More twittering. Thanks to new followers for our USF coverage at @gregauman, and there are a bunch more Bulls coaches now tweeting this morning, like defensive coordinator Joe Tresey, linebackers coach David Blackwell, offensive line coach Mike Simmonds, special teams coach John Hendrick, receivers coach Phil McGeoghan, and director of player development Pat Burnham. (Update: The whole staff is on board, with Mike Canales joining in.)
Lots more to come ...