Could idle Bulls move up into top 20?
USF is off this weekend, but the Bulls could certainly improve on their No. 23 ranking in the AP top 25 as other teams take losses this weekend. How much could the Bulls move? It's reasonable to think USF could move up a few spots without any real surprises on Saturday.
Thursday's Nebraska-Missouri game was largely negligible to USF's ranking, as the game's winner was a safe bet to finish ahead of the Bulls, while the loser was almost certain to drop out of the polls. Nebraska's win does make USF the only team in Division I-A to open the last three seasons with a 5-0 record -- Missouri had a chance to share that honor had the Tigers won.
As for this weekend? Unless No. 20 Mississippi can pull off the upset at home against No. 3 Alabama, the Bulls will slide up one spot there. And No. 22 Georgia Tech is an underdog at unranked Florida State -- USF would benefit from a Seminoles win there, just to give more value to the Bulls' win in Tallahassee.
Three teams ranked in the teens are favored by less than a touchdown on the road this weekend -- No. 17 Auburn, newly ranked, is at Arkansas, No. 15 Oklahoma State is at Texas A&M and No. 13 Oregon has a game at UCLA. Two more teams are more heavily favored at home -- could a Wally Burnham defense beat Kansas for the second year in a row as Iowa State faces the No. 16 Jayhawks? And Jim Leavitt's old friend, Rich Rodriguez, is a touchdown underdog at No. 12 Iowa.
Barring some elite-level upsets, it's hard to imagine the Bulls dropping in the polls this weekend, but there's plenty for USF fans to keep their eyes on Saturday.