Gameday is here; lots of links, too
The kickoff to USF's 2008 football season is less than 10 hours off, and it should be a busy day on the blog. Lots of links to offer up, as many state papers and national sites write about the Bulls and, to a lesser extent, Tennessee-Martin. Biggest UTM grads you might know? Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt and FSU men's basketball coach Leonard Hamilton. Should be interesting to see how the Skyhawks handle a big crowd at Raymond James Stadium -- their home stadium seats just 7,500 fans. Then again, in last year's opener at Southern Miss, they carried a 6-0 lead into the second quarter. The Golden Eagles went on to rush for 310 yards, so don't be shocked if it's a big day on the ground for the Bulls today. Links ...
-- Our preview looks at USF's depth on offense at running back and receiver, where the Bulls haven't had a 1,000-yard rusher since Andre Hall and haven't had a receiver catch more than four touchdowns in a season since 2003. The Bulls like to spread it around, and that likely won't change this season ...
-- The Associated Press preview focuses on defensive end George Selvie and how opposing offenses will scheme against him this fall, much as they did in the second half of last season.
-- I'd thought a lot about writing something this week on Matt Grothe and the need for him to throw fewer interceptions this year, which is what the Sarasota Herald-Tribune's Alan Dell chose for his advance. It's a good story, and one I still might write in the next week or two.
-- Tampa Bay's 10 has a good story on the St. Petersburg Bowl, which plays its first game Dec. 20 in Tropicana Field.
-- Want a Tennessee perspective? The Jackson Sun said the Skyhawks will be motivated by last year's Appalachian State upset of Michigan, and recognizes that Raymond James Stadium is home to the "Tampa Bay Bucaneers." The paycheck UTM gets for this game, by the way, is $300,000.
-- The Des Moines Register catches up with former USF assistant Dan McCarney, making his debut as Florida's defensive line coach today.
-- Predictions? The Tucson Citizen picks USF to win 50-10 today. The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi likes the Bulls to win by 35. The Lakeland Ledger's Tom Zebold says it's USF, 42-9. The Detroit Free Press says USF, 31-7, and says it won't be a surprise if the Bulls win the Big East.
-- This story writes that UTM is getting $750,000 for its two guarantee games against I-A opponents, which means Auburn is paying the Skyhawks $450,000, or half-again more than USF. Hard to believe UTM is following the Bulls with an NAIA school, Baker University in Kansas. For a I-AA team that won four games last year, the Skyhawks did score 76 points (!) in a 42-point win against Murray State last year.