Gameday is here: USF-WKU reading ...
At the risk of going all Cliff Clavin here, I'll point out that the state of Kentucky is bordered by seven states, a mark that can only be beaten by two other states: Missouri, just to its west, and Tennessee, which is where I'm staying in Nashville before making the hour's drive up to Bowling Green, Ky., this afternoon.
If you can name the seven states that border Kentucky -- without looking it up, Googleheads -- I'll be impressed and will feel better knowing I've exercised the rarely used geography muscles. Here ends the public-service portion of today's blog. If you want to pick a score for tonight's game, you can do that, too.
-- Want a challenge for USF football against Western Kentucky tonight? Try shutting the Hilltoppers out. For all their recent offensive woes, nobody has shut them out in nearly seven years, since Western Illinois did so in September 2002. It's a span of 84 straight games scoring at least once, though six times in WKU's last 11 games, the Hilltoppers have mustered exactly one score. We've mentioned that WKU hasn't scored more than 14 points in its last 12 games against BCS opponents, but it's hard to get a zero against them.
-- Speaking of long streaks, the Lakeland Ledger writes about how USF hasn't had a player rush for 100 yards since November 2007. There's a good chance that streak ends today, against the worst rushing defense in I-A football, at least statistically after giving up 380 yards to Tennessee last week.
-- USF women's soccer got a 6-0 win against Austin Peay on Friday -- that's twice as many goals as the Bulls scored in any match last season, and the most in any contest since 2001. Men's soccer picked up a 1-0 win at Virginia Tech, but the most impressive number last night was the 3,056 fans who packed into the Sun Dome for the Tampa Twice tournament, which saw USF fall 3-1 to Florida.
-- One less USF alum on NFL rosters, as running back Andre Hall was placed on waivers by the Texans, just before Houston's season opener. So it's still six former Bulls on active NFL rosters -- Mike Jenkins, Anthony Henry, Kawika Mitchell, Stephen Nicholas, Marc Dile and Chad Simpson.
-- Is Nicholas going by Steve now? It appears that way, according to this feature from AtlantaFalcons.com.
-- USF commitment Tiger Powell, a running back from Lake City Columbia, has started his season strong -- he rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns in his opener, and Friday night he went for 167 yards (or 174, depending on which paper you read) in a win against Gainesville.
-- The Miami Herald's Joseph Goodman picks USF to win 42-7.
-- Former USF receiver Jackie Chambers made his pro football debut Friday with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders, catching one pass for 10 yards.
-- USF's next opponent, Charleston Southern, plays its last opponent, Wofford, today -- the Bucs are 0-11 against the Terriers, which suggests that next week will be the easiest of USF's first three games.
-- To be clear, USF isn't opening a new stadium today -- this is the same L.T. Smith Stadium the Bulls have played in twice before, but it was given significant renovations before last season -- about $50-million in upgrades. And the Hilltoppers have won 13 straight home openers, for what that's worth. If there's a most likely parallel between this game and last year's game at Florida International, it's that today's game likely won't be a sellout, despite a BCS opponent in a relatively small stadium.