History lesson: USF football eyes win No. 100

2

November

USF coach Skip Holtz understands that a win Wednesday night against Rutgers would be a milestone for the Bulls, just not the kind that he -- nor anyone else in the current Big East in 62 years -- is used to celebrating.

"It would be a great mark to be able to reach," Holtz said Monday of what would be USF's 100th all-time win. "I'd love to reach that mark on Wednesday for a number of reasons, some selfish, some program-oriented."

When Holtz was a young head coach at Connecticut in 1996 -- before USF had its first victory -- he was on hand as the Huskies celebrated 100 years of college football there. And UConn is a young program by Big East standards -- Syracuse, for instance, celebrated its 100th win more than 100 years ago, and Pittsburgh and Rutgers got theirs in 1911, giving them just short of a century's head start on the Bulls. Pittsburgh's 100th win came four years before Pop Warner -- yes, that Pop Warner -- coached the Panthers. Aside from USF, the newest program in the Big East is Louisville, which got to win No. 100 back in 1948, before USF was founded as a university.

Holtz, remembering that he has earned just four of USF's 99 wins, has been steady in his praise of former coach Jim Leavitt, who went 95-57 before he was fired in January.

"I think it's a real testament to Coach Leavitt, to so many of the players who have been through here, and to this community, to watch this program grow at the pace that it's grown," Holtz said. "I think it shows the unlimited potential of this program and what it can become."

That the Bulls can get to 100 wins with only two coaches shows how much college football has changed in a century -- the other seven Big East schools all needed at least 11 coaches to get to 100 wins, not including many 19th century seasons at several schools where no head coach was even acknowledged.

With a win in their next eight games, the Bulls will be the fastest of the eight Big East teams to get to 100 wins -- West Virginia is the fastest, needing 171 games to get there in 1914, just ahead of Pittsburgh, which needed 174 to get to No. 100 in 1911. The slowest? That'd be Rutgers, USF's opponent and potential spoiler, which needed 285 games to get to victory No. 100 in 1911.

(CORRECTION: The Times had incorrectly reported Pittsburgh as getting 100 wins in 168 games, but the Panthers' correct total in 174 games.)

There's still plenty of catching up to do -- a win Wednesday would bring USF to within 345 career wins of Louisville for seventh among current Big East schools. West Virginia leads the way with 687, with Syracuse (683) and Pittsburgh (668) not far behind.

FASTEST TO 100

School     Games to 100 wins  Seasons Year for #100

USF               160?                        14       2010?

West Virginia 171                         23       1914

Pittsburgh     174                         22        1911

Syracuse        180                        20       1908

Cincinnati       217                        34       1918

Connecticut   222                         33       1928

Louisville       226                         30       1948

Rutgers         285                         42       1911

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 2:14pm]

    

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