Links! Bad weather, Holtz, Leavitt and more
USF softball tries to play games outside the state of Florida. Really, the Bulls do. Mother Nature is not helping.
Just as two of three games at St. John's were thwarted by bad weather two weeks ago, USF's doubleheader at Rutgers scheduled for Thursday afternoon has been canceled because of standing water in the outfield from heavy rains earlier in the week. So the Bulls' 10-game winning streak carries on for another day -- USF has moved up its weekend series at Seton Hall a day, with a doubleheader now scheduled for Friday and the final game on Saturday afternoon, again, weather permitting. Losing four games could hurt the Bulls if they're trying to make a case for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament -- with a 27-15 record, they need wins to offset a slow start, not the absence of losses.
Will the weather sap baseball's (relative) momentum, with four wins in its last six Big East games? The Bulls, like their softball counterparts, are playing a weekend series at Seton Hall, but the weather there calls for an 80 percent chance of rain on Saturday. The middle game of the series is early with a 1 p.m. start Saturday, and Sunday's forecast is relatively dry, so the Bulls could come out of the weekend unscathed.
It's a key series for the Bulls -- USF is 5-4 in league play and Seton Hall is 4-5, and with the current standings, two 4-5 teams wouldn't make the conference tournament in Clearwater, which takes only the top eight of the league's 12 teams. Making the conference tournament is perhaps the bare minimum accomplishment for a USF team that was picked to finish third in the Big East's preseason vote of league coaches -- mind you, at 5-4, the Bulls are just a game out of second place. There's a fine line between success and failure in the current conference standings.
-- Onto the links: Exciting news that USF coach Skip Holtz is back on Twitter, though we hate to see him start a new account and lose the 5,500 followers he had built up, even without tweeting since September. It's commendable that one of Holtz's first tweets back at the keyboard was a link to the Drew Steele Center back in Greenville, N.C., something he put considerable time and effort supporting in his ECU days.
-- Haven't heard much from Jim Leavitt since he left in January to become linebackers coach of the 49ers. Here's a story from CSNBayarea.com on Leavitt, in which he addresses his settlement with USF. "The school doesn't pay you almost $3 million if they didn't do something wrong," Leavitt said, which is interesting because as part of that settlement, his only response to questions from the media is supposed to be "The matter has been resolved."
-- Should Pensacola's Jalen Spencer be counted as a USF commitment? He definitely told Bulls coaches he was accepting their scholarship offer, but it doesn't exactly sound firm. He visited Florida, LSU and Alabama's junior day events this spring and is still planning on visiting those schools. "I'm still going to take visits and go to other schools," Spencer told the Pensacola News Journal. "But right now, I'm South Florida bound." Should one of those three SEC schools come back with an offer, especially Florida, Spencer might be even less committed. Cornerback is a key position, so USF's ability to keep him to his word could end up being a pivotal part of this recruiting class.
-- The new head football coach at Sebring High is LaVaar Scott, who is the younger brother of USF tight ends coach Larry Scott, another Sebring graduate.
-- Former USF associate athletic director Rick Costello, now the AD at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is talking about bringing college football there, citing the benefits such an addition had here at USF.
-- Yet another solid academic honor for USF fullback Armando Sanchez -- the National Football Foundation's Tampa chapter honored him Wednesday as USF football's Scholar Athlete for 2010. USF President Judy Genshaft was also honored. ...
-- Of course, there are NFL draft links. This Sun-Sentinel blog post isn't high on defensive tackle Terrell McClain, but likes defensive back Mistral Raymond. And receiver Dontavia Bogan had a visit with the Houston Texans on Thursday, including a 1-on-1 with head coach and GM.