Lots of links for the weekend ...
Sunday is a rare day off from practice for USF football, so I'm going to try to clean out a bunch of notes and links and give you guys some weekend reading ...
-- Just as an FYI, the grand opening of Florida International's new stadium (against USF) is not yet a sellout, despite reports to the contrary. FIU officials are "anticipating" a sellout, but season tickets are still available, and at last check, USF had not sold out its allotment for the game. Again, a sellout will be about 18,500 fans, or the second-smallest crowd USF has played to since joining the Big East in 2005. (Congrats, Cincinnati, for 15,889 fans in 2006.)
-- Just a reminder: USF men's soccer opens its season with an exhibition Saturday night (tonight) at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Tampa. The "Rowdies Cup" is on the line, and while the upgraded soccer stadium is being completed, the Bulls will be back downtown Tuesday night for an exhibition against the Venezuelan national under-17 team.
-- USF volleyball has been picked to finish fifth in the Big East in the league's preseason poll. USF junior outside hitter Marcela Gurgel was one of 12 players named to the preseason All-Big East team. The Bulls finished in a three-way tie for sixth in the conference last season.
-- Former Arkansas guard Patrick Beverley is not coming to USF, or any other school. He tells Foxsports.com's Jeff Goodman that his departure from Arkansas isn't related to academics, but NCAA ineligibility, and he's headed overseas with the hopes of making a splash in next year's NBA draft.
-- Amid all this USF enthusiasm, there's an interesting read on BleedScarlet, a Rutgers blog, asking if USF defensive end George Selvie is overrated. Selvie arguably had his worst game against Rutgers last season, so if anyone can make a case against him, it's Scarlet Knights fans. He brings up a point we brought up here in December, that Selvie had only four sacks in seven Big East games last year, so his earning Big East Player of the Year honors probably had as much to do with the huge amount of attention opposing coaches put into game-planning to contain Selvie's pass-rushing ability. Crazy as it seems, Selvie has room to improve statistically in conference play this season ...
-- Here's a good link. SI.com's Stewart Mandel is behind a great promotion called "SI Conference Showdown," challenging fans to see which conference can donate the most money for public school classrooms. The Big 10 is dominating, with the Big East fourth (behind the MAC!) but ahead of the Pac-10, Big 12 and ACC.
-- Looks like one of the contenders for Florida A&M's kicking job is a former USF student, Trevor Scott, who had failed in trying to walk on to the soccer team at USF.
-- Remember ESPN.com's "Helmet Clash" and how the USF-FSU matchup was Bush-Gore close? FSU won the championship for college football's coolest helmet, beating Alabama in the finals and getting 78 percent of the vote.
-- Good story in the Lakeland Ledger about UCF's scheduling woes, trying to find challenging nonconference games to gain national respect for the Knights. UCF is trying to get home-and-home series with BCS conference opponents, but is hoping to avoid 2-for-1s, as Wisconsin recently offered.
-- The Orlando Sentinel asks if UCF is the "biggest bargain in Florida" for fans? Iliana Limon writes that it's a "close call" between USF and UCF, but if the cheapest season ticket is $210 in Orlando, I'm not sure you can really make that case.
-- I link to this just because it's said so matter of factly: Recruiting guru Larry Blustein, writing in the Miami Herald, references "the Big 4 -- with Florida, USF, Miami and Florida all at the same level nationally."
-- USF's Brouce Mompremier and Ben Williams are quoted in this Associated Press story from New York about how football is tops in the South.
-- Tiny men's basketball note. According to this report, the San Juan Shootout in Puerto Rico, which USF will play in this December, will have four teams, not eight as originally scheduled.