Midweek links: Players like UCF series
Lots to link today, so without the usual preambling rambling ...
-- Was thinking about this during Tuesday's player interviews, and the Oracle has a smart story, writing that to a man, USF's players like the UCF game and the rivalry forged in the last two seasons. "Florida State plays the Gators and Miami, so I think we can play Miami and UCF every year," cornerback Trae Williams told the Oracle. "I would continue it. I think it would be a big-time rival like Florida and Miami, games like that." Before you get excited: Players wanting the rivalry is one thing; Jim Leavitt and Doug Woolard wanting the rivalry another thing entirely.
-- The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi continues to have high praise for the Bulls, ranking them again as the top team in the state and blogging Tuesday that "With the Big East looking more and more like the Big Easy (what happened to Louisville and Rutgers?), it's not far-fetched to think USF will run the table and play for the national title." Bianchi's back on USF-UCF on Wednesday, writing that if UCF can't beat USF, the Knights don't have much of an argument for keeping the series going beyond next year. The Sentinel had not one but two writers at Tuesday's USF news conference, yielding a Bulls notebook.
-- Speaking of the Sentinel, UCF writer Kyle Hightower has actual on-field news that could impact Saturday's game, with George O'Leary hinting he might start juco transfer Mike Greco -- he of USF feeder program Pearl River CC in Mississippi -- at quarterback on Saturday.
-- ESPN.com's Pat Forde, handing out midseason honors, has USF coach Jim Leavitt as his national coach of the year. He also says the Bulls will win the Big East, but lose one game along the way. The more I think about it, the more I think USF fans want to root for Cincinnati in the next three weeks, to make that showdown in Tampa on Nov. 3 as big as possible, a battle of top-10 teams like the Big East had in November last year.
-- The Sarasota Herald-Tribune's Alan Dell writes that linebacker Ben Moffitt played with a heavy heart Saturday after the death of his grandfather, Duane Moffitt, four days earlier.
-- The Oracle had a solid counterpunch Tuesday from columnist Kevin Smetana in response to a column in FSU's student newspaper that took some shots at the Bulls. The easy path to take would be to fire silly comments back at the Seminoles, but give Smetana credit for simply correcting all the things that were wrong in the FSU column and leaving it at that. Some funny comments added to the FSView column, though.
-- For sheer misinformation, it's hard to beat this open letter from Sports Central, which states that 77,000 students attend classes at USF, and only 41,000 get to see games because only the lower level of Raymond James Stadium is open. And that USF has never been shut out. Well-intended, though.
-- Times writer Bob Putnam tells us that USF women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez got bad news this week, as St. Petersburg Catholic's 6-foot-3 center, Sasha Chaplin, opted to commit to Indiana over an offer from the Bulls. "I just felt like I needed to get away," she said.