More links, notes with one day to go ...
One more day before the last USF-UCF game, so there's lots of links and notes to share ...
-- The Big East went 0-4 last week against I-A opponents. Could this week bring more of the same? Cincinnati goes to Oklahoma, and ESPN.com is picking Buffalo to beat Pittsburgh, East Carolina to beat West Virginia and Temple to beat Connecticut -- by 18 points, no less -- so if USF beats Central Florida, it'll at least give the Big East one win against a I-A team. If even two of those losses come through, you'll see a lot written about the Big East being down from last year.
-- We gave Connecticut grief for the big series with Notre Dame without any games actually played in Connecticut, but give the Huskies credit for landing a home-and-home with Tennessee in 2015-16.
-- The Bradenton Herald's Ryan Boyd writes about linebacker Tyrone McKenzie overcoming the loss of his father, Rupert, who died of cancer when McKenzie was only 9 years old.
-- USF football's radio broadcasts have been picked up by Sirius radio -- the channel will vary from week to week, but Saturday's game will be on Channel 125.
-- The Orlando Sentinel's Iliana Limon writes that UCF will pay tribute Saturday to Ereck Plancher, the freshman receiver who collapsed and died during a team workout this spring. His cousin, of course, is USF running back Moise Plancher, who rushed for two touchdowns in the season-opening win against Tennessee-Martin. His parents, Wilson and Ilana Plancher, won't be there Saturday to see their son play and their nephew honored, as Moise said they won't be attending the game.
-- Don't really expect the Boston Globe to follow college football in Florida, so it's somewhat amusing that in previewing Saturday's game, they write that the two teams "could become a decent in-state rivalry."
-- USF's double-numbering never ceases to amuse me. TV crew calling Saturday's game didn't flinch in giving receiver Carlton Mitchell credit for a nice tackle by Quenton Washington. I know they wear the same jersey number, but somebody's got to be in their ear and say "That guy doesn't play defense." Then Theo Wilson has an interception that's called back on review, and on the very next play, he lines up deep on the punt, and they're calling him Demetris Murray, who also wears No. 21. They're not done: Freshman receiver Daniel Bryant lines up to get a fourth-quarter punt ... and they talk at length about Tyson Butler, who also wears No. 4. ... And then say B.J. Daniels was on the punt-rush unit. That'd be Louis Gachette, who also wears No. 7 and has been playing special teams for three years.
-- Didn't think of this in time to ask him at Tuesday's interviews, but USF middle linebacker Kion Wilson was a teammate of UCF quarterback Michael Greco two years ago at Pearl River Community College. Greco missed most of the season with injury, but Wilson had 117 tackles as a freshman that year.
-- Watching Theo Wilson's punt return for a touchdown in Saturday's game, I'm impressed by how well he tracked a punt that was partially blocked by walk-on Cameron Perkins. He's initially back on his 15-yard line and the punt lands on the 42, and after two bounces, they meet at the 33. Makes one guy miss, and then he's off, Usain Bolt style. He looked back at the 25-yard line and had his hand up in celebration for the final 10 yards. We'll have more on Theo's long, winding path to USF next week.
-- If you watch a USF football game on TV this season, you'll see a new commercial for the Big East, featuring coach Jim Leavitt and linebacker Tyrone McKenzie. The theme is "BELIEVE," with one coach and player from each team reciting a short phrase. Leavitt, as the longest tenured coach in the league, says "Believe in loyalty." McKenzie says "Believe in dreams."
I can't tell which is the most amusing -- it's either Syracuse coach Greg Robinson saying "Fear no challenge," Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe saying "Persevere," or West Virginia quarterback Pat White saying "Embrace diversity." White, of course, made comments in July about the lack of African-American baseball players at West Virginia, and I think the commercial was taped the same day in Newport, so I think that qualifies as irony ...