More USF hype: You never sausage links!
Apologies, first, to Pedro at South of the Border for stealing a terrible, terrible pun. There's just a ton of newspapers dropping references to the Bulls today -- you could practically call them the No. 25 USF Bulls, the way everybody's sliding them in as a chic punctuation mark at the end of their preseason polls.
Who's giving the love? We'll start with the New York Daily News, which drops USF in at No. 25, citing the big three official talking points for USF love: Grothe, defense, and West Virginia and Louisville at home.
-- The Orlando Sentinel, with a roundtable discussion among its college writers, has high praise for USF, with one writer picking the Bulls as a surprise team that could move into national prominence. More Sentinel talk here.
-- I think this is a first: Louisville Courier-Journal columnist Rick Bozich has picked the Bulls to win the BIg East. "When in doubt, go with the schedule," he writes. Their league preview gives USF 19 returning starters, a bit generous, and the Bulls get a mention in their league scouting report. Eric Crawford puts the Bulls -- where else -- No. 25 in his preseason poll, and predicts the Bulls upsetting Louisville.
-- The Arizona Republic gives some rare Pacific Time Zone love to USF, putting the Bulls No. 22 in their top 25 and calling Grothe "one of the best quarterbacks you haven't heard of."
-- Didn't see this in the Sentinel, but the Detroit Free Press picked up former Sentinel editor Mike Huguenin's feature ranking 120 Division I-A schools by their quarterbacks. He has USF No. 19, with Louisville No. 1 and West Virginia No. 3. Florida, for the record, is 16th; FSU is 29th, hometown Central Florida checks in at No. 89. More good news for the Bulls defense: Syracuse is ranked 101st, North Carolina is 105th, Florida Atlantic is 108th. Fun feature and a good conversation starter, but there's some serious guesswork in the bottom half of that list.
-- The Charlotte Observer, which could get a close look at USF if the Bulls go back to the Meineke Car Care Bowl, ranks USF second in its list of underrated teams.
-- MSNBC.com picks up an Associated Press piece ranking the conference. They have the Big East sixth, below the ACC, which is a little 2005 of them. "South Florida might be good enough to make it a four-team race," they write. Conference USA ranks ninth on their list.