New odds, links and a 4,500-word preview
Lots to get to today, and I still need to get up a transcript of Jim Leavitt's comments from the state football media days Thursday. I'm back at the Marriott Waterside again this morning, listening to a lineup of coaches mostly from the state's smaller schools.
-- New odds are out in Las Vegas for "futures" lines, which allow you to wager on a school's chances of winning the national championship. Last year, USF came out at 100-to-1, but last year's emergence has them opening at 50-to-1, according to Vegasinsider.com.
If you take the odds as an informal national ranking, that'd put USF in a four-way tie for 20th, which is probably right where they'll be in the last few spots in the major preseason polls. USC is the national favorite at 3:1, with Florida and Oklahoma next at 6:1. Other state schools? Florida State and Miami have tougher odds than the Bulls at 60:1, and the other state schools didn't merit their own lines. All but one Big East school made the cut -- West Virginia is at 15:1, Rutgers 75:1, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Cincinnati all at 100:1 and Connecticut 150:1.
The site also has over-unders on total wins for this season, and Syracuse has the honor of having the lowest projected total of 79 teams listed, with 2.5 wins expected. USF's line is at nine wins, right where the Bulls have finished the last two years, with Florida at 10 wins, FSU at 8.5 wins and Miami at 7. The line for UCLA, curiously, has been taken off.
-- From the Obscure Formal Bull Department: Remember Danny Muy? He signed with USF in spring 2005 after transferring from Nebraska, but left almost immediately. He'd resurfaced at Florida International, but has now transferred to a fourth school, I-AA Stony Brook in Long Island, N.Y., where he'll finish his college eligibility this fall.
-- I get grief for having blog posts far longer than the genre is traditionally intended, but even I am a bit dumbstruck at the sheer length of the USF preview from Blue Ribbon Yearbook, posted on ESPN.com. It checks in at more than 4,500 words, which makes it more of a novella than a preview. After hitting "page down" 17 times, you'll find the comments are as amusing as the writeup, which covers all the positions but doesn't really introduce any new information.
-- ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach has his preseason Big East rankings, picking USF third, behind West Virginia and Pittsburgh. I think that's where the Bulls will wind up in the league's preseason media poll, which will be out a week from Monday.
-- All kinds of fun going on between UCF and the Orlando Sentinel, as coach George O'Leary declined to answer questions from Sentinel reporters Thursday, saying he wouldn't speak to the paper until it issued corrections for "erroneous" reports. Don't expect that anytime soon, and instead, the Sentinel had columnist David Whitley call UCF out Friday, saying the school has a "communication disorder."
-- I ought to put together a list of all the key returning players -- especially receivers -- lost from USF's Big East rivals, whether by injury, dismissal or transfers. The latest is Terence Jeffers, who was Connecticut's leading receiver last year, catching 44 passes for 582 yards and five touchdowns, all team highs. Jeffers is transferring to Vanderbilt, where he'll have two years of eligibility after sitting out this season, according to the Tennessean. Jeffers didn't do much in two games against USF, getting one catch for 15 yards last year and two for 41 in 2006.