Rare to have no Big East football team in top 25
The preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll is due out this weekend, and there's a good chance the Big East could open the season without a ranked team. The preseason USA Today coaches poll has no Big East presence, with the highest ranked team being Cincinnati at No. 29.
The Charleston (W. Va.) Daily Mail credits the Big East's Chuck Sullivan for researching that in 18 previous seasons of Big East football, there have been only two weeks of polls in which the Big East didn't have a ranked team, both in 1995. That's before USF's football program had so much as a coach hired.
The story goes on to point out that a tougher schedule will give the league more opportunity to climb into the polls -- last year, there were only three nonconference games where the opponent was ranked at kickoff. As it stands, there are seven games scheduled against teams in the coaches' initial top 25 -- USF has its game at Florida State on Sept. 26.
-- USF women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez has filled the last spot on this bench, hiring Michael Bowden as his video coordinator. Bowden, 25, served the same role at Tulsa last season and worked previously with Florida's women's basketball program before that.
-- You probably saw the news that the Rays now have a stake in the Orlando team in the new UFL football league, which will play one game at Tropicana Field. That game will be Oct. 30, which puts it directly up against USF's prime-time home game against West Virginia, which is likely to draw at least 50,000 fans to Raymond James Stadium.
The league sees the date as the off-week for the Bucs, but I'd venture to say it'd be better to play here two days before a Bucs home game than to play directly against a key USF home game that will also be watched by a bunch of fans on ESPN. Unless the league picks up considerable interest in its first month, it doesn't seem like something to significantly impact USF's attendance.
And Tuskers? Tuskers? What were the suggested names that got shot down?
-- The Naples News writes more about USF coach Stan Heath writing on Twitter.com about Florida Gulf Coast backing out of what he said was a verbal agreement to play a game in Tampa in November. An Ohio newspaper has since written that USF will fill that opening with Kent State, where Heath coached in 2001-02.
-- I'm a few days late with this, but Rivals.com, counting down its top 100 players in college football, ranks USF's George Selvie at No. 25. Collegefootballnews.com, ranking the top 200, has Selvie No. 12 and Matt Grothe at No. 71. Three other Big East players are in between -- Pitt's Greg Romeus at No. 33, Syracuse's Arthur Jones at No. 35 and Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard at No. 50. And USF's Terrell McClain sneaks in at No. 196.
-- Lively responses on the Orlando Sentinel's UCF blog to Jim Leavitt's comments about the Knights, saying "I don't think they really blew people away last year" and more.
--Good update from the Times-Republican on former defensive coordinator Wally Burnham, now trying to tame those Big 12 offenses at Iowa State.