Stronger: Friendship or conference loyalty?
A column in Friday's Tulsa World raises an interesting question as to which side USF coach Jim Leavitt is personally pulling for in next month's Fiesta Bowl: Is it fellow Big East member West Virginia, or the Oklahoma team coached by his close friend, Bob Stoops?
"We're good friends, and we talk often," Stoops told the newspaper. "So we'll talk as much as he wants to talk."
USF benefits from the success of the Big East and its national reputation, like being able to sell recruits and fans on the league's 5-0 record in bowl games last season. But Leavitt and Stoops have been like brothers since their days as co-defensive coordinators at Kansas State.
"When you've played someone, you're familiar with their ability and speed, where you feel they're strong, and where you feel they're weak. . . . all the things that maybe film doesn't tell you," Stoops said. "So you try to get as much information as you can."
Keep in mind that Leavitt wasn't quoted in the column, and Stoops only alluded to information he'd like to get. But in the past year, West Virginia has raided USF's staff for two assistants. Then there was Rich Rodriguez's just-like-the-Yankees comment about the Bulls' first sellout at Raymond James Stadium, and then there was a West Virginia player telling Sportsline.com that former USF coach Rod Smith had told him after West Virginia's loss to the Bulls that "those boys got another three losses in them." So it's not like things are rosy between the two conference allies.
Thoughts? Comments? If you were in Leavitt's shoes, what would you do?