Sweep extends USF's Big East home dominance
Impressive as USF's three-game home sweep of Notre Dame was this weekend -- the Bulls are now 11-13 after opening the year 3-12 -- a little research shows USF has owned the Big East at Red McEwen Field.
Counting USF's three wins against the Irish (by a combined score of 20-5), the Bulls have won an incredible 17 of their last 18 home conference games. That stretch started with a home sweep of Notre Dame to end the 2008 season -- it was coach Lelo Prado's first Big East sweep after missing in his first 17 series. By comparison, the Bulls have had six three-game sweeps in the last 11 series.
If the Bulls are to continue their six-game winning streak, they'll have to do it away from campus, first at Stetson on Tuesday and then a three-game series at Cincinnati next weekend. The Bearcats are just 11-9 and have dropped their first two Big East games at Villanova this weekend.
Winning on the road might be the difference-maker for USF this season -- just as the Bulls are 17-1 at home since that '08 Notre Dame sweep, they're 7-8 in the same span in road Big East games, plus a 4-4 mark in two conference tournaments in Clearwater. Two of the last three Big East series are on the road this year -- at St. John's and Pittsburgh -- and the final home series is off campus at Steinbrenner Field.
Back when USF was 3-12, we pointed out that last year's team was 22-12 at one point, meaning the Bulls would need to win 19 straight to catch up to their 2009 record. They're in better position now -- to match last year's 34-25 final record, the Bulls would need to go 23-12 the rest of the way. That's essentially taking two out of every three games, but it's within reach if USF continues to play as they have the past two weeks.