Two I-AAs, and also the worst team in I-A
USF will take its share of grief this September for scheduling two games against I-AA opponents, even if the Bulls did that only after Florida International backed out of a contracted game at the last minute. Now, USF's schedule takes another hit, as Western Kentucky, which hosts the Bulls for a game in September, has been picked as the worst team in Division I-A football by the New York Times.
For the second year in a row.
The Times' outstanding colleges blog, The Quad, is counting down all 120 teams in I-A, starting with No. 120, which is Western Kentucky, newly transitioned from I-AA. The blog notes that WKU went 1-15 against I-A opponents in its two-year transition from I-AA, and that the Hilltoppers averaged just 12.3 points per game against I-A opponents, which would be the lowest average in I-A.
The real challenge for USF, which has this game sandwiched between home games against Wofford and Charleston Southern, might be to see whether the Bulls can beat WKU by more points than Tennessee, which plays host to the Hilltoppers the week before.
The Quad is up to No. 117, with a new preview each day, and probably won't hit another USF opponent for a few weeks -- Syracuse was No. 98 on last year's countdown. Last year's I-A nonconference opponents for USF, as ranked in The Quad's preseason countdown last summer, were No. 118 FIU, No. 80 N.C. State, No. 79 Central Florida and No. 20 Kansas.
The other two non-league opponents the Bulls face this fall are Florida State and Miami, who made the top 30 of The Quad's countdown last year. Again, the strange part will be USF traveling to play at Western Kentucky -- I need to check to see which airport is the logical one to fly into for that ...