USF men's soccer picked 2nd in division
One year after reaching the NCAA's Elite Eight, USF men's soccer has been picked to finish a close second in the Big East's Red Division, narrowly trailing St. John's and getting five of 15 first-place votes.
The Bulls, who won a regular-season division title last year with a 7-0-2 conference record, got 90 vote-points to finish just behind St. John's (94) -- the two programs will meet in Queens on Oct. 20 in a key showdown late in the regular season. Connecticut got 13 of 15 first-place votes as a consensus pick to win the Blue Division; the Huskies and Bulls aren't scheduled to play in the regular season.
The Big East has an eight-game conference schedule this fall -- USF opens league play Sept. 22 at home against Providence (picked 5th in the Blue), then plays at Villanova and Cincinnati (picked 5th and 6th in Red) the following week. The Bulls then have three consecutive Big East games at home against Rutgers (4th in Red), Syracuse (8th in Red) and Louisville (3rd in Red), so it's reasonable to think the Bulls could be 5-0 in conference entering the Louisville match. USF's final two conference games are at St. John's, then at DePaul (7th in Red). The Big East tournament opens on campus sites Oct. 31, with USF likely to be hosting matches if the projections hold -- the semifinals and finals are at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey on Nov. 9-11.
Bulls senior Brenton Griffiths was the lone USF representative on the 15-player preseason All-Big East team.