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USF-UCF: The bulletin board overfloweth ...

4

September

I said it after last year's game and I'll say it again now: USF coach Jim Leavitt ought to give a game ball to the Orlando Sentinel, for providing his team with a steady source of motivation in a game in which they probably don't even need it for inspiration.

Ask players why they're fired up about the UCF game, they'll say it's about the other side running their mouths, but it's really not the Knights players -- they've been careful not to say anything too incendiary. Sentinel columnists David Whitley and Mike Bianchi have made up for it -- for whatever reason, the columnists on this side of the rivalry haven't touched it. The Times' Gary Shelton will be at Saturday's game, and ESPN.com's Brian Bennett has also lamented on the passing of the rivalry after this game.

Anyway, if Leavitt himself weren't fired up about the game, here's one more link to read and print out 100 or so copies for required reading. The folks at Coaches Hot Seat, a blog devoted to college football coaches, have called out Leavitt big-time, saying the series isn't continuing because Leavitt "is not MAN enough to play UCF every year!" Words that might wind up getting highlighted: pitiful, afraid, arrogant, un-American, disgraceful, scared, repugnant ... they have Jack Nicholson tell him he can't handle the truth. Arnold Schwarzenegger checks in. Their intent is to fire up UCF, best I can tell, but I think it might inspire the Bulls a bit as well. My, this is a fun week ...

-- A story in Thursday's Sentinel talks about how last year's 64-12 USF win was ultimately a catalyst for the Knights' season, sparking a turnaround that led to a Conference USA championship. The Knights stop just short of thanking the Bulls for last year's trouncing, saying it put them in their place and refocused them on becoming a better team. Again, UCF's players have done a good job of not saying anything. They'll certainly be motivated Saturday.

-- I still like this Pollspeak.com feature where you can check out ballots in the AP top 25. Most intriguing this week? Adam Van Brimmer of the Savannah Morning News, who can't be accused of not responding to the scoreboard. Van Brimmer is one of just three AP voters who don't have USF ranked, but not to worry -- he could have the Bulls No. 2 on his ballot next week. That's what he did with Alabama this week: After not ranking the Crimson Tide in his opening ballot, he put them No. 2 in his top 25. It's an impressive recalibration, though to be fair, two other voters have Alabama in their top three. He's got UCLA No. 15 and Bowling Green No. 17 -- nobody has either team higher ... and he has West Virginia No. 19. I'm all for being contrarian, but ...

Oddly, the other two voters who left USF off their ballot had the Bulls ranked last week. Barker Davis had USF ranked 12th last week, then dropped them off his ballot. He does, however, have five non-BCS teams in his top 25 -- Utah, Fresno State, BYU, TCU and East Carolina. The other non-USF voter is ABC's Craig James, who had the Bulls No. 21 last week but also dropped them out after a 56-7 win against Tennessee-Martin.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 12:48pm]

    

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