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Success in Big East inversely proportional to number of Floridians on roster

In tallying how many Florida players are on each Big East football roster, there's a highly counterintuitive trend: Success in the Big East last fall is inversely proportional to how many Floridians teams have on their rosters in 2011. Big East champion Connecticut? The Huskies have just six Floridians, a league low. West Virginia and Pittsburgh, who finished 5-2 like UConn atop the standings? They have just 12 and 10, respectively, the next-lowest. Louisville, which has easily the most Floridians (aside from USF of course) with 29, finished 3-4 in the league last season and was picked to finish seventh in the league's preseason media poll. Cincinnati, 2-5 a year ago, is next with 15 Floridians, just ahead of Syracuse and last-place Rutgers, with 14 each. USF has nearly all of its roster from Florida, with just 13 non-Florida players on the team for 2011, and eight of those from Georgia. It's rare to find a Bull from west of the Mississippi, but USF has a big one in RB Darrell Scott, who is from Ventura, Calif.

Weeknight wonders

As always, non-Saturday games play a huge part of USF's schedule, with only three Saturday kickoffs out of seven Big East games.

Thursday, of course, has not been good to the Bulls; they are 0-6 on Thursdays since 2007, including a 20-6 loss last season at West Virginia. This year's Big East opener, Sept. 29 at Pittsburgh, is a Thursday ESPN game, as is the regular-season finale, a home date Dec. 1 against West Virginia in a possible de facto championship game at Raymond James Stadium.

Fridays are kinder to the Bulls; they have at least one Friday win in four straight seasons, including last fall at Cincinnati. The Bulls get two Fridays in November — Nov. 11 at Syracuse and Nov. 25 at home against Louisville.

An honorary Gramatica

One USF record likely to fall this season? Career field goals. Junior Maikon Bonani needs just seven to break Santiago Gramatica's record of 38, set from 2001-04. Bonani holds the USF mark for career accuracy, having hit 76.2 percent of his field goals, well ahead of Bill Gramatica's next-best mark of 67.9. That's enough of a cushion that Bonani could miss his first five attempts of 2011 and still have the career mark.

As close as Bonani is to the career field goal mark, he's nowhere near the Bulls' extra-point record. Santiago Gramatica has that with 132 PATs, while Bonani isn't even on pace to catch that next year, with 49 in his two seasons.

Good news, opposing PA announcers

USF's old practice of double-numbering — allowing two players to wear the same jersey number, one on offense and one on defense — is nearly retired.

Skip Holtz grandfathered in a few pairs of same-numbered players, but only a handful of big-name combos remain, such as starting G Jeremiah Warren and starting LB Michael Lanaris, both No. 55. There are no shared single-digit jerseys. And there's no penalty so long as both players aren't on the field at once.

Our pick for most likely to result in a 5-yard illegal numbering penalty? We'll go with No. 24, which features backup RB Bradley Battles and backup CB Ernie Tabuteau, both fast enough to be on the same special-teams unit if coaches aren't careful.

Success in Big East inversely proportional to number of Floridians on roster 08/30/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 10:58pm]
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