Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF Bulls face biggest rival, the West Virginia Mountaineers

TAMPA — Two lopsided USF losses have taken some luster off Friday's home game against No. 20 West Virginia, but if that showdown is anything like the first four between the two programs, it will reinforce the belief that the Mountaineers have become the Bulls' best rival.

The opposite isn't true — by tradition and proximity, West Virginia's best rivalry has to be the "Backyard Brawl" with Pittsburgh — but on this end, no Big East foe has created the great story lines the way West Virginia has with USF.

First and foremost, a rivalry must be competitive — Rutgers, for instance, is probably the Bulls' most despised rival, if only because of the way the Scarlet Knights have beaten the Bulls three times in a row, including two down-to-the-wire thrillers.

As with the Mountaineers, USF has split four Big East meetings each against Connecticut, Louisville and Pittsburgh, but those games lack the drama and intrigue, the sheer fun of USF-West Virginia.

All four USF-West Virginia games have lived up to their billing — Pat White's two long touchdowns helped the Mountaineers pull away in the first meeting, but that made it all the more impressive when the Bulls went to Morgantown in 2006 and knocked off the No. 7 team in the country, 24-19.

The Bulls did it again in Tampa a year later, with a sellout crowd rushing the field on national TV. Last year West Virginia won 13-7 on a snowy night in Morgantown, celebrating a "White Out" for White's final home game.

Such huge plays — who could forget George Selvie's touchdown to spark the upset in 2006, or Ben Moffitt’s in 2007? Such great subplots, with former coach Rich Rodriguez hiring two assistants off Jim Leavitt's staff, then claiming some credit for USF's first home sellout, comparing his team to the Yankees for drawing big crowds on the road. Then Leavitt throwing verbal jabs at Rodriguez when he left: "I wish Rich would have stayed. But he didn't, so we'll have to go play Michigan now."

Current Mountaineers coach Bill Stewart is far too pleasant to contribute to that aspect of the rivalry, but the two teams and two new starting quarterbacks can make up for it with another memorable edition of their series Friday night.

THIS AND THAT: Women's soccer, tied for first in its division a week ago, stumbled to two road losses over the weekend and finished fourth, setting up a home game Thursday in the first round of the Big East tournament against DePaul. … Volleyball has won three straight to improve to 6-3 in conference play and fifth place in the Big East standings, but four of the Bulls' five remaining matches are against teams with winning league records. Senior Marcela Gurgel was Big East player of the week after totaling 30 kills in last weekend's two wins. … USF picked up a commitment from DeSoto County RB Marcus Shaw, who has rushed for 1,880 yards and 22 touchdowns in eight games. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound back rushed for more than 2,500 yards and 35 touchdowns last season. He also had offers from Iowa State, Syracuse and Central Florida.

Times staff writer Greg Auman can be reached at and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at and follow him at

USF Bulls face biggest rival, the West Virginia Mountaineers 10/27/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 10:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Stanley Cup final preview: Don't count out Predators


    Either way, this Stanley Cup final is going to be historic.

    Nashville players celebrate after beating the Ducks in the Western Conference final to advance to the Stanley Cup final, where they meet the Penguins. [Associated Press]
  2. Weather issues slow Coca-Cola 600

    Auto racing

    CONCORD, N.C. — The longest race of the NASCAR season got even longer Sunday night.

    THE LEADER: Sebastian Vettel extends his points lead in Formula One after winning the Monaco Grand Prix.
  3. Rays blow lead, rally, blow lead, rally again to beat Twins in 15 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays sure made it interesting Sunday, taking an early lead, watching their beleaguered bullpen blow it, rallying to tie in the ninth, battling the Twins to take a lead in the 14th then giving it up again.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 28: Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates scoring a run against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on May 28, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010990
  4. For starters: Rays at Twins, with Cobb pitching with a purpose


    UPDATE, 12:34: Cash said he has been pleased with Sucre's work and is trying to find playing time for him. ... Cash also said after reading Farquhar's comments about having trouble re-focusing after getting out of a jam and then going back out for a second inning he will factor that in to how he uses him. ... …

  5. St. Petersburg's Sebastien Bourdais vows to return for IndyCar finale

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Sebastien Bourdais was in one of the best race cars he'd ever had, so fast that most of his competitors thought he would win the pole for the Indianapolis 500.

    Sebastien Bourdais does physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. Bourdais broke his pelvis, hip and two ribs in an accident during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 20. He plans to return home to St. Petersburg soon to continue therapy. [Associated Press]