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 football in not-so-good company

TAMPA — The fact that the football team opened the season ranked and has lost three games is in itself unremarkable — 11 teams from the preseason Top 25 have lost at least three games, and six of those have lost more than three.

Related News/Archive

Auburn and Wisconsin have five losses. Arizona State and Tennessee have six, and all were ranked higher than USF's preseason No. 19.

So what stands out about the Bulls' fall from the national polls? All three USF losses — to Pittsburgh, Louisville and Cincinnati — were against teams that were unranked at the time. Only three teams from the original Top 25 have as many losses to unranked teams: Auburn (three), Arizona State (four) and Wake Forest (three).

What's more, opponents haven't helped with the strength of the Bulls' schedule — of USF's six wins, five are against teams rated 95th or worse in the current Sagarin computer ratings. The exception is Kansas, rated 37th and now unranked.

The Bulls' remaining opponents — Rutgers, Connecticut and West Virginia — are rated 57th, 43rd and 32nd, and USF (rated 50th) has only faced three top-60 teams thus far. So if the Bulls seek to finish the regular season with three straight wins as they did a year ago — that's what they'll need to avoid a losing conference record for the first time in four years — it'll be much more impressive this time around.

BULLS BASKETBALL WINS: You can only read so much from an exhibition against West Florida, but USF opened the season in promising fashion, cruising to a 80-41 win Tuesday night at the Sun Dome.

Sophomore guard Dominique Jones had a game-high 26 points to go with nine assists and seven rebounds. Senior guard Jesus Verdejo added 14, hitting three of the team's nine 3-pointers, and freshman forward Eladio Espinosa scored 11.

"I was pleased with Dominique Jones — he's in about midseason form,'' coach Stan Heath said. "Eladio Espinosa, I thought, did a really nice job out there."

At one point in the second half, Jones had 23 points while West Florida had 24, and the lead grew to as much as 46 points in the second half. The Bulls play an exhibition Monday against the University of Tampa, then open their season for real on Nov. 14 against Southern Methodist.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The men's soccer team has a distinct advantage in the Big East tournament, knowing it will play all its games at USF Soccer Stadium, where the Bulls went 6-0-1. USF averaged a school-record 1,308 fans, second best in the league.

Despite an opening-round bye, the Bulls could open in Sunday's quarterfinals against a team that has beaten them, if Cincinnati beats Georgetown tonight. The Bulls lost 1-0 to the Bearcats last week in Cincinnati.

USF has allowed just 10 goals in 17 games. The Bulls have 11 shutouts, second best in the conference, and sophomore keeper Jeff Attinella has a 0.35 goals-against average, second best in the league.

Regardless of whether the Bulls win Sunday, they'll play host to the Big East semifinals on Nov. 14 and the final on Nov. 16.

The soccer tournament coincides with "Bull-a-palooza Weekend," with most of USF's fall teams playing key home games. For $15, fans get a ticket to the men's basketball opener Nov. 14, the football game Nov. 15 against Rutgers and a women's basketball or volleyball game Nov. 16.

ON THE BUBBLE: With four games left, the women's volleyball team (15-10, 5-5) is tied with Georgetown for the eighth and final spot in the Big East tournament. The Bulls and Hoyas have the same four final opponents, and USF has the tiebreaker advantage from a three-game sweep of Georgetown last month.

THIS AND THAT: Among the women's players on the "DT-3" team USF plays in tonight's basketball exhibition is former North Carolina star Nikki Teasley, whose brother Mike is in his first season as the Bulls' video coordinator. … Of nine Bulls who were on NFL rosters this summer, rookies Trae Williams and Ben Moffitt and veterans J.R. Reed and Frank Davis were cut, and Denver put RB Andre Hall on injured reserve with a hand injury.

Greg Auman can be reached at [email protected] and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at

USF football in not-so-good company 11/04/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 10:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning: Jon Cooper takes unusual tact to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and ... whom else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  2. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  3. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans


    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.
  4. Fennelly: Would you take Jameis Winston over Cam Newton?


    Factoring out futures, it wouldn't be a short list if I picked NFL quarterbacks I'd take right now over Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) calls a play during the first half of Sunday's game. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: What went wrong on defense?


    Greg Auman is back from Buffalo, going back over a difficult finish and tough loss for the Bucs, in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Buffalo Bills tight end Logan Thomas (82) makes a touchdown catch over Bucs defensive back T.J. Ward (43) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]