TAMPA — Three days after its victory at then-No. 16 Notre Dame allowed USF to crack the AP Top 25, coach Skip Holtz said Tuesday that he remains focused on the larger goal of winning consistently all season.
The Bulls landed at No. 22 in the latest Associated Press poll, while they are No. 27 in the coaches' poll.
"When you look at it, the one I'm concerned with is the last (poll)," Holtz said. "I've always said that if we will continue to improve as a football team and look at the film and take care of what we can control, which is the way we're playing, then when you win, the bowls and the polls take care of themselves."
Avoid complacency: Holtz said USF wants to eliminate mistakes when it faces Ball State, a team the Bulls can't afford to take for granted after its 27-20 upset of Indiana on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts.
"They went in there and played extremely well," Holtz said. "They went in and took it. They didn't go in and just play it safe. They went in and took it. I think they're going to come in here with the same battle cry we went into South Bend."
Gaining ground: Returning to game action for the first time in more than a year, junior RB Darrell Scott said it felt good to get past the initial jitters of playing.
"Just getting my feet wet, trying to get right, knock off the rust," said Scott, who had 33 yards on 12 carries. " … I was very happy with my performance, and, basically, the whole team needs to build off of this win. That's the main thing."
To do that, the Bulls have to put the win against Notre Dame behind them and get ready for Ball State, Scott said.
"We know they're going to come full force," he said. "They want to be the team that beat the team that beat Notre Dame, so we've got a target on our back now, so we've got to come prepared."
FSU: Two suspended
TALLAHASSEE — Florida State CB Greg Reid and LB Telvin Smith were suspended for Saturday's game against Charleston Southern, coach Jimbo Fisher said.
Both violated team rules, but Fisher did not go into specifics.
Reid and Smith played against Louisiana-Monroe in the Seminoles' 34-0 win Saturday. Reid, a junior, had three tackles and four punt returns for 71 yards. Smith, a sophomore, had four tackles, including half a tackle for loss.
Moving up: The Seminoles climbed one spot in the AP poll to No. 5, the first time they have been ranked that high since October 2005. In the coaches' poll, they went from No. 5 to No. 4.
Improving: WR Willie Haulstead is returning from his concussion well, Fisher said. Haulstead returned Monday after missing all of last week's practices stemming from an injury in a scrimmage two weeks ago.
Coley Harvey, Orlando Sentinel
UF: A new challenge
GAINESVILLE — Preparing for Saturday's game against UAB is a little more complicated than normal for Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and the staff. UAB opens its season against the Gators, and defensive coordinator Tommy West is in his first season with the team.
"The one thing about UAB is that, once again for the second week in a row, we have no evidence, for sure, what they are going to do on defense," Weis said. "They brought Tommy in, he had a year off, but Tommy West is in now running the defense. So you have to break down all the UAB tape, then you have to break down all the Memphis tape of 2009 (his former school). … So without them having any body of evidence from this year because this is their opener, you're playing a little bit of guesswork right there."
Schedule's just fine: The annual debate has begun about whether some big-time teams' early schedules are too soft. UF opened with a 41-3 win over Florida Atlantic and plays UAB this week, and the players said they welcome the opportunity to ease into SEC competition.
"I like it a lot," OL Jon Halapio said. "We like it a lot as a team. It helps us to build, to start fast and finish through the season fast. Just trying to get all the wrinkles out of all the mistakes we had this last game. I'm glad we had these two teams that we're going against; it helps our team to bring it together and execute better."
Coach Will Muschamp has instituted a "nameless, faceless" motto that the players say is designed to keep them focused each week. The idea is that each opponent is nameless and faceless, none better or worse than the other. It's the Gators that the Gators must worry about.
"No disrespect to them, but we just feel like if we handle what we can control and play the right way, we should be able to be successful," OL Chaz Green said.
Antonya English, Times staff writer
UM: Blame mistakes
CORAL GABLES — After seeing his team turn the ball over four times — two leading directly to touchdowns — and commit 10 penalties in a season-opening 32-24 loss at Maryland, Miami coach Al Golden said mistakes were clearly the biggest downfall.
"We just didn't operate well enough," Golden said. "And again, the thing that's bothering me the most is the penalties and the turnovers. We have got to get that corrected."
Meanwhile, the race to be the starting quarterback will pick up when practice resumes Thursday. Jacory Harris will continue competing with Stephen Morris to see who will start against No. 15 Ohio State on Sept. 17.
UCF: Ready to return
ORLANDO — Senior OL Nick Pieschel said it was tough to miss the season opener against Charleston Southern with an injury, but he's looking forward to rejoining the starting lineup to face Boston College.
"Obviously it's not a good way to start your senior year, but I was positive," he said. "I was out there trying to help the guys out there that were playing, and I'm excited for this week."