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Hey, 30 for 30, consider these USF story lines

In an alternate universe, we’d pitch these 10 Bulls-centric subjects for ESPN profiles.

What if we told you the creative minds behind ESPN’s 30 for 30 series were producing a collection of USF sports documentaries?

You’d probably elicit a cynical giggle, or even a guffaw. But c’mon, play along.

After all, this is the age of The Last Dance, the 10-part Michael Jordan documentary doing its darnedest to tide us over until a semblance of sports normalcy resumes. In that spirit, we’ve come up with several Bulls-centric subjects we’d love to see developed into 30 for 30 profiles.

We’re No. 2

USF's Nate Allen celebrates a interception in the end zone vs. West Virginia at Raymond James Stadium during the 2007 season. The Bulls defeated the fifth-ranked Mountaineers, 21-13, before an ESPN Friday night audience. [Times file] [TAMPA BAY TIMES | Tampa Tribune]

A look at the surreal 2007 USF football season, which started with six consecutive wins and a No. 2 ranking in the BCS standings before a dramatic fall from national prominence. Early-season triumphs over No. 17 Auburn and No. 5 West Virginia are highlighted, but so is that sobering loss at Rutgers.

What if we told you: A college football program still in the baby-steps stage once climbed to the cusp of the national mountaintop.

The Lifer

Ken Eriksen, winningest coach (any sport) in USF history, currently coaches the U.S. Olympic women's softball team set to compete in Tokyo in 2021. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]

A profile of USF softball coach Ken Eriksen, the winningest coach (any sport) in school history. A Bulls alumnus and veritable softball savant, Eriksen parlayed his success and acumen into the U.S. Olympic coaching gig.

What if we told you: A diminutive baseball player from New York decides to walk on at USF, and never walks off.

The Survivor

Former USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) exited the program with approximately three-dozen school records. [Times files] [Times]

An in-depth biography of former USF quarterback Quinton Flowers, who overcame a series of family tragedies ― not to mention doubts and disillusionment early in his college career ― to evolve into the greatest player in program history. This one spans two hours, at least.

What if we told you: The greatest player in USF history nearly walked away from the one school willing to let him play quarterback.

The Unraveling

USF coach Jim Leavitt was dismissed in January 2010 following an investigation into allegations he struck a player. [Times file] [SERNE, BILL | St. Petersburg Times]

A detailed recounting of the events surrounding Bulls football coach Jim Leavitt’s dismissal (following allegations he struck a player at halftime of a game), and the tragic fallout that ensued.

What if we told you: A man builds a college football program from scratch, then loses the keys to it forever.

Charlie

Robinson High alumnus Charlie Bradley remains the USF men's basketball program's career scoring leader (2,319 points). [Times file] [Times]

A profile of USF men’s basketball all-time scoring leader Charlie Bradley, chronicling his prosperous career at Robinson High and his evolution into a Bulls offensive dynamo and three-time first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection.

What if we told you: Once upon a time, USF men’s basketball really did have a go-to scorer.

One for the Ages

UCF defensive back Mike Hughes (19) eludes the USF defense en route to the winning touchdown in the Knights' 49-42 victory in 2017. [Times file] [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times]

A look back at the 2017 USF-UCF football game, seen through the eyes of its participants. Many deem it one of the greatest games of the entire decade.

What if we told you: The most breathtaking game in USF football history also was its most bittersweet.

Saying Bye to the Big Time

USF athletics, then under the direction of former athletic director Doug Woolard (pictured) and former president Dr. Judy Genshaft, was relegated to the upstart American Athletic Conference after the dissolution of the old Big East. [Times file]

Eight years after joining the Big East, USF finds itself in limbo after the conference crumbles. The Bulls join the American Athletic Conference, a collection of Big East holdovers and Conference USA arrivals lacking power-league cachet.

What if we told you: Once upon a time, USF steered its way to the big time, only to lose its rudder.

The Birth of B.J.

Tallahassee native B.J. Daniels played quarterback for USF from 2008-12. [Times file] [Times (2012)]

In a surreal twist of fate, USF quarterback B.J. Daniels ― a 19-year-old Tallahassee native ― made his first career start at FSU in 2009. It wouldn’t be his last.

What if we told you: A Tallahassee kid ignored by his hometown university ultimately made his own mantra: If you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em.

The Dynamo

Former USF women's basketball star Courtney Williams finished her career ranked second in program history in scoring (2,304 points) and third in rebounds (931). [AP photo]

Documenting the career of USF women’s basketball star Courtney Williams, who nearly left the Bulls program before blossoming into one of its greatest players.

What if we told you: A career of women’s hoops dominance was preceded by disillusionment.

The Game that Changed Everything

USF quarterback Quinton Flowers led the Bulls to a 45-24 rout of Syracuse on Oct. 10, 2015. USF, 1-3 entering that contest, would finish 8-5 and reach a bowl game. [Times file]

When USF football coach Willie Taggart decides to turn quarterback Quinton Flowers loose in a 2015 home game against Syracuse, a program ― and coaching career ― are resuscitated.

What if we told you: A coach who is one defeat from dismissal made a radical decision that changed the trajectory of his program, and his life.

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