“It doesn’t mean anything.”
That was the mantra I repeated throughout the game Saturday night as USF scored touchdown after touchdown on the ballyhooed Louisville team. I mean, I’m a sports writer; this is supposed to be my area of expertise.
But nevertheless, I kept saying it over and over, while the Bulls – a team that was barely cracking any Top-50 rankings – thoroughly dominated a Top-10 team.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” I kept telling myself.
It doesn’t mean anything that the Bulls’ defense swarmed Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm and let him go deep only once. In 60 minutes the Bulls transformed the sophomore phenomenon from a first-ballot Heisman candidate to a second-string Pee Wee player.
It doesn’t mean anything that Raymond James Stadium was the loudest I have ever heard it, and that students were so pumped to celebrate with the players that they braved tasers, nightsticks and possible prosecution.
It doesn’t mean anything that the players gave Jim Leavitt a Gatorade shower after the game, and that there were twice as many man-hugs on the field that night than there ever were at a Liza Minelli concert.
It doesn’t mean anything that college football connoisseurs across the country were left scratching their domes at about 11:00 p.m. Saturday. That around the nation, Web sites and newspapers were trying to come up with ways to work the word “Bull” into headlines, and that every member of my extended family and friends called and left me voicemails laden with disbelief and assorted expletives.
It doesn’t mean anything that, even though upsets happen all the time, this was arguably the biggest upset in college football history. Historically, big upsets are decided by seven points or less (i.e. Ohio State-Miami) and are between one ranked team and a lesser-ranked team. The more than 33K in attendance might have not realized that the Bulls were 21-point underdogs, and that the 52-point swing tops any record two hours of Googling could find.
It doesn’t mean anything that on Cold Pizza this morning, Miami head coach Larry Coker didn’t chuckle even a little bit when the host asked him about playing USF. Instead, the fifth-year coach suddenly went serious and answered, “I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t like what I saw.” This coming from a coach who has lost seven games as the coach of Miami. Seven.
It doesn’t mean anything that after the game, an assured Andre Hall told reporters that if the nation didn’t recognize USF after the win over Louisville, “they will Saturday,” meaning the Miami game. And Amarri Jackson said the rankings were “for the media to decide.” Well, if it is up to the media then I have no idea, not the faintest.
But let’s just say that the same team that was outrunning and dominating the Cards makes the trip to South Beach, and hypothetically, those Bulls play the same way against a “bigger,” “faster,” “more talented” team this weekend. A team that should be a “role-model” for the Bulls, a team ranked No. 9 in the country, a team that should be an overwhelming favorite.
Let’s say all those things happen.
It could mean everything.