A lost opportunity

Because college football is so big, so popular and so lucrative, many look to the success of a school’s football team as a gauge of that university.

It’s why USF’s frustrating loss to Connecticut was unfortunate not only for the team and its fans, but for the University as a whole.

Had the favored Bulls managed to win, USF would have received plenty of local and national attention this week. Television and radio show analysts would have focused on this team, its history and the University. Local media would have had a hometown underdog to cover.

Not only that, this weekend’s home game against conference frontrunner West Virginia would have decided the Big East and been nationally televised, exposure coach Jim Leavitt and Co. dream about. Sadly for USF, that’s not the case anymore.

Since the program started nine years ago, it has understandably been in the shadow of the football programs such as Florida, Florida State and Miami. A Big East title – or even playing in a game to decide it – would have gone a long way in USF’s quest for the same national respect those schools receive.

However, even if Saturday’s loss was a step backward for this season, this program still appears to be on the rise for the long term. Fans must not forget how young this football program is and how much it has accomplished. After all, an inaugural bowl game is still possible even with a loss this weekend. And while that would not be what USF hoped for, it would still be a step forward.