USF’s win against Auburn on Saturday marked a decisive moment in the program’s 11-year history: the Bulls beat the Tigers on their home turf, quite a feat, considering Auburn was the only team to beat the University of Florida during its national championship season in 2006.
It’s sketchy, then, why USF failed to be ranked in either the AP or the USA Today Coaches’ polls, in which journalists and college football coaches, respectively, vote for the top 25 college football teams in the country.
The polls, though largely symbolic, are intended to recognize teams who have performed exceptionally, as USF has been.
In the last eight years, the Tigers home record is 42-8.
Their all-time home winning percentage is 79.8 percent – meaning for every 10 games the Tigers play at home, they win eight. Since 2000, moreover, Auburn’s night game record is 12-1.
In other words, the Tigers’ past performance at home suggests they were hard to beat.
The Bulls did it, though, and did so on national television, meaning any claim of ignorance on the part of the pollsters falls a bit flat.
USF’s past performance, also, is noteworthy.
In 2006, USF beat West Virginia in Morgantown. At the time, the Mountaineers were ranked No. 7 in the country. And in 2005, USF beat Louisville at Raymond James in its Big East debut. The Cardinals were the ninth-ranked team in the country.
Immediately after the game, quarterback Matt Grothe already knew the results of Tuesday’s poll, based on previous snubs of USF.
“I don’t think the coaches’ poll gives a rat’s ass about us, and I don’t think we’ll be ranked,” he said, adding that “a win (against North Carolina on Sept. 22) is going to have to definitely solidify us in the top 25.”
Grothe is right that another victory should improve USF’s
What isn’t right about the rankings now, however, is that USF is being made to wait to be on the polls when it should be on them now.
At the very least, those responsible for the rankings should have considered that Auburn was ranked No. 17 on the AP poll and No. 13 on the coaches’ poll until its loss last week.
Despite its relative infancy, the Bulls have a track record of consistent, strong performance. It speaks poorly of the polls, and the pollsters, that the rankings don’t reflect this.