Bulls atop the Sunshine State
I’ll be the first to admit it. I thought Taurus Johnson’s comment two weeks ago was ridiculous.
“I think we could be in front of Florida,” the junior wide receiver said when asked about being part of the second-highest ranked team in the state.
Well, Taurus, it looks like you were right.
One week we’re questioning Jim Leavitt and his players when the Bulls will be considered part of the Big Three in the state of Florida, and two weeks later No. 6 USF (that’s no typo) is the Big One.
Milestones have been reached at an unprecedented rate at USF, and now it’s to the point where you’d better enjoy a big moment when it comes, because before you can blink something else has replaced it.
Bulls fans witnessed the biggest college football moment in the history of Tampa on Friday night when USF beat then-No. 5 West Virginia in front of a crowd of 67,018-and already there’s bigger news.
The Bulls jumped 12 spots in the Associated Press Poll, which was released Sunday. They’ve gone from never-ranked to sixth in the nation in just 14 days. But maybe that’s what we should have expected from a program that went from non-existent to primetime in just 11 years.
They’ve gone from the Big East Sleeper to the Big East Beast, from Papajohns.com Bowl champions to staring straight in the face of a BCS Bowl.
Destiny was on their side
You couldn’t have dreamed a better weekend for the Bulls. They had the stage all to themselves on ESPN2, with the entire country watching.
Then, while teams in the rest of the country took the field Saturday, they got their chance to sit back and watch. And it was a beautiful sight.
One by one they fell. Six of the top 13 teams – seven if you count West Virginia – lost over the weekend.
If you’re a Bull backer, you woke up Saturday and were probably thinking USF would be somewhere in the neighborhood of No. 10 when the new rankings came out. Then the other teams started falling.
It’s ironic that three weeks ago USF was on top of the world with its win over Auburn, and then Saturday night it was the Tigers beating the defending national champion Gators, thrusting the Bulls into the top spot in the state.
There’s still plenty of football to be played this fall, but make no mistake about it: In Florida, this is the year of the Bulls.
They won’t be distracted
Think seeing the number 6 next to their name will be a distraction? Think again.
For a team that has so many young playmakers (see Matt Grothe, George Selvie and Nate Allen), USF’s ability to not get sidetracked with the type of season it’s had so far is remarkable.
It would’ve been easy to take the win at Auburn, celebrate, and call it a season. After all, it was the biggest win in school history – until now.
It would’ve been easy to see those three letters, U-S-F, included in the Top 25 for the first time ever and lose sight of the next game.
And most of all, it would be easy to let the win against the Mountaineers overshadow the fact that the Bulls still have six conference games to go.
The Bulls control their own destiny, and they’ve already played their two toughest games of the season. A trip to a BCS Bowl is in their grasp, but as we saw this weekend, anything can happen, so they can’t overlook anyone-and they won’t.
Every single person on that team is following in Leavitt’s footsteps by taking a humble approach to what has been a fairy-tale season so far.
The leaders of the team – guys like Ben Moffitt and Amarri Jackson – are taking the cliched but important approach of “one game at time.” The fans have every right to celebrate this one all week, but don’t doubt for a minute that the Bulls are focused on one thing – FAU.