FSView columnist needs to check facts

I guess Alabama coach Nick Saban isn’t the only one taking shots at USF.

And he’s not the only one making unwarranted and incorrect statements about the University and the football team.

In a recent column published in FSView & Florida Flambeau, the student newspaper at Florida State University, Frank Longobardo made multiple, factually incorrect remarks about USF.

His column has received 60 comment responses on the newspaper’s Web site, and now I’m going to personally respond to Mr. Longobardo.

Dear Mr. Longobardo,

Your recent column titled “USF still no FSU,” has offended the staff at the Oracle and me.

You have every right to voice your opinion – that’s what columns are for. But as a journalist, it’s your responsibility to do your research before publishing anything, and you clearly didn’t do your research here.

Your column is supposed to be about football, but halfway through it you attack the students at USF by writing: “Their fans, a.k.a. students, aren’t the brightest crayons in the box, considering all it takes to get into USF is an online application and $30 – no essays needed.”

With the exception of FAMU, the cost to apply to all state schools is $30. You’re right that USF doesn’t require its applicants to submit an essay, but you forgot to mention that FSU doesn’t either.

Janice Finney, the director of admissions at FSU, said the University “strongly suggests an essay and resume,” but that neither is required.

USF is more selective than FSU when accepting applicants for freshmen. According to collegeboard.com, in 2006, USF, which has a larger enrollment than FSU, accepted 51 percent of its applicants while FSU accepted 59 percent.

I’m not trying to put down FSU’s student body. I’m simply pointing out the facts.

We all know this is about football. You’re “perplexed” that USF is ranked in the Top 25? It seems to me that you’re just a little upset that the No. 5 Bulls have passed the No. 21 Seminoles in what we all know as “The Big Three.”

Maybe it’s going to take some time for you to realize it, but USF has a better team than FSU. Of course FSU has more tradition and a bigger fan base than USF. The Seminoles have been playing football for 60 years, compared to USF’s 11.

Please tell me Mr. Longobardo, when did you interview Jim Leavitt? When did he tell you that he “will definitely jump at a big offer that he gets from a national powerhouse program?”

I’d be willing to bet a semester’s worth of Oracle paychecks that you’ve never spoken to Leavitt.

In 2002, Leavitt interviewed for the opening at Alabama, but USF extended his contract. In 2005, Leavitt’s name was rumored for the job at Kansas State, but he was quick to accept another contract extension from USF. In November, the Alabama job opened up again, and again Leavitt didn’t budge.

Leavitt’s building a legacy here, and he could’ve already taken a job at a powerhouse program, but he has said numerous times that he loves it here and that he has no intentions of leaving anytime soon.

There’s no reason to attack an entire student body because a football team has found success at an astonishing rate. I have no problem with the students or fans at FSU. In fact, I commend the FSU students who commented on your column and defended USF.

The assertions presented in your column were completely irresponsible, and you’ve achieved nothing other than giving student journalists a bad rap.

Next time, please do your research.


Kevin Smetana

original column

Frank Longobardo


Florida Flambeau

Originally published by FSView & Florida Flambeau, obtained from Syndicated College News.

If a college football fan from the state of Florida was in a coma for ten years and suddenly woke up today to see that the University of South Florida was ranked in the top ten, they would be quite perplexed.That person would have only known South Florida as a Division 1-AA independent team in 1997 and then look at the current top 25 rankings and be confused that Florida was the only one of the big three schools that was ranked.

Though I haven’t been trapped in a coma for ten years, I still look at what is going on today in college football in the state of Florida and I am also quite perplexed.

While what South Florida has done in their short existence of ten years in playing football is nothing short of amazing, I am already tired of seeing the entire state and now the entire country jump on to the USF bandwagon.

Congratulations USF, you’ve made it. But don’t start comparing yourself just yet to FSU, UF or Miami, three schools with incredible football tradition.

Yes, they have had a great season so far and have upset two big-name programs in Auburn and West Virginia, but look at those wins a little bit closer and they are not that impressive.

Winning at Jordan-Hare Stadium is huge for any team outside of the SEC, but this is not a typical Auburn team. Yes, they did beat Florida at the Swamp, but Auburn lost to Mississippi State at home and struggled with New Mexico State at home for the first half.

As for their victory over West Virginia, while South Florida’s defense has been solid all season; but my guess is that if Pat White was healthy and played the entire game, the outcome would have been different.

USF may have forced six turnovers against the Mountaineers, but their offense committed four of their own.

That leads me to Matt Grothe, who everybody said was the next big thing at quarterback. I, on the other hand, have not been so impressed. He had two interceptions against West Virginia and is only ahead of one other starter in the Big East in passer ratings.

All of this leads me to my biggest gripe, which is the University of South Florida overall.

First off, their fans, a.k.a. students, aren’t the brightest crayons in the box considering all it takes to get into USF is an online application and $30 – no essays needed.

They don’t even have their own stadium. I know that they are only a program that is a decade old and Raymond James Stadium is right there, but how can you consider yourself a big-time program when you don’t even have your own stadium?

Speaking of UCF, the only way South Florida could get a non-conference rival was to get a contract with the Knights, which is not even being renewed after this season. In fact, up until a few years ago, USF refused to even play UCF.

Not to mention the fact that the only time USF can sell out a game is when they are playing West Virginia in prime-time on a Friday night. I would like to see them sell-out on a consistent basis.

Does USF even have a fight song? If they do, I would like to hear one of their students recite it; they probably couldn’t.

Their little Bulls hand gesture happens to look a lot like Texas’ Hook ’em Horns hand gesture. That’s probably because its the same thing and they ripped the Longhorns off.

Their coach Jim Leavitt, who helped start that program from scratch, will definitely jump at a big offer that he gets from a national powerhouse program.

I would like to see South Florida’s fans travel like Florida State’s or Florida’s fans do.

I mean the ‘Noles played a neutral site game against Alabama, who was only ranked 22nd and FSU was unranked, and Jacksonville Municipal Stadium had 85,000 people in it; more than were at the Super Bowl about three years ago. Could USF do that?

UF does that on a yearly basis, better than Florida State does, with their annual game against Georgia in the River City.

Finally, I know that Florida State still has two open slots for non-conference games for the 2008 season. My suggestion to Dave Hart and the rest of the administration in the athletics department, schedule South Florida for next season.

Make the game either neutral site for a one-time deal or a home and home series and let’s see if USF can hang with the big boys of college football in the state of Florida.