Where did everybody go?
I was walking the other day, alone and, to be honest, a little bit afraid. I mean, who wouldn’t be? In all fairness to me, it was Halloween. As I approached my desired destination – the USF Sun Dome – I heard nothing but the sound of my footsteps, and the sound of me gasping for air, since I power-walked across campus to get my ticket for the Bulls’ Homecoming game against Cincinnati.
However, what I saw at the ticket window was so shocking – and somewhat unbelievable – that I had to do a double take. There was no line to get tickets.
My story seems to be a reality for many students, who over the last week and a half have found that tickets for the Bulls’ Homecoming game were available. I remember hearing that tickets had become available on the night of Thursday, Oct. 25 and I was mortified. I thought that I was sure to be sitting in section 3-0-something, with two alumni from the class of 1968 to my left and a small, screaming toddler to my right. However, my spirits were rejuvenated when I was not only able to get a ticket, but one in the lower bowl of Raymond James Stadium.
Apparently, people have begun to do what was an unthinkable crime just two weeks ago. They have begun jumping off the Bulls’ bandwagon, on a national, state, and even campus level.
It’s true and it’s unfortunate. The buzz surrounding not only the football team, but the entire USF campus, has been all but silenced. Two weeks ago, people were selling their textbooks to have money to head to New Orleans for the Bowl Championship Series National Championship game. Now, after two close losses in the Big East to Connecticut and Rutgers, it seems people have lost hope.
Students and fans alike were paying top dollar for companion tickets. Because the team was
6-0 and filling the 65,657 seats of Raymond James, students were allowed only one companion ticket. That was if the student remembered not to sleep for a day and a half prior to the game in order to make sure they were in line at the crack of dawn. For the Homecoming game, students are allowed to purchase up to three companion tickets, and they will likely be in the student section.
Around the country, USF is fading from the headlines. The Bulls had been the Cinderella story of the season after jumping up to No. 2 in the season’s first BCS rankings. Now, after two straight losses, people are jumping ship at an alarming rate. People are leaving USF dead in the water, even though they are still No. 18 in the BCS. The Bulls have been pushed out of the spotlight by another Big East team having a fairy tale season – The Connecticut Huskies, whose season parallels the highs from which USF fell just two weeks ago.
The crazy thing is, the Bulls are still having the best season of their existence – despite dropping the last two games. USF is still on pace to have their first 10-win season since joining the Big East conference. And technically, the Bulls still have an outside shot at winning their conference. If USF wins their remaining four games, Connecticut loses three times in the next four weeks, and Rutgers and West Virginia lose one game each, USF could head to the Orange Bowl. The bandwagon fans are already wearing the scarlet and gold of Ohio State. Some diehard USF fans point to the Colorado Rockies as an example of never giving up (the Rockies won 21 of their last 22 games to make the World Series).
With so much accomplished this season, as well as so much that could be accomplished, it seems crazy for fans to quit after two losses. Any Division 1-A school would love a 10-win season, but since USF was ranked No.2, that’s just not good enough for some people. As for the players, they would rather have actual fans in the stands rather than people who will be jumping ship after a rough spot.
“(Bandwagon fans) weren’t with us in the first place, so that’s fine if they want to jump off the bandwagon,” sophomore defensive end George Selvie said. “We’re still going to go out and play football, and we could still have a great season. If they want to jump off already, I feel sorry for them.”