USF ready to play No. 13 Kansas

Football teams in the Big East conference have been seen as weak this season.

Big East teams have lost to the likes of Akron and Northwestern (Syracuse), East Carolina (West Virgina) and Bowling Green (Pittsburgh).

The No. 19 South Florida Bulls have a chance to prove that the Big East conference isn’t as weak as it’s being made out to be when they  play host to No. 13 Kansas on Friday at Raymond James Stadium.

Senior tight end Cedric Hill said USF is playing games to win for itself, but also has another goal in mind.

“It’s important for us to come out and win not only for ourselves, but because we are representing the Big East conference,” he said. “Everybody likes to talk about the (Atlantic Coast Conference) and Big10, but we want the Big East to be talked about as one of the top conferences in college football.”

USF coach Jim Leavitt, however, said that beating Kansas won’t be easy.

“They’re good,” Leavitt said. “They’re experienced. They run. They’re strong. They’re good.”

USF played Kansas in 2006 and lost 13-7. Junior quarterback Matt Grothe — who was making his third career start at the time — said the Kansas team has done nothing but improve.

“We played them two years ago, and their defense was young and talented,” Grothe said. “Now, they’re experienced and more talented.”

Grothe said he is looking forward to the Kansas game and putting the UCF game behind him.

In the days leading up to the Bulls’ 31-24 overtime win against the Knights, Grothe and his family received threats on their lives after some UCF students got his phone number.

Grothe, however, said he knew how to channel his feelings about the UCF fans’ calls.

“Normally I get a little bit of jitters before the game, but I was just more motivated to go out there and take care of business,” he said. “There’s a certain extent to where you can joke around about something, but you don’t (make threats), especially since you can’t win a football game against us.”

Grothe also said he is looking forward to Friday’s big-game atmosphere and playing against Kansas’ junior quarterback Todd Reesing.

“I’m sure we’re going to get compared a lot all week,” he said. “From what I’ve seen, he’s a great quarterback.”