Click to read about the best places to eat on campus, freshman packing tips, and how to keep in touch with friends.

USF players, coaches know Bulls need another victory

With four losses in the past five games, fans aren’t the only ones wondering how the South Florida football team will round out the season.

Despite being bowl eligible at 6-6, members of the team said the Bulls might not be good enough to be selected for a bowl game.

“We’re going to have to win our last two games in order to go to a bowl, in my opinion,” wide receiver Jessie Hester said. “We are going to have to impress the bowl officials in those two games.”

The Bulls (6-4, 1-4) will try to get one of those wins against the University of Connecticut (7-3, 3-2) on Sunday at 8 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium. This comes eight days after USF suffered its worst loss at home in school history to Rutgers. The game will be broadcast on ESPN, and coach Jim Leavitt said he expects the team to bounce back on an elevated stage.

“I’m always excited (to play on national television),” he said. “You know, we’ve won some big games on national TV, and some we haven’t. I would think the players would be excited.”

Hester, talking about the importance of these two games, didn’t seem quite as enthused.

“You know, if it happens and we go to a bowl, then it happens,” he said. “It’s been a good run I guess, though.”

The USF defense will be up against the best rusher in college football. Huskies’ running back Donald Brown leads the nation in rushing, averaging 156.2 yards per game. He is a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the top running back in the country. Defensive coach Wally Burnham said he wasn’t sure whether his defense has fully recovered from giving up 49 points to Rutgers.

“When things are going bad, they’re going bad,” he said. “We’ve given up big plays, had penalties, and just haven’t been able to finish ball games.”

He also said the Bulls must win a game to keep their bowl aspirations alive. The Bulls will travel to West Virginia (6-3, 3-1) on Dec. 6 to close out the regular season.

“One of these games is a must-win for us,” Burnham said. “That’s just me knowing and being around football. Why would they want to take a 6-6 team?”

It’s a valid question — West Virginia and Louisville finished 6-6 in the last two years and were not selected for a bowl.

However, college football has expanded to 34 bowl games with the addition of the St. Petersburg Bowl, and there is a chance USF could sneak in if it were to finish 6-6.

The St. Petersburg Bowl, played Saturday, Dec. 20, remains the probable destination for South Florida, with the attraction of a hometown team. It slots a Conference USA team against a Big East opponent. Junior quarterback Matt Grothe, who was wearing a walking boot on his foot, said he hopes to take care of the situation Sunday.

“We need one more win to go to a bowl,” he said. “We are just focused right now on getting that one more win. It’s about having fun now, and just going out there to play football.”

Grothe injured his left ankle in the Rutgers game, but said he’ll be ready to play. He did not practice Tuesday.

Leavitt said it would be tough to keep Grothe off the field.

“I wouldn’t want anybody else out there,” he said. “I think Matt would go out there with one leg if he had to. He’d hobble through it.”