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Leavitt: The pressure is on the Gators now

USF released coach Jim Leavitt’s USA Today Top 25 coaches poll ballot Wednesday, with the Bulls ranking No. 18 in the country.

Leavitt had a surprise pick at the top as well, selecting Oklahoma as No. 1 instead of the Florida Gators.

“You know what? I watched (the national championship) game last year, and it was a great game,” Leavitt said. “Florida was better in that game. But to win a national championship two years in a row, that’s a lot of pressure on Florida. It’s asking an awful lot (for them to go back-to-back).”

Leavitt, who coached with Sooners head coach Bob Stoops at Kansas State, was the only coach who voted Oklahoma in the top spot.

“Do I give it to OU because I know Bob so well? No. I try to stay away from that, but I don’t think anyone will believe me.”

As for USF, which did not rank the Associated Press Top 25, Leavitt said, “Why shouldn’t South Florida be in the hunt? The Big East is pretty strong, stronger than most people think … How would I face my team if I put them underneath anybody else?”

“I apologize to my team that I didn’t put them higher. They got on me about it. They expect to win. I like that attitude.”

Leavitt ranked Pittsburgh No. 22, Rutgers No. 23 and Cincinnati No. 24.

Leavitt said he doesn’t mind that the ballots are being made public. If anything, it’s a good thing, he said.

“It creates talk around the country,” he said. “No matter what they say about me, people are talking about South Florida. That’s a good thing.”