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Welcome back: USF returns to 3 major polls

USF is back in the three major college football polls after it dropped out during a two-game skid in October.

The Bulls moved up in the BCS poll and moved into the two other rankings despite having a bye week. However, USF coach Jim Leavitt said last week that he doesn’t care how his team ranks.

“I don’t think about that, I really don’t,” Leavitt said. “Even when we were No. 2 in the country two years ago, I noticed it, but I didn’t really think about it. I was spending so much time trying to play a game. I really don’t think about the rankings too much, not this time of year.”

USF is No. 24 in the BCS Standings and USA Today coaches’ poll, and the Bulls are ranked 23rd by The Associated Press.

The Bulls, still seeking one more win for bowl eligibility, have faced three straight ranked teams and head to Rutgers on Thursday. USF lost to the Scarlet Knights 49-16 last year.

Three other Big East teams are ranked in the BCS: Cincinnati at No. 5, Pittsburgh at No. 12 and West Virginia at No. 25.

“There’s so much football left to play, we’re a little over halfway,” Leavitt said. “How good will this team be at the end? We’ll see … I don’t know about anything else. You have to prove it on the field.”

Leavitt: Mitchell doubtful; Butler could be out for a while

Junior wide receiver Carlton Mitchell, who suffered a high ankle sprain in a win against West Virginia, is doubtful for Thursday’s game against Rutgers, Leavitt said Sunday.

Mitchell, who leads the team in receiving yards, didn’t practice Saturday or Sunday but was out of the boot he wore all last week.

Sophomore cornerback Tyson Butler’s knee injury will keep him out for Rutgers, Leavitt said, and could be out for an extended period of time. Butler hasn’t practiced since the injury.

Wilson to play in Shrine game

USF senior linebacker Kion Wilson has accepted an invitation to play in the Jan. 23 East-West Shrine game.

The game, which is played in front of NFL scouts, coaches and GMs, will be televised on ESPN2 and is in Orlando at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

Last year, 95 of the 105 roster participants were either drafted or signed by NFL teams.

Wilson, who leads the Bulls with 61 tackles this year, is the fifth Bull to accept an invitation to the game, joining Taurus Johnson (2009), Richard Clebert (2008), Trae Williams (2008) and Bill Gramatica (2001).

Allen nominated for Wuerffel Trophy

USF senior safety Nate Allen was one of 74 players nominated for the 2009 Wuerffel Trophy, the All Sports Association announced Thursday.

The award is aimed toward achievements in community service, academics and athletics.