If USF is to pick up its sixth win of the seadson and become bowl-eligible Friday against Louisville, it may have to do it without junior quarterback B.J. Daniels.
At his weekly press conference Monday, coach Skip Holtz said that an MRI on Daniels’ right throwing shoulder revealed only a bruised AC (acromioclavicular) joint and the quarterbacks’ recovery time is unknown.
Daniels sat out practice Tuesday, making it more likely that he will be unavailable against the Cardinals (6-5, 4-2).
“I have found that people that don’t practice all week normally don’t play very well,” Holtz said. “He’s getting better. He did not practice today. He was out there, he was involved with the meetings going on mentally, but physically, we don’t want to do anything that’s going to set us back.”
If the Bulls (5-5, 1-4) are without Daniels, sophomore quarterback Bobby Eveld, a former walk-on, is in line to make his second career start. Eveld led the Bulls to an overtime win on the road against Miami last year after replacing an injured Daniels midgame. He made his first start against UConn last year in a 19-16 loss in the regular season finale.
In limited action this year, Eveld has struggled, going 17-for-32 for 144 yards and three interceptions with no touchdowns.
Becoming bowl-eligible is important for more than just the obvious reason of getting to play an extra game. It also comes with an additional 21 practices, which teams that don’t qualify don’t get.
“(The extra practices) are where it’s huge,” Holtz said. “There’s 20 young men that are redshirting on this football team. To be able to get into bowl practice and have another spring practice in the month of December to get this team ready for the future, is huge.”
While having six wins is enough to qualify for a bowl, it seems that there will be more bowl-eligible teams than bowl games, meaning some six-win teams could be left out.
Nationwide, 66 teams have already become bowl-eligible with six wins, no more than one of which can come against Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division II) opposition. There are 18 more teams that could become eligible by the end of the regular season, including USF.
With 35 bowl games, there are 70 slots available. Miami, which became eligible Saturday after beating USF, has announced it will not accept an invitation due to an on-going NCAA investigation.
“Seven (wins) guarantees you one (bowl game),” Holtz said. “Six puts you on the bubble. You can’t complain if you don’t get one at six because we had our opportunities to get seven. … Six wins gives you the opportunity to go to a bowl, seven wins guarantees you a bowl.”
Kickoff against the Cardinals is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Raymond James Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.