After its 28-24 defeat to Houston on Oct. 28, USF fell out of the Associated Press (AP) Top 25 and to No. 23 in the Amway Coaches Poll, both of which were its lowest rankings of the season. When the first College Football Playoff rankings came out three days later on Oct. 31, USF wasn’t in the Top 25.
The Bulls (8-1) beat UConn (3-6) on Saturday 37-20, putting them back into the AP Top 25 at No. 22 and moving them up a spot to No. 21 in the Coaches Poll. While the Bulls moved up in two polls, they were kept out of the one that matters most — the College Football Playoff rankings — which were announced Tuesday night.
The College Football Playoff did, however, rank UCF (8-0) at No. 18 and Memphis (8-1) at No. 22, the only non-power-five schools to be ranked. Whichever non-power-five team is ranked the highest by the end of the season will earn an automatic bid to the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl — a New Year’s Six bowl game.
The Bulls will face the Knights on Black Friday and could possibly play Memphis in the AAC championship game if they beat the Knights.
The latest Playoff Poll’s top five is:
3. Notre Dame
USF no longer nation’s interception leader
In its opening game of the 2017 season, USF picked off San Jose State quarterback Josh Love three times.
The following week, the Bulls recorded two more interceptions against Stony Brook, making them first in the nation for total interceptions. They would maintain that position until Saturday, when Florida Atlantic’s defense intercepted four passes.
The four interceptions by the Owls pushed FAU's total to 18, while USF is in second place with 17 after it recorded one interception Saturday.
USF’s Vincent Jackson suspension not appealable
A questionable targeting penalty, according to coach Charlie Strong, against USF linebacker Vincent Jackson in the fourth quarter against UConn is not appealable, according to the AAC.
“I called (referee Mike Roche) over and said, 'Mike, I didn't think it was targeting because the guy was trying to block us…and he's gonna cut him if Vincent doesn't run him over,'" Strong told the Tampa Bay Times.
As a result of the penalty, which was reviewed during the game, Jackson will be ineligible for the first half of the Bulls’ next home game against Tulsa on Nov. 16.
Bulls baseball reacts to tragic loss of pitching legend Roy Halladay
Roy Halladay, 40, a two-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, died in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico off the Pasco County coast on Tuesday afternoon.
A Tampa Bay area resident, Halladay was heralded as a baseball legend. USF baseball coach Billy Mohl took to Twitter to remember Halladay.
“What a tragedy and a sad day,” Mohl tweeted. “RIP Roy Halladay. Loved watching you compete. You were an unbelievable role model for kids and will be missed.”