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40AS Non-Conference Game of the Week

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Well folks. It's been three weeks since we last wrote. We took two weeks off due to real life. During that span, Texas went 0-2. Our bad. We take full responsibility for causing Texas to lose to OU and KSU; we apologize and it won't happen again. If you're like us, football has been less than a pick-me-up as of late. To make it up to you, here are our top five favorite Saturday Night Live sketches...that ought to brighten your day:

  1. Gerald Ford dead today
  1. Bill Clinton in McDonalds
  1. Bush-Gore first debate
  1. Homocil
  1. More Cowbell

There. Aren't you feeling better already? On to the football. Directional schools don't usually get our attention, unless their school's name corresponds with the state's name (West Virginia, South Carolina, etc.) South Florida and Central Florida would normally fit neatly into the "easily ignored directional school" bill, except for two factors: 1) this weekend is somewhat lacking in terms of great college football, except for two games involving teams we've already previewed, and 2) we're really looking for validation after UCF gave Texas a scare earlier in the year. So this week we shall preview Central Florida at South Florida. Oh, and for the Which Game Will Pam Ward Call This Week sweepstakes, we're going with Illinois vs Iowa.

Not necessarily football-related reasons to like Central Florida: There was a time, not so long ago, when it seemed as if UCF might be headed in the toward which USF is currently barreling: national prominence. Yes, the Daunte Culpepper-led Golden Knights of the late '90s were the Bulls of their day--except that South Florida has now actually climbed its way into the Top Ten while Central Florida never did quite get there. The Knights have played football only since 1979; they moved into D-I in 1990; and they became I-A in 1996. It only took 2 years for them to become the talk of college football for a short time. UCF had a great year in '98, including a 10-6 loss that should have been a win at Auburn on the Tigers' homecoming--the Knights fumbled while running out the clock. You can find out more about their charming history at the Official UCF Football Site. Now, as a member of C-USA, Central Florida has had a lot of ups and downs during this decade but seems to have stabilized as a respectable program under George O'Leary. Yes, this one could get ugly--especially coming off a loss to East carolina--but at least Disney World is nearby. And our understanding from a UCF grad friend of ours is that the Texas game was an aberration in that the students actually went inside the stadium instead of just staying outside to continue the tailgate. So the ones who make the trip to Tampa will have fun either way.

Not necessarily football-related reasons to like South Florida: The Bulls have had a football program for an even shorter period of time than have the Knights, yet South Florida has managed to make the one move that led to their program gaining instant credibilty: they got accepted into a BCS conference. The ACC's poaching of the Big East (which we still find strange an uncalled for) opened the door to new schools to have a place at the Big East table. South Florida deftly took advantage of the opportuinity and now finds itself in number 5 in the AP poll--a notion that would have been laughable just a year ago. Hell, it would have been laughable 2 months ago. But as South Florida rolls through its new conference, just remember: we called it. The real marvel here, however, is the unbelievable amount of talent in the state of Florida. Just like Texas, high school football in Florida can provide players for several top programs by itself. The Bulls' roster is made up mostly of kids from Florida, most of whom would almost certainly have gone to UF, FSU, or Miami if offered. Add in the fact that Bama, Georgia, and LSU all have decent recruiting presences at least in the Northern half of the state, and you realize that USF is playing great ball with probably the 5th or 6th best recruit in Florida at each position.

Prediction: This is kind of like a high school reunion, where two best pals from high school--let's call them Chris Fuller and Sam Freedman--run into each other for the first time in awhile. The conversation quickly gets awkward when it becomes apparent that while Chris has been a moderately successful real estate salesman in the hometown, Sam has established himself as the CEO of the 5th-largest advertising firm in the country. They have a "nice to see you" parting of ways, and then Sam continues to live a much more prestigious life than his erstwhile equal-status buddy. Except that in the football game, Sam will pound Chris into the ground before moving on with his life.

The Battle of the YouTubes:

A somewhat cheesy recruiting video for Central Florida.

Buzz-kill cops after the USF-WVU game.