Getting the second-tier Florida players who don't go off to the big
schools (only seven players on the roster aren't from the Sunshine
State), USF is able to turn speed and athleticism into production. A
defense that can move, when properly coached, can do big things, and
that's where the Bulls will be able to rock; they can run with
You've probably never heard of the USF starting linebacking trio of
Stephen Nicholas, Ben Moffitt and Pat St. Louis, but it's one of the
best in America. The corners can fly, the safeties can fly, and the
reserves can fly. In a league that's offensively challenged outside
of the top tier teams, USF's speed will go a long way.
Head coach: Jim Leavitt
10th season: 61-39
Off. 23, Def. 22, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 20
Best USF Players
1. LB Stephen Nicholas, Sr.
2. LB Ben Moffitt, Jr.
3. OT Thed Watson, Sr.
4. CB Mike Jenkins, Jr.
5. LB Pat St. Louis, Sr.
6. FS Danny Verpaele, Soph.
QB Carlton Hill, Soph.
8. CB Trae Williams, Jr.
WR Amarri Jackson, Jr.
10. QB Pat Julmiste, Sr.
at North Carolina
at West Virginia
2005 predicted wins
at Penn State L 23-13
Louisville W 45-14
at Miami L 27-7
at Pittsburgh L 31-17
at Rutgers W 45-31
at Syracuse W 27-0
at Connecticut L 16-10
West Virginia L 28-13
Champs Sports Bowl
NC State L 14-0
However, the offense hasn't quite been able to find its
stride quite yet, but that's coming. In what might be the biggest
key to the Big East season, the USF no huddle spread offense looks
to be more effective with either rising star Carlton Hill or veteran
Pat Julmiste needing to use their speed to run the attack more
effectively. The defense will finish among the top 20, so if the
offense can e more effective than last year when it manufactured
points against Louisville but did little against anyone else of
substance, a Big East title (don't sneer) is an attainable goal.
But what about West
Virginia and Louisville? Aren't they supposed to be national title
contenders? Yes, but what stops a great running game like the
Mountaineers have? Great linebackers and defensive speed. Pat White and
Steve Slaton tore up the Bulls last year for 263 yards in the 28-13 win,
but the USF run defense should be even better. Ask Louisville what can
happen when USF gets on a roll. In one of the shockers of the season,
the Bulls destroyed the Cardinals 45-14. Unfortunately, both battles
against the top teams are on the road, but they come in the final two
games of the year. The schedule is light enough be bowl eligible before
then if everything breaks the right way, and the potential is there to
do even more.
Winning on the road against average teams like Kansas and North Carolina
will be vital, because it'll be next to impossible to beat the Bulls at
home. West Virginia was able to pull off a win in Raymond James Stadium
last year, but USF has gone 29-6 at home since 2000 and gets all the
mid-tier Big East teams like Rutgers, Pitt and UConn down in Tampa.
While this is hardly a complete team, Leavitt's team should be able to
run with everyone on the slate and should be able to get by on its
defense. If everything can come together by mid-November, watch out.
Schedule: USF doesn't play a team that'll sniff the top 25 until the
final two games at Louisville and West Virginia. Is 10-0 possible? OK,
OK, that's asking for a lot, but there's no reason the Bulls can't three
of four on the road against UCF, Kansas, North Carolina and Cincinnati.
The home games ... McNeese State? FIU? Please. Getting four of the seven
Big East games in Tampa should assure another bowl trip.
Offensive Player: Senior OT Thed Watson. Known nationally for
holding Louisville's Elvis Dumervil without a sack last year, the star
JUCO transfer is more than just a solid pass protector. He'll be the
anchor of a line that needs some fine-tuning and will be the main
blocker the ground game works behind.
Defensive Player: Senior LB Stephen Nicholas. He should be off to
the NFL. Instead, the speedy veteran has made 224 career tackles and 38.5 tackles for
loss on his way to Butkus Award recognition and All-Big East status. If
he played for a higher profile program, he'd be on more preseason
to a successful season:
Sophomore QB Carlton Hill.
Pat Julmiste might be the opening day starter, but if the program is
going to take a step to the next level and grow into a dangerous threat
to win the Big East title in the near future, it needs Hill to play up
to his promise. He'll run as well as anyone in the league, including
West Virginia's Pat White, but the 6-3, 220-pound sophomore has to up
the completion percentage to around 55%.
will be a success if ... the Bulls win nine games. There will be a few disappointments
along the way before playing the Mountaineers and Cardinals, but going
to back-to-back bowl games is nothing to sneeze at considering the
program didn't exist all that long ago.
November 18 at Louisville. South Florida is good enough to go
unbeaten in Big East play up until the final two games. Even if there's
a loss along the way, a win over the Cardinals would mean the following
week's showdown against West Virginia would likely be for the title.
Penalties: South Florida 106 for 831 yards - Opponents 84
for 659 yards
- Third down conversions: South Florida: 75 of 197 (38%) - Opponents 45
of 156 (29%)
- Sacks: South Florida: 37 for 264 yards - Opponents 25 for 177 yards
Last Time South Florida…
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Meineke Car Care Bowl v. NC State)
…missed a bowl game…2004
…pitched a shutout…2005 (Syracuse)
…was shutout…2005 (NC State)
…scored 50 points…2003 (Charleston Southern)
…won a conference title…never
…had a 3,000-yard passer…never
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Andre Hall)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…never
…had a first-round draft choice…never