Rob Bridenstine

South Florida Bulls crack the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll

The Bulls charge their way into the AP Top 25 for the first time in five years and also makes an appearance in the Amway Coaches Poll after beating rival UCF in the “War on I-4.”

USF made history this past weekend win they beat UCF for their 10th win of the season, breaking the previous season win total. The Bulls’ potent rushing attack led the way for a 48-31 victory over the Knights, with both quarterback Quinton Flowers and running back Marlon Mack running for over 150 yards and two touchdowns a piece.

While the Bulls’ 20th season is highlighted by a 10-2 season, it is capped off with USF making its first appearance in the AP Top 25. The Bulls broke through the barrier that had eluded them all season, even after a victory over a ranked Navy team. Bulls’ head coach Willie Taggart has repeated all season long that the team would earn the national respect that they felt they deserved and wouldn’t wait for a hand out.

The Bulls earned their spot after they finished the regular season as the only FBS team in the state of Florida with a 10 win season. Keep in mind that USF’s offense is strong that they have scored at least 30 points in at least 16 consecutive games. That is the nation’s longest streak of 30+ points scored in a game.

This is the first time that the Bulls have been ranked during the Taggart Era; the last time was in 2011, during the Skip Holtz Era, when USF won their first four games of the season, including a season opening 23-20 win against Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. After starting the 2011 season with a 4-0 record, the Bulls quickly fell out of rankings when the team went 1-7 for the rest of the season, finishing 1-6 in conference play.

While USF has capped off its best season with an appearance in the top 25, they are still tied with Pitt in the rankings at 24. With the Bulls missing out on the American Athletic Conference championship game, they are vulnerable to losing their spot if Temple is able to beat Navy. A win for Temple would most likely result in an appearance for the Owls in the AP rankings, knocking out USF.

For USF seniors, this was a defining moment in their playing career after finishing their freshmen season with a 2-10 season. Seniors like Nate Godwin, Kofi Amichia, Rodney Adams and Nigel Harris helped USF make incremental strides over the past four season. Taggart’s first batch of recruits will finish their career with two bowl appearances, multiple broken program records, a 10-win season and a top 25 ranking.

The Bulls are also ranked in the Amway Coaches Poll at number 23, after spending most of the season on the verge of being ranked.

USF still has a bowl game to look forward to and will most likely represent the AAC in a bowl game against a Power Five opponent. The Bulls currently hold a 1-2 record against Power Five opponents in the post season, their only win coming during the 2010 season against Clemson in Dabo Swinney’s second full year as the Tigers’ head coach.  

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