I hope everyone is good and stuffed because it's a pretty important week of football ahead for the USF Bulls.
The good news is that the Bulls are on pace for good bowl game against a good opponent and a 10-win season with a victory over Pitt(sburgh) tomorrrow.
The bad news is the Bulls have to travel on the road where they have lost two of their last three.
Before getting to that I want to take a quick look back at USF's 2007 season at home.
Record: 5-1 (loss to Cincinnati)
Points Per Game: 39.7
Yards Per Game: 430.0
Average Attendance*: 53,161
* -- USF averaged approx. 61,950 for its last four home games and had sellouts against West Virginia and UCF.
High Point: The victory over West Virginia was the high point in this program's history. Even moreso than the historical victory against Pittsburgh on the road win against Auburn. For starters the West Virginia game was at home and it brought the big-game college atmosphere to USF for the first time. It was also the game that solidified USF as a program on the rise and put fuel into the fire for a long-term conference rivalry with the Mountaineers. Personally I'll never forget the explosion when Ben Moffitt returned the interception for a touchdown and I'll never forget being surrounded by students and fans on midfield after the game. I've seen a lot and been to a lot in my short life but I've never experienced that before.
Low Point: Obviously the loss to Cincinnati was devastating for several reasons. It booted USF out of the Top 25 and it eliminated USF from contention for the Big East title. It was also a game where USF played poorly (8 turnovers) yet still had a chance to win. If USF beats Cincinnati the fan base is preparing for a Gator Bowl against Boston College or Virginia Tech at worse.
In Closing: It was a fun experience to watch the buzz surrounding USF increase during the year. Although the crowds were great for West Virginia and UCF, I found more promise in the crowds for Cincinnati and Louisville because they drew 57,000+ and it was while the team was on a downswing. I expect USF football to regularly draw 50-60K a game from now on.
Ok back to the game.
Who to Watch (USF Offense): Let's try Mike Ford again after consecutive weeks where the rising freshman recorded career games on the ground. Obviously Pittsburgh will provide more of a challenge than Syracuse on Louisville, but it isn't so much the yardage with Ford as it is the repetitions and keeping the Panthers defense honest. Even if Ford finishes the day with...say 25 carries for 85 yards, it will keep the defense from pinning its ears back and going after Matt Grothe.
Who to Watch (USF defense): Well Pitt(sburgh)'s starting quarterback is going to be either freshman Pat Bostick or redshirt freshman Kevan Brown. Either way USF wants to force either freshman to make the plays so the focus in on stopping that physical running attack with interior linemen Richard Clebert and Woody George. USF has to force Pitt(sburgh) into long second and third downs so these inexperienced quarterbacks have to challenge USF's strong secondary.
Coachspeak: "You need to know where he is all the time. We'll do some other things from how we attack them run-wise, how we attack them pass-wise to try and help ourselves out a little bit too." -- Pitt(sburgh) coach Dave Wannstedt on USF defense lineman George Selvie
Playerspeak: "It's nice to have him back there. One of the biggest things is my body doesn't feel as tired or sore the day after or the next couple of days after. It is nice because he opens up our offense so much more.'' -- Matt Grothe on running back Mike Ford
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