Just a few years ago, signs proclaiming USF as part of the New Big Four in Florida were causing a stir.
Then, Bulls head coach Jim Leavitt ordered them taken down, believing they were disrespectful to the football programs at Florida, Florida State and Miami.
Now they are not needed; no disrespect intended.
There is no Big Four. There is not even a Big One, unless you count 17th-ranked FSU, and the Noles struggled at home Saturday against Boston College, which hasn’t beaten a BCS team this year.
The 2010 college football season looks like the stock market crash of 1929 for those who reside in Gator Nation and other parts of the Sunshine State.
Seen anybody jumping out of windows after the rankings came out Sunday?
For the first time since Urban Meyer took over the Gators in 2005, his football team was not included.
For those who are counting, that’s 88 straight polls.
Tim Tebow or no Tim Tebow, this isn’t supposed to happen to a program that has had a top three or better recruiting class four times from 2006-10.
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen said the 10-7 defeat his team hung on Florida on Saturday was not an upset, and the score should’ve been worse.
Ouch! That hurts, especially from an Urban Meyer disciple who owes his current job to his former boss.
In Tampa, echoes of desperation bounce off empty billboards that once proclaimed USF football had arrived.
The only arrival we can detect is a new coach, who didn’t want to use what Leavitt left behind.
So, Skip Holtz found himself a ship without a rudder. It didn’t seem to be a problem until Syracuse and West Virginia reminded him it’s hard to win football games if you can’t score points.
Maybe there is a solution.
It’s only wishful thinking, but there isn’t much else to hold on to for two programs mired in quicksand. And even a delusion can offer a nice diversion, no matter how brief.
Meyer and Holtz, two longtime friends, share the same dilemma. A solution would be to convince the NCAA to alter its rules.
Holtz sends his beleaguered quarterback B.J. Daniels up to Gainesville, and in return Meyer gives him John Brantley.
If only it could be!
Old habits are hard to break, and Meyer seems determined to run his spread option offense into the ground, though it’s obvious Brantley is a drop-back passer who does not function well in that system.
Daniels is a spread option quarterback who is being asked to run Holtz’s offense that would be better suited for a drop-back passer.
Both offenses have no identity.
Both quarterbacks look lost at times.
Brantley can dazzle you with an NFL-type arm. Daniels has legs that can gobble up a lot of yardage until his arm gives it all back with an interception. But maybe he is just in the wrong system with the wrong coaches.
Daniels for Brantley?
Sorry, we know this isn’t fantasy football.
But it’s so much fun to dream.
Brantley hasn’t been able to get maximum efficiency out of a pass-catching unit that includes two five-star and two four-star recruits among his top four wide receivers.
Holtz has been saying a major problem for Daniels is that he has only one bona fide target in Dontavia Bogan.
USF’s leading receiver, Bogan was a two-star recruit out of high school. Among the next three receivers, Evan Landi was a two-star defensive back, Lindsey Lamar was three-star running back, and Stephen Bravo Brown is a walk-on.
It would make one believe that Daniels would thrive in Gainesville throwing to all those speedy, athletic receivers, even with his erratic arm.
Unfortunately, it’s all only a figment of our imagination.
So, the message is clear. Look within to change your personnel or your system. The sky is falling.