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Qu'est Que C'est "USF"?

I'm a reasonably avid fan of college football. I have a decent idea of who's looking at a bowl bid, which conferences are faltering, and various other facts and stats to find my way through the season and toss out some half-assed pontification as I do so. I'm not an encyclopedia of football knowledge, but I'll say I'm football literate.

I don't know a damn thing about the University of South Florida.

All right, that's not exactly true. I know they're in the Big East. I know they stumbled into a bowl game, only to be shut out by an N.C. State team that had turned their season around with a new quarterback. (You know, the same quarterback they just benched to turn their season around.) But that's it. So pardon me while I whip up a quick USF crib sheet to try to get up to speed.

  • USF is in its tenth season as a football program (65-41), and sixth in D1-A (30-24).
  • They're 0-2 against the ACC.
  • This season they're 4-2. I've already discussed their cupcake September diet - since then they've suffered back to back losses to Kansas and Rutgers, before blowing out Connecticut at home.
  • That Rutgers game unfolded similarly to their opening game contest against UNC. Ray Rice tallied 200+ yards on the ground in both games, and Rutgers had to fight off fourth quarter surges (UNC from 21-10, USF from 22-14) to escape with the win.
  • USF's hopes pretty much ride on the play of their fresman quarterback, Matt Grothe, who leads the country in various freshmen-QB stats. He'll be playing with a protective boot after straining some ligaments on the top of his right foot.
  • Defensively, the bulls are giving up 293.7 yards a game, against significantly weaker competition than the Heels have faced. So that's pretty much a wash - UNC needs for he offense to show up for them to have a chance at winning this game.
  • This will be the first game running back Ricky Ponton will suit up following a six-game suspension (with two other players) for violating the team's substance abuse policy. Most of the rushing yardage this season has come from Grothe.
So can the Heels actually win a game? I'd like to think so, as these two teams are about as evenly matched as you could hope. Of course, USF has actually had experience in close games this year, and has shown they can pull them out while UNC... hasn't. I can't pick UNC until they show the ability to win a game. Here's hoping this weekend is when they start.