After Saturday’s head smacking 37-34 loss to Cincinnati, the Bulls 2011 season is now looking, at best, for yet another mid to late December bowl game. The Big East is likely out of reach, and excitement for green and gold football can now only be found in Wisconsin.
This has been a pattern for USF Bulls football since 2007. Despite usually starting well against tough non-conference opponents, the Bulls tend to fall down to reality once conference competition begins.
Since 2011, the Bulls are 11-19 in conference play. The Big East isn’t exactly the SEC, or even the Big Ten for that matter.
The hope was Skip Holtz could change that trend, however that hasn’t been the case. Now you have to wonder if Holtz is the answer for this program.
In college football, everything begins with recruiting. The 2011 USF class ranked 59th in the nation. One four star commit and 11 three star prospects were hauled in.
That ranked worse than Utah, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and UCF. Yes, UCF recruited better than South Florida last year.
At the moment, the 2012 class is ranking 66th. The only season the Bulls ever cracked the top 25 was in 2009 when they recruited five star prospect Jason Pierre-Paul.
Overall, USF has not recruited well enough.
What excuses are there? Isn’t the state of Florida a hot bed for high school football talent? FSU, UF and Miami aren’t the caliber programs they once were in the glory days, and Tampa is centrally located in the state. Ray Jay is a perennial Super Bowl site and a high-end NFL facility.
Despite those advantages, USF can’t seem to beat their conference competition, or even UCF, in the off-season recruiting wars. That can’t continue if USF wants to have the football program they envision.
Recruiting well doesn’t only mean finishing first, or even in the top 5 on signing day. For USF, and in this conference, finishing in or near the top 25 on a consistent basis should be enough. Beating the Pittsburghs, Cincinnatis, Rutgers and Uconns of the world isn’t an unreasonable expectation.
If they don’t want more false expectations and mid-December bowls, USF needs to recruit better.
-Chris Davis (Intern)