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Know Thy Enemy: South Florida

Sorry for this being so late. In any case, many thanks should go to Greg Auman of the St. Petersburg Times, who runs his own blog over there entitled 'The Bulletin'. Definitely one of the main places you should check out when you want to find out anything about the South Florida Bulls.

With that said, here are the questions. My questions in bold, Auman's (tremendous) answers in normal text.

RCT: If you could take one player off of Kansas and put him on South Florida, who would you take? Taking team need into consideration and everthing.

GA: Good question -- I think Todd Reesing would be the answer on most teams, but he and Matt Grothe are very similar quarterbacks, so I don't know it'd be the right move. Reesing is much better in terms of his turnover ratio, but Grothe brings a dual-threat aspect that's hard to replace.

RCT: Handicapping the Big East, what odds would you give the USF Bulls of winning the Title?

GA: I think USF has to be seen as the favorite for the league now, at least going into this Kansas game. The Big East is 3-8 against I-A opponents right now, so some of the preseason favorites like West Virginia and Pittsburgh don't look nearly as good as some expected. I think USF has the best shot of any team right now, but they'll have to step up on the road, especially in Morgantown, to make that happen.

RCT: What makes Matt Grothe so good?

GA: He's just a playmaker. He's confident kid who can beat you with his arm or his feet -- has led the team in rushing each of the last two years while passing for more than 5,000 yards. He seems to be at his best with the game on the line, as was the case in the overtime win against Central Florida. Just has great instincts and open-field moves that make defenses have to really think about how they want to stop USF's offense.

RCT: What has been the biggest win in program history to date? One of the West Virginia wins, the upset @ Auburn last year or even another game?

GA: Right now, I'd have to say last year's West Virginia win, just because it's been the most impressive league win in a game that had a huge significance to it. The Auburn win gave the program a national respect it hadn't had before, so that's right up there, but I think the two West Virginia wins are probably at the top. Louisville in '05 to open Big East play was a huge statement win and probably is responsible for a lot of the confidence the Bulls have had in themselves since joining the league ...

RCT: If you are Jim Leavitt, what is the matchup you take advantage of most in Friday night's game?

GA: I think USF needs to exploit its defensive ends against two inexperienced freshmen at tackle -- George Selvie has been stifled a bit in the first two games, but if Kansas wants to throw the ball 40 times, Selvie's going to find a way into the backfield. For USF to keep Reesing from controlling the game, they have to get to him, take him out of his comfort zone, force him into turnovers and mistakes -- something he doesn't do often at all ...

RCT: If South Florida WINS, it will be because of:

GA: Speed on both sides of the ball and a strong home-field advantage. I think USF should be able to move the ball on Kansas with a balanced offense and get a lot more points than the seven they scored last time. Not sure how well USF's defense will contain that passing offense, but the pass rush is the key.

RCT: If South Florida LOSES, it will be because of:

GA: Not being able to get to Reesing, who then can find people against an inexperienced pair of cornerbacks. Turnovers could play a huge role -- USF has to really limit those or it'll cost them.

RCT: Who do you think has more pressure in the game Friday night, Kansas or USF?

GA: That's a good question. I think USF is feeling a little burden to help the Big East, which has really struggled in the first two weeks of the season. They're at home, so there's a pride factor there. But Kansas wants to show it hasn't dropped off much from last season, so there's pressure there as well.

RCT: Who is South Florida's most hated rival? Central Florida?

GA: They're not playing them anymore, but I'd have to say so. There's just not as much interaction with fans from other teams because of the sheer geography. Rutgers has had USF's number the last two years, USF has had West Virginia's number, but I don't think either has a level of hatred or rivalry like USF-UCF does. Or did, I suppose ...

RCT: And finally, pick the winner and score for Friday night's game, please.

GA: I don't do picks on my blog and in my paper, so I really don't do them elsewhere. I think if USF can get pressure on Reesing and limit its turnovers, it's theirs to win, and I think there will be much more scoring than the last game. That's about all I can give you there ... good luck and enjoy the game.

Again, many thanks go to Mr. Auman. That was a lot of questions, and some off-the-wall ones, but he did a tremendous job, IMO, of answering them all.