At the start of the season, I don’t think anyone had USF playing for the national championship. I don’t think many had USF winning 10 plus games. I also don’t think anyone had B.J Daniels name in the race for the Heisman. What I am sure of is that everyone assumed this Bulls team was talented enough to make their eighth straight bowl appearance. Well, you know what they say when you assume. The Bulls tallied their sixth loss in seven games this past Saturday and now need a win against West Virginia to become bowl eligible.
After starting the year 4-0, including a win in South Bend to open the season, The Bulls have gone 1-5 in the Big East and have plummeted to the bottom of the conference. The Bulls offense has been inconsistent and the defense continues to struggle closing out games and finishing off teams when they have the lead. Saturday against Louisville was no different; the Bulls led the Cardinals 17-3 at one point and looked like they were headed to their sixth win of the season. Louisville fought back and made it a one score game at the half. The Bulls led the whole game, but the turning point came when the Cardinals went for it on fourth and inches on the USF 13 yard line. USF stopped Cardinals running back Dominique Brown in the backfield, but a great second effort got brown and the Cardinals a new set of downs. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater then tossed an 11-yard touchdown to DeVante Parker to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game. Louisville never looked back and defeated the Bulls 34-24 to give the Bulls their sixth loss of the season.
Most Bulls fans have seen this scenario played out in the past. Inconsistencies have plagued this program in the past and has been the Achilles heel for the Bulls this season. I cannot really place the blame on B.J Daniels though; he has put up to best numbers of his career this season. Daniels has thrown for over two thousand yards for the first time in his career and his completion percentage is over 60 for the first time in his career. B.J has only thrown six interceptions and has been sacked only 12 times, so I cannot blame the quarterback. One thing that has been disappointing has been the play calling. Bull’s offensive coordinator Todd Fitch has been criticized for his play calling before, but if anything, most Bulls fans are just looking for a change of pace. Seems to me that the Bulls have become more predictable and have not taken the timely chances that have worked in the past. Lack of experience has also been a problem for the Bulls, especially at wide receiver. Out of the 14 players on the bulls WR roster, only four are upper classman and only two are seniors. This indeed points in the direction of a bright future, but at the moment, the Bulls have struggled to identify a playmaker on the outside.
Some say the next year was supposed to be the year the Bulls turned the corner, but a lot of analyst said it was this year. Truth be told, the Bulls have gone backwards this season and lost games that should have been in the bag down the stretch. I am a huge Skip Holtz supporter, but at some point, the blame must be placed on the head coach. Out of the Bulls six losses, only two were by a touchdown or more, USF has had the opportunities but the inconsistencies tend to catch up with you at the end of a game. This final week of the season does not get any easier; the Bulls will have to have a few tricks up their sleeves if they want to beat a West Virginia team that is still competing for a Big East Championship. It is still uncertain whether B.J Daniels will be ready for the game or not, but I am certain that USF will need either Eveld or Daniels to step up and carry this team if they want to have any chance of making a bowl appearance this season.
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