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Cincinnati Bearcats Football Schedule First Look: South Florida Bulls

The Cincinnati Bearcats will travel to Raymond James Stadium on the 5th of October for a match up with the South Florida Bulls. Since joining the Big East the Bearcats have gone to Tampa four times, and picked up three wins. The wins will probably always be remembered by Bearcats. 2007 had one of the craziest quarters in UC history, the 2009 contest should forever be known as the Zach Collaros game, and the 2011 contest saw the Bearcats drive 70 yards in 75 seconds to win at the end. So it should be an interesting one.


The Basics

Name University of South Florida
Location Tampa, FL
Head Coach Willie Taggart
Career Record 16-20
2012 Record 3-9

2012 In Four Sentences Or Less

Skip Holtz entered 2012 on a very hot seat and coached like it going 2-0 out of the gates including a big road win against a Nevada team that went on to a bowl game. The bottom quickly dropped out as the Bulls won just 1 of the next 10 as the team quit on Skip Holtz. Holtz was fired at the conclusion of the season, and there was much cheering throughout the land.

Who Is Coming Back?

Not B.J. Daniels, and that brings a frown to my face. I liked B.J. Daniels, if for no other reason than being able to set a watch to his semi annual implosion against the Bearcats. It’s the same reason that I liked Matt Grothe. Reliability. Without their shambolic talisman the Bulls will be starting over, and they are doing so at every position. Really the only position of strength for the Bulls on offense is Wide Receiver, where nearly everyone is coming back including the always dangerous Andre Davis.

Defensively the linebackers look to be taking a step back, but the secondary and linebackers should be fine. The Bulls should be really stout up front. Elkino Watson and Todd Chandler give the Bulls two legit 300 pound DT's and there is no shortage of talent at end with Aaron Lynch, Ryne Giddens, and Tevin Mims. The case can be made that the Bulls have the most talented defensive line in the Big East. The same could not be said for the secondary. Mark Joyce and JaQuez Jenkins are returning at safety, but there is a reset at corner. That is probably for the best considering just how bad the Bulls were in the secondary, they finished in the triple digits in pass efficiency defense.

What Will They Run?

Basically Stanford's offense. What the Bearcats will be running is the opposite of what the term "Pro Style Offense" conjures in your head. What the Bulls will be running is exactly what the stereotype of a "Pro Style Offense" looks like. To wit.

That should fit the Bulls well. While the Bulls were a "spread team" their running game was built in large part on power.

Defensively the Bulls will run a 4-3. Defensive Coordinator is a guy with quite a few NFL stops on his resume. He was the defensive coordinator for the Raiders when they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The good news for him is that the talent on hand allows him to be creative with coverage schemes because the Bulls do have the personnel to get pressure with four.

Can You Wrap This Up? I Have Things To Do

On Sunday the 14th of October, 2007 the South Florida Bulls found themselves as the second ranked team in the country. Unparallelled levels of carnage* drove them to those heights. But it has been all down hill since then. Since being ranked 2nd the Bulls have gone 35-35 over the next 70 games. They have been undone by a lack of discipline and leadership at the top. The Jim Leavitt era went off the rails in a predictable fashion for a guy who did shit like this on the regular. Skip Holtz never punched anyone, but he proved himself to be pretty incompetent on and off the field.

*That is still one of the weirder weekends in recent college football history. On October the 13th #1 LSU lost to Kentucky, #2 Cal lost to Oregon State thanks to the questionable at best decision making of red shirt freshman QB Kevin Riley. Those two upsets, plus some weird voting lifted the Bulls to #2

The hire of Willie Taggart makes a ton of sense for all parties involved. He is a Tampa native and a logical choice to pick up the pieces for a South Florida program that has gone off the rails. Taggart never played for the Green and Gold, but he is a logical choice.

For a start the Bulls are located in Tampa and have the first look at the always deep Tampa-Hillsborough Country talent pool. They have done very well keeping some talent home, recruiting was never the problem under Leavitt or Holtz. Getting the most out of the talent on hand has been. USF has basically always been an extremely talented team that underperforms. Taggart is a tough hard nosed guy whose WKU teams exceeded expectations after moving up to the FBS in 2009 promptly going 0-12 and firing Dave Elson. The problems for USF are the ones that Taggart is ideally suited to solve.