UC-USF Preview

Scott Springer
Football |

Oct. 29, 2008

     I always enjoy the UC/South Florida game for a lot of reasons.   First and foremost, as a 1983 UC grad, I’m pulling for them and make no apologies about it.   The real die-hard media types refuse to admit rooting; I simply make no bones about it.

     I’m not unprofessional about it in any way, but in writing here, or for Bearcat Sports Digest, or during my time on the radio sidelines, I thought it was important to tell the truth and “fly the colors”.   That works two ways though….

     When UC’s winning I’m a popular guy.   However, I’ve certainly been questioned at times for questioning strategy and second-guessing decisions.

      No big deal to me, I’m never going to apologize for having an opinion and viewing the game just as I would in the stands if I were sitting next to you.

      The other reason I enjoy the Bearcats/Bulls match-up is…I actually am a USF graduate as well.



      My radio career actually started in Florida in the Tampa Bay area and while starting off in the WFLA news and traffic room in the mid-80s I earned a second bachelor’s degree from the big school in the area.

      What they’ve done is simply amazing!

      When I moved to the area in 1985, the USFL Tampa Bay Bandits were folding and the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers played at the “Big Sombrero” (Tampa Stadium) and were simply hideous in uniform and play.

       By then, the University of Tampa (downtown) had abandoned football despite having Fran Curci (former UK football coach) as AD.   If you know your college football history, the University of Tampa used to be coached by former OSU coach Earle Bruce and had the likes of NFL greats Freddie Solomon and John Matuszak play there.  They typically made appearances in the old Tangerine Bowl (now Florida Citrus Bowl).

      However, South Florida had no football.    They had 35 to 40,000 students at the time (kind of a commuter school in a pro town similar to UC) but no football.  USF had baseball (Hall of Famer Robin Roberts coached there, mustachioed Reds analyst Chris Welsh played there) and they had basketball (former Purdue and Charlotte coach Lee Rose was coach).

       But, there was no football.   I lived in the area between 1985-1990 and college football in the area went in this order:  1) Florida Gators; 2) Florida State Seminoles; and 3) University of Miami Hurricanes.

       If you checked the rosters of those schools back then, no doubt you saw a plethora of talent from the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area ( as well as from surrounding areas like Sarasota, Lakeland, Pasco County, etc.).

       That’s exactly where the opening came from.  At some point in the 90s, I suppose there was enough grumbling from the locals to start a “club” team, and then gradually work up to their current level of Division I.   They hired Jim Leavitt, a defensive coordinator from Kansas State (who was from St. Pete) and he’s been the only coach they’ve ever had.

      Once they hit Division I, they hit it running as now recruits that didn’t get looks at “The Big 3” state schools I mentioned, started staying around town and helped build a program.    Eventually, as the wins came, USF became more of a destination as opposed to a “fall back” option.

       Florida has a lot to offer football players.   Many high school programs can practice year round due to the weather (same for baseball) and the place is loaded with fast, talented athletes.

       Look in any media guide in the country, and you’ll find Florida players on the roster.  Fortunate schools get these guys to come north and boost the programs up here.  But now, USF is a major player in the competition to attract fast, strong players out of the Sunshine State.

       A caveat though,  while I’m impressed and awed by what Alma Mater #2 has done, I will always pull for Alma Mater #1 in head-to head battles.


WHEN:  Thursday night “Be Loud and Wear Black”

WHERE:   The hopefully packed confines of Nippert Stadium

PIGSKIN FLYS:  7:30 P.M. “Blackout Time”

SERIES:   Bearcats lead 3-2 having won the last two.

LAST MEETING:   UC wins the shootout at Raymond James 38-33 last November 3rd.



Next to Oklahoma, this is the best and most talented defense UC will have faced.   Defensive end George Selvie is a monster and if you see a gold helmet and a #95 jersey in UC’s backfield, that could be a bad omen.  Selvie had two sacks against Louisville last week and has five on the year.  Linebacker Tyrone McKenzie (on his third Division I school after Iowa State and Michigan State) leads USF in tackles.   That doesn’t bode well if UC wants to improve their run game which incredibly amounted to just seven lugs last weekend.


Clearly the difference maker here is the Tony Pike /Chazz Anderson decision.   If Pike’s injured non-throwing arm isn’t bothering him, the Bulls can be picked apart in the secondary.  Heck, even Marcus Barnett threw a TD pass last year.  But, if Pike is tentative and not 100% (and he sure looked it vs. UConn) then UC has to go conservative somewhat with Anderson.   That could lead to a scrambling, short pass game and that could be dangerous if USF’s Selvie is on the warpath.   This is also troublesome if Anderson were to be banged up.  Personally, I think Zach Collaros could excel in this type of game, but it’s important to note that I am rarely consulted on personnel decisions.


NOD:   Because of the “game-time” decision aspect here, I have to say:   slight edge to UC with Pike, otherwise Anderson will need major assistance from his teammates to succeed.



If you saw the UConn game, you saw the poorest team defensive effort I can recall outside of the Louisville debacle in the rain in late ’04.   There are similarities in those games too.  In both, UC had lost a starting QB (Guidugli before the game then, Pike at halftime last weekend).   I’m sure the coaches have drilled into the kid’s heads the value of perseverance.   There’s no sugar-coating that the UConn game defensively was atrocious.    Not any toughness, too many arm tackles.   Fortunately, the Bulls don’t have Donald Brown or anyone that flicks away defenders like mosquitoes with a stiff arm.


However, they do have Matt Grothe.   He’s faced UC twice now and lost both and undoubtedly will be amped up to beat the Bearcats.   Grothe is similar to last year’s Bearcat starter Ben Mauk.    He’s listed 6’ and 205 pounds and if he doesn’t find anyone open, he’ll run and hurt you that way.   Grothe is the team’s second-leading rusher.  USF also has the speed and skill you’d expect at receiver with sets featuring three and four passcatchers in routes.  If there ever was a time for Mike Mickens (who made the game-winning play last year) and company to have a game—it’s here.   Plus, Brandon Underwood has some making up to do.


NOD:    Grothe will rack up yards, but UC is way overdue to make a defensive statement.  If they don’t, the second half of this season could be rocky.



As much as I like P Kevin Huber, he’s being used way too much.  If you’re running your punter out every fourth play, you might need a new Die Hard battery for the offense.  Again though, if it’s Chazz-time, you’re probably going to see #47 get a workout in a field position battle.    Jake Rogers is still perfect.  Also, the last time Erin Andrews was on the sidelines here, Jake drilled a 55-yarder vs. Oregon State.

USF’s kicker is Maikon Bonani who is accurate from 40 on in, Delbert Alvarado is the punter and has gone 1-4 on FG tries also.  UC should kick away from Dontavia Bogan, but if Jake drills it into the end zone, that doesn’t matter, does it?


NOD:   Go with the home boys.



Well, I really thought UC would beat UConn with Pike picking apart the Huskies—due to injury—I was wrong.  I don’t like being wrong.  I don’t like losing.   Neither does the stubborn guy on the sidelines calling the plays.   I have to think some new wrinkles have been added to jump-start this offense.  Admittedly though, I’d feel a lot better if there were two more practices involved.

The one thing I do know and it’s documented…USF DOES NOT like cold weather! Teams from Florida rarely do.   The downside is the forecast early this week says things start to warm up by Thursday.   I still think the temperatures will dip into the 40s during the game, but for UC’s sake, hope the meteorologists are wrong and pray for frost warnings!    The colder it gets, the better UC’s chances are (folks in Florida wear winter coats when it gets into the 50s)! If you need Bearcat blankets and longjohns by Thursday night, consider us in good shape!




    The Birmingham News

    Tuberville would want home-and-home with Alabama in 2015

    NBC Sports

    Cincinnati getting a home game with Alabam would be huge

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Murky two-division AAC split could become clearer soon

    USA Today

    Breakout stars for the 2014 NFL season


    Top 10 Reascons Cincinnati Will Win the AAC Football Championship

    Philadelphia Business Journal

    Celek Earns Prestigious 40 Under 40 Award

    Sports Illustrated: Campus Union

    Cincinnati QB Gunner Kiel finally where he wants to be

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats will be filled with fresh faces next season

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Sandy Koufax's season with UC Bearcats remembered

    News Record

    Freshman basketball player creates new expectations


    Cincinnati Bearcats Shut Out No. 12 Houston Cougars, 3-0


    Dangel breaks former high school coach's UC record

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Sycamore High School grad excels in lacrosse at UC

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Gunner Kiel impresses at UC football's spring game

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Youthful UC can make its own history next season

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's defense makes statement in latest scrimmage


    Remember Gunner Kiel? He's Ready to Dominate


    Hank Hughes Q&A

    New York Times

    Growing as a Player, Beaming as a Father

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    NCAA Tournament is 'Cincinnati vs. the world'

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Kiel comes out strong in Bearcats' spring scrimmage

    Sporting News

    2013-14 Men's Basketball All-Americans

    Fox Sports

    Cincinnati made me a believer

    CBS Sports.com

    Former redshirt Sean Kilpatrick finishing out historic career

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Q&A with UC AD Mike Bohn


    Brennan's Wooden Watch: Week 14


    Fit and healthy, Omar Cummings offering a new dynamic up top for Houston Dynamo

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Men's soccer signee Clark named Gatorade Ohio player of the year


    Munchie Legaux and Shaq Washington gain extra year

    Denver Post

    Mike Bohn eager to point Cincinnati Bearcats in right direction as AD

    The Washington Post

    No. 7 Bearcats have highest ranking in 10 years

    Yahoo! Sports

    How Sean Kilpatrick willed UC past Louisville and back into the nation's consciousness


    Cincinnati takes over AAC with win at Louisville


    Tough Bearcats don't get rattled


    UC staves off Temple to stay perfect in AAC

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC looks to 15-year sports admin vet Reed-Francois for interim AD

    CBS Sports

    No. 15 Cincinnati stomps UCF, wins 11th straight

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats take down USF 61-54, win 10th straight

    USA Today

    Why Cincinnati is not a team to sleep on

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Short-handed Bearcats cautious about ranking

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's goal: win them all at home

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Cronin: Not easy, but Cats got through fatigue

    The News Record

    What you missed in UC sports during break

    FB Schedules

    Boise State, Cincinnati Schedules 2019, 20 Home-and-Home Series


    The Best and Worst College Football Teams for the Money

    USA Today

    Report: Colleges doing poorly at hiring women coaches

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Randolph named AAC Player of the Week

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC women's basketball knocks off Ohio State

    Bleacher Report

    Belk Bowl 2013: Cincinnati-North Carolina

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Belk Bowl: UC vs. UNC


    Belk Bowl Breakdown


    The Showdown is Set


    Cards, Bearcats set for defensive battle

    CBS Sports

    Louisville-Cincinnati Preview

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Thursday is UC's fight for perception

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Don't let UC's next opponent fool you

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC jumps to No. 23 in USA Today football poll

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats break into USA Today Top 25

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    McKay turns in monster game against Rutgers


    Kay throws for 408 yards, 4 TDs as Cincinnati routs Rutgers

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats won't lessen the pressure

    News & Record

    Pressure takes toll on NC State against Cincinnati

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats face variety of bowl scenarios

    The News Record

    UC weary of SMU's aerial attack ahead of AAC clash

    Bleacher Report

    Best College Football Moments in Cincinnati History

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Mark Barr returns to UC, gets ovation


    After frustrating year, Omar Cummings puts Houston Dynamo on his back with clutch playoff goal

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's Shaq Thomas 'our version of Herb Jones'

    USA Today

    Cincinnati holds off Memphis for third straight


    Cincinnati's Mark Barr out of hospital

    TopDrawer Soccer

    Furman and Cincinnati men go nose-for-nose in College Goal of the Week

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Green seizing his moment for the Bearcats

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Jermaine Lawrence is new breed of forward

    UC Magazine

    Hostility to Hope: Feature on Men's Soccer Player John Manga

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Jermiah Davis III fights to be remembered

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Justin Jackson goes from energizer to example

    The News Record

    Cronin excited for new group

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC Bearcats' Sean Kilpatrick: 'It's the season now'

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats basketball will have fresh look

    The News Record

    UC Looks to RetainVictory Bell for Eighth Consecutive Season

    Miami Herald

    Kay Ready to Lead Bearcats into Rivalry Game

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Former Bearcat Thompkins making most of shot in NFL

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    New practice setup could benefit UC basketball


    Munchie Legaux out for season


    Cincinnati Rolls Past Purdue

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats defense puts up dominant effort

    American Athletic Conference

    2013 Team Previews: Cincinnati Bearcats

    Sports Illustrated

    Bowl projections: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl

    Cincinnati Business Courier

    Bearcats sell out football opener against Purdue

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Depth at defensive line still strong for Bearcats

    Bleacher Report

    Cincinnati Bearcats Football 2013 Team Preview

    UC Voted 2nd

    Coach Tuberville and his players discuss their reactions to being voted to finish 2nd in the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference

    QB Timetable

    Coach Tuberville discusses his timetable to choose a starting QB with The Cincinnati Enquirer

    Thompkins at Patriots' Training Camp

    Former UC wide receiver, Kenbrell Thompkins, impressed many at Patriots' training camp 

    World University Games

    Sean Kilpatrick talks about his experience overseas

    World University Games

    Sean Kilpatrick talks about his experience overseas 

    Nippert Renovation Plan

    The Cincinnati Enquirer looks at the Nippert Stadium Project

    Cincinnati football's 'Crocodile Dundee'

    A former professional rugby player from Australia joins the Bearcat football team

    2013 Preseason 'Watch List' 

    Several Cincinnati Bearcats make 2013 national 'watch list'

    Sports Insider Today

    Young Cincinnati Team Looks to Improve in 2013 Amidst New Conference Setting

    ESPN Blog

    Cincinnati to play Pitt in December


    Former Bearcat Herman Qualifies for U.S. Open

    USA Today

    BearcatsTV Gets National Attention from USA Today's For the Win


    Cincinnati Bearcats Baseball Earns Top Honors in Videobombing

    The Washington Post

    Cincinnati Bearcats Do the Best Postgame Interviews

    Fox Sports

    Bearcats Rock Postgame Interviews


    Cincinnati Bearcats Revolutionize the Post Game Interview


    You'll love this Cincinnati Bearcats Post Game Funny Business Compilation


    Those guys having all the fun: An oral history of the Cincinnati baseball team's videobombs

    MSN Now

    This college baseball team wins the 'best interview' award


    Winn, Cincinnati run over Pittsburgh

    Cincinnati.com Bearcats Blog

    Cincinnati looks to sophomore RB Ralph Abernathy to increase production