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USF is 6-0

The battle of Interstate 4 [1] belongs to your AP-ranked No. 5 University of South Florida Bulls!

It was a stampede! A stampede, I tell you! USF 64 UCF 12! I must use more exclamation points!! Maybe 64 of them!!!

The University of Central Florida Knights would allow me to run up the punctuation score. They allowed a lot Saturday and saw more green [2] than any USF opponent this season. They spent the afternoon backed up halfway to Orlando. I’d say they’re third-and-Plant City right about now.

This is how Bullish I am on my 6-0 alma mater: I spent this crisp and sunny Saturday afternoon at my computer listening to play-by-play courtesy of WFLA-AM’s streaming audio. WFLA is the station whose sports talk show I called into as a freshman to complain that the Mets’ run at a second-half title in 1981 wasn’t being given enough respect by the Tampa Tribune‘s baseball writer. I had my finger on the pulse of the market, I tell you what.

I had never listened to a USF football game before. They didn’t have USF football games when I went there. It didn’t occur to me until this morning they have USF football radio broadcasts. I heard a woman interviewed during halftime who said the enterprise she represented had been selling something Bulls-related since they became nationally ranked. “Front runner!!!” I scoffed, careful to use multiple exclamation points. Why, I’ve been a diehard USF football fan since at least a week before they became nationally ranked!!!

Two weeks after deciding it wasn’t worth ever again being excited over a sports team’s prospects because all they’ll ever do is lose twelve of their final seventeen games and make you miserable, I am using every ounce of green and gold in me to prevent myself from gloating unbecomingly over how we just Bullhandled UCF [3]. I’m pretty sure I gloated over the Phillies’ poor start six months ago. Let me check…yes, yes I did [4]. This would be a good time to change the subject to something that makes me look less foolish. Like…


Sorry UCF, you can’t stop me. Of course you can’t stop me — I’m from USF.

My goodness, I’ve never said with that the remotest sense of pride before.

Listening to USF football with severe interest was bizarro world. It could be described as listening to a Mets game for the first time ever and discovering that there is a whole media apparatus devoted to you. Except there was no Gary Cohen within earshot. The announcers were college football homers all the way, which would usually turn me off, but why be interested in college football if you don’t have a heavily pronounced rooting interest? Why would anybody who isn’t a gambler care about college football if it not for the “we” proposition [5]? During the game, Chuck [6] called and everything we said about USF was “we” this and “we” that, punctuated by “Can you believe this? Can you believe this?”

We weren’t talking about the sudden ascension of our alma mater to gridiron prominence. We were talking about how we were talking about USF football at all. “We” didn’t have a Wooden Nickel [7]‘s worth of school pride between us through the ’80s, the ’90s and most of the 2000s. Now we’re “we” to the max.

We rule!!! We’re No. 5!!! BCS rankings come out this week and We will be in them!!! Nothing could possiblie [8] go wrong!!!

Except we play the Scarlet Knights at Rutgers this Thursday night and everything could definitely be ruined there. Tough opponent, their house, short week, the starters can’t even go six, the relievers can’t get anybody out, Reyes has been all messed up since August…whoops, wrong anxieties.

USF is 6-0. Even the Mets were only 4-2 at this stage in April when it all looked and felt this good.