Former Florida WR Chris Dunkley Transfers to USF

Former Florida wide receiver Chris Dunkley has landed, and it was not that far from his original destination. Dunkley left the Gators earlier this spring after speculation regarding grades and him finding himself in the doghouse. Almost immediately after announcing his intention to transfer, rumors about the receiver to USF began to surface. Those rumors would prove true in the end and Dunkley is now a member of the Bulls football team.

For Florida, Dunkley completed what we can now refer to as the Pahokee Three. It all started with Janoris Jenkins in 2008. Jenkins came to the Gators as one of the nation’s top cornerbacks. He would prove to be as much at the college level as well. A starter for three seasons, Jenkins was a member of back-to-back 13-1 Florida teams. Shocking to all, the talented defender decided to return to the Gators for his senior season instead of bolting early for the NFL. That decision is even more questionable now considering Jenkins’s arrests and subsequent dismissal from the program.
Next up was Nu’Keese Richardson. A year behind Jenkins, Richardson initially committed to the Gators only to spurn Florida for Tennessee. Let us all agree that the Gators dodged a bullet on this one. Richardson was said to have not been able to qualify academically at Florida as it is, but that was not the trouble. The trouble came when he was arrested for attempted armed robbery. So the Vols came and the Vols went for Richardson and he moved on to Hampton. That did not last long as Richardson left the program last summer. He spent the 2010 season at Coffeyville Community College. Expected to resurface at a FBS school for the upcoming season (USF was mentioned), Richardson now appears headed to Delta State.
And finally, we get to Dunkley. It is unfair to lump Dunkley in with the other two. His career path could prove to very different and we should hope it does. But there are two key connections: Florida football and Pahokee High School. In 2010, for the third straight year, a Pahokee player appeared on the Gators commitment list at one time or another. For the second time, that player signed to play at Florida. After redshirting his freshman year, Dunkley was expected to get a shot as was practically anyone listed at the wide receiver position, but his chances took a serious hit when he was suspended by new head coach Will Muschamp. Dunkley only participated in parts of spring practice and the suspension was believed to be related to academics.
So that leaves Florida with one great player who’s Gator career ended in a disgraceful fashion, one who never made it to Gainesville, and one who will never see the field in orange and blue. But of them all, Dunkley has the best chance to resurrect his college career and he will be doing it only a couple of hours from Florida.
The move to USF is a good one for Dunkley. He will sit out the 2011 season and then be eligible to play for the Bulls in 2012. With three years of eligibility left at that point, there is plenty of time for Dunkley to put together a nice, productive college career. Working with Skip Holtz at a school still in his home state should be good for the talented wide receiver. The pressure of competing at Florida is a different animal than it is at USF. For Dunkley, that is a good thing and might just prove to be the perfect fit.

Leaving 2010 Behind, Moving Into 2011

Have we decided which is correct?  Is it two-thousand eleven?  Or is it twenty eleven?  I was a “two-thousand ten” guy, but I’m thinking that might not be right.  Right or wrong, it may just be time to mix things up.  Time to go with something a little different for the new year.  Twenty eleven sounds good to me.  One day in and so far, so good.

Ahmad Black is my hero.  In a down year for Florida, Black was the rock.  He was the leader who was supposed to be a leader and actually delivered and was a leader.  That isn’t the case as many times as it should be.  Black was the best player on both sides of the ball and the most consistent.  With blame being thrown around throughout the season, Black was never the target.  The former “recruiting mistake” was not only the most valuable player of the Outback Bowl, but of the Gators’ entire season.  To go out the way Black did was fitting.  Some may say he’s too small for the NFL, or too slow, but Black will get a chance.  His play over his career has given him that.  He’ll get a chance to play on Sundays and there are plenty of worse players you could bring into training camp.  On the first day of 2011, Black put in a great performance to end a great career.

Florida’s win over Penn State won’t be remembered for Black’s performance though.  It’ll be remembered for being Urban Meyer’s last game as the Gators’ head coach.  A final victory in a forgettable season.  There’s plenty to criticize when it comes to Meyer’s last season at Florida.  The offense, at times the defense, his desire, leadership in the locker room.  Plenty to look back at now and shake your head about.  But Meyer went out with a win.  Like most of 2010, it wasn’t pretty.  The offense left much to be desired.  The defense even had a lapse or two throughout the contest.  But the desired goal was accomplished.  Just win.  For Meyer.  For Florida.

Even without Meyer, fans should be excited about the future.  Sharrif Floyd played like a veteran, an All-SEC veteran.  Ronald Powell is the real thing and has legendary closing speed.  Cody Riggs and Josh Evans had their moments as well.  There’s plenty of talent at Florida and plenty more will come.  A new head coach brings uncertainty, but the Gators will be the Gators of 2006 and 2008 and even 2009 again.  Maybe not in 2011, but sometime soon.  Florida isn’t entering a dark period, just a different one.  One that may look very different on the field and that might be a good thing.

Will Muschamp will be a big difference, but Charlie Weis may be the biggest, in more ways than one.  The initial reaction of many was shock and anger.  For whatever reason, there aren’t a lot of Weis fans out there.  His lack of consistent success at Notre Dame has a lot to do with that, but everyone needs to realize he’s not going to be the lead man.  Weis is coming in as the offensive coordinator and he’s a very good offensive coordinator.  One with an impressive track record and plenty of NFL experience, something Muschamp was looking for.  The Gators could have done a lot worse than bringing in a proven former NFL assistant.

To help Weis on the offensive side of the ball, Aubrey Hill will be returning to Florida where he was a wide receiver from 1991 to 1994 and then a graduate assistant from 1996 to 1998.  Hill has been a wide receivers coach at Duke, Pittsburgh, and most recently Miami.  This is a good pickup for Florida, one that has to have returning wide receivers and incoming ones pleased.

As Meyer finished his last season at Florida, Skip Holtz was finishing his first at USF.  The Bulls were also able to end the season on a high note, ringing in the new year after a bowl victory over Clemson.  A win that wasn’t as close as it looked.  The game was far from pretty and the running game was held in check for the most part, but the defense played well for 58 minutes and 13 seconds.  More than enough to give the Bulls a victory and end the season on a high note.

Holtz and USF have plenty to look forward to.  The Bulls were picked by most to finish at the bottom of the Big East.  They didn’t.  8-5 isn’t a great record, but it’s more than good enough with a new coach and a team in transition.  As with most seasons, this is a team that is so close to getting that first 10-win season and not that far away from being able to consistently compete for conference titles.

There are only a few college football games left.  Some good ones, but only a few.  We get to watch a handful of Ohio State stars play against Arkansas when they should all be watching from home.  We’ll get to witness what seems like it has to be Jim Harbaugh’s last game as the Stanford head coach.  And we get to watch the championship game most of us wanted.  And then we get to make the transition.

The move to the NFL, which ends only a few weeks after the college season.  We could take a turn to college basketball.  Or a move to the NHL or NBA (I’ll take hockey nine days out of ten).  Some of us get to ramp up for spring training.  Most will be feverishly following recruiting for the next few weeks.  The last is the best way for us to stay connecting to the greatest of all of the sports.  We’ll live and die by the choices made by kids no older than 17 or 18.  A scary thought.  Whatever we turn to, January 10 will be the last time we’ll tune into a college football game for a long, long time.  And for that entire period, we’ll be thinking about next season and the season after that and the season after that…

Florida Gators 38 – USF Bulls 14

The big day has come and gone.  Florida and USF in The Swamp.  The game I’ve been waiting for since the two schools announced they would be playing each other.  It was pretty much as expected I would think and now we have five seasons to wait until the Gators and Bulls meet up again.

I’m putting this piece together while I watch Breakfast with the Gators, naturally.  Mrs. TBG loves college football, but she still doesn’t quite understand watching games twice.  Luckily the Sunday paper is bigger than usual and gives her something to do while I occupy the television.
For nearly two and a half quarters on Saturday, the games was exactly what USF wanted and might just have been Florida’s worst nightmare.  The Bulls were in the game a lot longer than the final score would indicate.  Up 7-0 deep into the first half.  Tied 7-7 halfway through the third quarter.  It was what the Bulls wanted.  To stay in the game against a top-10 team in one of the harshest environments in the nation.
For the Gators, it was the exact opposite.  An up-and-down offense and a defense that couldn’t do much against the run.  Luckily for Florida, the pass defense was stellar and continued to force USF’s B.J. Daniels into making a number of bad decisions.
At the 7:24 mark of the third quarter, the tide shifted as the Bulls would experience four minutes and 52 seconds of hell.  At that moment, Jeff Demps crossed the goal line after a spectacular 62-yard run that proved once again that he’s faster, shiftier, and better than anyone you know.  It would end with 2:32 left in the third when Justin Trattou reached the end zone, rumbling 35 yards after intercepting Daniels.  In the middle, Mike Gillislee punched in a touchdown from four yards out.  Four minutes and 52 seconds.  21 points for the Gators.  What was a tie quickly became a three-touchdown lead for Florida.
USF would score just over two minutes after the Trattou touchdown, but that was it for the Bulls.  Florida would add 10 more points in the final frame to finish off USF 38-14.
Before getting into the Florida-side of the game, let’s look at some of USF’s positives.  Yes, there were some.  First of all, the Bulls ran the ball well.  After the first game of the season, the Gators run defense looked like it would be a strength in 2010.  It may still be, but USF did a number of good things on the ground throughout the game.  The Bulls finished with 244 yards and ran for 6.3 yards per carry.  They say if you control the run game, you have a great chance to come away with the victory.  Early in the game, that was the case.  The problem was that second half.  Despite the Bulls great day on the ground, the Gators were better.  251 yards, 6.8 yards per carry.
Still, USF looked good on the ground against a team with a heavy rotation of defensive linemen and linebackers.  They came into The Swamp and ran well.  But they also may have done something Skip Holtz has not wanted to do since he became the head coach.  Daniels ran the ball 17 times for 107 yards.  That’s a good day.  A great day for a quarterback (well, unless you’re comparing it to Michigan’s Denard Robinson, then it’s only a mediocre day), but Holtz wants Daniels to be more of a passer and in that area, he had a day to forget.  Five completions to his teammates, four to the Gators.  84 yards passing, 51 of which came on one play.  I’m sure Daniels is more than ready for the bye week.
The other positive for the Bulls was the play of the defensive line, at least early.  When you give up 251 yards on the ground, you don’t want to think of your defensive line play as a positive, but USF got plenty of pressure on Gator quarterback John Brantley early and was able to slow the Florida offense.  Turnovers ended up being the problem and the heat didn’t help.  Having to be on the field as much as they did during the second half was tough and as the Gators got rolling, things got difficult for the entire USF defense.
Now for the Gators.  This Florida running back had a career-high 139 rushing yards and 255 total yards on the day.  Who is Jeff Demps?  Demps has now played in two games on the season.  Two games in which he averaged over 12 yards per carry in each.  Think about that for a second.  12 yards per carry (he actually averages 12.5).  There are plenty of receivers that don’t average that per catch.  In fact, Brantley is averaging only 8.1 per completion.  We expect high per carry averages for Demps – he averaged 7.8 as a true freshman and 7.5 as a sophomore – but over 12 is ridiculous.  Even if you remove his 62-yard run against USF and his 72-yard run against Miami (OH), you still get a back averaging over six yards per carry.  Can you say weapon?
Other than Demps, Florida has plenty of positives to build on as they head into SEC play.  The pass defense was once against its ball-hawking self.  That’s now two games and eight interceptions already.  Ahmad Black and Janoris Jenkins have accounted for five of those.  That’s now nine for Black in his Gator career, one away from jumping into a tie for tenth all-time in school history.  Not bad for a “recruiting mistake.”  Jenkins has stepped up and has clearly become one of the leaders on defense.  The young cornerbacks on the roster have a great player to learn from over the course of the season.
And the young players overall for that matter.  Those young players that stepped up and had good performances on Saturday.  Stephen Alli, Robert Clark, and Andre Debose all saw plenty of time on the field against USF.  While they only totaled one catch for 15 yards (the reception was Clark), they’re all learning and experience is key.  On the defensive side of the field, both Cody Riggs and Jaylen Watkins made great plays in coverage.  Depth in the secondary is a concern of many because of the youth at both cornerback and safety, but if the youngsters keep playing like they have been, it shouldn’t be much of a worry.
Good game for Florida and something to build on for USF.  The Gators don’t get a rest as they travel to Tennessee in a few short days.  The Bulls get a chance to rest after the loss before three straight home games.  Saw some good things from both teams and some areas where there can be improvement.  If the second half is indicative of how Florida will play from here on out, the Gators can and will have a very good season.  For USF, it’s not something to get too discouraged about.  This was definitely not a team to be ashamed to lose to.  Learn from it and move forward.

USF Bulls, Florida Gators…The Comparison Piece

This is one of those useful, but rather pointless position comparison pieces before the big game.  USF and Florida in this case.  You’ve read them before.  A writer (me) puts together his thoughts on how each position matches up for each team.  A reader (you) takes in the opinions of the writer and agrees with some and vehemently disagrees with others.  Once the game comes to an end, we all realize that what was discussed had no impact on the game whatsoever because no one could have predicted some walk-on fifth-stringer would block a field goal in the final seconds.

There you have it.  The purpose of this piece and the comparisons it contains.  For me to give my opinions.  Both surprising and obvious.  Take it all in because I’m an expert in the field of athletic analytics.  At least someone told me that once.  And, yes, that someone was me.
The Quarterbacks: Both teams consider the quarterback position to be a strength.  After week one, Gator fans aren’t so sure about that.  They love John Brantley and support him, but a shaky first start (for a number of reasons, many of which weren’t necessarily his fault) has some wondering how long it will take him to get into a groove.  In the green and gold, B.J. Daniels is the leader and biggest star the Bulls have.  He looked every bit of great in his first game of the season and was comfortable in Skip Holtz’s system.  Even if it was limited against Stony Brook.  Still, Daniels was everything he needed to be.  Based on his experience as a starter and Brantley’s less than desirable game one, the verdict is…Advantage: USF
The Running Game: USF’s running game looked solid in week one, but you have to question the opponent.  No offense to the Stony Brook fans out there reading this (there aren’t any), but you have to do your best to ignore almost any result against an opponent of that caliber.  So the Bulls were solid.  Moving on.  I’ll get this out of the way, Florida has the advantage.  Jeff Demps showed that at any point, he can break one.  He’s faster than any other player on the field in any given matchup.  That’s fact.  If given a slight break in the defense, Demps can and will exploit it and there’s six points.  With Mike Gillislee looking like he’s ready to claim the backup spot, that’s two Gators that can take it to the house.  Advantage: Florida
The Pass Catchers: Based on talent alone, I’d have to go with Florida.  Deonte Thompson, Carl Moore, Omarius Hines, Chris Rainey, Andre Debose.  These are all highly capable receivers.  Looking across the sideline, you find Dontavia Bogan and a band of individuals just trying to stay healthy.  But here’s the thing.  USF always seems to find a way to get receivers to perform.  If we’re looking at what we know, which is really just what came out of week one, then the gap between the Bulls and Gators doesn’t appear to be all that much.  In that case…Advantage: Push
The Offensive Line: I’ve said several times that we’re looking at what could possibly be the best group of offensive linemen the Gators have ever put together.  Does anyone still think that after game one?  There were snap problems, injuries and suspensions, and players stepping in that weren’t ready.  Because of all of that, we have no idea what we’re getting in game two.  USF on the other hand looked (and here’s that word to be used against FCS opponents) solid.  Advantage: USF
Now Bulls fans don’t get all uppity to the point you start drafting letters to your congressmen, but here’s where it gets a little ugly.  The defense.
The Defensive Line: The defensive line has been one of USF’s strengths in recent years and it should be again this year despite losing two NFL draft picks.  Terrell McClain is a beast in the middle who loves to get dirty and disrupt any offensive play headed his way, but Florida’s depth wins out.  While the Gators might not have a star at defensive end (yet, Ronald Powell is only one game into his Florida career), they have a rotation that goes three deep.  Whoever is in is fresh and that can create a serious headache for any offensive line trying to keep defenders out of the backfield.  At defensive tackle, the Gators have two great starters, two guys behind those starters that were former starters, and a true freshman who looked superb in his first outing.  Advantage: Florida.
The Men in the Middle: During the Stony Book game, USF had a rotation of sorts going on when it came to the linebackers.  During the Miami (OH) game, Florida had much of the same.  Here’s the difference.  The Bulls seemed to do so because they weren’t entirely sure who should be on the field.  The Gators were doing it because they have the luxury of depth at the position.  Staying fresh on defense is one of the most important aspects to the game.  Florida has the ability to field two full units at both DL and LB.  Advantage: Florida
The Secondary: I’ll always be nervous when it comes to the USF defensive backfield.  Always.  Great one game, Pop Warner-ish the next.  Even against Stony Brook, there were players grossly missing assignments early in the game.  The Bulls have talent.  They need consistency.  Florida’s secondary, on the other hand, looked good and Janoris Jenkins seemed to make the leap to great in one game.  The Gators possess ball hawks and hard hitters all with amazing catch-up speed.  Daniels can have a good day, but he’ll have his work cut out for him.  Advantage: Florida
The Special Teams: This one should be easy.  USF’s punt return unit looked anything but good.  Florida has the advantage because of the turnover potential, but that doesn’t mean the Gators were all that much better.  The best punter in the world punted only once, but managed a paltry 27 yards.  Add to that some questions in the kicking game for both schools and special teams could get ugly.  Advantage: Florida
So add it all up and come out with a guaranteed winner, right?  HECK NO!  Florida scored a five.  USF managed two.  And the lords of push took home one.  Does this mean the Gators will come out victorious?  No.  Does this equate to a superior advantage for Florida based on the five-to-two margin?  Of course not.  It only means what I think and what you choose to take from it.
On paper, shaky first week and all, the Gators are the better team.  On the field, historically, Florida is still the top program.  But who really has any idea what will happen on Saturday?  It’s that shaky start that has people giving USF a chance, even if it’s an outside one.  The powers that set lines think the Gators hold a two touchdown or more advantage.  Could be.  My guess would be somewhere around there.  But that doesn’t mean you should bet on it either.
All I know is that I’ve been waiting for this game since March 19, 2008 (the date The Bull Gator came to life) and now it’s less than two days away.

The Long Snapper (8/9/10)

College football.  James Smith.  Pageant contestants.
All Gators.  All Bulls.  My Monday present to you.
• We all have collections.  Some seem perfectly normal.  Others seem completely off the wall.  I would never put down a Florida fan for any Gator-related collection they may have.  I’ve heard of people buying two copies of NCAA Football ’11 – one to play and one to keep wrapped and put away in their Tim Tebow collection.  May seem a little odd, but to each his/her own I guess.
I’m not going to bash anyone who bought the Tebow shoe – the Nike Trainer 1.2 – either.  People love Tebow.  They want all they can get.  Add it all to the collection.  But I will say this…DAMN, those things are ugly!
I love the Florida orange and blue.  I like a nice Gator blue shirt or hat.  But the Gator blue on a shoe is a little much to me.  Buy them.  Collect them.  Sure.  Wear them?  I may just chuckle as you jog by.  It’ll be fun to count how many of these we see at Florida games this fall.
• Florida begins the 2010 season ranked third in the coaches’ poll.  Rejoice Gator fans.  And when you’re done celebrating, realize that’s too high.  Obviously I want Florida to start as high as possible.  The higher you start the less you have to climb.  But third is too high.
Think about it for a second.  Here’s what the Gators lost: one of the greatest players in the history of college football; a wide receiver and tight end that were one-two on the team in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns; an All-American center; the team leader and runner-up in sacks; an All-American cornerback who was a three-year starter; and a hard-hitting, talented safety.  Urban Meyer and staff are among the nation’s best at reloading.  Regardless, you lose that much and you don’t start the following season at #3.
Then again, I’m not really sure who you rank higher.  Most will say Boise State.  I still believe the Broncos have a long way to go before truly being considered one of the best teams in the nation, but I wouldn’t have a problem with them starting the season ahead of the Gators.  I could also say the same for Texas.  Beyond that, I’m not sure there are any other teams I would be comfortable ranking higher than Florida.  Even so, third seems high.
• On October 2, the #3 Gators will take on #1 Alabama in possibly the matchup of the season.  The good thing for both teams is that they could realistically lose and still find themselves playing in the SEC Championship Game two months later.
It’s hard to imagine any other team in either division being able to run through their conference schedule unscathed.  Florida and Alabama have the best chance, so even with one loss, they could find themselves in Atlanta.  However, it’s a defining game.  If the Tide come out victorious, the Gators are still a step away.  If Florida comes away with the win, the tide (no pun intended) shifts back to the orange and blue.
• Wide receiver is a position of question for the Gators.  Who will step up?  Will the lack of overall experience be an issue?  What young guy can emerge in 2010?
What isn’t a question is the number of bodies there are.  Florida has added quite a few WRs in recent years and because of that you had to believe at least one would eventually transfer.  That has now happened.
T.J. Lawrence will leave the program and head somewhere else.  Lawrence cited playing time as his main motivation from transferring.  You can’t really blame him.  His classmates – Omarius Hines and Frankie Hammond – always seemed higher on the depth chart than him and there were plenty of newcomers that had a chance to push him further down.
Skip Holtz had a chance to give his thoughts on USF’s most recent additions in a news conference last week.  He had the following to say about some of the newest transfers:
In terms of running backs Dontae Aycock and Darrell Scott, there isn’t as much of an actual recruitment this time around.  Holtz alludes to it mostly being an exchange of facts.  The players know what they’re looking for and so does the school.  Holtz is looking for good kids that fit his program and fit the needs.  Running back is obviously one so he looked long and hard at Aycock and Scott and made a decision to extend an offer based on what was discovered about the two.
For someone like Spencer Boyd, the situation is much the same.  Holtz says Boyd contacted USF when he was permitted to do so and expressed his interest in being closer to home.  He has some versatility in being able to play both wide receiver and cornerback and should be a great fit for the Bulls.
• USF wide receiver Colby Erskin saw his comeback attempt end as he suffered a torn ACL for the fourth time.  Horrible luck for Erskin who’s career is now over.

The Long Snapper (7/23/10)

College football.  James Smith.  Pageant contestants.
In honor of this week’s announcement of a very important game time, it’s an all Bulls and Gators Long Snapper.
USF at Florida.  September 11, 2010.  12:21.  HOT!
Friday Night Lights is a very productive event for Florida.  Many of the top prospects attend and the Gators usually get more than a couple commitments out of it.  This year, it may have started early.  Florida has received a commitment from Dover (Dover, DE) offensive lineman Trip Thurman.  The 6’6”, 310-pound Thurman chose the Gators over Boston College and South Carolina.  With Thurman’s commitment, the flood gates may have opened.
Florida has dished out its punishment to Frankie Hammond in response to the wide receiver’s arrest.  Hammond has lost his scholarship and will have to earn his way back.  Urban Meyer has said Hammond will have to pay his own way and could earn a spot again, but if he steps out of line, he will be booted off the team entirely.  Hammond needs to get it all together quickly.  With a good group of young receivers, any lost time will push him too far down the depth chart to climb back from.
Thomas Goldkamp of Gatorbait.net put together a great piece on the top five defining games of Urban Meyer’s career.  One game missing that leaves me scratching my head though is the national championship game win over Oklahoma.  Although I will say I’m not sure which of Goldkamp’s five I would remove for it.  Maybe the list needs to be six then because that championship game gave every fan a new respect for the Gator defense under Meyer.  Holding one of the best offensive teams in the history of college football to only 14 points is something that will be remembered long after Meyer has coached his last game.  I’d imagine it was hard to leave this one off the list.
Skip Holtz plans to have USF’s roster set by Monday.  That means any losses to the team as well as any additions should be finalized and announced the public (hopefully…actual announcements could come later).  The two biggest questions marks come in the form of former Colorado running back Darrell Scott and former NC State wide receiver Donald Bowens.  I’m not ashamed to say Scott was one of my man-crushes during that recruiting cycle and I was pulling heavily for him to end up at Florida.  He didn’t obviously, but now appears to be headed to the Bulls.  Scott said he had a great visit to USF and we could know something on August 4.  Let’s hope for a roster leak before that.
Another interesting situation to keep an eye on is that of Glen Stanley.  Stanley is hoping to get a release from USC, but at this point has had to appeal the Trojans’ denial to the NCAA.  The defensive end/linebacker has mentioned both FSU and USF and will end up at one of the two.  This really could be the year of the transfer for the Bulls.

The Long Snapper (6/23/10)

College football.  Quick and to the point.
Darrell Scott was one of the most sought after running backs of the 2008 recruiting class.  Florida wanted him.  USC wanted him.  Texas almost got him.  All of the big schools had their eyes on the star back.  He ended up heading to Colorado where his uncle (yes, you read that right) was a wide receiver, but from the beginning it wasn’t a good fit.  Scott never became a featured part of the offense like he had hoped and ended up making the decision to transfer.  Now it seems that USF could be his destination.  Scott posted on Facebook (always a reliable source of information [um…sure]) that he is headed to the Bulls to continue his college career.  If so, it’s a huge get for Skip Holtz.  If Scott can finally be instituted fully into an offense and pull his weight at the same time, he could be something special.  More news on the transfer should be coming soon.
Many fans already believe it, and now some writers do as wellUrban Meyer deserves a great deal of credit for Utah being able to make the move to the Pac-10.  Florida fans remember watching their future head coach lead Utah to an undefeated season in 2004 while wondering which big school would snatch him up.  When he came to the Gators, expectations were high and he has more than lived up to them.  At the same time, Utah has continued to be a force among the non-BCS schools and even registered another perfect season.  Due to their success, they recently became the twelfth member of the Pac-10.  Meyer says you’re welcome.
Colt McCoy was always a fan favorite.  Even though I’ve never been a Texas supporter, I enjoyed watching McCoy and hoped beyond all hope he would beat those damn, dirty Crimson Tide (he didn’t).  McCoy has a great Longhorn career to look back at as he takes his skills to the NFL.  No matter what adversity you may face in your life Colt, always remember the happier times.
Sparty & Friends is counting down to the most important day of the year (it does have a Michigan State title, but don’t worry, a Gator fan posted this) with a new nugget about college football here and there.  Check it out and stay for those other sports that have news from time to time.

The Long Snapper (6/16/10)

College football.  Quick and to the point.
If USF head coach Skip Holtz is standing on Dale Mabry with a sign reading “Need running backs! Will provide room and board!” it’s working.  The Bulls added their third member to the 2011 recruiting classWillie Davis from Stephenson (Stone Mountain, GA) who rushed for 700 yards last season as a junior.  Davis is a complete running back who at 5’11”, 190 pounds has speed and power and catches the ball well out of the backfield.  USF will continue to work on Stephenson who has a good number of FBS prospects.  The school sent 12 players to FBS schools last year and had another 17 go off to play college football.  Davis comes to a team continue to try to build depth at the running back position.
Notre Dame cornerback Spencer Boyd gave the Fighting Irish a chance, albeit a very small one.  Boyd enrolled at ND early back in January, but after he finishes summer classes, he will transfer.  It seems extremely likely that Boyd will end up a Bull as long as USF can find a place for him in their class.  But if Boyd does come to the Bulls, it might be as a wide receiver.  Boyd is familiar with the offensive side of the ball.  He played running back on offense as well as spending time as a defensive back.  USF believes he can make the transition easily after only spending one spring as a cornerback with the Irish.  Boyd is likely to redshirt this fall and will then have a full four years of eligibility remaining.
If you answered Texas when asked “Who rules the Big 12?” you’d be right.  But Oklahoma and Texas A&M would also be acceptable secondary answers.  As part of the package put together to keep the Longhorns, Sooners, and Aggies around, the other Big 12 schools (minus Texas Tech) decided they would give their shares of the Colorado and Nebraska buyouts to the big three.  For those keeping tally, the package now includes the buyout money, guarantees that one of the big three will be awarded the conference championship two out of every three years regardless of record, bags of unmarked bills, promises of television deals bringing in more money, and the prestige of being in a conference with a name that proves counting is optional.
Something glorious happens on July 13.  NCAA ’11 is released.  If there’s one thing that keeps me going in the video game world, it’s the annual release on NCAA.  This year’s release promises to improve game play dynamics while providing gamers with more of an experience away from the console as well.  The running game has been improved, making it more than just mashing buttons and getting behind the defense.  The defense has been enhanced to make tackling seem more like the real thing.  And now you can manage dynasties from your computer.  The NCAA ’11 demo was released this week and by all accounts is a step forward for the series.  I’ve never been a demo person, but head here if you want to learn more about what it offers and how this year’s game looks.

The Long Snapper (6/4/10)

College football.  Quick and to the point.
The Big Ten?  Nope.  The Mountain West snatching up Boise State?  Not even close.  The latest splash in the expansion talks are rumors that seem to be gaining ground that the Pac-10 will strike the first blow.  The conference looks like it’s ready to hand out invitations to Big 12 powers Oklahoma and Texas AND Colorado, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech.  Wanting to make a gigantic move all at one time, the Pac-10 doesn’t seem to be waiting for any other conference to make changes.  It’s an interesting strategy and one that actually makes the most sense.  Why wait for the Big Ten to change the balance of the college football landscape when you can make a move forward yourself?  And each one of those teams will consider the switch.  They have to.  Think of the impact a conference made up of the current Pac-10 and those six will have.  Talk about super conference, on the field and in terms of television contracts.  Get ready for the ride.  The college football world is about to look very different.  And say goodbye to the Big 12.  It was nice knowing you.
Speaking of Boise State to the Mountain West, if you believe everything you read (and you should, the internet doesn’t lie) the Broncos will be receiving an invite of their own sometime soon.  The MWC wants to make itself presentable for the BCS in the future and adding Boise State moves them one step closer.  The Broncos have recent success and are gaining a following outside of Idaho.  But there is that pesky television problem.  Boise isn’t the world’s largest market.  If the Mountain West can bring on the Broncos and boost its level of competition, the BCS may have to take action down the road.  They can’t ignore the “smaller” conferences forever.
There are more than a few people out there who want USF to schedule UCF again.  New Bulls’ head coach Skip Holtz seems to be one of them, and fans are starting to voice their opinions as well.  Stewart Mandel agrees the goal should be to play the big boys in the state, but scheduling FCS schools over UCF isn’t helping USF by any means.  With the exception of a Florida, FSU, or Miami here and there, the Bulls’ out-of-conference schedule is generally a joke.  While I wasn’t initially on board with bringing the Golden Knights back, I’m starting to come around.  USF needs to make every effort it can to schedule BCS conference schools, but needs to always do its best to get FBS opponents on the slate when possible.  And Alabama or Oklahoma once in a while doesn’t always make up for the little guys every year.
At the SEC springs meetings, Florida coach Urban Meyer made points about how the Gators move on from year to year“[W]e’ve developed a program where they expect to go compete to go to Atlanta every year.”  That’s definitely what you like to hear coming from the head coach.  Meyer says you simply try to turn the page on history and move on.  He doesn’t want the Gators to forget the past and, in fact, it’s part of the legacy that makes Florida the program that it is today, but Meyer feels the program is in a position where it has the talent to reload each year and put a competitive product on the field.  There will be seasons when it’s a little harder than others, but a drop off is not expected.  Believe you can compete with the best year in and year out is a big part of Meyer’s philosophy.

The Long Snapper (5/27/10)

Skip Holtz is for USF renewing its rivalry with UCF.  A believer of geographic rivalries as he puts it, Holtz would be fine with facing the Knights.  Bulls’ athletic director Doug Woolard may not have the same feelings though.  USF beat UCF four straight times from 2005 to 2008 and may have believed they have moved on to bigger and better things.  While developing a rivalry with the Knights may be good for the Bulls, I can’t blame USF for wanting to play Florida, FSU, and Miami.  The thought could be that playing UCF does nothing for the Bulls.  They win and they were supposed to.  They lose and they just dropped a game that they never should have lost.  Then again, USF hasn’t made the leap everyone has expected.  Getting high in the polls doesn’t mean much if you don’t finish in them.  If the Bulls truly make the turn, then dropping the Knights may have been the right decision.  But if USF remains a middle-of-the-road Big East team, talk of resuming the rivalry will only get louder from both ends.
The Florida state Supreme Court (I believe you’re supposed to capitalize anything that starts with Supreme, and even Extreme in some cases) ruled against the NCAA stating records concerning the cheating situation at FSU are indeed public documents.  Okay, glad there are still people out there that think that’s still newsworthy.  Moving on…
On Tuesday, Michigan admitted to violating rules regarding practice and coaching and offered up its own punishment.  The Wolverines will cut 130 hours of practice time during the next two years and dropped their quality-control team from five individuals to three.  So you’re violating NCAA rules and decided it’s a good idea to cut back on quality-control?  Sounds like a great idea to me…um…nope.  Maybe it’s not the number of people, but the people themselves.  How about new individuals that actually do their jobs the way they are supposed to?  Oh well, in about seven months or so, it probably won’t be Rich Rodriguez’s problem anymore.
Cardboard cutouts of children in your school’s jersey = recruiting violationMinnesota thought there would be no better way to attract Seantrel Henderson than to show him cardboard kids dressed in Gopher gear.  He didn’t bite and ended up signing with USC and now Minnesota is in trouble for it.  The Gophers have suspended their recruiting coordinator and have to obtain approval on recruiting activities for one year.  All from a kid that ended up elsewhere.
The List: Random, random, random.
1. Go Blackhawks!
2. Go Magic!
3. Steve Yzerman
4. I’d be happy if we could go one day without hearing about LeBron James.
5. World Cup
The Sixth Man: Lil’ Romeo’s stellar basketball career may have come to a less-than-exciting endPercy Miller has decided to leave the basketball team at USC after only playing a total of 19 minutes over two seasons.  Miller may have never really had the talent to compete at a larger school.  It was thought he may have been awarded a scholarship due to his friendship with DeMar DeRozen.  Hopefully now Romeo’s acting career will really take off!