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Florida Teams on the rise

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Florida Teams on the rise

It's about USF and UCF. But FAU and FIU get a nice little plug from the author too


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South Florida, Central Florida teams on the rise

BY DAVID JONES
FLORIDA TODAY

Could the day be coming when a recruit politely tells Florida State and Florida not to bother visiting because he's decided his best chance at a national title would be deciding between South Florida and Central Florida?

Don't laugh.

Those "other" schools appear to be coming up fast behind the state's superpowers. Both teams went to bowl games, and both are in respected conferences. Both also are locking up talent that could secure even better days ahead.

The value of getting in a bowl at South Florida?

"Huge," said Jamie Newberg of Scout.com. "I think it helped them a couple of years ago when they were named to join the Big East. Now they can finally have an identity, so to speak. That was a team fighting for an identity for so long, trying to get established. Quite frankly, they've come so far so fast. Nobody expected them to have the year that they had.

"I think they are ahead of schedule and I think kids are finally taking notice to them and Central Florida, that it's not just the Big Three anymore. And to be honest with you, Florida Atlantic and Florida International are pulling kids, too."

How have USF and Central Florida made so much rapid progress? Part of it has been by keeping more in-state players who had been leaving the border for northern schools.

"What we're seeing is with UCF and South Florida, they are getting more of those kids," Newberg said. "You could have five dominant schools (in the future). I mean, think about it, you had five schools who went to bowls from Florida this year."

Central Florida also got a value boost by its Hawaii Bowl bid.

"You would not believe the doors that were opened this year compared to last year, based on making a bowl, based on turning it around and breaking that losing streak, getting a lot of national play," Newberg said.

The same thing with South Florida.

"I think what's happening is both teams now have an identity, some more ground work and kids around the state think it's not a bad thing to go play in Tampa or Orlando," Newberg said. "It's a good thing. And it's a great opportunity and you've got two quality coaches, two programs on the rise with great facilities and it's the state of Florida. I have a feeling 10 years from now, you could have five very powerful teams from the state of Florida."

There's even speculation that the day could come when all five are competing for a national title in the same season.

"I wouldn't argue with that," ESPN.com recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. "Central Florida to me is a juggernaut and I think South Florida is not far behind. (George) O'Leary has done a great job of turning things around when there was no talent. I'm really impressed with the way Central Florida does things and I've always been impressed with South Florida.

"It's hard to say it, but someday they may be up there with the big boys."

Lemming said it's only logical that South Florida and Central Florida will start hauling in better and better classes once they start winning consistently.

"Look at all the talent down there," he said. "It's shocking that they haven't done it earlier. With all the talent in South Florida, and Miami can't take everybody, it's just shocking that it didn't happen earlier. There are just so many great players down there."

Scott Kennedy of Scout.com said the ingredient that actually made it all happen is good coaches.

"Those guys are kind of sleeping giants," he said of USF and Central Florida. "They've got huge enrollments, they're in a great, fertile area, they both went to bowl games. I think George O'Leary has shown without a doubt that anybody that uses recruiting rankings as the be-all, end-all is out of their minds.

"One year (Central Florida was) 0-11, the next year 8-3. Was it because of some great recruiting class? No, it was because of coaching and development, getting everybody on the same page. You can't sustain that without players, you can't reach the next level without players. But you're certainly not going to have a chance to even get a sniff of that unless you've got the right staff in place."

Contact Jones at 242-3682 or [email protected]
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Florida Teams on the rise

These type of things are what we have been talking about all along. This process takes time to build a stable foundation. We have laid a nice framework and now the kids will continue to come. We cannot ignore the fact that FAU have some VERY good talent on the field. Some of these kids could have gone elsewhere.
These are the type of players who wouldn't mind playing in Japan in an empty parking lot at midnight.. ;)

Other issues(stadium) will work itself out in time.
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Florida Teams on the rise

ha ha!!! I haven't heard that quote in AGES. Thanks for brightening up this otherwise dreary monday O.G.!
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Florida Teams on the rise

Another article filled with comments that boggle the mind.

The "experts" seem to think the University of South Florida is actually in South Florida.

>>"Look at all the talent down there," he said. "It's shocking that they haven't done it earlier. With all the talent in South Florida, and Miami can't take everybody, it's just shocking that it didn't happen earlier. There are just so many great players down there."<<

I guess they think USF is right there next to UM?

And one guy thinks UCF is far ahead of USF? Didn't he watch the USF-UCF game, where the Bulls beat the Knights?

Out-of-state schools are not giving up and perhaps focusing even more on this region (Rutgers billboards). Troy has commitments from at least two South Florida kids already this year and last year had more Florida players than Alabama players.
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Florida Teams on the rise

That's a nice mention for us - and also nice to get the recognition that we have some real talent on the field and are not the "also rans" so many journalists relegate us as.
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Florida Teams on the rise

Troy probably will continue to do well here in Florida for a long time to come. Rutgers and NC State with their florida connections, will also conitnue to pull from the south florida market.

The writers are kind of clueless sometimes. USF is ahead of UCF. The game you mentioned proves that. The Big East will only help USF to widen that gap. UCF's schedule in the C-USA cannot compare to the BE schedule of USF.

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Florida Teams on the rise


tangygirl said

That's a nice mention for us - and also nice to get the recognition that we have some real talent on the field and are not the "also rans" so many journalists relegate us as.

We went from the darlings of football(2004) world to what happened to FAU in 2005? Some had us as mentioned with the Big 3, behind USF and even almost tied in some cases. Last year it was UCF's turn. They have a nice success story about their 0-11 turnaround to bowl game.

Like I said before,some of the writers are clueless. All they had to see was the upgrade in schedule and the loss of some vital experience on the team to graduation!
Will be interesting to see how we're ranked this spring when some of the holes have been plugged.
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Florida Teams on the rise

Speaking of the 2004 year. One thing I would like to clear up in my mind is why the team imploded after a 5-0 start. Was it the Crissinger-Hill insident?

FAU - THE REAL SLEEPING GIANT
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Florida Teams on the rise


illinoisowl said

Speaking of the 2004 year. One thing I would like to clear up in my mind is why the team imploded after a 5-0 start. Was it the Crissinger-Hill insident?

What happen in 2004, was more then C-Hill. We had players that left the teams during Spring and/or Fall practice for whatever reasons exposing us to having very little depth at key positions ( players you would necessaraly count on - gone ) and then when the injury bug hit, it truely left us shorted handed, having to throw freshman on the OL and DL with no expereince and in other posistion so, so players combined with the C-Hill distraction could have been a little to much for us to overcome - then if that wasn't enough senior skip day >:(

Overall, it was a very good season for us and the leadership of key players made a huge difference in how the season develop and ended. I think last year there was a big drop off of that strong leadership mentality that was developed through the 2003 peaking in 2004 and was very evident last year, with the combination of a lot of very young players - that can make a difference in close games when the game is on the line between a lost or a win. Now, that we have a core group of players coming back this year the leadership can become stronger and more established then the previous year helping with the development of the underclassmen.
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Florida Teams on the rise

Here's a 2004 results schedule. We lost the ULM game after spotting them a 17-3 lead. Remember that Jared played pitch and catch with their safety Chris Harris. 3 times? BTW…He's now the starting Safety for the Chicago Bears as a rookie!

Then the Troy game at Troy. No excuses there at all but we could have kept it closer.

The New Mexico game was the worse. I think we let their previous record play into our minds that game. QB Buck came to play and we didn't. Remember Buck? nmsuaggie sure reminded us of him didn't he. :)

9-3 wasn't all bad. The loses weren't back to back.

Here's the link:
http://fausports.collegesports.com/sports/m-footbl/archive/fau-m-footbl-sched-2004.html
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