For South Florida Bulls fans who know me, much of this post will be a review. But somehow I just never tire of driving these points home. USF fans are like my dog: quick to forget training lessons and they eat poop. It’s true. And not a light tongue flick, either. We’re talking 2 Girls, 1 Cup-style bathing in the steaming goop like it’s coming from Heaven’s own chocolate soft serve dispenser. With the 2010 college football season coming to a close, I would be remiss if I didn’t document my ever-growing hatred for the commuter college up the street.
The University of South Florida is a massive fucking school with like a million-billion students on a sparse campus, devoid of any character, notable landmarks, or adequate parking. Even with the vast swaths of empty grass fields, USF still has no football stadium of their own and resorts to thieving the Buccaneers’ stadium every Saturday. Opposing fans must wonder what that big pirate ship in the endzone has to do with cattle. Oh wait, that’s the real football team that plays here. USF is just the opening act.
South Florida began playing football in 1997, a fact their fans love to point out in any college football conversation. “Look how far we’ve come!” That’s the USF War Cry. Auburn has War Eagle. Alabama has Roll Tide. Michigan has Go Blue. USF has a qualifier. It’s not even “Wait til’ Next Year,” like most teams that have never won any kind of championship.
”Look How Far We’ve Come,” is an admission of suck. A built-in excuse. They won’t win anything this year; they won’t win anything next year. But hey, they are better than the University of Florida was in 1919. That’s when the Gators finished their 14th season of college football. That was also when players wore leather helmets, the forward pass was a novelty, Florida State University was an all-girls school, and nobody lived in this scorching, mosquito-infested, un-air-conditioned state. USF’s War Cry is like 5-year-old kid showing the adults his latest crayon scribbling. “That’s nice, dear.” We’re all very impressed, South Florida.
The USF War Cry also functions as the USF Get-Out-Of-Smack-Free Card. If they lose a game, you are certain to hear, “Look How Far We’ve Come.” If they win, that’s when the goobers run rampant. If the team they beat was ever ranked higher than #5 in the past 30 years, then the head coach gets bathed in Gatorade. Goal posts are torn down. They throw a parade on Dale Mabry Avenue. A building in downtown Tampa changes its roof lights to display green and yellow, which I guess is close enough to green and gold. The fans talk about a National Championship run. No, not just one championship. A fucking Dynasty! Inevitably, a week later, USF loses. The goobers pack away the car flags. The building in downtown switches back to red, white, and blue lights. The billboards come down. And USF Fans mutter, “Look How Far We’ve Come.”
And yes, let’s look at how far USF has come. National Championships? Zero. Conference Championships? Nada. Hmmm, USF, one of the largest universities in the nation, spent a few years slumming it in Division I-AA facing powerhouses like Elon and Citadel. I-AA National Championships? None. I-AA Conference Championships? Zilch. Conference Runner-Up? Maybe? Nope, nope, nope, nope and nope. For comparison, the University of Connecticut started playing I-A football the same year as USF. In that time, they managed to win two Big East conference championships and at least participate in a BCS bowl. So, what is it about USF that the college football universe should be wowed by? Enlighten us. Does the Big East give out a trophy for 5th place?
Hi Mom! We're #4!
Last year, this billboard was posted by the USF athletic department alongside the busiest stretch of interstate in Tampa, Florida. First off, USF was bragging about being the fourth best team in the state. Second, even if there were a Big 3, the University of Central Florida should be the next school in line for that coveted fourth slot. They at least won a couple of conference championships. And before USF fans load up the “Central Florida plays in the weak ass Conference USA” excuse, the Bulls played in that exact same conference for a few seasons and didn’t win shit. Big Nothing.
South Florida's original football logo was a yellow, demon-eyed bull, with lightning on its cheeks, lunging out of a green square in a bizarre, upward perspective. Their helmet sticker looked like a satanic investment bank that reminded me to max out my 401K or rot in Hell. They replaced this generic logo with another corporatey, focus-grouped logo that bore a striking resemblance to the Texas Longhorns’ 50-year-old classic.
On the left is the USF's old logo, followed by Texas' classic logo, and finally, USF's cheap knock-off
To remove all doubt, USF fans shamelessly debo’d Texas’ “Hook ‘em Horns” hand sign. They then rolled that with the Florida A&M Rattlers’ hand sign to create some ridiculous bovine-snake-bite-chant abomination that they mindlessly gesture throughout each game. Instead of stealing other schools’ ideas, why don’t USF fans show some modicum of creativity? Here’s one: bend over and chew on the ground all game.
In 2007, USF was ranked #2 in the nation for a week. One Week. And they still talk about that week like it’s some kind of monumental achievement. It wasn’t even #1. USF fans always leave out my favorite part: after the infamous #2 ranking, they lost the next three games in a row and were never heard from again.
That taste of what I will endure from this city if USF whiffs of any kind of success was more than enough to fan the flames of my hatred. This is the school that threw a parade when the women’s basketball team won the NIT tournament. That means they finished 65th in the nation. The official USF website proudly declares that this 65th place finish should be included on the “Tampa – City of Champions” street banners. Super Bowl! Stanley Cup! Uh, WNIT?
While the women’s basketball team basks in imagined glory, USF football has no accomplishments worth mentioning. As such, USF is the only school that I have ever seen whose official website displays their ranking when they played each game. This is so the golly-gee-whiz one assy week that they were ranked #2 in the middle of a season is on full display. The varsity teams in college football understand that mid-season rankings are a meaningless measure of nothing in particular and fuck if I know.
USF fans are simply oblivious the immense suckiness of their football program and focus instead on exaggerated delusions of success. They take this mentality to the football field as well. This season they were stomped by the Florida Gators, 38-14. The worst team, incidentally, that Florida has fielded since the 1980’s. I had to add that 19 just to clarify the century in question. After that game, no USF fan wanted to discuss the final score or even the fact that they lost the game. Instead, every single one of them, without fail, eagerly pointed out that they hung with the Mighty Gators for an entire half.
I know USF fans claim to be new to this sport, so here’s a primer: football games are 60 minutes in length. Not 30. Just like the college football season lasts until January. Not mid-October. Is the official USF website going to start recording the score at halftime, too? You know, just so there is proof somewhere that they hung with the Gators for 30-golly-gee-whiz-minutes. “That’s nice, dear.”
If you’re a USF fan who can’t handle some Truth and skipped to the bottom, here’s a summary: