South Florida Bulls: A 2018 Season Review

Well, my first year covering the University of South Florida Bulls as a credited writer was an up and down one. It was an absolute joy to be in the press box at Raymond James Stadium. It was also cool to be able to walk the sidelines and see the players warm up. The Bulls for the first time in their brief history wore all black uniforms. I was there to see that. It was fun to see them win and sad to see them lose. Here is my season review for the USF Bulls.

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The 7 Wins

The Bulls came out of the gate with 7 wins. The wins would not come easy. Some of them came down to the last few seconds. The wins came against the Elon Phoenix, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Illinois Fighting Illini, East Carolina Pirates, UMass Minutemen, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, and UConn Huskies. There were exciting moments in the Georgia Tech game. The Bulls set an NCAA record. In this game, Terrence Horne returned two kickoffs – one for 97 yards and the other 98 yards. He also had two other kick returns that would help set the record. In both the Tulsa and Illinois games, the South Florida Bulls would have late comebacks. The Elon, East Carolina, UMass, and UConn games all would be hard-fought wins. At the time most Bulls fans were happy and saying is this the year they win the AAC.

The 6 Losses

This is the part of the season where the wheels fell off. Coming into the part of the season where the teams were harder to beat. The losses came to the Houston Cougars, Tulane Wave, Cincinnati Bear Cats, Temple Owls, and the UCF Knights. There was also a bowl loss to the Marshall Thundering Herd. In the 7 wins, there were holes on all three phases of the ball. In the last 6 games, these came out in a blaze in which the Bulls had no answer for. The big ones were turnovers and penalties.

In these 6 games no matter what the Bulls could not overcome these. It would seem to happen in key moments where the Bulls were driving for a tying or go-ahead score. The turnovers and penalties would end drives and momentum. The Bulls looked ugly in their final three homes games – two in the regular season and one bowl. During the regular season, Tulane and UCF dominated them everywhere. The loss to Marshall they played badly in the first half and somewhat better in the second but never had it all together.

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In 2019 head coach Charlie Strong has a lot of questions to answer. After their bowl game against Marshall, there were 10 players and 4 assistants dismissed from the team. The attendance for the games was up but if things continue as they did in the last 6 games of 2018 it will be hard for the fans to show. The fans want major changes and if they don’t see that most of them will not renew their season tickets. The only section I saw filled all the time was the student section. I am hoping I get another chance to cover the Bulls as a credential writer. It will be hopefully a better season. The Bulls have done a decent job in bringing in new recruits let see how 2019 goes for the USF Bulls.

 

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Bradley Walker

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