USF Bulls: A Look Back at a Terrible 2019
Let’s look back on April 13, 2019, that was the spring game for the USF Bulls. This was the start of a new chapter for the Bulls according to head coach Charlie Strong. This was after the 2018 season ended with six straight losses and the final one coming at home in the Gasparilla Bad Boys Mowers Bowl. The 2018 season started with so much promise with seven straight wins. In those wins some of them came easily others came on the last play. The wheels started coming off when the Bulls traveled to play the Houston Cougars. Now fast forward to April 13th. This writer was one of the faithful at the 2019 Spring game. The way the Bulls looked in the at the game it was going to a bright 2019. The offense looked good and defense looked decent.
Now the Bulls began the season at home against the Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers are a staple in the Big 10 conference. Now many of us thought if USF wouldn’t beat the Badgers. What we got in the game was nothing. They came out a played uninspired and the Badgers ran all over them in a 49-0 blowout win. After the game, the players and coaches answered questions about the awful game. Most of the answers where we need to be better in the next game. The next was on the road at Bobby Dodd Stadium to play the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. This game was much better for the Bulls. Now many will say that a run by Jordan Cronkrite that was called not a touchdown cost them the game. The Bulls would lose their ninth straight game falling to the Yellow Jackets 14-10.
Now USF returned home to host the South Carolina State Bulldogs. This game was a walk in the park, and many said it should have been a bounce-back for the Bulls. This game was that a dominating game for them as they defeated the Bulldogs 55-16. Now the next game was at home against the SMU Mustangs. The Mustangs by the end of the season where one of the top teams not only in the AAC but in the country. They came into Raymond James and showed why they were a top team in the country. In all facets, they dominated the USF Bulls and walked out of Tampa with a 48-21 win. In the next game, they traveled to Amhurst, Massachusetts to play the UConn Huskies. Just like against the Bulldogs they dominated the Huskies and got their first road win 48-22.
Their record was 2-3 as they returned home for their homecoming game against the BYU Tigers. Many thought this was another blowout loss at home. This was the first game that was back and forth. This time in front of a semi packed crowd the Bulls played well. It came down to the final play as the defense knock away a pass and the crowd and players went crazy. The Bulls would get their second home win and even their record at 3-3 with a 27-23 win over the Cougars. In the next game, they would travel to Annapolis to the Naval Academy. Like when they play SMU the Bulls struggled and Navy beat them handily 35-3 in which would also help Navy be one of the top teams as well. Now their record would be 3-4.
The next game was also on the road Dowdy Ficklen Stadium against the East Carolina Pirates. This a team that gave the Bulls a contest in 2018 in Tampa. Just like in 2018 the USF Bulls have a good game and got their record to 4-4 with a 45-20 win over the Pirates. That left just four games on the schedule 3 of those were at home and only need to win two to become bowl eligible. The first of the final four would be at home against the Temple Owls. This a game that should have been won by the Bulls. The Owls did what that needed to do and walked into Tampa and won 17-7. This was a primetime game on Thursday night on ESPN. Now three games remained which now had to win two out of three. The next game was against the Cincinnati Bearcats.
As a writer for the Bulls, this was the most heartbreaking loss of the season. The USF Bulls played a good game and could have beat a top 25 team. The Bulls had held the Bearcats for the entire game. Towards the end of the game, the Bearcats drive down and got into position for a game-winning field goal. With that, they got it and took a win away from the Bulls 20-17 which dropped their record to 4-6. The final two games were against teams that the Bulls had no chance of winning against. One game at home and one on the road. The one at home was against the AAC Champions the Memphis Tigers who would beat the Bearcats to do it. The Tigers showed the Bulls why they are the top team beating them 49-10. Which now their record was 4-7 no bowl game in 2019.
The final game of the season came against the in-state rival the UCF Knights. The Knights had beaten the Bulls the last two years. Now this game meant nothing because the USF Bulls were already out of bowl contention. They never had a chance in the game either the Knights easy-won in Orlando 34-7. Now the question was with the season-ending at 4-8 what the feature was like for head coach Charlie Strong and the coaching staff. Well not long after the loss to the Knights athletic director Michael Kelly decided to fire Charlie Strong. That began the next search for the fifth coach in the Bulls history. Kelly didn’t wait long he chose co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott from the Clemson Tigers. The choice is the right one to lead the Bulls into the future. Let’s see how Scott and his new coaching staff do in 2020.
How will the USF Bulls do in 2020? Leave a comment below.
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