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Thursday, June 20, 2024

At the rate things are going, I?ve come to the conclusion that South Florida has the potential to become UF?s next Florida State.

The Gators won?t meet the Bulls until 2010, but, by that time, USF could very well surpass FSU as UF?s best in-state rival.

It?s time to face the facts: USF is hot and FSU is not.

The Bulls are currently the No. 6 team in the nation - a bit premature if you ask me - but their success is not a flash in the pan, either.

Two years ago they beat No. 9 Louisville in their Big East debut. Last season they upset No. 7 West Virginia. This year they?ve already racked up two big wins against Auburn and the Mountaineers. Not too shabby for a program that started just 11 years ago.

The Bulls have continuously climbed the polls since this season started, and deservedly so.

Meanwhile, the Seminoles haven?t been ranked since the preseason, as they dropped their opener to Clemson.

In 2004 and 2005, FSU managed eight-win seasons. The Seminoles needed a victory in the Emerald Bowl last year just to secure a 7-6 season - turning in Bobby Bowden?s worst record since he jumped in his Model T and headed for Tallahassee.

Bowden may be the man who put FSU on the map, but he?s pretty much overstayed his welcome, and, as a result, the team has lost its luster.

If USF continues on its road to prosperity and FSU continues on its slope of mediocrity, I wouldn?t be surprised if recruits start seriously considering green and gold instead of garnet and gold.

USF?s latest win against West Virginia was huge for the program and gives Bulls coach Jim Leavitt some leverage with up-and-comers.

Right now, only nine members of USF?s 109-man roster are from out-of-state. Luckily, Florida boasts some of the best raw talent in the country, and the system seems to be working for Leavitt.

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Throw in some decent out-of-state recruits looking to play for a respectable program while catching some sunshine, and you?ve got yourself another top contender.

Look, I know there?s a lot of history to the UF-FSU rivalry, and I concede that it will never completely disappear.

But in my past three years at UF, the Gators have failed to lose to the Seminoles. As the Gators continue to secure highly regarded recruiting classes, I also see it staying that way.

The same goes for UF when it plays Florida?s other BpowerhouseC - Miami.

The Gators signed a two-year deal to play the Hurricanes beginning in 2008, which at the time stirred up some excitement, but even the Hurricanes aren?t what they used to be.

They?ve continued a steady decline since their 2001 national championship season and fell from the AP Top 25 in 2006 for the first time in 10 seasons.

In a couple years, it?s not going to be the Gator chomp versus the Tomahawk chop or the U.

Get ready, UF fans. The Gators are going to be grabbing the Bulls by the horns.

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