TAMPA, Fla. -- Welcome to the big time, South Florida. Welcome to all the trappings that go with it.
Wins, women -- wow! -- maybe even a BCS bowl. One day soon, expect the NCAA to show up on your doorstep claiming some violation or another. That's what happens to programs that rise this far, this fast. One area columnist already is ahead of the curve, having called your Bulls renegades.
|'We're on top of the world,' George Selvie says of the Bulls. (AP)|
Yeah, welcome to the big time.
But until hard evidence surfaces, these Bulls aren't quite the renegade type. Giddy? Definitely. Undefeated? Yes. Top 10? Why not?
"The possibilities are endless," said defensive end George Selvie. "We're on top of the world."
That world includes not only the greater Tampa-St. Petersburg area but the Big East and college football. The program that began 11 years ago -- operating out of trailers -- beat No. 5 West Virginia 21-13.
There were hugs, baby, not thugs. South Florida entered some sort of new stratosphere that seems to get higher with each new achievement.
It is high enough in the polls -- No. 18 going in -- to make a run to the top 10. The players are loved enough in this city to go a month without buying a meal.
"I won't let my guard down ..." said coach Jim Leavitt, who spoke mostly in clichés even after the biggest win of his career. "We're good enough to win the first four games. That's all we got. I know that sucks. I know you want me to take off my shirt and dance and hug and kiss and all that ... It hasn't sunk it yet."
It did in the stands, the contents of which spilled onto the Raymond James Stadium turf like an all-night party had just begun. Which it had.
The Bulls had trouble getting to their locker room as they got the Beatles treatment. That kind of went along with the way the game went, at least for the defense. The Mountaineers held the ball for 34½ minutes, ran 86 plays and gained 437 yards.
Selvie, who would be an All-American if the season ended today, was still panting 10 minutes after the game ended.