Posted by Chip Patterson
1.) With Win, South Florida Joins The State Elite - While Miami's loss to South Florida certainly jump-started some major program changes in Coral Gables, the Bulls' upset victory marked a significant moment in the USF program, and the career of first-year head coach Skip Holtz. South Florida has only been playing football since 1997, and only in Division I since 2001. The Bulls' victory over Miami gives a good portion of 2010's squad an in-state ACC sweep. A season ago, it was B.J. Daniels who stepped in for injured QB Matt Grothe to lead the Bulls to victory over Florida State in Tallahassee. This year, it was freshman quarterback Bobby Eveld who stepped in for the injured Daniels and led the team to a victory at Miami. Eveld completed only 8 of 15 passes for 120 yards, but managed the game well to help South Florida withstand a furious charge by Jacory Harris and the Hurricanes offense. For Skip Holtz, the win helped bring a good landmark for an otherwise rollercoaster first season as head coach for a BCS program. The struggling passing game did not spoken well for the offensive minded head coach, but Holtz has been able to coach up this squad from a 3-3 start to staring down a potential fifth straight 8+ win season. Accomplishing that will be more difficult than it sounds, with Jordan Todman and Connecticut coming to town playing for the conference title.
2.) Jordan Todman Leading Connecticut Title Surge - At the end of this definitive weekend in college football, South Florida was not the only new addition to make a statement in the Big East. Added to Division I officially in 2002 and the Big East in 2004, Connecticut stands one win from the first BCS bowl berth in program history. The Huskies have caught fire in the second half of the season, conveniently during the backlogged conference schedule. Wins over West Virginia and PIttsburgh has given Connecticut the tie-breaker edge against all the contenders, and now they control their own destiny. Much of the credit on the offensive end has to be credited to running back Jordan Todman. Todman has broken the 100 mark in 9 of his 10 games this season, and averaging 175.6 yards/game in his last three outings. Todman even left Saturday's showdown with Cincinnati and returned to finish with 31 carries on the day. So far there has been no stopping Todman, and if the Huskies can carry this win streak to the Fiesta Bowl Todman will start getting a lot more (deserved) attention from the league.
3.) Home Struggles Stain Otherwise Successful Season for Syracuse - The Orange have had one of their best seasons in nearly half a decade, but still something seems sour as Syracuse closed 2010 against Boston College on Saturday. After all, a team that hadn't seen a bowl game since 2004 should be excited about a seven win season. Right? Unfortunately, Syracuse fans will be asking the "What If's" for a long time after watching their team finish the season losing three home games in the last month of the season. At the end of October, Syracuse was 6-2 with a 3-1 conference record that had them in the early conference title talks. But the late season collapse that has been characterized by a stagnant offense has demoted the Orange to the middle of the pack in the Big East, simply playing for a bowl with better swag. As a former offensive assistant coach, those questions will have to be answered by Doug Marrone. However, it should be stated that Syracuse has done a great job turning the program around from their recent struggles. But when it comes time for season ticket renewals, don't be surprised if a 2-4 home record (0-4 against FBS teams) keeps ticket sales down in the Carrier Dome.
4.) The Backyard Brawl Could Have Two New Faces In 2011 - Heading into Friday's 103rd meeting of Pittsburgh and West Virginia, Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote that the losing coach might find themselves in danger of becoming unemployed. After all the dust cleared in West Virginia's 35-10 manhandling of the Panthers, there is a chance that both schools could be looking for new head coaches for 2011. Predictably, the late-season struggles of the Panthers have Dave Wannstedt on the hot seat in Pittsburgh, but recent reports suggest that West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart may be considering retirement. Both teams have been perennially competitive for the better part of five years, but neither squad has been able to capitalize on their fast starts in 2010. Stewart fell into his position after Rodriguez departed for Michigan, and Wannstedt was brought in to bring the Panthers to the "next level." Trips to the Meineke Car Care Bowl do not exactly count as "next level," and Wannstedt might want to think about taking some pens home from work.