Posted by Chip Patterson
UPDATE: CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reports that BJ Daniels (shoulder) has been cleared to play, and is expected to start tonight against West Virginia.
With a postseason still left to play for, South Florida starting quarterback BJ Daniels (shoulder) remains questionable for Thursday night's season finale against West Virginia.
The junior told the St. Petersburg Times earlier this week that his status for Thursday was "in God's hands right now." A few local reports out of Tampa are suggesting Daniels has been ruled out for the showdown with the Mountaineers, but my guess is it will be another game-time decision for head coach Skip Holtz.
Daniels injured his shoulder in the Bulls' 6-3 loss to Miami on Nov. 19, bruising the AC joint in his throwing shoulder after getting hit on a quarterback scramble in the third quarter. He was on the field warming up before South Florida's 34-24 loss to Louisville on Friday, though never saw any time on the field.
For the second season in a row, sophomore Bobby Eveld has been called on to fill in for an injured Daniels. Eveld completed 20 of 35 passes for 210 yards with a touchdown and interception in the loss to the Cardinals, but got no help from the Bulls' defense that gave up 24 second half points on the way to the loss.
Despite losing six of their last seven games, the Bulls are still one win away from being bowl eligible. Hopes were high in Tampa after the hot 4-0 start that included a 23-20 upset of Notre Dame and high-scoring performances against Florida A&M and UTEP. But unfortunately for South Florida fans, the untimely slide has left them out of another wide-open conference title race that could result in sending 7-5 Louisville to the Orange Bowl.
While South Florida is out of the race, Thursday night's game is one of two pivotal conference games remaining that will dictate the tie-breaker scenario for the Big East's BCS bowl bid. Louisville has clinched at least a share of the Big East title, and both West Virginia and Cincinnati will have a chance to do the same this weekend. Here is a reminder of the four scenarios for the BCS bid.
Cincinnati defeats Connecticut, South Florida defeats West Virginia. RESULT: Cincinnati earns BCS bid
Connecticut defeats Cincinnati, West Virginia defeats South Florida. RESULT: Louisville earns BCS bid
Connecticut defeats Cincinnati, South Florida defeats West Virginia. RESULT: Louisville earns BCS bid
Cincinnati defeats Connecticut, West Virginia defeats South Florida. RESULT: Three-way tie for Big East title. BCS bid determined by highest ranking in BCS standings. Currently, West Virginia holds this advantage with a No. 23 ranking in the most recent BCS standings.
While many around South Florida expect Daniels to be out, I imagine he will remain "Questionable" and in uniform on the sideline if needed. While Eveld has found some success under center for the Bulls, Daniels' ability to scramble and create the big play himself adds another dimension to the South Florida offense. West Virginia's pass rush helped seal the come-from-behind 21-20 victory against Pittsburgh in the Backyard Brawl, and whoever is under center can expect to see more of the same on Friday night.
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