The Clemson Tigers are National Champions, defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide in a 35-31 thriller, with two touchdowns in the final three minutes of play. It took three touchdowns for Clemson to take down unbeaten Alabama, with the last and final score of the game leaving just one second to play. So ends the 2016 football season. While far from the national playoff stage, the championship game being played at USF’s home field must have fans thinking of what might someday be. The football program, in just their 20th year of existence, and just the 17th at the FBS level, has 11 winning seasons and has been to eight bowl games. For perspective, eight is the number of bowl wins that Birmingham Bowl foe, South Carolina, has in their program’s 124 year history. That 11th winning season marks the first season the team has won 11 games. And, while the team has lost a key player in running back, Marlon Mack, they retain a star with Quinton Flowers, who will likely be a Heisman candidate in 2017, and gain a well-known and nationally respected head coach in Charlie Strong, of Florida fame and Texas infamy. The future is once again looking bright for the Bulls.

Today is the day that a national champion will be named. Those in or about the Bulls’ hometown of Tampa can watch that game in person, if they’re willing to fork over the $1,000 plus it costs to get into Raymond James Stadium. With all of the pageantry and celebration that can be witnessed from Curtis Hixon Park to the Convention Center to the stadium, it’s fun to think of what it would be like to have one’s own team in that game.


It’s no longer news that USF has fired basketball head coach, Orlando Antigua. While the specific reasons have not been disclosed, there are some safe assumptions as to what they were. Not much was noise was made about it, but the program had been under investigation by the NCAA for academic violations. USF fired Antigua’s brother, Oliver, related to that investigation. Whether or not Antigua was involved is currently unknown, but it seems unlikely that he would not have some knowledge of what one of his coaches, especially of his own family, was doing. With the timing being such that it is, it is difficult to believe that the departure of star point guard, Jahmal McMurray, was also not a factor. McMurray was averaging 20 points per game. The Bulls have scored an average of less than 60 in the three games since he left. The most obvious reason for Antigua’s termination is that he wasn’t winning, on the court now, or in recruiting. His record at USF is 23-55, in two and a half seasons. Those numbers might be bearable if there was some hope for the future. Fans will remember that nearly the entire team recruited by former coach, Stan Heath, left the program when Antigua arrived. So, that gave Antigua an early pass because he was starting from scratch. But, after three recruiting classes, they haven’t landed any top recruits, which may have bought him more time. The search to replace him has already begun, and it will be interesting to see what kind of interest they have, this time around. It’s going to be a hard sell for a school that lacks basketball tradition that allows less than three years for a coach to prove themselves. The good news for those who support USF is that this is proof positive that the university will no longer settle for losing, even in a sport that they have had limited success in.


The college football season is drawing to a close and the USF Bulls have put a holiday bow around their record-setting season, winning 11 games in a season for the first time in program history. The talk will steadily progress with regards to recruiting, and the controversy that surrounds those observations. Before long, there will be new players on a new team to speculate upon, guided by a new coaching staff.

The USF Bulls outlast the South Carolina Gamecocks to win in overtime, 46-39, relying heavily on the wheels of junior quarterback, Quinton Flowers.

Welcome to your official unofficial Gameday chat as the South Carolina Gamecocks meet the USF Bulls in the 2016 Birmingham Bowl.  Cheers and jeers are welcome here!

Who:                    University of South Carolina Gamecocks vs. University of South Florida Bulls
What:                   2016 Birmingham Bowl
When:                 December 29, 2016
Where:                Legion Field, Birmingham, AL

The 2016 Birmingham Bowl featuring the South Carolina Gamecocks and the University of South Florida Bulls is just the second meeting between these two teams. The only other time they played was a 34-3 win by the Gamecocks back in 2004, one of the two years that USF was in Conference USA, and just the fourth season that the Bulls played at the Division I-A (FBS) level. The only common opponent the two teams shared for the 2016 season was ECU, with both teams defeating the Pirates. The Gamecocks beat ECU, 20-15, while the Bulls won by a score of 38-22. USF tight ends coach and associate head coach, David Reaves, was an assistant at South Carolina from 2002-2008.


This season of bowl games and holidays is moving right along. That makes easy fodder for writers. One such theme is Christmas wishes. The Daily Graze is not familiar with anyone who actually makes Christmas wishes, but is open-minded enough to suppose it is possible.   Sports Talk Florida has imagined a USF wish list for Christmas, which includes a bowl win (after Christmas) and recruiting (also after Christmas).


Three Bulls led with double digit scoring as they easily defeat the Delware Blue Hens of the Colonial Athletic Assocation.


The sports world is full of unspoken rules, like not getting caught videotaping your opponents during practice and not trying to get penetration on a victory formation. One of those unspoken rules is that a departing coach does not go after recruits he signed with his former school, unless he was fired from that school. Former head coach, Willie Taggart, has done some things that bordered on that line of behavior, like passing for touchdowns in the final seconds of a game where his team leads by double digits. Now, as the coach of the Oregon Ducks, Taggart continues to tread that line of questionable behavior, by targeting players who have committed to play at USF.


For the second game in row, the USF Bulls find a way to lose a game they were winning at halftime. On Saturday, it was #16 South Carolina dominating the final seven minutes of the game to hand the Bulls the loss. This time, it’s an unranked and not very scary NIU squad to dominate the final seven minutes of play, just as the Gamecocks had, to leave with the win. The Bulls were playing with sophomore guard, Jahmal McMurray, who was granted his release from the program this morning.


This is the time of the year when college football teams cross their fingers in hopes that their junior stars will return for their final season of eligibility. As such, it also the time that said juniors test the waters of the NFL draft, to determine whether or not it is worth the risk to return to their alma maters for one more year. That risk is a real one, where an injury can turn a sure thing first round pick to a long shot and a long shot into nothing at all. Bulls fans will remember the long shot known as Matt Grothe, who lost his final season of collegiate play, and any prayer of playing at a higher level, against a cupcake, low- level team that bore no relevance to the rest of the season.


Defending the home turf is essential goal of every sports team. The home arena or field makes physical the conceptual idea of what is being contested. For most sports teams, it is easy to identify that home turf. The home team’s colors, logos, and even players’ faces will decorate the outside of the building, making passersby aware for whom and what purpose the contest grounds exist. For a few teams, though, their home is shared by a much larger or relevant tenant, who eliminate the possibility of a full-time home field. USF is one of those teams, for now, who has a home field that is owned and controlled by someone else. Many believe that USF needs their own house to call home to make to the next level in college football. Incoming head coach, Charlie Strong, is a big believer in that concept, and he says that an on-campus stadium for USF will happen.

P.J. Dozier led the Gamecocks in the win, scoring 23 points for the win.