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College Football 2013: South Florida Preview

Posted by Blake Frazier on 7/3/2013 7:52:18 PM

When people in the online sports betting legal community try to assess the South Florida Bulls for 2013, they have to realize who’s in charge of the program now… and who isn’t. South Florida didn’t seem to be taking a gamble on previous head coach Skip Holtz. The son of famed national championship-winning head coach Lou Holtz carved out a very successful tenure as the head coach at East Carolina. When South Carolina tabbed Skip Holtz as the new leader of its program a few years ago, it seemed that the Bulls were taking a definite step forward. It did not feel that this team was taking a risk on one unlikely card – the Bulls were not doing anything that happens in a succession of online poker games. Yet, the Holtz era did not translate into success. The Bulls, who had never won a conference championship under former coach and program patriarch Jim Leavitt, actually regressed under Holtz instead of moving forward.

For people interested in football betting, it has to be said that South Florida might have found a replacement for Holtz who can get the job done in Tampa, Fla. Willie Taggart took over a Western Kentucky team that was coming off an 0-12 season and turned it into a bowl team last year. Western Kentucky became a winning outfit in three seasons under Taggart, who is part of the coaching tree established by current San Francisco 49er head coach Jim Harbaugh. This is the kind of leader the Bulls have been waiting for, and they might begin to receive a payoff in 2013.

Chip Patterson of CBSSports.com wrote about South Florida and Taggart on June 3. Here’s an excerpt of his piece: “While Taggart's Tampa-area connections indicated a possible upgrade for in-state recruiting, some Bulls fans were hesitant to praise the hire due to his 16-20 overall record at Western Kentucky. But considering the current state of USF football, most fans were pleased to land a potential "rising star" in the coaching ranks. More than 25 percent of the 2012 Western Kentucky roster was made up of Florida natives, so the fans were able to look past the troubling record and hope for a resurgence on the recruiting trail.”

The article continues here: “Taggart's coaching resume and connections in the Tampa area will provide plenty of opportunities to turn around USF's current slide. The 24-player recruiting class -- which ranked just behind Louisville in the Big East according to 247Sports -- was a great start, and the Bulls will have a chance to reset themselves in the conference pecking order with all the membership change in the American Athletic Conference. Better performance in the conference will lead to better bowl games, and that recruiting will only get easier as exposure increases for the program.”

South Florida probably won’t put all the pieces together this season, as Taggart learns to work with what he has. Taggart’s recruiting should get USF up to speed in 2014, but for now, there are just too many moving parts and floating variables for this group. A title in the new American Athletic Conference is a bit too much to ask for in 2013.

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