The South Florida Bulls started 6-0 last season and shocked the entire college football world by climbing to number two in the polls. Then the Bulls lost four of their last seven games, including a massacre at the hands of Oregon in the Sun Bowl.
With a majority of their top players returning to a program that is only getting better, the Bulls will be looking to take the next step and earn a berth to a BCS Bowl. The biggest problem will be adjusting to life as the hunted.
Here are my predictions for the 2008 South Florida Bulls:
The Bulls start the season with an easy win.
Prediction: Win (45-7)
9/06 at CENTRAL FLORIDA
The Bulls make the short trip to Orlando for their first road game of the season. This will be a nice warm-up before the Big XII comes to town.
Prediction: Win (42-17)
The Bulls face their first real test of the season. Matt Grothe will be happy that Aqib Talib is in the NFL now, but the Jayhawk defense may be even better this year. This should be a great game between to well coached teams.
Prediction: Loss (31-27)
9/20 at FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL
Jim Leavitt will get his team back on track.
Prediction: Win (48-10)
9/27 at N.C. STATE
Tom O'Brien will get the Wolfpack turned around, but not this season.
Prediction: Win (31-21)
A close game that will come down to the final seconds. The crowd at Heinz Field will be the difference.
Prediction: Loss (27-24)
The Bulls will not have a let down against a much weaker Orange team.
Prediction: Win (38-10)
10/25 at LOUISVILLE
A good old-fashioned Big East shoot-out at Papa John's Stadium.
Prediction: Win (42-38)
10/30 at CINCINNATI
The Bearcats are a team on the rise, but keeping George Selvie out of the backfield may be a problem.
Prediction: Win (31-27)
The Rutgers offensive line will have to protect Mike Teel. If they do, he will throw the ball all over the Bulls' inexperienced secondary.
Prediction: Loss (31-24)
Matt Grothe will win the game in the final seconds for the Bulls.
Prediction: Win (35-31)
12/06 at WEST VIRGINIA
West Virginia is on a mission to prove that they are still the cream of the crop in the Big East.
Prediction: Loss (34-27)
Final Record: 8-4. South Florida won't surprise any teams this year and the Big East is a conference on the rise. Jim Leavitt has really done an extraordinary job building this program and they will be competing year in and year out for the Big East title.