TAMPA, Fla. —- It might not be the worst thing about vacation but it is close to the top of list and that of course is getting back to work!
Your old buddy and pal Uncle Mel is officially back in the comfortable surroundings of his office, all sunburn, rested and ready to dive right into the work that has accumulated on top of his all-ready messy desk top.
During Uncle Mel’s scheduled time away, University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart’s team finished the regular season and will be taking a road trip, to the great city of Birmingham, Alabama to play in the bowl game that is ironically called the Birmingham Bowl.
Taggart will be looking for his first bowl victory of his coaching career and avenge last season’s 45-35, bowl game defeat at the hands of Taggart’s alma-mater Western Kentucky University at the Miami Beach Bowl.
“This is a great opportunity for our program to go out and show the country what we are all about,” Taggart said about USF bowl appearance. “We wanted to make a bowl games a regular occurrence again at South Florida. It is great to be returning to a bowl game for a second straight season and have an opportunity to play an SEC opponent in Birmingham.”
The bowl game will be played at Legion Field, Thursday afternoon December 29 against the University of South Carolina, the game is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. and this will be the eighth bowl appearance for the Bulls.
Your old Uncle, is expecting a game that will feature the explosiveness of USF offense led by the American Athletic Conference Offense Player of the Year, the Bulls quarterback Quinton Flowers.
Now nieces and nephews let’s not get ahead of ourselves because playing offense is just a part of the game, there is also the defensive side of the line of scrimmage and the burning question now is simply this-Can USF play enough defense?
USF offense does look good, the Gulf Coast Offense can roll up the yards and get enough points up on the scoreboard, the Bulls are the No.1 scoring offense in the conference and No.7 in the nation scoring an average of 43.6 points per game.
What does not look so good, is the USF defense, the Bulls give up 482.1 yards a game and that is dead last in the conference, this defense is 120th in the nation and they have also seen an eye-popping 1,000 offensive plays.
University of South Florida defensive coordinator Raymond Woodie came down to the field and out of the press box to communicate better with his squad-after seeing 1,000 plays they have plenty to talk about!
University of South Carolina football coach Wil Muschamp should have enough time to come up with an offense to exploit the porous USF defense.
Muschamp will have his work cut out for him because his team is No.119 in the nation in scoring only averaging 19.3 points for the season.
What the University of South Carolina does have is the No. 10 defense in the nation, they have forced 25 turnovers.
“We’re excited to play in the Birmingham Bowl,” Muschamp said. “It’s another chance for the 2016 team to play together. It also gives us an opportunity to improve our program in our first year.”
Now nieces and nephews, you all know that Uncle Mel does not like to poor salt in a wound because that hurts but if the University of South Florida defense does not show up, show out and make plays then it will be a long painful afternoon under the sky of the great state of Alabama for the Bulls.
The offensive plan for Taggart is simple of course and it will feature the one-two combination of Flowers and Marlon Mack and then a little bit of wide receiver Rodney Adams just to keep the Gamecocks honest.
Will it be enough?
The best news for Taggart and his defensive crew is that the Gamecock’s offense is bad and the Bulls defense could have the best day of the campaign and that could heal a lot of bumps and bruises.
This will be the 11th time that the Birmingham Bowl will be played and it will be the first one for your old Uncle Mel to witness and he would like to help Taggart and the USF football team sing Sweet Home Alabama! into the Alabama night and coming home with a bowl victory against the University of South Carolina.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.