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How Did They End Up Down Here With Us?

It wasn't too long ago South Florida was ranked #2 in the country and giving college football traditionalists around the country heartburn. Well whatever voodoo was put on them worked and they've since fallen off the national map into a tie for last place in the conference! So let me get this straight. We're going to play South Florida this week to see who is the worst team in the conference and then next week we're going to play a UConn team that might win the conference....I don't know how much longer I can live this way.

The big question for the Orange is...will Patrick Shadle make weight? No, scratch that. The big question is whether or not Andrew Robinson will play. And really, we all know the answer don't we? Cameron Dantley is going to start and play for the Orange on Saturday. It would take someone of severe mental defect to allow Andrew Robinson, he of a broken rib, to stand behind one of the shoddiest offensive lines in the land and go head-to-head with a South Florida defense tied for second in the Big East with 24 sacks. It would take a real numbnuts to allow Robinson to line up across from defensive end George Selvie who leads the Big East with 13.5 sacks and holds the conference record with 27.5 tackles for loss.

Thankfully, there's no one on our sideline making decisions like that. (Does all this sarcasm read well enough?) Greggy says Andrew is a game-time decision, which I can only hope is his attempt to force South Florida to gameplan for two QBs and isn't actually an attempt to play the wounded face of our program in a meaningless game against an aggressive defense just because he can.

The name of the game for South Florida is turnovers. When they win the turnover battle, they win and when they lose it, they lose the game. South Florida's defenders have forced 27 turnovers, but the offense has lost 14 fumbles and 10 interceptions (including eight against Cincy). Thankfully for them, the Syracuse defense has produced only 12 turnovers all season. Incidentally, the offense has only coughed it up 12 times as well.

The name of the game for the Bulls is Matt Grothe. Last week Grothe broke the USF single-game passing record of 382 yards. He also broke the USF single-season rushing record as he rushed for 75 yards, giving him 625 for the season and 1,247 in his two-year career, also a record for a USF quarterback. He is the only quarterback in the Division 1-A to have rushed for at least 600 yards and thrown for at least 1,900 yards this season. And if there's anything the Orange have had trouble with this season, its versatile quarterbacks, and Greg Robinson knows it:

"This guy, at times, can be magic. He can come out the back door on the left side, where he drops back to pass and boom, he comes right and breaks your contain down. . . . He scrambles, he runs around and he breaks tackles. He has a (Doug) Flutie-like way about him, where he's all over that field."

The last thing you would expect at this point in the season is to hear someone on the Syracuse defense calling out a top-caliber opponent the week before a game. Alas...

"I don't really care about Matt Grothe," Redshirt freshman linebacker Parker Cantey said. "He ain't too tough for me. He's a good player, good athlete and all that. After I saw what Rutgers did to him, you know, they just kept bringing pressure on him and he's having a lot of trouble with that. . . . he's no Pat White. He's no LeSean McCoy. You've still got to respect him."

Cantey, you're right. Rutgers did a number on Grothe. But, as I'm sure you remember from when you played Rutgers, the defensive unit you play for is not anywhere near as good as they are. But I like that "You've still got to respect him" bit at the end there. Kinda the equivalent of saying "I'm just sayin'" after you say something demeaning in order to make it seem inconsequential.

"You're sister's a whore...I'm just sayin'" (I totally stole that bit from Dom Irrera, FYI)

I think we all know how this one is gonna go. Sure, South Florida is reeling but we're just the kind of opponent they need to right their sinking ship. For Syracuse, the die is cast and the Orange will continue to hurl themselves towards their second double-digit loss season in three years. If the rumors of a Greg Robinson buyout are true, expect them to get much louder after this one.

Prediction: South Florida 31, Syracuse 14