Yes, South Florida has developed a solid program, but WVU always has gone into the games between the teams with a better record. Only once in the five years the teams have played has USF even been ranked, and that season the Mountaineers were 13 spots higher.
The Bulls have had talented players, too. Last year, five of them were drafted as compared to just one Mountaineer. But there are still more WVU players active in the NFL than there are USF products.
And, no, coaching probably hasn't had much to do with it, either. Bill Stewart is 1-1 against USF and Rich Rodriguez was 1-2. Jim Leavitt was the South Florida coach in all five previous games, but he was fired after his last four teams went 3-0, 6-0, 5-0 and 5-0 to start and then 6-4, 3-4, 3-5 and 3-5 to finish those seasons.
It's not easy to put a finger on why South Florida has won three of the five meetings between the teams and played tough in the other two, but don't be surprised if the script is the same tonight.
The Bulls (3-2) are coming off an embarrassing 13-9 loss at home to Syracuse, while the No. 25 Mountaineers (4-1) have lost only by six points on the road at unbeaten and No. 9 LSU. Yet when the teams meet at 7:30 p.m. at Mountaineer Field, it is likely to once again be a struggle.
"I don't know what it is. I guess we underestimate the speed that those guys have,'' said West Virginia receiver Jock Sanders. "And they've beaten us in all parts of the game - coaching, playing, physicalness, every part of the game they just beat us.''