Not a winning season since 2010... Nine wins combined the last three years... When Head Coach Willie Taggart was hired as Head Coach at the University of South Florida in 2013, he put a rebuilding plan in place. And even though prognosticators have generally picked USF to finish again near the bottom of the American Athletic Conference standings, Taggart believes this is the year the Bulls' program begins to rise from the ashes. Why the confidence? South Florida's last two recruiting classes have been among the league's best. Transfers from Wisconsin, UCLA, NC State, and Stanford are on board, as are five new assistant coaches. But the ball and the Bulls' biggest hopes will rest in the hands of running back Marlon Mack. A second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season is very much a possibility for Mack under the team's new up-tempo attack. It's a stylistic change that was needed after USF's sputtering offense was the AAC's 9th best last year. Defensively, Coordinator Tom Allen will introduce a 4-2-5 scheme -- one that he employed during his time at Ole Miss. Despite trips to Florida State and Maryland, the Bulls' schedule is not murderous. In fact, it's workable enough to finally get USF bowl-eligible again. Taggart better hope so or he'll be updating his resume come the holidays.
Tom James is a 2-time Edward R. Murrow Award-winning sportscaster, who does play-by-play & studio work for the ESPN Family of Networks (including ESPN Wide World of Sports, ESPN3, college football, basketball, & a wide array of other sports), CBS Sports Network, Lax Sports Network, & Pro Watercross. Tom also hosts and produces sports documentaries & is part of the weekly regionally syndicated college football radio show, "Southern Pigskin Tonight."