The only thing to fear...

Fear is, for the most part, a learned response. Save for a few biological imperatives, nearly everything that we has humans fear is based on something we've learned, either from experience or through the wisdom of others. Life as a sports fan isn't much different. We learn through experience to fear certain occurrences. We may call them jinxes, or curses, or any host of other things, but there are things that when they show up on your schedule, you fear the die is already cast. Sadly, in my life as an Eagles fan, one of those is the NFC Championship game.

As a USF fan, a few of those things come into play for this week's matchup vs. Pitt. First of all, Pitt themselves owns victories in the past three games vs. the Bulls. For the past five seasons--every season in the Big East except for our very first--USF has started conference play 1-2, dropping the conference opener in three of those seasons. This corresponds with the "mid-season swoon" phenomenon we've experienced the past several years. On top of all of that, this is a Thursday night game, where USF is winless over the same time period. It's a helluva combo for the FootBulls.

But there is hope. Jim Leavitt as much as I still love him as the architect of USF's football program, was also the architect of most of those midseason slumps. And while Holtz also started 1-2 last year, it had a much different feel to it. Pitt is in their first year with a new head coach, and while I realize the transitive property doesn't work in sports, I will note that they lost to Notre Dame, who USF beat, Finally, this year's USF program appears to be taking care of business in a way that others have not. While this year's competition thus far has included an FCS matchup and two non-AQs, I will note that, particularly in the cases of UTEP and FAMU, USF dispensed with them in the manner a big time program is "supposed" to, which ahsn't always been the case. B.J. Daniels seems more mature of a passer than he was last year. So while a healthy dose of fear remains, I feel good about our chances of getting it done. Go Bulls!