Leave No Doubt

I've equivocated on the nature of the rivalry between USF and C. Florida before - to be fair, I stopped denying it once we became conferencemates and are now destined to play every year - but if I didn't feel it before, there's no doubt now.

Collin over at Bulls 24/7 summed it up best as he has for years (previously at Voodoo Five on SB Nation): It was time to obliterate the Knights and restore order. C. Florida came into the game winless, leaving the same way, but in true rivalry fashion, USF showed no mercy and ultimately cruised to a 44-3 victory. An opening field goal provided the only points the Knights would see all night.

USF's role in the rivalry has been to not acknowledge it. I was amused to see that over the course of game week, USF Athletics' official Twitter account didn't so much as mention that week's football opponent. The vitriol was clear come gametime, though: After the Knights scored, USF's first play from scrimmage was a reverse to a bomb downfield. It didn't land, but it made it clear the team was entering the game with an FU mentality. Later in the same drive, USF went for and converted a 4th and 8 from the C. Florida 32, another "we don't respect you" play. I don't know if the outcome of that drive, or even the goal, was to take the Knights' heart, but as mentioned, they wouldn't score again.

As the final game in a winless season, it was a sad scene in Orlando. The near empty stands were punctuated by a handful of melancholy die-hards forced to endure the season's merciful march to the scaffold. While the weeping endureth for a Knight, they aren't too far removed from glory. The dropoff for the Knights has been precipitous; just two years ago, they were celebrating a Fiesta Bowl championship over oft-offensive juggernaut Baylor.

In fact, to speak to the rivalry: The Knights erected a "Meanwhile in Orlando" billboard in Tampa, boasting their conference and Fiesta Bowl championships. I'm pleased my dear alma mater wasn't too classy to rub their noses in it.

Order has been restored. Go Bulls. \m/