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Midseason review: South Florida

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Can we just copy and paste the midseason reviews from 2007 and 2008 here?

We kid South Florida. But the last three first halves have been eerily familiar: undefeated starts, including a big statement win, followed by a Thursday night loss in October.

The Bulls got there a little differently this year. They operated under the radar for the first three weeks, playing a couple of FCS teams and Western Kentucky. Then four-year starting quarterback Matt Grothe was lost for the season shortly after setting the Big East's career yardage record. The team looked like it was in trouble, but behind redshirt freshman B.J. Daniels and a dominating defense, the Bulls went to Florida State and won 17-7 in a milestone game.

Excitement once again reached a fever pitch in Tampa, but Cincinnati put a damper on that by winning 34-17 last week in a battle of two unbeatens. Now South Florida has to prove it's not going to sink back after a hot start. The defense is still outstanding, but Daniels has to overcome some rookie mistakes, and there are many obstacles remaining in the second-half schedule.

Offensive MVP: B.J. Daniels. Despite not taking over as the starter until the fourth game, Daniels leads the team in rushing and has passed for nearly 300 more yards than Grothe did. He's thrown for seven scores and run for another four. He needs to cut down on his turnovers and improve his decision-making, which should come with more experience.

Defensive MVP: Jason Pierre-Paul. Nate Allen is playing as well as any Big East safety, and George Selvie is his usual Tasmanian devil self. But Pierre-Paul has given the Bulls a new dimension as a defensive end who can finally take pressure off Selvie, and he done nothing but make big plays since taking over a starting role in late September.