2012 report cards: South Florida

January, 24, 2013
1/24/13
2:00
PM ET
Our series continues with the most disappointing team in the Big East this season, South Florida.

OFFENSE: There was evidence during the disappointing 2011 season that USF was much better than its 5-7 record indicated. No such paper trail here. The Bulls were bad, dropping from 31st to 66th in rushing offense, from 42nd to 78th in passing offense, from 30th to 89th in total offense and 48th to 104th in scoring offense. It is worth noting, of course, that B.J. Daniels went down for the year (broken left ankle) in USF's third and final win of the season, Nov. 3 against Connecticut, and that USF scored a total of 22 points over its final three games without him. One of the biggest questions in the aftermath of Daniels' injury was coach Skip Holtz's decision to start Bobby Eveld, whose redshirt season was promptly burned when he went down with a shoulder injury in the first quarter of the following game against Miami. This team struggled way before then, though, and other injuries did it no favors -- running back Lindsey Lamar, receiver Sterling Griffin and tight end Evan Landi all missed time. In its regular-season finale against Pitt, USF turned it over four times, netted 6 rushing yards and finished with a program-worst 115 total yards of offense. GRADE: D.

DEFENSE: This unit collapsed late a number of times throughout the course of the season, with a handful of contests amid USF's six-game losing streak seemingly there for the taking. The Bulls surrendered 30.83 points per game during that stretch, and they gave up game-winning touchdowns in the final minutes to Ball State, Louisville and Syracuse, in addition to welcoming Temple back to the Big East in a 37-28 loss. Worst of all? This team was the last squad in the nation to record an interception, as it went until Nov. 3 against UConn -- its ninth game of the season -- before it picked off an opposing quarterback. USF's 50th-ranked rushing defense was the only defensive category it was not in the bottom 50 percent of nationally, and it finished seventh in the Big East in scoring defense, total D, rushing D, passing D and pass efficiency D. The Bulls ranked 118th nationally in turnover margin, at -1.58. GRADE: D.

OVERALL: USF entered 2012 as the preseason No. 2 team in the Big East, hoping to erase the bad taste out of its mouth from a disappointing 2011 season. That season started with what looked like a milestone win at Notre Dame, the first of four straight wins to open the season. The Bulls then promptly lost seven of their final eight games, including six of seven in conference play. This year's team followed a 2-0 start -- one that featured a dramatic come-from-behind win at Nevada -- with a six-game losing streak, dropping nine of its final 10. Holtz has been fired, Willie Taggart is in and now the Bulls look to start over in 2013. GRADE: D.

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Matt Fortuna | email

College Football

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