Five freaking years.
The irony of all this is that USF is actually much worse at sports than when we started. We began this in the last throes of the Jim Leavitt Era, still believing anything was within reach. That it was a matter of when, not if, USF would reach the mountaintop amongst the nation's elite athletics programs. The Sears Cup rankings would rise and the empty seats at Ray Jay would fall. We had the 12th largest media market all to ourselves, a huge student population, and we seemed to win enough big ones to keep everyone interested.
And then we fired Jim (which we had to do... we started this blog three weeks later), replaced him with Skip (which seemed like a good idea at the time), then we gave Skip an extension after a 5-7 season (this is the point where it all goes sideways), and gave one to Stan Heath too (which we had to do since he just had won two games in the NCAA Tournament... though that turned out to be more fluke than skill).
Our Olympic sports have been good in spots, especially softball, men's soccer, and women's basketball. Honestly, they're the reason we're still here: writing about football and men's basketball all the time, outside of a glorious four months in '11-'12 for hoops, has been beyond depressing.
It's been basically a descending roller coaster into the fires of hell, but we truly believe USF is starting to come out the other side. Mark Harlan has been a shot in the arm, and he's still making changes every day that we've needed for at least a decade. And we're all-in on Orlando Antigua: he will get men's basketball turned around, and the biggest problem will be keeping him after he wins here.
There are still downsides: our conference situation sucks and will continue to do so until the Big XII decides to live up to their name and goes to 12 teams. At that point, we'll just have to hope that the dominoes fall in our direction and that the decisions being made now will lay the right foundation. We have questions as to whether Willie Taggart is the answer in football, and the stench of desperation around that program won't be mitigated by a good recruiting class on Wednesday.
But it's better than it was just a few years ago. We actually have hope that things can get turned around. It's not the surefire belief of five years ago, but there's a flicker still burning.
Let's hope it's not lighting another dumpster fire.
Ask Us Anything in the comments below, and we'll all be around to answer. Our history, the 2015 recruiting class, some of the off-the-record stuff we might be able to discuss now that we couldn't before, why Jamie's Twitter handle is @ChuckyCrater... anything you'd like. It's our birthday... and we can't refuse our readers on our birthday.