Time for Part 2 of the Voodoo Five Awards. Yesterday we picked our favorite teams and athletes, among other awards. Today we choose our favorite and least favorite games, the biggest upset, and the biggest controversy from the 2014-15 USF athletic year. Here we go.
Collin: USF women's basketball beating LSU at home in the NCAA Tournament. The crowd was incredible, the team performed at a truly high level, and it showed there is a base of support for this team that should make next season unforgettable.
Pro tip: we're in the Preseason WNIT next year, and the crowds for that are going to be awesome. Courtside seats are already sold out for the season, I believe. We should change the name of the blog to CourtneyWilliamsIsAnAbsoluteMagician.com starting in November. (Founder's note: Sorry, you're stuck with the name you have.)
Elliot: Women's basketball over LSU. They're a basketball powerhouse and USF took care of them pretty nicely in front of a huge crowd.
Gary: Beating Cal State-Fullerton in the baseball season opener deserves more love. Fullerton is college baseball royalty, they had a great season, and USF probably doesn't make the postseason without this win. The softball loss to Florida derailed that team's season; baseball's win over Fullerton did the opposite.
Matthew: Baseball's comeback wins at UConn. Freezing cold. Battled back time and time again.
Ryan: Women's basketball vs. LSU for sure. It was so, so cool to see USF fans get behind this team. They absolutely deserved it after getting no respect from the voters all season. The Louisville game, despite its ending, was just as awesome. We desperately needed something to cheer for, and Jose and company gave it to us.
Jamie: The women's basketball win over LSU in the NCAAs gets my vote here, but I have several honorable mentions:
- Football coming back from a 27-7 halftime deficit to beat Tulsa
- Baseball coming from way down to beat UConn... twice
- Men's golf obliterating the field in the New Haven NCAA regional
- Men's basketball boatracing C.Florida by 29 points
Collin: Football getting shut out by C.Florida on Senior Day is the pick because that was rather humiliating, but a very close second is softball having a 4-2 lead in the 7th against #1 and eventual national champion Florida... and giving up 8 runs in the final inning. Pitcher Erica Nunn looked like a deer in headlights out there. I was there and it was straight up painful to watch in person.
Elliot: Football against Houston. All they did was try to run up the middle for 60 minutes and it ended in a 27-3 loss late in the season at home.
Gary: Football at SMU. Ugh. Softball blowing that lead to Florida gets dishonorable mention.
Matthew: Football vs. NC State. I literally stopped writing and told Collin, "That’s all you’re getting from me." By FAR the roughest thing I’ve had to sit through in years. Woof.
Ryan: The 16-0 game against UCF was really bad. Not necessarily because we lost 16-0 to UCF; that was kind of expected. But getting shut out at home while eternal-football-martyr Mike White got hurt and coupling that with an array of stupid offensive mistakes while wearing those wonderfully horrible uniforms combined to create a smorgasbord of awful. Very fitting way to end the season.
Jamie: The softball meltdown against Florida was the worst game because it ruined their whole season. I am convinced of this. Baseball getting stomped 24-1 by FSU deserves mention as well. Still, I need to talk about both USF-SMU games I covered in Dallas this year.
OH MY GOD THEY WERE THE WORST GAMES. The football game was cold, rainy, and totally unwatchable. It deserved all the snark thrown at it by the working media and then some. Ford Stadium was so ill-equipped that Josh and his crew could not broadcast the game on WBUL. They gave up in the first quarter and watched the game in the press box with me. Hardly any fans were there. The refs didn't know what they were doing. The Bulls got called for THREE(!) chop block penalties. SMU's public address guy kept growling THIIRRRRRRRD DOOWWWWWWWWWWN like he was cutting a hardcore metal album. Worst of all, the press box ran out of hot chocolate.
Then USF had to go and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, 14-13. If the Bulls had lost that game like they absolutely should have, Willie Taggart would already be gone and we wouldn't be having this obvious lame-duck 2015 season. A Pyrrhic victory if there ever was one.
The basketball game at SMU... do you remember that Simpsons episode where Krusty is deep in debt to Fat Tony and he stupidly places a huge bet on the Washington Generals as his last shot at getting even?
That was sort of like watching the first half of the USF-SMU game from press row. The score was 49-15 at halftime. Really, it wasn't even that close.
I tried to find the Bulls locker room afterwards to try and ask Coach O a couple questions, but I never figured out where it was. It didn't matter, though. For one, the team was rushing to get to the airport and leave Dallas before some freezing rain moved in. I think they were on the bus within 20 minutes of the final buzzer. And also, what the hell do you ask in that spot? A first-year coach with a very inexperienced roster getting its doors blown off by a focused team, running sets you almost never see in college, and only getting one day to try and prepare for them, really tells the whole story.
Collin: Men's tennis for going up to Blacksburg and shutting out both Boise State and Virginia Tech 4-0 in the NCAA Regional. Honorable mention to baseball for beating Cal-State Fullerton in their first game of the season. As close as they were to the bubble, they probably don't get in the tournament without it. And Fullerton ended up in the CWS.
Elliot: Baseball over Fullerton. That was an unbelievable way to start the season.
Gary: Over Fullerton in baseball.
Matthew: Baseball over Fullerton.
Ryan: I'd love to devote a full-length novel to men's basketball absolutely trashing UCF 74-45 in their second matchup of the season. It's impossible to put into words just how blissfully unexpected that game was-- the Bulls had lost their first matchup to the Knights and had already lost Chris Perry and Corey Allen for the season... and then calmly proceeded to obliterate their hated rivals with exactly one (one!!!!!) player who had played Division I basketball prior to that season. I mean, USF was up 33-9 at one point. This was just one of those brief, beautiful reminders that the universe doesn't entirely hate you.
Jamie: There actually weren't too many of these. I guess tennis running over Virginia Tech 4-0 in Blacksburg in the second round of the NCAAs is the biggest one. Men's soccer beating UConn twice on their home field (once on PKs) is also worth mentioning.
Collin: Firing women's tennis coach Agustin Moreno in the middle of the season for NCAA violations is the winner. Long story short: he cheated by having recruits practice on campus during official visits and lied about it. USF took swift and decisive action, fired him, and reported everything to the NCAA right away. We handled it quite well, but it's still pretty crazy that a coach got fired for cheating that brazenly.
Otherwise, from what I remember we've been pretty controversy free this year, which is a nice change of pace.
Elliot: Benching White and going with Flowers and Bench, then going back to White to start the UCF game and then back to Bench to finish the 4th quarter. Taggart was grasping at straws at the end of the season.
Gary: It hasn't manifested itself yet, but I say, the decision from above to force Taggart into running a spread offense. They should have either fired Taggart, or let him run his own show. I see no way this ends well for anyone involved.
Matthew: Mike White but I don't think we should write about this. Let Mike be in my opinion. He's been through enough. So I'm going with Erin Fairs suddenly transferring with a year to go. That's some weird ass shit.
Ryan: The fact that Skip Holtz managed to coach Louisiana Tech to a ten-win season while USF struggled mightily under Willie Taggart, which just completely destroyed any and all vestiges of sanity and logic left in this world.
Jamie: From an outsider perspective, the way Willie Taggart treated Mike White was deplorable. It's like Taggart got it in his head that he was going to find a way to bench White no matter what it took, even though all evidence and logic proved that White was clearly USF's best quarterback. He admitted after the Tulsa game that he thought about benching him as USF's defense was getting torched, only to watch White lead a huge comeback. After finally coming up with a vague, non-performance-related reason to finally get White out of the lineup at Cincinnati, Taggart let Steven Bench stink it up against Houston, and then completely underprepared Quinton Flowers to play at SMU. So he had to turn to White again to save the day, and Taggart's job. White got to finish the season (up until he was knocked out of the C.Florida game), but his confidence was completely shot and he eventually transferred.
Then at Around the Horns last week, Taggart actually said, in public, that if anyone believed in Mike White, it was him. I'm just glad we only have six more months of this nonsense. Maybe less, if Harlan decides to get a jump on the hiring process and runs out the season with an interim coach.