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The Ultimate USF Football Player Tournament: Elite Eight

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The field is down to eight, and the matchups are more intense than ever.

Monday’s results:

(1) Quinton Flowers d. (5) Andre Davis, 92-8%
(2) Kawika Mitchell d. (3) J.R. Reed, 55-45%
(1) Marlon Mack d. (4) Anthony Henry, 90-10%
(2) Jason Pierre-Paul d. (3) Andre Hall, 55-45%
(1) George Selvie d. (4) Rodney Adams, 83-17%
(2) Marquel Blackwell d. (3) Ben Moffit, 52-48%
(1) Matt Grothe d. (5) B.J. Daniels, 79-21%
(2) Mike Jenkins d. (3) Stephen Nicholas, 78-22%

It was a thrilling, action-packed Sweet Sixteen, but in the end we got an Elite Eight with all 1 and 2 seeds. There’s nothing wrong with that; after some fun early upsets, the cream of the crop has risen to the top. Notable: Blackwell and Moffitt were almost deadlocked until the very end, and Hall had an early lead on Pierre-Paul. Elsewhere, Matt Grothe won the much-hyped Grothe-Daniels showdown rather easily, and Jenkins beat Nicholas by a much larger margin that I would have anticipated.

On to the Elite Eight! Below, you’ll see thoughts from myself, Jamie, and Collin on each matchup, and the ballot at the bottom. 24 hours, as always.

(1) Quinton Flowers vs. (2) Kawika Mitchell

Ryan: This is an age litmus test for USF fans.

Collin: OH GOD KAWIKA VS QUINTON THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE

Jamie: I have been ranting about recency bias throughout this tournament. The older players have been getting shafted because there aren't enough of you who remember seeing them play. Well, I remember seeing Kawika Mitchell play and I can tell you this: he wasn't as good as Flowers.

Collin: Kawika was the best defensive player we ever had. Quinton is probably the best offensive player we ever had. I think Quinton gets it, but it's soooooo close.

(1) Marlon Mack vs. (2) Jason Pierre-Paul

Jamie: Pierre-Paul had one good (let's not kid ourselves, it was merely good) season. Mack had three great ones. Easy decision.

Ryan: I think JPP being the most successful USF player in the NFL by a mile has to factor in, and I weigh it more than most people seem to... but yeah, Mack still wins here for me.

Collin: Marlon gave me 3 years of "he's amazing why does he play at USF??" JPP gave me 6 games of "he's amazing why does he play at USF??" and one backflip video from the International Bowl which showed what a freak of nature he was. JPP with the higher ceiling, but not enough career length to make up for Mack's durability and awesomeness for four seasons.

(1) George Selvie vs. (2) Marquel Blackwell

Jamie: It's lonely here on Selvie Was Overrated Island, but I'm not leaving any time soon. If you weren't around in 2001-02, then you don't understand how good Marquel was. The spread offense was still in its infancy when USF started using it. It hadn't been refined to the point where any mediocre QB could complete 70% of their passes, and kids hadn't grown up running the spread in youth football and high school. Blackwell figured it out in less than a year. In 2002 he threw 408 passes. He only threw three (3) INTs.

Collin: God this one is tough. Blackwell, but only because Selvie's senior year wasn't as amazing as we thought it would be. He was so, so good though. Also I think the recency bias in this tournament is really bad, and people forget just how good Marquel Blackwell was as a QB.

Ryan: I AM YOUNG AND STUPID, I AM VOTING FOR SELVIE. My rationale is that USF has had very, very few players that you could make a case for as the best player at their position in the nation. Selvie in 2007 was one of those players.

(1) Matt Grothe vs. (2) Mike Jenkins

Collin: Grothe > Jenkins. Jenkins was really good his junior year, but he got lit up like a firework a ton as a freshman on that terrible '04 team. It's not like he was a shutdown guy once he stepped on the field. Matt stepped in right away, and won at C. Florida in a must-win game in his first road start. Yes Grothe made plenty of mistakes too (I still cringe thinking about him pirouetting and turning his back to his offensive line while trying to escape in the pocket), but he also won a bunch of big games, and helmed the most memorable season in history.

Ryan: I really liked the pirouettes.

Jamie: I know I've been kind of down on Grothe. But that career INT record just rankles me. And I don't feel like Grothe was any better in 2009 than he was in 2006. He just was what he was. Jenkins developed into a shutdown corner, a first-round NFL Draft pick, and a Pro Bowler. He has the longest NFL career of any USF football player (9 years and counting). I think I have to pick him.

Ryan: There are very, very few players I would pick over Grothe. I think Jenkins is one of them. Not sure any USF player has been as productive both in college and in the NFL as he was. This is the closest matchup of the bunch for me, though, and I very well might change my mind when I wake up tomorrow.