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The Ultimate USF Football Tournament: The Final

Flowers vs. Grothe. Who’s the best USF player of all time?

Final Four results:

(1) Quinton Flowers d. (1) Marlon Mack, 56-44%
(1) Matt Grothe d. (1) George Selvie, 60-40%

Two close matchups that saw hundreds of votes flooding in for both sides, but the top two overall seeds, Flowers and Grothe, will be meeting in the final. Thanks for voting and debating with us over this last month; it’s been a really fun series to run. One last time, the ballot is at the bottom of the page, and Jamie, Collin, and I will be debating our picks below. Included: I make fun of Jamie and Collin for being old, they make fun of me for being a child, and we talk about the best single-game USF performances ever. We’ll keep the ballots open for 48 hours.

(1) Quinton Flowers vs. (1) Matt Grothe

Flowers’ path:
Defeated #16 Mike Ford, 100-0%
Defeated #8 Marvin Kloss, 98-2%
Defeated #5 Andre Davis, 92-8%
Defeated #2 Kawika Mitchell, 84-16%
Defeated #1 Marlon Mack, 56-44%

Grothe’s path:
Defeated #16 Mattias Ciabatti, 96-4%
Defeated #9 Mistral Raymond, 98-2%
Defeated #5 B.J. Daniels, 79-21%
Defeated #2 Mike Jenkins, 73-27%
Defeated #1 George Selvie, 60-40%

Ryan: So it's Grothe vs Flowers, and— please correct me if I'm wrong— I think everyone here is going with Flowers. So if that is the case, do you think Q is the right pick? Did the voters get it right? And who would you pick as the Best USF Football Player of All Time?

Jamie: I think the voters got one of the two right. And yes, I'm going with Flowers. Grothe would not have made my final four.

Maybe I'm grading a little bit on expectations, but I would be stunned if Flowers does not have another excellent season. That would make three straight seasons of absolute dominance. No other USF player can lay claim to having done that.

I also think the games where Grothe gets all the credit for willing the team to victory were far from a one-man effort. Saying Grothe beat Auburn and WVU twice is massively selling the defense short. They had 15 takeaways and two TDs in those three games.

Grothe also helped USF lose several games they should have won. The only game you can argue Flowers contributed to a loss was probably Maryland 2015. USF gave up 101 points in the two games they lost last year.

Anyway, I'm tired of trying to convince people how to vote by using facts and logic, that doesn't work anymore. Do whatever the hell you want, I don't care.

Collin: I'm going Flowers, but he shouldn't have made the final. Our fans are dumb. Whatever... these damn kids today.

Ryan: You guys sound so cranky! I think Flowers is perfectly justified. Grothe less so, but when you mention USF to a random human, the first name they'll think of is Matt Grothe. That's worth something.

Essentially I wouldn't have picked Grothe, but I totally understand why someone would. Who's your #1, Marquel?

Collin: Yeah, I think so. Marquel, Kawika 1-2 in some order. Marlon, Quinton, and someone else is top 5.

Jamie: I think it's Marquel then Flowers for me, with Q very likely to take #1 this season. If the work Sterlin Gilbert is doing with Flowers as a passer pays off, it will be a very long time before anyone surpasses him.

Collin: I agree there: after this season, if he's healthy, Q will be #1. I think Selvie is my #5, but it's close.

Ryan: Could it be that almost everyone's favorite is one of Blackwell, Grothe, or Flowers, and it's very likely the one you grew up with?

Jamie: That was why, in the 15 For 15/20 For 20 project, I took emotions and intangibles and things like non-USF accomplishments out of the mix. It was what you did on the field and nothing else. I don't favor Blackwell over Grothe because he was on the team when I was in school. It's because I think he was a better football player.

I know it's hard to believe, but in his first two years, Blackwell made some Grothe-esque plays running around and improvising. There wasn't as much room for that in the spread, but sometimes he still did.

Ryan: One of the tougher things for me to do here is separate “Better Football Player” from “Better USF Player.” Like, BJ is a better football player than Grothe. But I still couldn't vote for him in that matchup, as much as I wanted to. Because circumstance plays some sort of role for me, and Grothe will always be synonymous with USF football hitting the mainstream, while Daniels just never got that opportunity.

Collin: BJ - Grothe is really tough. I think I go BJ. I also put Andre Davis as maybe our best WR.

Ryan: Andre Davis had a tendency to disappear from games that bothered me, but given who was throwing him the ball, I can't really blame him.

Jamie: That 2006-07 defense was sick, though. I just can't buy the "Grothe made it all happen" argument when there were four NFL players on the other side of the ball.

Ryan: Also when you look at USF's big wins in 2006-07, they were all defense. I really don't mean to pick on Grothe here; I think he was extraordinary for USF.

Jamie: Whereas Flowers absolutely won a couple games by himself because the 2016 defense was trash.

Ryan: Seriously, I've never seen a USF player do what Q did against Memphis.

Jamie: It's the greatest single-game performance I've ever seen at USF. I didn't know how anyone was going to top J.R. Reed in 2003, but Q did it.

Collin: Best single game performance ever? J.R. Reed vs. Memphis and Amarri vs. Louisville or Andre Hall vs. UAB I think are the only other contenders.

Jamie: Marlon Mack vs. Temple, underrated.

Ryan: Given the context, Moffitt vs. WV has to be up there. Mack vs. Temple is a great call; that was probably his best game.

Jamie: That second Moffitt INT was freaky, plus he dropped one he would have probably housed. Andre Davis vs. Nevada, also underrated.

Collin: Yeah, that was really good.

Ryan: Bobby Eveld vs. Michigan State.