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The 2021 Daily Stampede Awards (Part 2)

Let’s talk about some not fun things, and some fun baseball things.

NCAA Basketball: South Florida at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s wrap up the 2020-2021 USF Athletics season with part two of the annual TDS Awards. If you missed part one, it’s here.

We’ve got epic home runs, blow outs, and investigations to discuss. Away we go...

Most Disappointing Team

Jamie: Men’s basketball and it’s not close. I don’t want to talk about it because I’m getting older and I need to keep my blood pressure under control.

Steeg: Men’s basketball, what a whirlwind of emotions from October to April….

Ken: Men’s basketball. I thought they could compete for a top 4 finish this season and that didn’t happen! They looked like they were going through the motions for long stretches of the season and couldn’t close out a game to save their lives.

AJDNPO: Men’s basketball was touted as a dark horse AAC contender and added a top-100 freshman to a talented starting lineup. They ended up 4-10 in conference, and almost all their players transferred out amidst a program-wide investigation over racially insensitive comments made by an assistant coach. To put it mildly, it is very difficult to get excited about this program.

Nick: Men’s basketball easily. Scandal or no scandal, they’ve basically regressed as a program back to where they were before the CBI. No bueno.

Vito: Men’s basketball. Brian Gregory’s squad finally had everyone healthy and some nice new pieces and couldn’t navigate a season in which they had a month long COVID stoppage. Some lackluster late season performances and a ton of outgoing transfers didn’t help.

Collin: Men’s basketball. I still don’t know everything that happened over there, and I hope they can get it fixed. But it’s going to be an entirely new team in 2021-22, and that’s probably a good thing. We’ve seen Brian Gregory get the most out of his teams before, and I hope that happens again.

Nathan: Men’s basketball. The same issues have plagued this team for four years. We used to be able to point to the culture as a sign things were still heading in the right direction, but ten transfers, and an assistant coach getting let go due to racially insensitive remarks, and it feels like we’re back to square one.

Best Game

Jamie: Women’s basketball winning the conference title over #TrashZone. Take your pick which one.

Steeg: Baseball winning the AAC Tournament championship over UCF. We have all been so used to USF blowing big games, and especially to our rival. They won a big game and a big game over their rival. It was chefs kiss

Ken: Women’s Basketball winning the conference tournament final against Central Florida. The best program finally gets the conference title they deserve.

AJDNPO: Women’s basketball in the AAC Championship game vs. C. They won the regular season conference title on a technicality and were playing worse than they’d played all year in the tournament, so I think a lot of us were prepared for the worst. Instead, we got an absolutely scorching performance that left no doubt as to the AAC pecking order—and, just maybe, a long-overdue ushering into a brave new era of USF teams blossoming in big moments instead of wilting.

Nick: Women’s basketball toppling C. to take capture the AAC Tourney title was awesome.

Vito: Women’s basketball beating C. for the conference championship or baseball beating C. for the conference championship. Both so absolutely sweet I can’t pick just one.

Collin: Honorable mention for baseball’s Game 1 loss at Texas, but you can’t pick a game you lose. So let’s go with USF women’s basketball beating the ever-loving hell out of C. at home to claim the first conference championship in team history.

Nathan: Literally take your pick. WBB winning the regular season and tournament title over C. Baseball winning the conference tournament over C. Men’s golf going wire-to-wire in the conference tournament over C. (and others). Any one of Georgina Corrick’s four no-hitters. Beating Florida in the Gainesville regional.

Worst Game

Jamie: In a very crowded field, I’m going with the football game against East Carolina. Getting thumped by that awful team by three TDs on homecoming and letting Dollar Tree Tebow go off was a disgrace.

Steeg: USF vs ucf men’s tennis, this one flew under the radar, but they got crushed in this match from the get go.

Ken: Football vs Notre Dame. Just completely overmatched from the opening kickoff. The Irish scored on six of their first seven possessions and the 52-0 final could have been so much worse if Notre Dame wanted to run up the score.

AJDNPO: I could only avoid picking on football for so long! This football season was pretty irrelevant for evaluation purposes, but the 52-0 loss to Notre Dame was such a large offense to the sensibilities and norms of a civilized society that it is impossible to ignore. That was the most overmatched I’ve ever seen a USF football team—you knew the game was over about five plays in.

Nick: The Notre Dame football game may have been the biggest talent disparity in program history but at least we finessed a future home-and-home out of it. Michael Kelly, scheduling wizard.

Vito: Football vs ECU. Losing 44-24 to a team you’ve beaten five years in a row was the gut-punch to this season. The Pirates didn’t even light it up only winning three games in-conference. Again, I don’t feel right talking poorly about football without the context, but that was the game I knew it would be a long year.

Collin: Football just didn’t have the talent in place to come close to a veteran Notre Dame team, but men’s basketball can’t lose 98-52 at Houston while failing to try hard.

Nathan: Football at Notre Dame. It was a laugher five minutes into the game. But, at least we got two more games out of that beating. Michael Kelly remains a wizard.

Biggest Upset

Jamie: Everything baseball did after May 1. What a run. Because there’s no Best Play award, I just want to say the Drew Brutcher homer against Texas was the most clutch USF play I’ve ever seen in person. The stunned silence from the Longhorns fans as that ball landed in the empty lot across the street was fantastic.

Steeg: ae’Nisa Heckstall winning 400 meter hurdles in Women’s track at 56.94. The fastest time in school history, aac meet history, and no.9 in the country currently. If you told me a USF track and field athlete would be top 10 in the country in anything I wouldn’t believe you.

Ken: Baseball got out of a regional with Miami and Florida. Just read that sentence over and over. This never happens! Just an amazing performance from the entire team.

AJDNPO: Take your pick of postseason baseball games. I think the opening game of the Gainesville Regional against Florida where the Bulls shocked the hosts and gave USF fans their first sense of “oh wait, this team might actually do some damage” takes the cake for me.

Nick: Baseball over Florida seems like the correct answer but I’d like to shoutout WBB upsetting Mississippi State early in the season. The win depreciated over time because State wasn’t very good this year but at the time, toppling a top-10 power felt like a major hurdle that had been finally cleared.

Vito: Baseball beating Florida, Miami, and South Alabama to become Gainesville Regional Champs. I don’t care which game you pick, they were all epic.

Collin: Baseball beating No. 15 UF to open a regional on their field, all other arguments are invalid.

Nathan: In a span of seven days, baseball beat No. 10 ECU twice, No. 2 seed Wichita State, and No. 3 seed Tulane twice on their way to a conference title. Then turned around five days later and beat preseason No. 1 Florida, and Miami on their way to winning the program’s first ever regional.

Biggest Controversy

Jamie: Tom Herrion, wyd?

Steeg: Nick Roberts leaving the field during the Tulsa game and then transferring. Caused doubt in Jeff scott early in his time at USF that for some hasn’t recovered yet.

Ken: The Tom Herrion investigation. Good lord man.

AJDNPO: The fall of Brian Gregory’s program, for a dozen different reasons. I’m happy that USF appeared to take the investigation of Tom Herrion seriously, and the program at large. But given Gregory’s record over the last two seasons—I think it’s fair to question whether he should be the man charged with rebuilding this entire roster.

Nick: The Tom Herrion controversy with USF Men’s basketball. Glad that he’s gone now but with the mass exodus of transfers and the negative vibes surrounding the program, I’m now questioning whether or not they should’ve just taken the extra step and blown the entire thing up.

Vito: Looks at Men’s basketball’s investigation

Collin: In a year free of most of it, men’s basketball investigation for sure. Let’s hope it’s behind them.

Nathan: Tom Herrion almost single-handedly torpedoing men’s basketball. It appears USF took the right course of action, but you have to wonder if the damage has already been done.

Funniest Moment

Jamie: Omarion Dollison’s 0 yard punt return touchdown after The Citadel’s punter dropped the snap, ran for his life, and barely got a piece of the ball in a desperate attempt to kick it away. Neck and neck with the Rutgers screen pass safety as the funniest play in USF history. We have a GIF of that one, right?

SAFETYDERP

Steeg: USF women’s basketball winning the conference title over ucf twice, and B&G Bannerett (or however you spell that stupid name) [Ed. Note: Don’t care enough to look it up either.] being super bitter

Ken: I’ll agree with Jamie, the Dollison punt return touchdown vs The Citadel was great and will be the only real thing I’ll remember from Jeff Scott’s first season.

AJDNPO: The baseball team just saying “oh whoops guys, we forgot to do the Play Well thing” and inexplicably flipping the switch right before the conference tournament was entertaining enough on its own. It also led to more funny moments, such as the #NotVeryGood comment that became a mini rallying cry for the team and actually got a mention on national TV in the Super Regional.

Nick: Football going blow-for-blow with C. and watching their fans meltdown in real time over Randy Shannon’s defense. I’m upset that Tennessee bailed them out because seeing Heupel slowly run that program into the ditch would’ve been hilarious.

Vito: The “not a very good team” tweet from Gators Territory beat writer Nick de la Torre. Not only did it fail miserably for the Gators who proceeded to get rocked and eliminated by USA, but every USF Twitter personality is still dunking on that guy. Luckily he decided to have fun with it.

Collin: USF Baseball being “Not a very good team.” SPOILER: They were pretty good, and should be absolutely loaded next year.

Nathan: Has to be the “Not a very good team” tweet coupled with the InAllKindsOfWeather guy blowing a gasket after baseball beat UF in the Gainesville regional, and swearing up and down he got into Penn, and Cornell, while being a sidewalk alum of Florida.