Mike Bianchi does his perennial troll of the SEC’s Mississippi members — “If the major conferences were starting from scratch today and holding a draft; UCF and USF would be in and Ole Miss and Mississippi State would be out.” –and enlists USF’s Charlie Strong in support.
“Without a doubt,” Strong told me Wednesday on our “Open Mike” radio show. “With the job we’re doing here at USF and the job they’re doing at UCF, we can go beat those people [Power Five teams] right now. Just think if we had their resources. … The only thing they have that’s different from us is that they are Power Five. There’s nothing else. That’s it. We have as many good players [as some of these programs]. They just have Power Five status.”
Meanwhile, in private, Strong is supposedly singing a different tune.
Practically every week this season, South Florida coach Charlie Strong has pleaded with fans to fill Raymond James Stadium, even making some critical comments about attendance. And every week, USF fans have failed to respond.
Though South Florida is 5-0 and ranked 16th, just 24,325 people showed up (announced) for its last game against Temple and it’s doubtful things will be that much better on Oct. 14 for Cincinnati. That is just one of many frustrations Strong has voiced privately this season about coaching at the Group of Five level, according to a person familiar with Strong’s thinking who spoke on the condition of anonymity. That person told USA TODAY Sports they would not be surprised if Strong got in the mix for Power Five openings, despite his affinity for the Tampa area.
Though Strong’s Texas experience was a disaster, he’s 58-37 as a college head coach and will likely win 10 or more games this season at USF. He’s still a marketable name in the business and has a good track record, a good recruiting reputation and a likable personality. It wouldn’t be a stretch to see him involved with Ole Miss…
LOL. Talk about if you can’t beat ’em…