By: Justin Pawlowski

As a USF alum, a die-hard USF fan, and a member of the USF IMG Sports Network that airs each game on 98.7 The Fan, I am as upset and disappointed as anyone in regards to USF’s 2-4 record this year and the regression we’ve seen over the last 3 years.  Expectations of winning a Big East Championship, the first in school history for football, have been quickly struck down in just the first 6 games of this regular season.

Over the past few days, I have appreciated each and every one of the passionate USF fans that have called in to our show to discuss their displeasure with what they have been seeing from USF’s football program.  I know that many of you are just like me and want nothing more than the success for USF, which is what has fueled such passion.

I think many people have done extensive research in finding every particular statistic in regards to USF’s poor play this season, but there is just one stat that truly matters, and that is wins and losses.  The USF Bulls are 2-4 this season, 7-15 under Holtz vs. BCS opponents, 4-12 under Holtz vs. Big East opponents (lost 10 of last 11), and are 15-16 under Skip Holtz since he took over in 2010.

While Gary Shelton and I both agree that less than 3 years is extremely tough to fully evaluate a head coach, a regression to the magnitude that USF is currently going through might be too much for the program to bear for another season.

On Tuesday, USF AD Doug Woolard issued this statement in regards to his football team’s performance and the recent extension given to Skip Holtz:

“I know Skip, his staff and the players are working diligently to get that next win, and to find sustained success. Certainly, the results, in terms of wins and losses to date, are disappointing to everyone involved with our program — the coaches, the players, athletic administration and our passionate fans. Our expectations for this program are very high. I also know this team has a lot of football left to play and great opportunities in front of it. We’re only six games into a 12-game regular season.”

“We are going to provide all the support possible for our football program, including employment contracts that reflect our commitment to success. Many factors come into play when considering contract terms, including conditions in the national coaching marketplace. In Skip’s case, multiple BCS schools sought his coaching services at the end of both the 2010 and 2011 seasons. As a result, we felt it was important to maintain the stability and continuity of leadership in our football program and extended Skip’s contract.

“As has been our practice in the past, we will evaluate the status of each of our 19 programs at the conclusion of their respective seasons. We’ll identify where we are as a football program at that time and continue to build from there.”

While some national websites took this as Woolard placing Skip Holtz on the “hot seat” for not giving him the vote of confidence, I saw it as just what is written.  Woolard has said that they have 6 more games this season to get things turned around.  A few wins and a strong finish would alleviate a lot of this pain, but there is no way the team can play like they did in their first 6 games and think they’ll be able to win and be “competitive” in the final 6 games of this season.

The reason college football is so special is because of its loyalty from the alumni and fans.  Things might be tough right now, but this school has just too many luxuries to offer a recruit to not be successful.  USF is a wonderful school with excellent facilities, plays in a NFL stadium, is located in one of the great cities on the planet in Tampa, FL, and provides top recruits a place to play very early in their careers.  I’m certain that once this dust has settled, USF will continue moving forward the same way they had done through the first 12 years of its existence.  Every team and program has speed bumps along the way.  Let’s just hope that this speed bump of a couple of years does not become a road block for the next several years.

Be sure to listen to The Commish along with Gary Shelton for “Gary and The Commish” weekdays from 10-2 on Tampa Bay’s Sports Radio 98.7 The Fan.


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