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Role Reversal for USF and UCF in 2016

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)
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What a difference 12 months make.

The first weekend in September 2015 UCF was riding high. Two years removed from a program histroic 12 win season and a Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor and having their quarterback Blake Bortles drafted in the top 5 of the NFL draft, the Knights were a darling of the media, an upstart contender. They had won 31 total games 2012-14.

Meanwhile in Tampa 52 weeks ago, USF head coach Willie Taggart was clearly on the hot seat: 6 and 18 in his first two years and an athletic director, Mark Harlan, that had only been on the job for a season was poised to oust him.

But a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to UCF continuing to be the darling and USF searching the want ads for a new leader: they actually played the 2016 season.

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The Golden Knights got out of the box horribly losing at home to FIU 15-14, then after a loss at Stanford were stunned again at home by Furman and started a slide that would end at 0-12! George O’Leary abandoned his team and resigned after the 0-8 start and UCF went on to give up at least 44 points in each of its last five games. The last of those a 44 – 3 annihilation at the hands of the Bulls.

Speaking of USF, they opened last September with a blowout win over FAMU 51 – 3 but, a three-game losing streak to FSU, Maryland, and Memphis had all the talk that Taggart’s job was almost done. But the Bulls kept handing to Marlon Mack, who’s one of the best-kept running backs secrets in the South if not all of college football. He would finish with 1,400 yards rushing and new quarterback Quinton Flowers came into his own finishing with 2,200 yards in the air 1,100 more running and 34 total touchdowns.

Those numbers translated into the best numbers of all: 7 wins in their final 8 regular-season games for USF. That included blowouts of Temple, Cincinnati and UCF that ended the year.

When it was all said and done, Taggart had not only survived the death sentence, but got a raise and a contract extension!

So tonight, the Knights begin the ultimate rebuild after an 0 and 12 with former Oregon offensive coordinator and Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost trying to pump life back into the program. They have South Carolina State but as mentioned above they blew games to FIU and Ferman at home last year. No guarantees.

And tonight begins a USF season with Towson at home and likely Flowers and Mack going crazy like they did at the end of last season. Plus, the Bulls are actually favored to win their division in the American Athletic Conference and could be a top 25 team.

Neither fan base probably expected that dramatic a turnaround but 2015 proved it: one year can change it all.

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Report- Alabama will hire Charlie Strong as consultant

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Former USF coach Charlie Strong has decided on a new role for the upcoming 2020 season, and it won’t be in Gainesville.

ESPN college football insider Chris Low reported Tuesday morning that Strong has agreed to join Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama as a defensive “consultant” for this season

As we wrote last week, Strong had visited Saban and the Tide about the possible position on his staff, while considering a similar opportunity to join either Dan Mullen’s Gators staff or a couple of others in a consulting role. None of this will affect the nearly $3 million that USF still owes him as the buyout on the final two years of his contract.

Strong was fired after the Bulls collapsed losing their final four games to finish 4 – 8 this season. They were beaten by 27 or more points five times this year, including the last two losses to Memphis and rival UCF. This combined with the Bulls having lost their final six games, including their bowl game last year, meant that Strong had lost 14 of his final 18 games.

USF hired Clemson Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott earlier about a week later and gave him a 5-year, $12 million deal to become a first-time head coach in FBS football.

There had been some debate about Strong’s buyout being the amount of compensation that was remaining on his original five-year contract that he signed when he took the job in December of 2016 after being fired by the University of Texas. That contract called for Strong to be paid to $2. 5 million on average for 2020 and 2021.

However, USF informed Strong in his termination letter that the amount would be approximately $3 million under clauses in his deal.

Saban has a history of taking in former head coaches to come to Bama and observe and assist as a consultant with either his offense or defense. He’s done this for the last two years with former Tennessee coach Butch Jones and obviously, took in both Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian both of whom had been fired as coaches by USC at different stages.

Strong is known is an outstanding defensive coach from his previous days, as the Gators defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. He later went on to success at the University of Louisville before taking The the Texas head coaching job in 2014.

Strong was fired after three seasons in Austin in 2016, but immediately hired by USF to replace Willie Taggart.

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Former USF coach Strong to be consultant for Alabama?

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

And intriguing item popped up Friday morning involving former USF head coach Charlie Strong and him visiting Nick Saban the Alabama football program.

According to Alabama Insider and radio host, Aaron Suttles, Strong, who was dismissed last December after his third season with the Bulls, was in Tuscaloosa Thursday meeting with Saban and his staff:

Strong had also been reportedly talking with the University of Florida about a possible consultant role, which likely would not affect the nearly $3 million that USF still owes him as the buyout on the final two years of his contract.

Strong was fired after the Bulls collapsed losing their final four games to finish 4 – 8 this season. They were beaten by 27 or more points five times this year, including the last two losses to Memphis and rival UCF. This combined with the Bulls having lost their final six games, including their bowl game last year, meant that Strong had lost 14 of his final 18 games.

USF hired Clemson Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott earlier about a week later and gave him a 5-year, $12 million deal to become a first-time head coach in FBS football.

There had been some debate about Strong’s buyout being the amount of compensation that was remaining on his original five-year contract that he signed when he took the job in December of 2016 after being fired by the University of Texas. That contract called for Strong to be paid to $2. 5 million on average for 2020 and 2021.

However, USF informed Strong in his termination letter that the amount would be approximately $3 million under clauses in his deal.

Saban has a history of taking in former head coaches to come to Bama and observe and assist as a consultant with either his offense or defense. He’s done this for the last two years with former Tennessee coach Butch Jones and obviously, took in both Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian both of whom had been fired as coaches by USC at different stages.

Strong is known is an outstanding defensive coach from his previous days, as the Gators defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. He later went on to success at the University of Louisville before taking The the Texas head coaching job in 2014.

Strong was fired after three seasons in Austin in 2016, but immediately hired by USF to replace Willie Taggart

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