Flipped off in South Florida
Jenn visits USF .. and meets some hostile Rutgers fans
Posted: Tuesday October 3, 2006 12:20PM; Updated: Wednesday October 4, 2006 11:59AM
Going into Friday night's game against the Scarlet Knights, the University of South Florida Bulls were unranked ... but apparently no one told them that. Even when there were 15 seconds left on the clock and Matt Grothe's attempt at a two-point conversion slipped through the hands of Amp Hill, the Bulls still had faith. And why shouldn't they? After all, this was their house.
Friday night marked my second South Florida game at Raymond James in almost as many weeks. But this game was particularly important, as it pitted the Bulls against the newcomers to the AP Poll Top 25, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The Knights, lead by Greg Schiano, of the old "U" dynasty, have raised a lot of eyebrows by going undefeated thus far, something the school hasn't accomplished since 1976.
While some attribute Rutgers' success this season to Schiano's coaching, I am more apt to say that a lot of it has to do with running back Raymell Rice. Rice has matched a school record with his seventh 100-yard game, and he came into the game with nine touchdowns. With a secret weapon like that, most people didn't give South Florida a second glance. Me, on the other hand ... well, I wasn't so convinced.
This stands were packed for the Rutgers game, unlike for the previous game against FIU. While most of the stadium was adorned in green-and-gold, the section to my right was filled with Scarlet Knights fans. Three guys in particular had caught my eye on their way into the stadium, not because they were particularly good-looking (although they were wearing face paint, so can't pass judgment there) but because they were dressed like they were part of the Village People. Wearing demolition hats, bright orange vests and cones courtesy of a construction site around an undisclosed Florida school they had passed en route to Tampa, these guys were fearless in taunting South Florida's fans as they passed. While they got an A-plus for creativity and for improvisation on their costumes, I had a feeling their hats would be serving a more functional purpose before the night was over.
So of course, of all the seats in all the stadiums in all of college game day, these Three Stooges happen to sit in a section adjacent to mine, front and center. The liquid courage in my section was pumping hard, and the fact that beer is sold at Raymond James certainly didn't help matters. The bantering between the sections quickly escalated, and the Village People were soon telling the South Florida fans things about their mothers that they really didn't seem too fond of. But then they had to take it that extra step: They told me I was "Number One." No, wrong finger, Jenn. I stood there, mouth open in disgust, and threw up my hands.
About this time, Raymell Rice punched one in at the north end zone, silencing the crowd around me and prompting massive amounts of fist-pumping from the Village People plus a new character that had joined them who resembled a rough version of Animal from the Muppets. Again, the most fearless (or most drunk) of the Three Stooges turned to me and told me I was "Number One," twice. He then said something to the effect of "How do you like that #@$!?" while motioning to his lower body. Now, he could've been showing me his new belt, but somehow I doubt it. "Classy," I mouthed, "but no thanks." Next came a Jeremy Ito field goal, which put the score at 10-0 early in the second quarter. Insert more friendly hand gestures here.
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